Nicole Osinga, BASc, MAN, RD
OSINGA NUTRITION & ACUTE CARE
for something nutrishus
After you learn more about Nicole, you'll have to check out her Instagram account. She has practical images of her meal prep and what she eats in a day - both of which may help give you ideas. Like Nicole, I'm also very interested in behaviour change, and as she says, most dietitians include it with the evidence. She continues to grow her business and learn about being her own boss, a world many of us aren't taught about in school.
Why did you become a RD?
I became an RD because this career path had been stuck in my mind since Grade 7. I remember we had a ‘Career Day’ in elementary school and remember selecting the card that said ‘Dietitian’ – and it was stuck in my mind. It made sense at the time because I had busied myself making diet plans for my friends during those years (LOL).
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I split my time between private practice (which involves media work, workplace wellness and counseling clients one-on-one) and working part-time in an acute care facility. I’m currently working towards my Certified Diabetes Educator certification.
How would you explain what you do?
‘I’m a plant-based meal prep master’. I own a nutrition consulting business and also work at an acute-care facility.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
I typically start the week on Sunday, where I prepare my instagram photos for the week, which includes meal preps, what I eat in a day, along with new recipes. I also aim to get at least one new blog post a week out. I find it helpful to schedule my social media/blog work at the beginning of the week.
Monday – acute care facility
Tuesday – morning is typically catching up on emails/media work/social media. I then do some client prep and see clients in the afternoon/evening
Wednesday – I see clients all day
Thursday/Friday – acute care facility
I also sit on the College of Dietitians council and will have about one meeting a month with them.
What has been your career path?
When I graduated from the Masters of Applied Nutrition at UOG program in 2013, I thought I was destined to be an inpatient, acute-care dietitian. I thought this type of role would bring the challenge I was looking for. Once I graduated, I landed a few Long Term Care (LTC) contracts and was also teaching a cooking class for those with cancer. I realized the challenge I was looking for was actually in the teaching and behaviour change aspects of my cooking class job. I started hearing the same questions in my class from my participants (around soy, the alkaline diet, anti-inflammatory diet, etc.) so I started my blog in 2014, in order to give my participants more information. I kept active on my blog, and soon after I started my social media accounts. After some time, my blog and social media gained the attention of media outlets and I started to get asked for quotes and interviews. In 2015 I was contacted by the Toronto Star and worked for them as a freelancer for about a year, writing for their app ‘The Star Touch’ and also had a number of articles in print. I decided I needed to devote more time to media/private practice work, so I now only work part-time at an acute-care facility and rent a space in a physiotherapy clinic to counsel clients. I have a packed patient caseload in my practice and may need to adjust my hours further! I still keep up with my blog and social media work, and continue to appear in local and national media.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I am a certified Craving Change Facilitator and attend Motivational Interviewing workshops. Behaviour change is an area that I could always use more training in. I’ve also attending a number of food photography workshops.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
More business-savvy, private practice dietitians. We need them! We have to get out there more as a profession, as there is so much nutrition noise out there.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
That we use the Canada's Food Guide (I never do) or don’t condone special diets. I largely promote a plant-based way of eating, which some of my colleagues/client may find surprising!
What would you like people to know about RDs?
We are the most qualified people to give nutrition advice. Period.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Learning to run a business as a sole proprietor, while also being responsible for delivering 100% of the services. I’ve had to learn how to define my target audience, how to market to them and provide services that guide them towards the results they are looking for. Not ever imagining that I would get into business during undergrad, I didn’t learn much about marketing or business communications!
What do people think that you do for a living?
A chef (which makes sense if you look at my instagram feed!).
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
In my experience, RD’s seem to place an emphasis on the behaviour change process, in addition to the evidence-based scientific practice advice.
What is your favourite meal?
I’m on a tofu kick…anything with grilled tofu, grilled veggies and some kind of noodle
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
Keep an open mind as the field of dietetics is rapidly changing! We have to be prepared to shift our practice.
More about Nicole:
Website: Osinga Nutrition