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Waikato Regional Diabetes Service dietitians, (from left) Mark Leydon, Kathy Crossland, Rachael Kibblewhite, Nicky Totman, Jill McClymont, Sonya Fraser.

Some of the 31 dietitians employed by Waikato DHB – Waikato Regional Diabetes Service dietitians (from left) Mark Leydon, Kathy Crossland, Rachael Kibblewhite, Nicky Totman, Jill McClymont, Sonya Fraser.

These days the word “diet” is often associated with fads and fashions. Anyone can be an instant nutrition expert, thanks to Google and websites full of pseudo-science.
However the real experts are professionally registered dietitians like the 31 dietitians who work for Waikato District Health Board. They have completed a degree majoring in human nutrition and a postgraduate master’s degree or some other qualification in Dietetics. They give specialist advice about food and nutrition to their clients and the people who look after them.
Dietitians Day 2017Good food and the right nutrition advice enhances outcomes for people of all ages, as well as those with medical conditions such as disorders of the mouth and throat, cardiovascular disease, and wound healing issues.
Thursday 19 September is World Dietitian Day where dietitians around the world showcase the work they do and the difference they make.
To celebrate Dietitians Day, we profile some of our Waikato DHB dietitians, asking them to share what they do, who they work with, and how they make a difference – as well as one of their favourite recipes.

Helen Stockman –Bodywise dietitian

Helen Stockman, Waikato DHB dietitian

Helen Stockman, Waikato DHB dietitian

I work as the dietitian for Bodywise –a children’s weight management programme for children 5-12 years. Bodywise is a multi–discipline practitioner team also including a doctor, a psychologist and an activity coordinator.

How do we make a difference? We support children who are overweight, along with their families, with ideas and strategies to work towards being as healthy as they possibly can be. This means supporting a child to grow into their size over time with minimal weight gain. I share tools such as nutritional label reading, age appropriate portions and provide healthy snack demonstrations during our group sessions. Often I will use whatever is growing in my garden at the time to share with the group.

See our Facebook page for lots of kid-friendly ideas: Bodywise Waikato

Mini pies

Quick meal/snack ready in 10 minutes and a good way to use up leftover baked veggies.

  • Take a wrap and cut each into quarters.
  • Heat wrap pieces for 5-10 secs in microwave until soft and then push each piece into a medium muffin dish.
  • Sprinkle each mini pie with some finely chopped baked veggies –  pumpkin, kumara, capsicum, onion work well, add a small blob of fruit chutney and 3/4 fill with a beaten egg.
  • Top off with a sprinkle of grated cheese and parsley, bake in a moderate oven until crispy and the egg is firm. Takes 5-10 mins max to cook so keep an eye on them as they crisp quickly.

Savoury mince or beans also work well as an alternate filling.

Tip: Cut a circle of baking paper and line muffin tins to allow the pies to pop out easily.

Sue Henderson – Community dietitian

Sue Henderson, Community dietitian

Sue Henderson, Community dietitian

I work as a community dietitian and provide a dietetic service to Hamilton, Morrinsville, Te Aroha, Paeroa and Waihi. I run outpatient clinics in Hamilton and Morrinsville and I will do home visits to patients who are unable to get to a clinic. I see mostly adults that have a variety of medical conditions. These conditions can be chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological conditions. I also see patients that have unintentional weight loss due to surgery, cancer, and frailty.

I make a difference by helping patients to improve their health by making the necessary dietary changes. I believe following a healthy diet does not need to be difficult and that people often over complicate it. Eating from the four food groups and being careful with portion sizes can make a huge difference.

Roast Pumpkin and sundried tomato salad

This is a really easy and tasty salad!

