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Why I Love Being a Family Nutritionist
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Nutrition is all about moving from complex to simple; family nutrition is all about a team approach. 

 Learn more about our Family Dietitian Nutrition Counselling Services.

My Love for Being a Family Nutritionist Image

I love being a nutritionist. It is a wonderful vocation where I get to mostly translate nutrition recommendations into everyday edible solutions. Hands down my favorite experience is working within a family approach as a family nutritionist. Why? The answer is simple: families are the basic cells of society. So for me it’s all about the girth of impact.  

 I have always loved Ellyn Satter’s book, Child of Mine: Feeding with love and good sense. Because a family needs just that- love and good sense 

What is the point of making healthy meals if there is no love, no spice, no sweetness, no sign of care? And how can one keep up with the great demands of family complexity, if there is no good sense, no ease, no simplicity?  

Family Nutrition in one word is about striking the right balance with the right intention. Usually people think the intention behind nutrition is all about having the “right weight”, but really it’s about nourishing a family from within. And each family is so unique that each family needs a personalized approach.  

As a family nutritionist, I have learnt the best recipe to support families, it reads like this:  

  • 53 oz of  great listening skills. 
  • 1 kg of advocating family unity with 1 kg of capitalizing on individual assets
  • 10 cups of centralizing change around the dinner table
  • Equal parts of strategizing grocery shopping and recipe tracking systems
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of prioritizing order in refrigerator, pantry and weekly meal plan 
  • Add all ingredients and mix patiently, moderating good communication 
  • Sift mixture to enhance optimism and transfer into pan swiftly, incentivizing family teamwork. 
  • Sprinkle a generous pinch of good humor. Serve immediately in frequent family meals.  

 We know food without proper seasoning is bland and unpalatable; and yet excessive salt can be overpowering (and bad for hypertension!) and so family nutrition is truly about that- balancing all the moving parts to work well together. Above all, the success of your family nutritionist lies in cultivating the right mindset to keep up with the upbeat chaos of modern family life! 

I also love Ellyn Satter’s book Secrets of feeding a family, because precisely, it is a remarkable secret to figure out what works well for each family. There are, of course, some common principles that work well throughout. However, the point is to get to know a family well and help them find their own nutrition secrets, with the integration of their unique family story, their heritage and traditions, their upbringing and food culture, their lifestyle and work schedules, their passions and limitations. Families are complex, indeed, but they are also dynamic and a wealth of multiplying virtue. If one is great at organizing, the other may be awesome at being spontaneous and creative. One follows a recipe religiously while the other can make a meal out of nothing! One is excellent at ethnic meals, the other an avid baker. All of the goodness can be fueled so that the family thrives with a great rhythm of health and joyful meals.  

Eating alone can be one of the hardest nutrition challenges in the modern world. So a family almost always, by mere definition, can maximize this health benefit of cooking together and eating together; and even gardening and cleaning up with a team-spirit.  

Another amazing benefit is families are the basic units of habit formation. They have built-in motivation through the deep relationships they hold, and when a family is motivated for change, there is a system of wonderful accountability which is critical for habit acquisition.   

Yes, families aren’t perfect. And that’s why they can count on their family nutritionist. Not to attain perfectionism, who needs that?! But rather to become a witness to the world that striving to be a healthy family is all about loving to cook, eating healthful and soulful foods, celebrating their family through connection with meals and traditions and, above all, spending time together at the vibrant family table. 

Here are a few family activities that can strengthen your family bond and improve eating habits:  

  • Plant a family herb garden and use the herbs routinely for salad dressings, sauces, soups and more!
  • Choose an heirloom recipe which you have never done before, share childhood stories at the family table. 
  • Have kids help to choose the menu once a week and have them help in meal preparation. 
  • Share the load if you are feeling overwhelmed! Make a schedule on who cooks and who cleans each week, the more ease you can add to family meals the easier it is to face “what’s for dinner” anxiety!
  • Take a break: plan also a weekly family take-out night, have a kid toss a salad kit if there’s no veggies, and watch a family movie or play board games together.  

Looking for nutrition and meal planning advice for your family? Our teams of virtual and Calgary-based family nutritionists are here to help!

As Registered Dietitians that specialize in meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, pediatric nutrition and sports nutrition we can see you in our local Calgary Nutritionist office or as an Online Dietitian by phone or video conferencing for virtual nutrition counseling. Find out more about our Registered Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.

Don’t forget to check your health insurance! Many insurance plans cover Dietitian services.

Get inspired with more family meal time tips and recipes:

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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