Guest blog: March is National Nutrition Month, a time to spotlight healthy eating habits and nutrition education as well as the work registered dietitians do to help people enjoy healthy lives. Jessi Holden, a registered dietitian who leads the Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program, shares how the hospital’s team works to care for patients.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has 10 registered dietitians who provide nutrition care for both our inpatients and outpatients. We’re members of an interdisciplinary team that provides valuable, credible and scientifically based nutrition education and information for our patients.
Here is what a registered dietitian will NOT do:
- Put you on a fad diet
- Shame you for your food choices
- Monitor your intake as food police
- Suggest changes that are unrealistic and unattainable
Here is what a registered dietitian WILL do:
- Create personalized, positive lifestyle changes and plans with you, not for you
- Encourage you to explore your relationship with food
- Cultivate a safe space for you to ask questions, seek support and work on goals
- Encourage that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle through practice and moderation
- Emphasize that making changes toward a healthy lifestyle is about more than just food
The journey of bettering one’s health deals with more than what goes on the fork or how we move our bodies. It’s about the mindset and relationship with ourselves that ultimately needs support. My goal is to help people find doable changes that bring them joy, not restriction.
I’d like to share some comments from other members of our team of dietitians at Mary Free Bed:
Corinthia Sain, RDN, inpatient clinical dietitian: “I ask patients questions and get to know what they normally eat, then provide tips on how to tweak what they already do. I try to get the patients involved to come up with their own goals.”
Mandi Zbikowski, MS, RDN, inpatient clinical dietitian: “I recommend a well-balanced diet, and I don’t recommend cutting out an entire food group (unless there’s a medical reason).”
Rose Britt, RDN, CNSC, Mary Free Bed Kids Feeding Program dietitian: “I love teaching families about healthy eating for growth and development in children. I listen to their questions and areas of concern, and come up with a realistic feeding and nutrition plan for them. However, I do not want my families to strive for perfection, because eating should be fun!”
Kim Meeuwsen, RDN, Weight Management Program dietitian: “I listen to what barriers or challenges you’re having in relation to achieving what’s important to you and help you work through it. I will never cast judgment or bring shame to the table.”
Rachel Langly, RDN, Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Program dietitian: “I allow the patient to drive their nutrition plan of care. Their plan can vary due to their multiple medical conditions, medications, clinical observations, biochemical data, discharge plan, etc. After meeting with the patient, I steer the conversation toward individualized nutrition goals. Since patient backgrounds and preferences vary significantly, so does their nutrition education. This can range from adding protein or calories when they’re feeling nauseated to assisting with feeding tubes to improving blood glucose levels.”
Whether you’re a patient participating in rehabilitation or simply interested in learning how to eat more healthfully, we’re here to help. We offer Outpatient Nutrition Services, which include one-on-one sessions with experts who can help you meet your wellness goals. We also provide a Weight Management Program to help you set and reach your healthy lifestyle goals.