Dietitians: your health championss

As Nutrition Month draws to a close, here’s a post about how a dietitian can help you achieve your health and nutrition goals. As a registered professional who must follow evidence-based guidelines of care, and demonstrate competence in his or her field of practice, a dietitian can be an essential part of your health care team.

  1. A dietitian can help you separate the good from the bad in nutrition information. Many people want to eat healthy, but feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of information available, much of which contradicts itself. A dietitian can interpret studies and critique media reports with a background of extensive nutritional study, helping you make the best decisions about your diet.
  2. A dietitian can help you translate nutrition into food. If you have heard that the Mediterranean diet can help prevent onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and you want to follow that way of eating, a dietitian can not only explain the details to you,  but also help you make changes in your current diet that will fit into your life. Sustainability is essential in making any lifestyle changes – extreme changes in the way you eat are unlikely to be long-lasting. A study done a few years ago found that the best diet is the one we can stay on the longest. This makes sense, as changes in health, good or bad, do not develop overnight.
  3. A dietitian is qualified to help you manage chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and kidney disease, by optimizing your diet for the best possible outcomes. Often people have a fear of seeing a dietitian, thinking they will hear that they can’t eat their favourite foods anymore. A good dietitian recognizes that he or she is part of your collaborative health team, and will makes suggestion based on what you are currently doing, rather than making recommendations without consideration of your own preferences and habits; what you put into your body is ultimately your choice, no one else’s. Which brings me to the last point…
  4. A dietitian can help you improve your relationship with food, while recognizing the emotional and cultural significance of food in your life. Identifying triggers to problem eating and barriers to achieving your health and nutrition goals are essential to making positive diet changes, and a dietitian is the best professional to help you do this.

If you have a food question, are trying to figure out if the latest diet is for you, or have a health condition which would improve with diet changes, make sure you connect with a dietitian, whether through your local health authority, or in private practice. If you have extended health benefits, you may have coverage for a private-practice dietitian and be able to see one without any wait. Have a great week and happy Easter!

Happy Nutrition Month! 5 Tips to more Fun with Food!

March is Dietitian of Canada’s Nutrition Month, and the slogan this year is “Unlock the Potential of Food.” How can you unlock the potential of food to bring people together?

  1. Focus on family meals. Everyone these days seems to be busy, but family meals give everyone time to catch up. Family meals are also a time where you can teach your children table manners/ how to enjoy food/eat balanced varied meals/try new dishes and foods. If after-school is a crazy time with practices, or you and your spouse/partner work different shifts, work around schedules and make breakfast or lunch the meal where you sit down together and connect. According to a number of studies, including reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University(CASA), family meals are associated with numerous benefits to children including better academic success, less chance of obesity and substance abuse issues, and better eating habits.
  2. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or get a group of colleagues or family members together to serve breakfast to the homeless. Doing good work together is a great bonding opportunity, and reaching out to those less fortunate also helps us count our own blessings.
  3. Organize a potluck with a focus on one region’s or country’s food; have everyone bring a dish associated with that cuisine, along with copies of the recipe. Besides a good excuse for a party, this might give you ideas on how to spice up your own meals.
  4. Have a salad day at work where each staff member brings one ingredient and you all get a big and delicious salad for lunch.
  5. Get your garden ready for spring, and make it a family affair. Take a weekend together to shop for seeds, schedule planting, prepare the soil outside, and clear out any leaves or debris that have piled up in your garden. Check out for information on when to plant. Numerous studies have shown that children are more willing to eat a variety of vegetables when they have helped grow them, so this is a great way to encourage healthy food choices.

Make March more social and renew your excitement in creating delicious and nutritious meals! Happy Nutrition Month