Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 18 Recap

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This was a week that was supposed to be SUPER busy for me and it turned out being….not so busy at all.

I was finishing up my time at the school district this week which turned out to be a lot less stressful than I had initially anticipated it being.  I had to give a presentation on salad bars Tuesday during the elementary managers meeting and it ended up being very well received which was great.  I was a little nervous going into it because I was addressing some subjects that I thought might put the managers on the defensive, but none of them had any objections to what I was telling them.  I kept it short and sweet and provided them with a handout to reference later.  My preceptor was really pleased with how it went so hopefully the managers make some of the changes I suggested!

I actually finished my projects on Tuesday and I was able to turn them in on Wednesday morning after one final look through.  I spent the rest of Wednesday filling out a really extensive job application for the job I believe would start sometime during the summer.  I know it’s a little early, but I figured it really couldn’t hurt to fill out an application and revise my resume and all that jazz.  If it is a position that I could take (I made it really clear that I’m occupied with this program until the end of June) then I’ll hear by the end of the month about an interview.  It would be so awesome to have a job lined up and not be stressing in a few months!

I left the school district early on Wednesday and had Thursday plans of presenting to one of the undergrad nutrition classes on school nutrition and lunch with my preceptor and everyone else in the food service office.  I woke up to quite a few inches of snow already covering the ground on Thursday morning and a phone call from the university saying they were closing campus because of the “increasingly hazardous weather conditions.”  So obviously my presentation wasn’t happening.  I called my preceptor and she also told me to just stay home.

I made a quick trip to the gym and by the time I left my poor little Corolla was struggling in the snow.  My roommate made it home from work around 10 am in her tiny Civic and we both decided we weren’t driving anywhere else!  The snow continued to fall and we decided to make a trip to get hot chocolate and go to the grocery store to get food.

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We walked around for an hour and came back exhausted but it was so incredibly gorgeous outside!  I love the snow!

We spent the rest of the day watching How I Met Your Mother and the first part of the Olympics.  When we woke up yesterday morning it had already started snowing again!  We decided another trip to the store was necessary, this time for puzzles and Monopoly.  We took a measuring tape with us and measured anywhere from 9-10 inches of snow, depending on where we were.  Crazy!!

We played Monopoly, started our puzzle, cooked, watched the birds go crazy over our bird feeder, and ended the day by watching the entire 4 hour opening ceremony for the Olympics.  Late in the afternoon we measured again and the snow was 13 inches.  By the time the snow stopped around 10 pm we had to have had much more.

We woke up to freezing rain this morning so it’s probably going to turn into an ice slick outside.  We inspected the snow and it was already getting icy and compacted.  I’m thinking our only adventure outside today will probably be to get the mail.  Otherwise it’ll be more puzzle, Monopoly, and Olympics for us.  Probably plus some wine or beer 🙂

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I’m extremely thankful I have a roommate that I enjoy spending time with, that we live in walking distance of a few stores, and that we haven’t lost power.

If you’re also experiencing this abnormal weather, stay safe!

Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 17 Recap

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You guys, I actually had a good week at a community rotation! It was possible!

That being said, I still don’t think it’s where I will ever want to end up.

So this week started off with me still being sick which was definitely a bummer.  I went to the school district on Monday morning because I thought I was okay.  I was still not feeling that great but I took some medicine and sucked it up.  Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst pretty quickly and around 11:30 my medicine was making me nauseous so I headed home.  I coughed all night that night and when I woke up Tuesday morning I just knew I would not be able to go in so I sent off an email and went back to sleep.

I actually was able to get one of my simpler projects completed on Tuesday so it wasn’t a total waste of a day.  On Wednesday I came in feeling much better and was actually happy to be back at the school district.  I spent the day working away on multiple projects and the time seemed to just fly by which was so nice!

Thursday morning I was at Central Kitchen at 7 AM to help the manager refine some problems with production reports.  We worked for 2 hours on them and made some changes I feel really good about.  I hope they’ll help eliminate some of the current problems with production!

Central Kitchen is located at one of the high schools so after we were done with production stuff I got a tour of their snack bar and got to watch their breakfast service that the high school kids have during their first break.

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Their drink display in the snack bar is seriously impressive.  Apparently if it’s not fully stocked and beautiful all the time the kids will just pass it by.

Why are high schoolers so picky?!?!

