Finding a way to the career you love

Published 12:51 pm Saturday, July 22, 2017

By Megan Groh 

Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

It was my junior year of high school during my careers class where I was introduced to a career in dietetics.

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My teacher, Mrs. Stevenson, gave us a magazine listing possible careers and assigned a project to choose a career of interest to us and write a paper on it. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I kept flipping back to the page listing dietetics. I knew that I loved to cook and bake, but I also knew that dietetics involved a lot of chemistry which was a weakness of mine.

My teacher somehow sensed my interest in dietetics and suggested that I write my paper on it. She reached out to a dietitian at the hospital to set up a time for me to interview her. I wrote my paper on dietetics never imagining that one day I’d actually become a registered dietitian.

I graduated from Austin High School in 2008. Chemistry was my weakest subject in high school, hence my lack of confidence as a junior that I had what it took to becoming a registered dietitian. A few years after my high school graduation, I gained the confidence to pursue a career in dietetics. Chemistry soon became my strongest subject. With that being said, I would encourage teens to try things out multiple times. What you may not have excelled at in high school, you may excel at later in life in a different setting.

Becoming a registered dietitian requires completing an accredited one-year internship after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The past school year, I was in Iowa City, Iowa completing an internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I worked in the clinical setting of the hospital in different units including Neurology, Psychiatric, General Medicine, ICU, Renal, Cardiology, Bariatric, Outpatient diabetes education, and many more. I also worked in food service management, and in the community setting (i.e. Hy-Vee, prisons, schools, etc).

As dietitians, we wear lots of hats. From managers, to educators, to clinicians, our roles may vary — but our commitment to finding the best nutritious recipes never wavers. With the summer months comes a love/hate relationship with the heat, especially the humidity. My tip to surviving the summer heat is to cool off with a nutritious and hydrating snack. My favorite — salsa.

Switch up your usual tomato salsa by making various kinds of salsa. Cucumber salsa is great during this time of year because it is simple, healthy and versatile. Maybe you have a garden and looking for new ideas on how to use up excess cucumbers. In addition, all the ingredients are in season during this time of year, making it cheap and fresh.

Not quite sure what it means for fruits and vegetables to be in season? Well, it means that fruits and vegetables grow in cycles and they ripen during a certain season each year (fall, winter, spring, summer). When they are ripe, they are at their peak nutritionally and taste-wise.

Here is my homemade cucumber salsa recipe:

Cucumber Salsa

All you need

•2 cups cucumbers, diced

•2 roma tomatoes, diced

•1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

•1-2 jalapenos, finely diced

•1 lime, juiced

•2 tablespoons cilantro (optional)

•Salt and Pepper to taste

All you do

Blend all of the ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can easily try out different fruits and vegetables in place of the cucumbers. Some I have tried in the past include watermelon, peaches, strawberries, and pineapple. Whatever you decide, it’s sure to be a hit at any summer-time picnic.