Things I’ve learned in my first year as an aspiring dietitian.

I hope you are enjoying summer and having a good time wherever you are reading this! Since the exam phase is over and summer holidays have started, I’ve had lots of time to visit my family, cook and read. And even to take a crazy swim in the Aare when the weather was still a little warmer. I consider myself an all right swimmer but the stream was so much stronger than I expected, so it turned out to be a near-death-experience (just kidding, in case my grandma reads this) but I would do it again anytime. 😀 If you are curious about how exactly Aare swimming works, take a look at this:

In a couple of weeks I’ll start my first internship at a local hospital and I am very excited to try and put the things I’ve learned during my first year at university into practice. A lot of things sound completely logical and self-understood when you hear about them in lectures, but it’s a completely different experience when you are actually sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation with a patient.

My school makes a real point of preparing students for that kind of situations. During the last year I’ve even had the chance to get communication training with actors who were playing clients. I’m more of an introverted person and really have to push myself in those moments, but it is absolutely worth it. I’ve learned so much from mistakes I made during those trainings.

For example, it is vital to listen carefully and make sure you’ve understood what the other person is trying to tell you. Sounds logical and not that hard to do, right? However, it happens so easily that someone is telling you something and your brain automatically interprets it a certain way or fills in the gaps. We are all bringing our own background, experiences and expectations into a conversation, but as a professional dietitian counseling a patient one needs to be able to let go of that “drawer system” in our heads. It’s too easy to stick labels on people and miss crucial information, because every single person you talk to is unique. Thank god, because that is also one of the aspects which makes counseling so interesting.


Another thing I’ve learned: If you put your heart and soul into it, you can achieve anything. Even pass the exam on a year-long biochemistry course. 😀 I’ve plastered my kitchen cupboards with the steps of the citric acid cycle, nomenclatures of carbon compounds and lots of other funny things to look at while I wait for my rice to be cooked. If you are playing with the thought of becoming a registered dietitian, don’t let chemistry scare you off. If I can do it without having any previous education in chemistry, you can too!

Since starting to study, my eating habits have changed in certain ways. I am for example more mindful about incorporating sufficient vegetarian and dairy free protein sources like lentils and beans into my diet (shoutout to this pesto butter bean salad with pomegranate topping, which I prepare with sautéed spinach instead of rocket). 🙂


And I have learned some new cooking methods which help to preserve nutrients (like using a steam-sieve for veggies) and open up new possibilities when it comes to getting the texture just right. Talking about texture, imagine if your diet was suddenly restricted to eating pureed or liquid foods. Not just for a day or two, but for the next couple of months. It is likely that even your favorite dish will not be half as appealing to you when it has been texture modified. But luckily there are ways to make it look and taste a lot more like the dish you are used to. Trying to make liquefied tofu taste delicious and pureed carrots resemble their original shape was quite an interesting experience.



All in all, it was a very interesting first year and I’ve been lucky to make some good friends along the way, who love to talk about food and cooking as much as I do. 🙂