Dietetics students are known to be a hard-working and dedicated breed, prone to waking up early and studying late into the night. With this dedication, we must find balance and a state of being that keeps us positive-minded and inspired. I find balance by taking time to give back to my community, volunteering for organizations that encourage healthy choices and small, achievable changes to the diet.
One of the reasons I decided to pursue a degree in nutrition and dietetics was to help inform the public of ways they can improve their health through plant-based diets. And, as treasurer of the Buffalo State Nutrition and Rotaract clubs, I’ve been exposed to a number of opportunities for professional growth and volunteer experiences. My favorite way to get involved is through helping with plant-based cooking classes for those interested in improving their diet.
To that end, I’ve been inspired by Jessica Altman, author of the blog Garden Fresh Foodie, who provides an interesting monthly spin on healthy meals that can easily be reproduced at home, from warm winter soups to fresh spring salads bursting with color and flavor. Her whole-food recipes inspire people to take a step back from their usual plate and think about what they can do to include more nutritious elements in their meals. I feel that practicing the skills that Altman's content inspires, while still in school, will help me transition into the professional educator I aim to be, and help me get closer to accomplishing my goals. Volunteering with cooking classes also has allowed me to branch off from the daily grind of school, ultimately discovering new avenues for my pursuits.
Dietitians hold a unique position to both inspire community members and peers while also volunteering and having a direct impact on individuals’ lifestyle behaviors. By allowing yourself to step away from the books now and then to remember the reasons that brought you to dietetics, you can find inspiration to make a bigger impact. This National Nutrition Month, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to help others put their best fork forward.