(Image credit: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
March, when we celebrate National Nutrition Month (of course, we should not only try to eat healthy in March. In fact, healthy eating should be practiced every day!!!!). This month, let me try something different than what others have to say about nutrition. I want to share with you what our dietitians do daily.
I know many of you have almost the same idea about what most (if not all) dietitians do everyday for living, which is menu planning, calculating calories, and talking negatively about desserts/sweets. Please allow me to correct you right here and right now. We (dietitians) do not spend our four years of college and whole career JUST to learn and do menu planning, write recipes, criticize bad eating habits, talk negatively about fast foods, and calculate calories.
It is very sad to say, the roles of a dietitian tends to be underappreciated. We are just as important as physicians, therapists, and nurses!
Dietitians are involved in many roles to help improve health outcomes, depending on our specialties (just like physicians, there are obstetrician-gynecologists, family practice physicians, endocrinologists, otolaryngologists, etc). Where can you find dietitians? We can be almost anywhere: hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research private practice and more. Our roles vary based on where we are working. If you need to find a registered dietitian, please be sure to search through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dietitians you meet at hospitals, just like me and my fellow work buddies (Jessica and Victoria), we are known as clinical dietitians. We are crucial for the healthcare team. We look closely at our patient's nutritional status. An individual with a good nutritional status shows better overall health outcomes. Clinical dietitians share their expert knowledge with other healthcare professionals by recommending alternative nutrition support (enteral and parenteral nutrition support), providing/recommending appropriate diets, providing nutrition education (if needed) to other professions. Dietitians may also help patients order nutritional supplements/snacks (if needed), make suggestions of food choices, provide nutrition education to patients and their families, communicate effectively with patients and kitchen staff to help improve customer satisfaction.
The take home message is healthcare professionals (including dietitians) consistently work together and communicate effectively to help maximize the outcomes of our patients’ health and well-being.
Please allow me to introduce you to my lovely coworkers. The pictures were taken early this year when we invited nurses, therapists, case managers/social workers, and physicians to our nutrition social event.
Food items were prepared by Jessica and me. We had taco (serve with steak, grilled lime chicken, fajita veggies), garden salad (with delish homemade italian dressing), desserts (lemon curd pavlova, tiramisu cups, sopapilla cheesecake bites, fruits), appetizers (chips with salsa, guacamole; spicy asian vegetarian meatballs; spinach artichoke cups), strawberry lemonade.
The pictures show that it is not difficult or impossible to eat delicious healthy foods, we just need to stick with the concept of BALANCE (diet) and MODERATION (amount)!
Quote of the month: “Being healthy and fit isn't a fad or a trend. Instead it's a lifestyle!” - Anonymous
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2020). National nutrition month 2020 theme and graphic unveiled [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://www.eatrightpro.org/news-center/member-updates/events-and-deadlines/national-nutrition-month-2020-theme-graphic