March is National Nutrition Month, a time to put a special focus on food and its connection to health and wellbeing. This year for nutrition month, dietitians encourage all of us to unlock the potential of food in five ways.
1. Potential to fuel. Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day. Here are a few tips from local Registered Dietitians:
• “Pack fruits and vegetables for a portable and easy snack on the go” (Karen Larocque, Brandon Health Promotion).
• “Have healthy snacks with a balance of protein and carbohydrate to fuel your activities” (Melanie Hart, Brandon Regional Health Centre).
• “In cold months, frozen fruit is a staple in my home. When frozen berries are on sale, stock up, and enjoy adding them to muffins, smoothies, yogurt, or simply defrost them and have a bowl of berries alongside one meal a day to meet your nutritional needs” (Erin Stoesz, Dauphin CHS).
• “Don’t give anything up - when we are too strict with our eating habits we risk overeating the ‘forbidden foods.’ The key is to eat the less nutritious foods in smaller quantities” (Michelle Reichert, Brandon Regional Health Centre).
2. Potential to discover. Foster healthy eating habits in children and youth by teaching them to shop and cook. “Cook with kids! The kitchen is the ideal classroom” (Chantal Morais, Hamiota Health Centre).
3. Potential to prevent. Understand how food can help prevent and manage chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Local dietitians emphasize the importance of variety and fibre:
• “Tend your inner “garden” (the good bacteria in your gut) by including lots of variety each week (30 or more different types of food)” (Virginia Cail and Karen Kennedy, Brandon Regional Health Centre).
• “Add cooked pulses (dried peas, beans and lentils) to your ground meat. Pulses have many benefits, including blood sugar management, reducing cholesterol and adding fibre to your diet. Lentils only take 20 minutes to cook with no pre-soaking required. I like to add cooked lentils to ground meat when I'm preparing taco meat, spaghetti sauce, lasagna or any casserole that contains ground meat. And as an added bonus - it cuts the cost of the ground meat!” (Sandra Smith, Souris Health Centre)
4. Potential to heal. Learn how food can promote health and healing by meeting with a Registered Dietitian. For information about the roles of dietitians in Prairie Mountain Health and how to make an appointment or refer a client, see our list of registered dietitians below.
5. Potential to bring us together. Enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food. “Let mealtimes nourish not only your bodies but also your relationships and culture” (Holly Reimer, Dauphin CHS).
PMH Registered Dietitians
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are passionate about food. There are more than 10,000 dietitians in Canada and we all share deep appreciation of food, a curiosity to understand the science behind it and the tools to unlock its potential. Like all regulated health professionals, we undergo comprehensive and rigorous training, both on the job and in universities. We are committed to collaborating with patients, clients and communities to achieve their shared goals of better eating and improved health. Prairie Mountain Health has more than 30 Registered Dietitians, and they work in three types of positions:
Hospitals and Personal Care Homes
The clinical RDs work at all hospitals and personal care homes in the region. They visit patients/residents individually, and participate in health care team meetings, such as rounds and care conferences. They complete nutrition assessments and help patients/residents to meet their nutrition goals through various health challenges. They also plan and approve menus that enable each facility to provide nutritious, balanced meals that meet therapeutic requirements of each client.
My Health Teams and Outpatient Clinics
In addition, clinical RDs see outpatients of all ages in many areas of PMH when nutrition concerns arise for things such as child growth and development, gastrointestinal disease management, food allergies and intolerances, malnutrition and weight management. PMH has clinical RDs working directly in:
• primary care clinics, such as part of My Health Team Brandon
• the Brandon, Russell, Dauphin, and Swan Valley Health Centre hemodialysis units, working with clients experiencing end-stage kidney disease (and pre-end-stage at Brandon’s renal health clinic)
• the Brandon Regional Health Centre Prehab Osteoarthritis Clinic
The Western Manitoba Cancer Centre also employs a dietitian to help patients nutritionally through their cancer journey.
Chronic Disease Education Program (CDEP)
The CDEP dietitians along with nurse educators help clients develop knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, early kidney disease, gastrointestinal problems, and other nutrition-related concerns. They provide classes and one-on-one nutrition counselling. They travel on a regular basis to various communities, including First Nations throughout PMH.
Health Promotion Dietitians
Dietitians in Health Promotion (HP) work with communities, organizations, and groups, rather than individual clients. They promote healthy eating with a special focus on nutrition and food skills education and healthy food environments. HP Dietitians deliver services with a population health lens.
Dietitians in PMH are also working as administrators in Nutrition Services, Care Team Management and LTC Standards Facilitation.
To request an appointment with a dietitian or to refer a client, call 1-877-509-7852.
For general nutrition questions, call Dial-A-Dietitian at 1-877-830-2892.