Watching the breakfast service at the school was kind of like watching….actually I don’t know anything to compare it to.  Basically, the break is 10 minutes long so all of a sudden there is a HUGE flood of students that come in.  They know exactly what they want, so they don’t spend much time browsing, so they just grab it and get in the check out line.  They have some staple breakfast items every day to eliminate the need for them to take much time deciding.  They are in, out, and eating with their friends in a matter of minutes.

It was overwhelming to watch!

Today I got to go to the USDA commodity food show in Portland with my preceptor and a few other gals from the district office.  We spent 3 hours sampling foods and filling our bags with the items they had for us to take home.  By the time we were done I was incredibly full, my feet hurt, my bag was full, and I just wanted to lay down on the floor in exhaustion!

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It was a really fun experience though! I’m glad I got to go.  It was so cool to see all the foods that are available for school food service! We definitely left with a few ideas of additions to the menu for next school year.

Next week is my last week at the school district and it’s going to be packed with things to do!  I have to give two presentations and complete all my projects, as well as work on my study guide for the next rotation.

Life is busy busy busy!

Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Running · Weekly Recap

Week 16 Recap

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This recap might be a little short today, I’m really not feeling very well and staring at a computer screen is making me kind of nauseous.

I did a lot of site visits this week by myself to different elementary schools and supper programs throughout the district, so I got to rock my double nametags almost daily.  Since my official intern school district badge doesn’t have my name on it, I started wearing my other nametag on the lanyard so if someone doesn’t know my name they actually have something to look at.  I got tired of people looking at my intern badge only to find it didn’t have a name and then awkwardly having to ask me what my name was.  So now I’m voluntarily walking around schools with two name tags on.  It’s fine.

Although I’ve established the fact that community nutrition isn’t my thing multiple times now, I will say that I have met some incredible people this rotation while I’m out at schools doing site visits.  Almost all the kitchen managers take so much pride in their jobs and really try to do the best that they can.  They sincerely care about all the kids and want to do what’s best for them.  It’s so refreshing to see people who love their jobs!

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My other GGLittle, Conchita, turned 21 on Wednesday so I went an met up with her and some other girls at one of the bars near campus to celebrate.  I wish you could see what that shot actually looks like, there is a reason she has that look on her face!

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I’ve also started running again.  I’m running the Shamrock Run 15k on March 16 so I have less than two months now to prepare for that.  I ran on Monday and yesterday and both times 4 miles were a little more difficult than I expected.  I need to find a day during the week that I can run since just weekends is not enough at all.  I just wish it didn’t get dark so early still!

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We’ve had some warmer, sunny weather lately and I am absolutely loving it! I think the rain starts again tomorrow or Tuesday which I’m not super happy about but oh well.  The sun was nice while it lasted!

I can’t believe I’m starting week 17 of this internship tomorrow.  I think I might actually be halfway done at this point!

 

Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 15 Recap

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This quote pretty much sums up the view I am trying to take on life right now.   I’m trying really hard to focus on the good and be grateful for the good.  Truly, I have a lot to be grateful for and putting the focus on that and recognizing it is something I’m really trying to work on.

That being said, I can’t believe I have already completed 2 weeks at the school district.  I actually only have 12 days left there total even though the calendar says 3 weeks.  I had a small panic attack when I just realized that because honestly I’ve been super lazy and have done virtually nothing so far.

I unintentionally completed one of my projects on Tuesday when I volunteered to help with a tasting table at one of the elementary schools.  Every month there is a Local Highlight day on the menu where one of the menus items features mostly local ingredients.  Of course things like spices aren’t going to be local, but most of the other ingredients are.  A grant from Farm to School is used to fuel this so anything that is purchased for school lunches that is either grown, processed, or raised in Oregon can be reimbursed.

We were sampling what was being called a “Carrot Wrap” to the kids.  Since it would have been really impractical to sample it in wrap form we just sampled the insides with tortilla chips.  The filling consisted of quinoa, black beans, carrots, and cheese mixed with some spices, including cumin.  Minus the spices, all the other ingredients were local!

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I forgot to take a picture (I fully intended to!) so I had to take this one off Facebook.  Unfortunately, you can’t really see the filling.  The kids loved the little cups though! While they were eating we went around sampling them.  They also had the chance to try them before they came into the cafeteria if they wanted because we had a sample tray outside.  We ran out of the actual wraps on the tray line so the kids were really open to trying them which was awesome!  They all really enjoyed the flavor and texture of the filling too when they sampled it.  It was so awesome to see them trying new things and loving them!

