In the spirit of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day, we wanted to take the time to celebrate the powerhouse behind all things nutrition at Season–Michele Rager, RDN-AP. Recently, we sat down with Michele to learn more about how nutrition expertise plays a role in building Season, a behind the scenes in the work of a RDN, and to provide you with some expert advice.
What do you do at Season?
I am a member of the senior leadership team and provide the clinical expertise needed to build an evidence-based platform that meets the needs of clinicians, patients, and clients. I coordinate our clinical research efforts, oversee clinician onboarding and support, and develop our continuing education offerings. And, I also get to take part in creating some of the social media and blog content that Season produces!
How did you get involved in a career in nutrition?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved cooking and baking. So it was a natural progression for me to move from loving food to introducing new foods to others that they both enjoy eating and that help them to meet their health goals.
What do registered dietitian nutritionists do?
RDNs are highly qualified professionals that advise on matters of food and nutrition. We work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, fitness centers, government, and for companies like Season.
Who would benefit from working with an RDN?
Everyone! OK, so I’m obviously biased. Even so, literally almost anyone could benefit from working with an RDN. Whether you need help managing diabetes or other chronic conditions, have GI issues, would like to gain or lose weight, would like to improve sports performance, are planning meals for a family, or if you’ve got any other questions about food and would like some additional support and accountability, an RDN can help.
What’s one thing someone who wants to make a change in their eating habits can do?
Give yourself some grace, and recognize that the habits we’ve built over months or years typically do not take only days to change. It takes time to create new habits, so start small, and go from there.
What are some common nutrition mistakes you observe in clients?
One common mistake is definitely that people will make big changes and not set up the support they need to maintain those changes over the long term. Whether it’s a family member, a trusted healthcare provider, or a support group: Find people that will help you on your journey, that will encourage you and walk alongside you, even when it’s difficult.
Another common mistake is that people will focus on the one or several things they’re doing wrong nutritionally and not give themselves credit for the one or several things they’re doing right. Some people quit as soon as they have a major slip up, but the truth is that the most successful people persist in making changes, even despite the slips. Strive for progress, not perfection!
What are your tips for helping your clients to stay on track with their nutrition guidance?
I already mentioned one, which is to get support to help you maintain healthy habits. Another is to set yourself up for success by finding ways to make staying on track as easy as possible. For example, making some meals ahead so that you don’t have to cook on a busy night or not keeping four kinds of cookies in the pantry to tempt you to eat them. It might take a little thought to figure out where your pitfalls might be and how to overcome them, but it’s well worth the effort.
Do you have any general nutrition advice to share?
Never underestimate the power of fruits and vegetables – or of drinking water. When we talk about food as medicine, fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that have a lot to offer. Typically, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial chemicals that reduce our risk for many types of disease. Water is also important because it plays a part in carrying nutrients throughout our body, keeping our metabolisms going, and helping our bodies to flush out toxins.
What is your favorite Season recipe?
My favorite Season recipe is Sheet Pan Nachos with Greek Yogurt-Lime Crema. They’re so delicious, and the whole family loves them!