What inspired you to become a RDN/NDTR?
As a child, I had a lot of food allergies and my mom always did a great job trying to accommodate allergies and food preferences for 5 kids. So I was in the habit of trying new recipes and reading food labels from a young age. Always, wanting to learn more, I decided to give nutrition a try when I got to college and I never looked back!
Where do you work now and where have you worked in the past?
I have been at Norwalk Hospital since I was a dietetic intern almost 10 years ago. I was fortunate enough to get a job here as soon as I graduated from my internship! I started as a clinical dietitian covering our ICU and surgical floors, then about 4 years ago I took the Assistant Director job that I am currently in. In this role, I oversee our clinical nutrition team as well as our patient services foodservice program.
What is your favorite recipe/food?
Recently, a favorite recipe of mine is a chickpea burger (I love this one from modified from minimalistbaker.com) :
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 cup packed fresh chopped parsley or basil (basil for sweetness, parsley for bitterness)
- 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 pinch of cayenne
- 1-3 Tbsp tahini
- Olive oil for cooking
- Whole grain bun
- Add parsley, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor. Mix until well processed. Set aside.
- Add the (strained) chickpeas to the food processor, along with cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne and tahini. Mix to combine thoroughly, scraping down sides as needed. Blend until you have a dough that’s close to a paste in consistency. This may take up to 4-5 minutes to fully incorporate all of the spices and herbs. Add more tahini or a bit of water if the mixture is looking too crumbly or dry.
- Cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the texture to become more firm.
- Remove from refrigerator and divide into 4-6 even patties and gently form into patties using your hands. If the burgers aren’t holding together the mixture may need to be blended more thoroughly, or blended with a bit more tahini.
- To cook, heat olive oil in a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium/ medium-high heat (or cook on the grill!) and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Once the bottom side is evenly browned, flip gently as they can be fragile. Continue until all burgers are cooked.
- They’re great with a whole grain bun or serve over greens or in a pita!
I love trying different vegetarian recipes & incorporating different spices and herbs! I LOVE spicy food so I go heavy on the cayenne!
General tip for improving diet?
Lots of fiber!
If stranded on island-what one food or beverage you would want an unlimited supply of?
Red pepper flakes
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is that I get to work with a lot of different teams, inside and outside of the food and nutrition department, and I truly get to be a part of all aspects of patient care. On a daily basis I get to work with our catering associates, cooks, dietitians, diet technicians, nursing, the patient experience team and physicians. I have a unique role where I get to be involved in the development of clinical practice and policy, while also being a part of the fast-paced foodservice atmosphere. I work with an amazing group of people who not only work hard and make me laugh but also make my day fly by!
What would you say to a high school student who expresses interest in going to school to become a RDN/NDTR?
The world of nutrition is getting bigger and bigger every day. I am always so impressed with Dietitians and Diet Technicians around me that are innovators, entrepreneurs, caregivers and policy advocates. Our roles in healthcare, public policy, community health and overall wellness can be anything that you want it to be – the opportunities are endless!