Milwaukee Dietitians (RD’s) and Dietetic Technicians (DTRs) ran with the opportunity to create a healthier environment at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center during March 2012 National Nutrition Month. As soon as the 2012 theme “Shape Up Your Plate” was announced by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a team of Milwaukee RD’s and DTRs began feverishly listing the events they wanted to share with Veterans, family members, and VA employees during the month.
“The month was a huge success,” says Jean Wroblewski, Program Manager of Nutrition and Food Services, Milwaukee VA Medical Center. Numerous hours were devoted towards activities that would reach a large audience within the medical center. The month started off with an interactive ‘Lunch and Learn’ to discuss healthy eating for busy lifestyles. The Lunch and Learn provided food samples and food demonstrations for Veterans and VA employees.
Milwaukee VA nutrition professionals were recognized the following week on Registered Dietitian/Dietetic Technician Day with a celebratory lunch. The meal consisted of a plethora of healthy foods to celebrate the RD’s/DTR’s themselves: tilapia tacos with cabbage slaw and fresh lime juice, fresh quinoa salad, and chocolate oat squares for dessert.
Touting the 2nd Annual Nutrition Fair as their nutrition grand slam event of the month, the dietitians and dietetic technicians focused their expertise on the “Shape Up Your Plate” theme. Employees, Veterans, and families learned how to use the “plate method” to create ‘My Healthy Breakfast’, ‘My Healthy Lunch’, and ‘My Healthy Dinner’ options. Chef Paul Brinkman showed off his culinary expertise with a healthy food demonstration of pasta accompanied with stir-fried vegetables, lean turkey breast, and a low-fat Alfredo sauce. Attendees were wowed with food samples, demonstrations, and medical & nutritional experts. With the assistance of the facility Public Affairs Officer and Medical Media, the event was captured in Milwaukee VA Today.
To finish the month with a bang, RD’s and DTRs asked Veterans Canteen Service to provide three healthy entrees available to all Veterans, patrons, and employees as menu items available for purchase. Healthy meals included Turkey Tacos with fresh cilantro, tomato, and avocado, Black Bean Turkey Burritos, and Chicken Stir-fry. On this day, Food Service Workers and Food Service Supervisors threw RD’s & DTR’s a “Thank you Reception” complete with muffins, yogurt, vegetables, and fruit.
“Everyone did an awesome job getting the healthy plate initiative across. Our dietitians and dietetic technicians really brought the concept to the forefront to patients and staff,” stated Wroblewski.
Kayleen Wichlinski, R.D., C.D. is the Training Dietitian at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.