Island dietitians can help you eat better, live better
Healthy eating can be a confusing, emotional topic for many people. Fortunately, the province’s dietitians are available to offer Islanders good advice on food and health.
Diana MacLennan, a dietitian and diabetes nutrition educator with the Provincial Diabetes Program and primary care network, says her work depends on understanding the lives of those who come to her office, meet her at medical facilities, or attend group sessions.
“Everybody’s life is complex; if I want to help someone with nutrition, that’s going to include looking at their lifestyle, how active they are,” she said. “Finances can also be an issue when you are asking people to change the food they buy and eat.
“It’s important that I understand what people’s goals are and what motivates them, then we can look at realistic steps that can help them get there.”
MacLennan provides advice on food and eating to help with weight management, diabetes, chronic diseases, and youth nutrition.
“I want to give people some tools that they can use to manage nutrition and monitor themselves. It could be online programs or something like keeping a food journal or an activity journal. There are steps people can take to improve their health.”
Registered dietitians also work within Health PEI’s Public Health and Family Nutrition Program to support positive eating behaviours that promote healthy growth and development – while helping prevent chronic disease.
“Food education and healthy eating can improve health and prevent illness,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “Our government supports nutrition education because it is an effective way to enable Islanders to protect and preserve their health.”
The province’s dietitians have tailored programs for pregnant women , for infants and children (see how well they’re eating by completing the nutrition screening tool ), and for the community at large.
- Individual and group-based prenatal nutrition education is available for pregnant women to help promote a healthy pregnancy.
- Dietitians work with parents/guardians and families to provide information and skills needed to help infants and children grow, and to develop a healthy relationship with food.
- Family feeding classes provide information about how to feed toddlers and preschoolers, and to address any feeding challenges.
- Dietitians also work with organizations and community groups to support healthy eating for children and youth, and to promote healthy lifestyle messages.