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Do You Screen Your Nutrition Clients for Depression?

Julie Stefanski MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE While the word “hangry” was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, the connection between our food choices and our mood is clear to anyone who’s ever gotten testy when mealtime was delayed or turned to a comfort food for emotional support. October 11, 2018 is National Depression Screening Day https://mentalhealthscreening.org/media/fact-sheet-national-depression-screening-day. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are in a unique position to screen for mental health issues including depression that may not have been addressed appropriately. While clients may seek help regarding excessive weight gain or weight loss from a dietitian, those two nutrition issues are just one example of a possible side effect from an underlying psychological issue such as anxiety or depression. Jennifer Pelton, LCSW, a licensed social worker in York, PA points out that depression can take many forms depending on the persons' identified type of disorder according to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Pelton explained, “There are a few types of patterns an RD may identify in a client. One type could be someone who can’t perform daily activities due to extreme lack of energy and engagement in everyday jobs/roles. Another person may be over eating or using binge type behaviors in order to compensate for negative emotions, and is using eating as a form of coping.” Screen for Depression During the task of gathering medical and social history on a client, a dietitian may casually pick up on signs of depression, but there are also some tools to assist healthcare providers in screening for depression including PHQ-9 or Mood and feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) – short version. Dietitians should be on the lookout for other food related [...]

Should You Kick Your Career Off Clinical Style?

It’s that time of the year when the job hunt for new dietitians is in full swing.  Although the bulk of available opportunities remains in the clinical setting, with ever expanding roles of dietitians in areas of media, culinary work, and retail dietetics, new grads have the option of skipping the traditional route of hospital-based practice after getting those well-earned RDN credentials. Is it necessary for new dietitians to start their careers in clinical nutrition? Check out part one of our two-part blog. The Case for Clinical For many new dietitians, work in a hospital or long-term care facility takes the number one spot on their list of desired job possibilities.  Sari Schlussel-Leeds, MS, RDN, CDN, a dietitian based in New York agreed, “Starting out in clinical nutrition is a must in my opinion. It’s a great opportunity to hone your knowledge and skills and the clinical information is so valuable to any future endeavors relating to medical clinical findings for those you serve. The people skills that are heightened when dealing with a vast population of differing socioeconomic strata will serve a dietitian not only professionally, but personally as well.” Zachari Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, an executive chef who specifically entered the dietetics field to help him confidently assist his mother who was having some health issues, feels a clinical base is an absolute necessity.  “As a dietetic internship preceptor, I have always advised my mentees and students to begin their careers in the clinical setting. Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is the basis of everything we do in dietetics, from culinary nutrition to community nutrition to public policy.” Zac added, “Regardless of their eventual professional goals, it is beneficial to the new RD [...]

Experts Offer Easiest Ways to Add More Plants to Your Plate

As healthcare professionals, we strive to keep our choices based on evidence-based practice. What’s holding you back from applying what we know about nutrition to your life?  While June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month, any way that you can make your diet more plant based all year is a good move for health. Fresh or not, we asked Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for the easiest ways to get those five recommended cups of valuable plants into your daily routine. First Things First Opting for vegetables at breakfast is a favorite of many nutrition experts.  Kate Chury, RD, of Thinkybites.com suggests keeping a good supply of frozen vegetables on hand for both convenience and their nutritional value. “My personal favorites for frozen vegetables are broccoli, spinach and asparagus,” Chury said. “I often use these frozen veggies in my scrambled eggs at breakfast. It can be hard to eat vegetables at breakfast time, and I've found this is an excellent way to get some in the morning. Frozen vegetables are also great to add to soups, pastas, curries or just to have as a simple, quick side.” Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, of Kellyjonesnutrition.com agreed. “I always have frozen vegetables on hand, especially broccoli and cauliflower, which I’ll roast on the convection setting in my oven, and in 15 minutes they’re ready to go with any protein or starch for dinner,” she said. “Any leftovers can be added to omelettes or used with lunch the next day.” The rest of your day will probably take a turn for the healthier when you start off with some good choices. EA Stewart, MBA, RD, of the The Spicy RD Blog recommends, “Start your day with leafy greens, like [...]