August 12, 2013

Trying New Things: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 1)

Khrysta Baig

Khrysta Baig

Dietetic Intern

Center for a Livable Future

Taste test at Food Depot

Taste test at Food Depot

Being a student means trying new things. As a student at the Bloomberg School in the combined MSPH/Registered Dietitian (RD) program, I’ve spent countless hours spilled over books, doing homework, and attending classes—but I’d never made it to CLF’s door. This week, as an attempt at trying new things and as part of the MSPH/RD program, I interned with CLF.

The week started off with listening to the opening discussions of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (listen here if you are curious about what our next guidelines may look like). In addition to focusing on the current issues addressed by the guidelines, the committee focused on what the guidelines can do to address emerging issues such as contamination of fish with heavy metals, GMOs, and gene-nutrient interactions. It will be fascinating to see how this set of guidelines addresses these new things, which are difficult issues at the intersection of nutrition, agriculture, and sustainability.

I was also fortunate enough to work with Sheryl Hoehner, an in-store dietitian at The Food Depot’s store in Southwest Baltimore. Together we set up a taste test at the store—handing out cups of frozen yogurt and local peaches—to promote healthier snacking. Most of the customers had never tried frozen yogurt and didn’t know that it is a healthier alternative to ice cream. Trying new things. Many young kids told us their favorite fruits; many adults told us they liked the idea of a “guilt-free” ice cream. With peaches in season and a little portion control on the frozen yogurt, it makes a perfect snack.

At the end of our day, Sheryl gave me and CLF’s Allison Righter, also an RD, a tour of the store. We were able to see the ways The Food Depot has changed their store to promote healthy eating. Signage to promote healthy choices, low-cost salt-free seasonings, and stocking healthy items such as whole grain breads are all part of their plan to promote health at the point of purchase.

My next stop for the week was working at The Franciscan Center in their food pantry. The staff at the center works diligently to provide food and other resources for the many in need in Baltimore. Some of the bags handed out by the food pantry are “healthy pantry bags” and included items such as frozen vegetables, ground turkey, and whole grain cereal.

After handing out pantry bags and observing the soup kitchen, I was able to help with the Fresh Harvest CSA Project. For this project, we handed out vegetable shares from One Straw Farm to 30 participants in a free CSA run out of The Franciscan Center. The shares included familiar foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, and cabbage. They also included less familiar foods such as fennel. Many participants reported trying new things by preparing dishes they had never made before and vegetables they had never eaten. It was rewarding to share good food with the participants.

This week was filled with good people, good food, and trying new things.

Trying New Things: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 1) – by Khrysta Baig
Food Systems and Patient Care: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 2) – by Marie Spiker
Hands On in the Community: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 3) – by Bernice Chu
The Nutritional Environment: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 4) – by Caitlin Krekel
Small and Big Pictures: Notes from a Dietetic Intern (Part 5) – by Candice Gormley

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