Research & Practice

Nutrition Policy and Food Service Guidelines Recommended for Adoption by Teen Feed

As a growing body of evidence demonstrates, food transcends beyond biological needs and interplays with behavioral, social, and mental concepts of whole-person health. Community-based organizations serving minoritized populations, like Seattle’s Teen Feed, are uniquely positioned to tailor nutritional programming to the needs of their client populations, informing nutrition practices and behaviors to support health across the lifespan through care for the whole person. Located in the University District of Seattle, WA, Teen Feed provides basic needs and services to youth aged 13-25 experiencing homelessness. One of the organization’s integral services is their meal program, which provides a nightly, on-site, nutritious meal, while offering opportunities to connect youth to community social services resources.

This capstone report addresses the nutritional concerns specific to Teen Feed’s guests, ensuring that their meals nourish the physical, behavioral, social, and mental health needs of their client population. The evidence-informed nutrition policy for meal programs and food service guidelines provided are specifically tailored to the population of Teen Feed and strive for whole-person health.

Given the unique considerations of the population and organizational limitations of Teen Feed, the nutritional guidelines provided encompass not only standardized recommendations, but also consider the specific needs of clients and volunteer teams. Youth experiencing homelessness may have faced trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which oftentimes impact eating behaviors, digestion, and food preferences. Therefore, evidence-based food service guidelines were developed, promoting trauma-informed care and practices that minimize harm at mealtimes.

Community Partner: Teen Feed

Project Type(s): Master's Capstone

Author(s): Jordyn Fantuzzi, Megan Fisher, Mayra Gutierrez, Victoria Jansen, Andrea Litzow, Joanne Lum, Katie McConaughy, Kunal Patel, Anastasia Powell, James Sherrell, Oluseyi Shonuyi, Savannah Stelzer, Kristina Tribley, Emilee Vann, Mara Zinnen

Program(s): Master of Public Health, Master of Science, RDN Training

Year: 2022


  • Margaret Chaykin, MPH, CHES, RDN, CD