I have some reservations about whether or not I would ever want to do community nutrition as a career but experiences like that one make me think I might like it.  The only bad part is I know that’s not how it is all the time.  I really hate being stuck in an office all day answering emails.

Nothing super notable happened for the rest of the week, it was kind of blah.

Last night my GGLittle Kelsie had her 21er celebration!  She actually turned 21 at the beginning of the month but waited until this weekend to celebrate.

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Isn’t she cute?

We all had a lot of fun! My other GGLittle Conchita turns 21 on Wednesday so we get to do it all again that night!

I’m currently watch the 49ers vs. Seahawks game and I’m happy to report that right now the 49ers are winning!  Hoping it stays that way!

I have tomorrow off because the school district actually recognizes MLK Day as a holiday and hasn’t taken it away to make up for snow days, like they did President’s Day, so I get a 3 day weekend! I’m super excited.

Hope everyone has had a relaxing weekend!

Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Life · Weekly Recap

Week 14 Recap

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I decided a little 2 week hiatus from blogging was needed but I’m glad to be back!

Truthfully, it’s difficult to blog when there are things happening in your life that are not appropriate to share with a public audience and, unfortunately, there has been a lot happening that I just can’t share for one reason or another.  The good thing is that since I am unable to share them, blogging gives me a reason to focus on other, more important aspects of my life.  It’s nice to shift the focus away from the negative every once and a while.

Anyways, winter break ended and on Monday I had my first day at the school district. I tell you, community nutrition is not my thing.  I like being busy and I like having the ability to work independent of my preceptor and be productive.  So far, my community nutrition rotations have not allowed me to do that just because of the nature of them.  I’m trying to remain positive though because I know the more I dread this rotation, the longer it will seem to drag out.

So far I haven’t done anything too overly exciting.  I’ve gotten to go to a handful of schools and see the lunch service, which is kind of nice because it’s something to do and takes at least an hour of my time.  The schools are all really different so seeing the different ways that lunch is served is actually really interesting.  I should start a journal of how the lunch service goes since I will be going out on my own eventually.

Tomorrow I think I’ll get to go back out to one of the rural elementary schools that I was at last week.  The school is K-4 and has 25 students, 5 of which are in kindergarten and go home before lunch.  The bus that comes to get the kindergartners actually delivers lunch for the remaining students.  They have a cafeteria worker who then comes in and serves around 18 of the 20 remaining kids lunch.

It takes about 20 minutes to get all the kids through the lunch line, which is around a minute per kid.  Now that might now sound like a lot of time, but picture yourself going through a cafeteria line, how long does it take when you only have 2 options to choose from? About 20 seconds.

There are some obvious problems out there and we’ll be returning tomorrow to start a new system that should speed things up quite a bit.  I think it’s going to be met with some resistance from the woman who works the cafeteria (actually I know it will be) but I’m sure the kids will catch right on!

I hope things pick up so I have more to share about this rotation!  I did make some yummy curry that I’ll share later this week and I’m going to try really hard to keep up with Topic of the Week posts.

Hope everyone has had a good start to their New Year!

 

Child Nutrition · Community Nutrition · Dietetic Internship · Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: Challenges of Community Nutrition

I know this isn’t really a concrete topic, and it’s Friday so I really could do a week recap, but I really wanted to dedicate a post to just this. 

Basically, a summary of the challenges I noticed in community nutrition. 

I finished my time at the preschool yesterday and have been reflecting a little on my time there in the last 24 hours.  I also had the opportunity to interview both the program director and the family services coordinator at the preschool and after being there 4.5 weeks and getting to know the program pretty well, it was interesting to here what they had to say about it too.  It was a very unique program that I was able to experience and one that many others could model after so it was actually pretty cool to get an inside view.

Instinctively I want to say that one of the main challenges of community nutrition is the fact that it is, as it’s name states, in the community.  There is limited access to medical records, lab values, and clinical resources that are available in a lot of other settings that employ RD’s.  However, as much as an RD in a community setting might like to have this information, I really don’t know if it is actually essential for the success of community nutrition programs.

Which is actually very obvious but something I’m still trying to wrap my head around. 

In the community setting, like the preschool I was at, the RD becomes much more of a reference for nutrition advice and overall healthy living, and much less a part of a medical team.  They don’t write a diagnosis, follow up, or prescribe a diet, they simply meet with families and talk about their eating and strategies to make changes.  It’s interesting because time can be much more limited in a community setting, which is another challenge, but the sessions have a much more personal feeling to them.  

