The Behind-the-Scenes of Power of Dietitians
Apr 26, 2022
Nutritionalist. Food police. Dietician. Registered dietitian nutritionists endure a lot of misunderstandings about their job title and what they do. In this episode, we make it easy to understand the roles RDNs play in our daily lives, including working with patients in hospitals, engaging shoppers at the grocery store level, building the school lunch menu, influencing menus at chain restaurants and more. We discuss how the National Peanut Board promotes peanuts to this important group through exciting programs like Certified Peanut Pro, ambassadors, harvest tours, retail outreach, and what the future of the profession looks like. Our episode features RDNs Sherry Coleman Collins of NPB, Lyndi Wieand of Weis Markets and Rhea Napeek Bartlett from agency Fleishman Hillard, and chef Patrick McDonnell and Virginia peanut farmers Jeffrey and Stephanie Pope.
Registered dietitians are the unsung heroes of everything related to nutrition and food. These experts exist behind the scenes and impact your daily nutrition more than you might expect. The National Peanut Board covered the topic in a recent episode of The Peanut Podcast. Read below for highlights and listen to the episode here or on your favorite streaming platform.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, registered dietitians (RDs) and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are nutrition and dietetics professionals who translate the science of food and how it functions in our bodies into practical solutions for healthy living. RDNs work in a variety of settings and can educate individuals at each stage of their lives.
RDs at Grocery Stores and in Foodservice
One area that RDs can work in is the retail sector. Rhea Bartlett, an RD for Fleishmann Hillard, says “retail RDs are in a really unique position because they're in a place where they can interact directly with consumers at very key decision-making moments… they're meeting the consumer where they are at very critical moments when the consumer needs to make decisions about what they're going to buy and what they're going to eat.”
Lyndi Wieand is one of those retail RDs who works for Weis Markets. “I find a lot of times when people maybe get discharged from a hospital or they see an outpatient dietitian in different setting, they get the information but then they don’t really have the opportunity to understand it,” said Wieand.
Patrick McDonnell is a chef and senior partner at McDonnell, Kinder and Associates, a consulting company that specializes in foodservice and retail industries centered around food and helps to develop menus. McDonnell said, “There are consumers who are coming [into restaurants] who like to know what they're getting and if they can put just put even a footnote underneath the recipe items saying these are the calories, this is the sodium, the consumer then feels that there's a responsible approach to the menu development, but also to their experience.”
How Peanuts Make an Impact on RDs
Sherry Coleman Collins, NPB’s registered dietitian nutritionist, said, “As nutrition experts, we're always looking for ways to make healthy eating easier, more affordable and more craveable and peanuts make that simple for both consumers and dietitians.”
Virginia peanut farmers Jeffery and Stephanie Pope understand and recognize the value RDs bring to their industry and have hosted farm tours in the past for RDs and others to experience. “For me, it's important to expose them to all aspects of farming, showing them, getting them to understand what it really takes to put a crop in the ground and not only harvest it but to [create] a value-added product for the consumer,” said Stephanie.
“Having these events and getting to personally know the dietitians who write about our product, exposing them to the whole gamut of how peanuts are raised and what goes into, you know, growing a crop I think brings them admiration,” said Jeffery. “Really provides fuel for those dietitians to fall in love with the product even though they may always already know it's a nutritional alternative, but it gives them the prep to go back and write and say good things about us.”
Learn more about how RDs influence food choices and how NPB is engaging with this audience to keep peanuts top of mind by listening the full episode of The Peanut Podcast.