Katie Shepherd RD
for something nutrishus
Katie teaches nutrition and cooking programs for kids all over her state. It seems as though she has found her niche in dietetics, although it wasn’t a direct path. Her work is very important in helping shape the future, although many of us know that working with children has its own unique challenges.
Why did you become a RD?
I became a Dietitian because I’ve always been interested in how the human body works, and its anatomy. I’ve also always loved food. I grew up in a household where everything was homemade, and I was interested to learn how those two passions connected.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I’m an “Unconvential RD”. I’m a small business owner, and I teach nutrition and cooking programs to kids through libraries, summer camps, girl scouts and after-school programs.
How would you explain what you do?
I would tell people that I show children that healthy foods can be tasty, as well as being good for you. I encourage children to try new foods, and to be open-minded.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
My typical tasks would be planning my programs, whether it be a library or after-school session, I need to plan an activity, a recipe and go grocery shopping. I also spend a lot of time reaching out to prospective community partners.
What has been your career path?
I knew very early on that I only wanted to work with children. I remember my first day of my internship at a long term care facility, and absolutely hating it. I thought things would get better when I started my clinical rotation, but nothing seemed to click. I fought my way into the pediatric rotations, and after graduating worked at WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and gained valuable counseling skills and insights into children’s feeding behaviors. I then worked as a Retail Dietitian. While the job was the opposite of the right fit for me, I found my love of community based children programming, and then started Food Explorers.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I don’t have a Masters, or any special certification, just my RD. Being self employed makes paying for CEUs very difficult.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
In an ideal world, I’d love RDs to all be on the same page 5 years from now. Instead of some of us promoting the keto diet, some promoting macros, some promoting HAES (Health at Every Size), it would be great if we all promote one thing: basic and realistic healthy eating concepts that are achievable for everyone.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
I’d love to clear up the idea that RDs only eat super healthy foods and our meals consist of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. I always get frustrated when I see those kinds of meals being promoted, because there is so much more to life than plain old chicken and broccoli.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
The challenges I’ve encountered as an RD have mostly happened while I’ve been a business owner. I am the only RD in my state to be offering the kids of programs that I do, but there are others who do not have the RD certification, who are offering the same thing. They might be a “Certified Holistic Health Coach” or something along those lines, but that doesn’t make them qualified to teach our children about nutrition. I often struggle with finding my voice and standing up for my qualifications, which I worked so hard for.
What is your favourite meal?
My favorite meal is one I’ve had on vacation in Italy: Potato Ravioli. It’s the most amazing mixture of carbs on carbs on carbs. Fresh pasta filled with fluffy potato, topped with a homemade ragu sauce. It’s perfection.
What tip(s) would you give to our readers?
For anyone who is working at a job that makes them unhappy or unfulfilled, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t be afraid to push for what truly makes you happy. After working as a Retail Dietitian, feeling undervalued by management and customers, and being in the wrong environment for my personality, I was questioning whether I even wanted to be an RD anymore. My business, Food Explorers, thankfully pulled me out of that mindset, and I’m so grateful to be doing what I love, on my own terms.
More about Katie:
Facebook: Food Explorers
Website: Food Explorers