Another challenge in these programs is the language barriers that can be present.  Being someone who understand Spanish very well and speaks it decently, I honestly don’t know how someone could practically work in community nutrition and not be bilingual.  I’ve been looking into programs at the community college because I’ve realized that I need to get to the point where I can speak the language as well as I can understand it. 

I don’t think it’s any secret that many low income families who access community nutrition programs are minorities and with many of those families there is a translation process.  From my prospective and limited experience with this, those who speak Spanish have an advantage over all the other non-English speaking individuals out there.  Spanish is a common language at this point and it’s not particularly difficult to find someone who can speak it at least conversationally.  We had children at the preschool who only spoke Arabic, Dari, Chinese, Russian, and a handful of other languages that no one else spoke.  

It is hard to reach out and educate parents and children when there is a language barrier standing in the way.  Unfortunately I have no idea how that could be overcome but I think it might be the biggest challenge I saw at the preschool.  

I’m sure I could come up with more challenges, but I really don’t want to bore you any further. 

Reflecting back on my overall experience I still don’t think community nutrition is where I want to end up.  I did end up enjoying my time at my first rotation in general but I am kind of craving the clinical and long term setting right now.  Luckily, I start that on Monday 🙂

Happy Friday! 

Child Nutrition · Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: Preschoolers and Body Image

I meant to do this post yesterday but I have honestly been struggling all week about what to write about. The last two weeks were easy; there were really defined things that I experienced that I could write about. That’s not to say that I haven’t done much this week, in fact, I have gotten more done this week than the last two weeks combined. I guess in a way I’ve just been in project mode and haven’t really had the chance to experience anything that made me say “I should write a blog post about this!”

I’ll get to the details of my week tomorrow though, or possibly Saturday, depending. I’m working this weekend and staying with Meghan. I’m so excited to see her! It’s been over a month and while that unfortunately has become normal now (screw adult life) it still seems like a long time.

Today was an independent work day for me at the preschool, aka my preceptor wasn’t there. I started out the morning with a bang and pumped out another project summary, edited my picky eating handout one final time, and then attempted to start a new project. I immediately hit a wall. I think, actually I know, I’m making things too hard on myself and that’s why I can’t come up with something. So I moved on to something else and the BAM another wall on that project.

It would have been really nice to have my preceptor there to bounce ideas off of…and she’s gone tomorrow too…

So, since my productivity seemed to stop right before lunch, I spent the afternoon literally just browsing websites and resources trying to get some ideas flowing for these two projects. It felt like a waste of time but I know I’ll go into tomorrow with at least some brain storms to start from.

I’m also not really enjoying this small office thing.

Back to the topic of the week…I came across this while I was browsing and thought it was an important:

Preschoolers and Body Image

I know it seems silly to think a preschooler could possibly have body image issues, they are such care free individuals who seem to have such a strong sense of self.

When was the last time you saw an adult run around and let every thought that came to mind spew out of their mouth?

Okay, so maybe you have seen that, but it’s not common. Basically, preschoolers don’t care what other people think.

Unfortunately, preschool is the age that some children can start to develop body image issues and in those early, impressionable years, body image issues can stick for life.

Children that develop negative body image issues are more self-conscious, have anxiety problems, and are more likely to isolate themselves from their peers. They are also more likely to have more weight and eating disorder problems later in life. On the other hand, those with positive body image are more comfortable and confident in their ability to succeed.

A child doesn’t have to be over or under weight to develop body image issues either. People of all shapes and sizes have an unhealthy fixation on their body and what it looks like.

What can be done to help children develop a positive body image instead of a negative one?

Parents are a key component to this. Kids always want to do what their parents do and a lot of the things they learn from them stick for life. For this reason, it’s important for parents to keep their own body image issues to themselves. If a child constantly hears their mother complain about a part of her body, like her “muffin top” or how she’s not “allowed” to eat certain “bad” foods because they don’t go along with her diet, the child will absorb those negative comments and believe that they should also have similar concerns about their own bodies or eating patterns.

This is not good!

For children (and everyone, for that matter), the focus should be on health instead of weight. Children should be learning the importance of balanced meals, healthy snacks, and delicious nutrition, not numbers on a scale or calorie counts. They should learn that staying physically active is fun by finding the kind of physical activity that they like to do. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing as long as their active!

Being healthy and active is important, that is the message that should be conveyed to preschooler.

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6753