A day in the life of a clinical nutritionist
What first sparked your interest in nutritional medicine and why did you choose to study at Endeavour?
I’ve always had a bit of an interest in food but my interest in nutritional medicine began after having my first child. She was ready for solids and I wanted to give her the best start to life, so I started researching and looking into how to support her through food and nutrition. I then had a second child and found myself feeling a bit lost and like I was looking after everyone in my family, but not really looking after myself. I desperately needed something that was just for me, that was also interesting and stimulating. I saw an advertisement for an Endeavour open day, went to the open day and immediately knew that I needed to enrol into the Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine). It just felt right.
What does a usual day in your life look like as a clinical nutritionist?
As I am a mother to a tween and a teenager, my morning usually starts with helping them get ready for school. I then take my puppy for a walk and we drop my son at school on the way. When I get home, I normally make myself breakfast which is usually leftovers, eggs or homemade granola, yoghurt and fruit. I then start my working day and will either head to one of the clinics I work at for face-to-face consultations or I work from home doing online consultations. I normally have lunch around 1pm and am generally back home around the time my kids get home from school. I tend to check in with them and see how their day went, then I might have another one or two online consultations. Around 6pm I start getting dinner ready, then help my kids get ready for bed. Once they are in bed, I like to watch Netflix with my husband, or I finalise treatment plans from the day’s appointments. And by 10.30pm I am in bed.
Are there things you now do in daily life that you hadn’t anticipated when you first became clinical nutritionist?
I didn’t anticipate the amount of marketing and social media work that is required to promote myself and my business as a clinical nutritionist. At times it feels like I need a marketing degree as well!
What advice do you have for mothers of fussy/curious eaters?
- Share healthy meals and snacks when possible with your children. Lead by example. Your child may be more inclined to try a new food if they see you enjoying the same meal.
- When introducing new foods, add small amounts. For example, add a small piece of broccoli beside mashed potatoes. Encourage your child to touch, smell or lick the food but don’t pressure them. Keep offering foods to your child they have previously refused by putting them on their plate. It can take on average 10 to 15 times of offering a new food to a child before they even attempt to taste it.
- Make food fun and attractive. For example, make silly faces out of meals or cut sandwiches into different shapes with cookie cutters.
- Where possible, get them involved by encouraging your child to cook with you. They can do simple things like stir the bowl, grate cheese or peel a carrot.
- Keep mealtimes relaxed, fun and stress-free.
What are three things we can do for our health right now?
- Move your body — I recommend you find a form of exercise you love and do that. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as you enjoy doing it enough to keep doing it!
- Stay hydrated — Drinking adequate water and achieving optimal hydration is important for just about every function and cell in your body. It’s required for energy production, detoxification, digestion, joint lubrication, brain function, circulation and kidney function.
- Eat the rainbow — Phytonutrients give fruit and vegetables their distinct colours and are full of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy and strong. The more colourful fruits and vegetables you can add into your diet daily, the better!
Any final words you wish to share?
While studying at Endeavour, I learned so much more than just the course content. The Bachelor of Health Science taught me how to understand and apply my learning style, what a healthy relationship with food looks like and how important it is to look at health through an evidence-based, holistic approach.