There are so many articles out there about what a dietitian is, or the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. That is why I’m going with a different take on this topic by placing dietitians in a more personal light in this article. When you see why a dietitian would make a good friend, you get a glimpse beyond the façade of what you typically understand a dietitian is like.
1. Contrary to popular belief, dietitians will never judge you for your order of: “Calamari rings as a starter, beef burger with a side of fries, and a sticky date pudding to finish”
With all honesty, by the time they meet you for dinner, they had saw so many clients in the day talking about food. Throughout the day, they would have built up such an appetite that they would have no interest whatsoever in nutritionally assessing your order.
Having said that, if you keep having such foods, they’ll definitely be worried for you and try to speak to you about it another day. But for now, they’ll have a bit of what you ordered, because that’s what friends are for, thank you very much.
2. If you have any food related question, dietitians would definitely have some sort of an answer to it, or at least an opinion about it
“They say butter is bad, and then good, and then bad…should I just switch to ghee?
Potatoes are not vegetables…they’re obviously carbs. No wait, they’re fats. Potatoes are fattening, right?
How long can you keep a sandwich in the fridge for?
What do you think about food wastage?”
1) No to ghee, it has an even higher saturated fat content to butter, which has been linked to greater heart disease risk.
2) Potatoes are vegetables that also happen to be high in carbohydrates. They are not fattening; nothing is fattening if eaten in the right amount. When you consume more than what your body needs is when excess energy gets stored as fat.
3) A sandwich will probably be good in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it really depends on its moisture content (are there lots of wet ingredients like cottage cheese, tomatoes, or pickles?) In general, the moister it is, the less it’ll last.
4) I think we should cook/order what we can finish, because its wasteful to leave food on the plate (click here to find out more about how to reduce food wastage). But if you’re really full, don’t force yourself, just leave it.
Food is our area, and we will answer those questions.
3. Dietitians are sensitive to your thoughts and your needs
At work, they see all kinds of clients—people who struggle with eating too much or too little, and associate food with guilt and frustration. Then, there are those who get fed through a tube that goes from nose to stomach, who don’t have the strength to chew because they can’t breathe, or because they have forgotten how to.
Dietitians know how complicated food and eating can be. They’ve seen people from all walks of life with all kinds of requests. They know they need to be sensitive and empathetic; they know how to. Aren’t these qualities you want in a friend too?
4. Dietitians know where all the good food places are
This was my itinerary for my last trip to bali.
Meals are always pre-planned (unless we see something really good along the way).
Disclaimer: This picture is by no means a professional dietary recommendation.
When on holiday, they literally plan the itinerary around the food stops. Tripadvisor and food blogs would probably have been scoured months before the trip. Because what’s the point of going to a new place when you don’t get to eat all the best food the city has to offer? Best doesn’t mean fancy, sometimes the best food can be by the roadside!
Back in Singapore, they’ve probably got a list of where all the “good food” are too, since searching for food places is a hobby, and clients do share their favourites.
5. Dietitians will react with equal enthusiasm, whether you’re talking about the best Quinoa Salad or Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich you recently had. And follow up with, “When can we go?”
Best Quinoa Salad: Grain Traders (trust me, it’s not like any other salad you know, with toppings like braised pork shoulder and miso caramel.)
Best Fried Chicken Sandwich: Park Bench Deli (their sandwiches are amazing. Check out their Instagram and I’ll let the images speak for themselves.)
Because dietitians do love food. They love keeping their health in check, but they also really, really, love to eat. I personally haven’t met one who doesn’t.
So remember, the next time you see a dietitian, whether in clinic or at a dinner party, don’t clamp up and worry about being judged. Under that white coat is a real foodie, even if it doesn’t look like it. The point of this article is to help you see that dietitians are not against your beliefs that good food is important in life—we are totally for it. However, in order to live life and enjoy these foods, we have to be equipped with good health. At the end of the day, it’s really about balancing good food and good health. Now, apart from being great friends, that is what dietitians are for.
Share this article with a dietitian friend who would agree!