Jennifer House, RD, MSc
FIRST STEP NUTRITION
for something nutrishus
Today we have Calgary-based dietitian Jennifer. She is a self-employed mom (something I'm still figuring out) and has done some unique things in her practice such as e-courses and co-authoring cookbooks. Like other dietitians, she's a life long learner and has chosen to focus on moms-to-be, moms, and baby nutrition.
Why did you become a RD?
I’ve always been interested in food and cooking. My mom didn’t keep a lot of processed food in the house and I eventually grew to appreciate that! I went right into dietetics from high school, and knew that nutrition would always be practical knowledge to have for me and my family, at every stage.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I have a private practice called First Step Nutrition, specializing in new moms, moms-to-be & their babies.
How would you explain what you do?
I help families to nourish their growing families with confidence. Common concerns include pregnancy weight gain, postpartum weight loss, meal planning, starting solids, allergies and picky eaters. I offer e-courses, individual consults, meal plans and grocery tours, and will speak to groups.
On more of the industry side, I also do some menu plan creation for daycares. I analyze recipes for the nutrition facts table for Baby Gourmet foods as well as providing them with blogs.
I’ve co-authored two cookbooks, one with Wean Green and a new book from Baby Gourmet. In both cases they have created the recipes and I’ve reviewed them and provided the nutrition text.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
A large part of private practice includes booking clients, invoicing, website maintenance, blogging, emailing newsletters and posting on social media.
On a typical work day, I might write a blog, see a client and go speak to a mom’s group about starting solids.
What has been your career path?
After graduating, I worked for just a few months casual in a rural hospital before heading back to school for a MSc in Human Nutrition. I enjoy being a student! After that, I worked casual at the Calgary Children’s Hospital and for Healthy Babies, working on projects such as the folic acid project and Health Weight Gain. After having my first son in 2007, I decided I wanted a flexible schedule and was able to transfer my past work experience to start First Step Nutrition.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have a thesis-based MSc from UBC. I also love taking any course targeted at dietitians, such as Stephanie Clairmont’s cooking classes and DC (Dietitians of Canada) Learning on Demand classes. I’m currently taking online courses on developing e-courses (ironic, I know!), and sales pages. I also take lots of social media and small business training, for managing my business (as our university training did not cover this)!
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I would love to see dietitians seen more positively in the public eye. This requires dietitians sticking to our code of ethics, and not promoting or accepting funds from companies such as Coke and Nestle. It’s great to see more dietitians in the media and getting the word out about evidence-based nutrition. I hope this continues!
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
I am not judging you for eating cake, unless you would like to pay me to do so :) In fact, I’m eating the cake myself!
What would you like people to know about RDs?
We have at least 5 years of university-level education. We definitely learn more than the food guide in our training, and many of us don’t even promote the food guide.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Mis-information about what a dietitian is, and what a nutritionist is. Lack of trust in evidence-based information. Many people choose to believe everything they read (which is scary these days!).
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
I’m passionate about getting babies off on the right foot with breastfeeding, starting solids at the right time with good foods, and establishing a healthy feeding relationship. This will affect the child for their whole life!
More about Jennifer:
Facebook: First Step Nutrition