Serves 6
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes

1kg pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
200g chorizo, chopped into 1cm cubes
100g feta cheese, cut in 1cm cubes
50g rocket, about half a bag
¼ cup Mediterranean sundried tomato chunky dip
¼ cup natural yoghurt

  1. Preheat oven to 180C, fan bake. Toss pumpkin in olive oil, then season with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Heat a frying pan and cook chorizo until crispy.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine the roast pumpkin, cooked chorizo, feta and rocket.
  4. For the dressing combine the Mediterranean sundried tomato chunky dip and yoghurt. Dollop over the salad and lightly toss to coat.

(originally from  food writer Jane Rangiwahia)

Danni Irvine – Renal dietitian

I am one of the Renal dietitians and I undertake a variety of inpatient and outpatient work, including in outreach areas such as Whakatane and Thames. I see patients with both acute and chronic kidney disease, including those on haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Some of the dietary requirements for our patients can seem quite restrictive, but I like to focus on what someone can eat rather than what they can’t.

My best advice to people is to enjoy lots of different types of foods in moderation – eating is such a pleasurable aspect of our lives. Aim to eat mindfully – eat slowly, avoid distractions such as your phone or TV, notice and appreciate the taste, smell and texture of food and eat only until you are full – you don’t have to finish everything on the plate!

My favourite recipe – a brekky smoothie!

  • Danni's smoothie

    Danni’s smoothie

    ½ cup of blueberries

  • 1 small banana (1/2 large banana)
  • 2 tbs natural/greek yoghurt
  • ¾  cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of oats
  • 1 tsp natural peanut butter
  • Extra ice cubes if desired

Put all the ingredients in a container (in no particular order) whizz together using a smoothie maker (or hand held blender) and your smoothie is complete – genius!

Waikato Regional Diabetes dietitians

We are six part-time dietitians working at the Waikato Regional Diabetes Service. As a whole the service delivers specialist care predominantly to people with Type 1 diabetes, and wider support to other health services that also provide care to patients with diabetes.

Healthy plate

Healthy plate portions

Each dietitian is attached to one or more of the various multidisciplinary teams that make up the whole service. Our teams include Diabetes in Pregnancy; Youth and Young Adults; Renal; Adult Weight Management; Pump therapy and other technology; and Adults with Diabetes. Managing diabetes is a balancing act between food, medication and activity and so most of our work is about listening to patients and providing them with nutritional advice to help achieve this balance.

We may see people individually, or in groups. In consultations we will assess a patient’s current food intake, review blood glucose levels, consider their insulin doses and activity, and then suggest changes to help improve their blood glucose levels and any other health conditions they may have. All while working to optimise nutritional intake for the patient’s particular stage of life.

Our work is aimed at helping people integrate diabetes management and good nutrition into their lives – to make it easier to manage a chronic condition more easily and effectively.

Our top tips:

  • Plan main meals around the plate model. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, quarter of the plate with protein foods and quarter of the plate with starchy vegetables.
  • When choosing foods, the less processed the better.
  • Moderation is key, but a little bit of what you fancy does you good!



Waikato DHB dietitians include

  • Acute clinical dietitians who provide services to hospital wards.  They also provide outpatient services (clinics) for adults and children.
  • Community clinical dietitians who work with clients to provide education and support with dietary treatment in communities and at rural hospitals.  They provide services at Thames, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui hospitals, at Matariki and Rhoda Read continuing care facilities, clinics at community bases and also visit clients in their homes.
  • Dietitians at Waikato Hospital plan and manage the in-patient and Meals on Wheels service.  They ensure that food provided is appealing, safe, good quality and meets the nutritional requirements of individuals necessary to support their clinical care and treatment, and for Meals on Wheels recipients to help them remain independent in their own home.
  • The Regional Diabetes Service dietitians work in a multi-disciplinary team and in sub-specialty teams such as diabetes and pregnancy, adolescent and young adult programmes, and the adult weight management programme.
  • Waikato DHB also runs an Adult Weight Management Programme and Bodywise (a family focused weight management programme for children aged 5-12 years).
Interested in becoming a dietitian? .


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