back yard at Mirasol teen eating disorder treatment center

Meals at Mirasol

Relearning Normal, Healthy, Mindful Eating

One of our goals is to provide our clients with the experience of normal eating. We're proud of our cooks, who create a wide variety of delicious meals and can easily accommodate needs such as food allergies and vegetarian lifestyles.

At Mirasol, clients make their own food choices from meals that are served buffet style. Along the way, they're given guidance in re-establishing accurate portion sizes and meeting nutritional needs according to personalized guidelines developed by our staff nutritionists.

We believe that during a client's treatment she should eat the healthiest food available while her body is healing. We use organic and whole foods whenever possible, and can accommodate vegetarian clients as well as many food sensitivities.

Mirasol's nutritional philosophy has evolved over the years, based on feedback from former clients about what worked best for them after treatment.

Meals plans are highly individualized and based on the client's weight goals. Our goal is to equip clients with the skills they need to develop their own meal plans so they can feel safe eating in different situations and live lives free of eating disorders.

Six Times a Day?

Dr. Dawn BantelBy Dr. Dawn Bantel, Mirasol Staff Physician

Yes, we eat six times each day.  This is one of the very first conversations that I have with a new client when she enters treatment.  This concept is so difficult for someone with an eating disorder.  In fact, it's pretty mind-blowing for her.  She always thinks that there has to be some control or compensation involved to maintain a healthy body weight.  This is generally true for all the eating disorders.

Our dieticians create a meal plan that is composed of three meals and three snacks per day.  It is adjusted for the calories needed for weight gain, weight loss or weight maintenance depending on what the client needs.  If one is on a weight loss meal plan it is possible to loose weight by eating six times per day! The client never believes this until it actually happens.  She doesn't have to restrict/purge/exercise to loose weight and she doesn't get hungry.

Hunger and low blood sugar can contribute to a binge.  If a client is satiated from eating just a few hours before, she may make better choices.  Also, low blood sugar will create a strong desire to acquire a quick fuel source such as ice cream, energy drinks, candy, etc.  People with eating disorders are usually stuck in a cycle that they are unable to interrupt.

For the client that has a history of restriction it is easier to eat the required number of calories in six portions through out the day.  Usually, she will experience improved mood and improved cognition with regular eating.  In fact, the majority of clients will admit to how impaired they were before eating regularly.

Most staff will become accustomed to eating six times per day.  We pull out our snacks right on schedule as our appetites are used to eating this way.  It helps to maintain our energy too.

FREE Eating Disorder Support Group!

FREE weekly eating disorder support group for adults struggling with food issues, staffed by therapists from Mirasol Eating Disorder Recovery Centers. Thursdays from 5:30-6:45 pm at 3116 N Swan in Tucson. For more information, call 520-546-3200 or email Ann at

"Mirasol is light years ahead of any other program in the country."