The Fort Frances Family Health Team (FHT) has added dietitian Rylee Blasky to its ranks, making the clinic even more of a hub for health-care services here.
“Dietitians are trusted nutrition professionals so they're your go-to for information on healthy eating, family nutrition, pre-natal nutrition, chronic disease management, and weight loss,” noted Blasky, who started at the end of February.
“So the benefits of having a dietitian with the Family Health Team is that clients can kind of 'one-stop shop' and be able to check in and see a nurse, they're able to get foot care, they're able to [learn] smoking cessation, and now they're able to get information on healthy eating and nutrition so they can better manage chronic disease,” she explained.
Patients can see Blasky through a referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Blasky led a workshop on meal planning for busy families last Wednesday evening in the Shaw Room at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
Along with fellow dietitians Jessica McEvoy of Riverside Health Care and Trisha Wood of the Valley Diabetes Education Centre, Blasky said the session was the first of its kind for her as the FHT dietitian but it won't be the last.
“What we hope to do more of is more community events and outreach like this,” she remarked.
“So doing more group education, doing more cooking classes, grocery store tours, presentations at some of the schools—those are just some of the things.”
Blasky noted that she, McEvoy, and Wood bring different skills to the table because they're all working in slightly different areas of dietetics.
“So it could be when you're acute or when you're sick, you might want to see a dietitian because you don't have an appetite,” she noted.
"Or you may want to see a dietitian to help you with weight loss or cholesterol so that down the road, you don't have complications from a chronic disease.
“Or you could see the dietitian when you're in Rainycrest to monitor weight and intake and proper textures [of foods],” she added.
“So we all bring those different skills anytime that we get together," Blasky said. "We all have our own areas.”
Last Wednesday evening's presentation included hands-on meal planning, as well as the actual cooking of a healthy meal (creamy Tuscan chicken) using an instant pot.
“Meal planning is the answer for busy families,” Blasky said.
“It saves money, it saves time, and it can reduce that stress and burden around meal times when it's busy and you're trying to look into the cupboard and figure out what it is that you could eat,” she added.
"Planning ahead will help with all of those things.
“It's also a good way to get family and kids involved," Blasky noted. ”Everyone's in the kitchen together, learning some basic food skills and spending time talking about their day around food.
“So it's that comfort relationship we already have with food, and trying to bring it all together.”
Planning out meals also means families are much more likely to eat dishes that are lower in fat, higher in fibre, and include more fruits and vegetables.
And with some prep work, planned meals don't even have to be much work to make.
Just throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker or, the even faster option, the instant pot.