March is Nutrition Month

Catherine Labelle, Dt.P. works as a dietitian at the Montreal Diet Dispensary in Quebec.



What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a dietitian?

 
I work at the Montreal Diet Dispensary, a community organization that uses a social nutrition approach to support pregnant women living in difficult circumstances. Our approach considers many factors that impact the wellbeing of our clients like access to health care, economic status, social support, and more. My day-to-day activities range from providing one-on-one nutrition counseling, to facilitating group activities, to being involved in various expert committees related to perinatal nutrition. 


What nutrition topics do you get the most questions about?

 
As I work with pregnant women, the common questions I get are related to which foods to eat or avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Since most of the women I work with are new to Canada, coming from various cultures and backgrounds, I personalize my advice to match their specific eating patterns, culture, and preferences. I am always learning from my clients about food cultures and traditions from around, which helps me give more meaningful advice.  


What are some common misconceptions about healthy eating?


Many people think that eating well means having to completely change your diet and deprive yourself of foods or meals that you like. For me, healthy eating is about the balance between how often you eat foods with higher nutritional value (like vegetables and fruits and whole grains, etc.) and foods with lower nutritional value (like fried foods, high fat snacks, sweets, etc.).   


What do you like most about being a dietitian?


I like the special bond that is created between me and my clients as we connect over food and eating. Food brings people together and has a special connection for most people, whether it be an emotional, cultural or social connection. While the population is bombarded with contradictory, restrictive and pro-thinness messages, I like to work with my clients on simple and guilt-free ways to eat better. I also like knowing that I have a positive and long-term impact on the health of a mother, a baby and a family.


What’s your top nutrition tip?


Enjoy eating a variety of minimally processed foods, follow your hunger cues, and enjoy your food with others. 


Check out these articles recommended by Catherine:  

How to Make a Healthy Soup - Unlock Food
Cooking with Kids - Unlock Food
Sample Meal Plan for Feeding Your Toddler (Ages 1 to 3) - Unlock Food


For personalized nutrition advice, connect with a dietitian today! 

Dietitians understand the science of nutrition and the unique needs of each person based on their health, goals, culture and food traditions. Find out more about what to expect when you see a dietitian. 

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