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Musings of a Pre-Dietitian

Posted Sep 26 2009 12:00am

So, I have finished the community nutrition rotation of my dietetic internship. Wait, what does that mean? Readers (if you are out there), let me explain. I am currently working my way through my Dietetic Internship the year (more or less) of supervised practice after one graduates with a degree in nutrition which is required to become a Registered Dietitian. This includes various chunks of time in community nutrition, clinical dietetics, and food service management.

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Another Dietetic Intern, Julie (left) and I (right), promoting healthful eating at a local library.

Community nutrition was great. A decent portion of it involves talking to people about food. And if you can’t tell by now, I like talking about food.

One thing I learned during my community rotation? Often times, a parent will not give their child certain fruits and vegetables because they assume their child won’t eat it. When we, during our nutrition education sprees, are successful in encouraging a child to try that new food, parents will frequently be surprised. “Oh, Jimmy won’t eat carrots.”  “Well, he did today.”  “He DID??”

Research has shown that it takes 12 to 15 tries before a child begins to like a food. That is why it is important to continue to encourage fruits and vegetables–even if you think Jimmy will only eat cheese and chicken nuggets. Put a bite of whatever veggies mom and dad are having on the kiddie’s plate, so that it is offered and encouraged (but never, ever forced!). Another important factor in a child’s liking of veggies? …Mom and Dad. Be a role model to your child’s nutrition. If the child sees you refusing fruits and veggies, he may come to believe that those are foods that they should stay away from too. Food for thought.

With community coming to a close, that means my clinical rotation is just over the horizon. Translation: full time work in a hospital. It’s going to be pretty intense. I’m starting in the surgical unit. That said, I should get to work for today. I’ve been recommended to brush up on surgery, GI resections, ostomies, bariatrics, and the Lap Nissen diet for paraesophegeal hernia repairs, for starters. How’s that for a Saturday?

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