March is Nutrition Month

Jennifer Paterson, RD works as a consulting dietitian in Alberta. 


What nutrition topics do you get the most questions about?


I get a lot of questions about meal planning for specific health goals including feeding families, fertility, and people struggling with one or more medical conditions. I also get a lot of questions about various diets that my clients have heard about in popular media (like the keto or paleo diet). 


What are some common misconceptions about healthy eating?


One of the most common misconceptions about healthy eating is that there is a one size fits all approach. We cannot possibly think that the nutrients of concern for me are the same as the nutrients of concern for someone else when we have different bodies, past medical history, lifestyles, economic situations, social and health supports, as well as food knowledge and skills. Dietitians take into consideration many factors when personalizing nutrition recommendations for you. 


What is your approach when providing nutrition counseling? 


Listen to the client’s individual needs and wants. Often, if we come in with preconceived ideas of what our clients want, we are wrong and both leave our appointment/session feeling frustrated. I like to start with where my client is and let the conversation move organically from there. 


What do you like most about being a dietitian?


I love the diversity of the work that we can do. Dietitians are found in many workplaces and community settings and are a valuable member of the healthcare team. When I started my private practice I had to expand my knowledge in business marketing, social media, networking, billing, utilizing different software programs, accounting, and finance. Each day is different and I enjoy the new challenges that are presented to me every week. Having my own business gives me flexibility but it also challenges me to work “outside my box”. 


What areas of nutrition do you enjoy learning about? 


I really enjoy learning about gut health. There is so much to learn in this area and research is evolving very quickly. A healthy gut can influence so many areas of our health from head to toe. 

A recent focus of mine has also been on Nutrigenomics, which I find fascinating. Learning how our unique genetic make-up can influence how we digest and absorb nutrients from the foods we each eat, as well as how our food preferences are even influenced by our genetic code. This is an area of nutrition that will be constantly expanding. 


What’s your top nutrition tip?


My top nutrition tip is to enjoy food for how it nourishes our body. Listen to how your body feels when you fuel it. Does that food make you feel healthy, comfortable and energetic or does that food make you feel gassy, bloated, irritable, uncomfortable, tired or sluggish? Our bodies are very good at speaking to us if we slow down and listen. 


Check out these articles and recipes recommended by Jenn: 

Simple Lunch Solutions for your Kids - Unlock Food
Managing Gas - Unlock Food
Banana Muffins Two Ways - Unlock Food
Bagel Crunch - Unlock Food
Kids Pix Trail Mix - Unlock Food

Interested in connecting with a dietitian for personalized nutrition advice? Use our Find a Dietitian tool

Did you know that many dietitians offer virtual services? Connect with a dietitian today!  

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