It’s Wednesday once again and we are featuring a Pediatric Registered Dietitian, Angie Dobrzykowski MS, RDN, CSP, LDN. Angie is the owner of Dietititian Connection, LLC in Baltimore, MD.
Angie has always been interested in health and nutrition and wanted to work in a field where she could help others. Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist seemed like a good fit, and from there, her interest grew into a passion.
Angie has a Board Certification in Pediatric Nutrition from the Commission on Dietetics Registration and has a 10-year working experience with infants, children, teens and their families in the clinical and community setting. Angie also provides support for pregnant Moms because in her opintion, good nutrition starts in the womb. In addition to her private practice, she also works for Pacify, a company which provides 24/7 access to pediatric nurses, nutritionists and lactation consultants through a video-enabled smart phone app. In the future, she hopes to become a certified lactation consultant so that she can work more closely with breastfeeding moms.
In addition to being Board Certified in Pediatric Nutrition, she has counseled patients in a wide range of areas including the inpatient, outpatient and Homecare settings. This has allowed her to work with a diverse group of patients, including those requiring medical and surgical intervention for nutrition related conditions as well as those requiring life-saving therapies such as feeding tubes or IV nutrition.
Angie has seen, first hand, the role of nutrition in both preventing and treating disease and the importance of evidence-based nutrition therapy. As a Nutritionist, seeing her clients reach their nutrition goals, helping parents navigate challenging, but medically necessary diet restrictions and seeing kids grow and thrive are some of her greatest achievements and things that continue to motivate her on a daily basis.
One of the biggest misconceptions that Angie sees parents do with regards to their children’s nutrition is that parents often focus on negative aspects of their child’s diet and don’t see the big picture. For example, they worry about their child not eating enough veggies and do everything in their power, including bribing, rewarding, withholding treats, etc. to get their child to eat veggies and their child still won’t eat the vegetables. Parents may also restrict desserts and treats and put too much emphasis on foods being “good” or “bad”. Parents become frustrated and meals become a battle.
Angie says, “While offering kids a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies is important, parents should also focus on teaching their children about healthy eating habits and leading by example. Focusing on healthy habits such as providing a variety of foods, helping kids explore and learn their hunger/fullness cues and enjoying desserts in moderation, will help kids learn to make better decisions about eating over time. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if a toddler takes one more bite of broccoli, but it does matter if they grow up learning to eat a variety of foods in the amount that is right for them while learning to enjoy desserts without overeating.
Angie’s goal for this year is to offer more seminars on infant and toddler feeding both in her community and online. Angie says "nutrition during the early years really sets the foundation for lifelong healthy eating, and parents aren’t getting the support they need. Many parents may be nervous or overwhelmed about what and how to feed their infant and the toddler years can be a challenge because picky eating is very common. My goal with these seminars is to empower parents by providing the education and tools they need to feel confident in their ability to feed their family healthfully."
Here is her best tip for toddler nutrition:
“Follow the “Division of Responsibility with Feeding,” which is an evidence-based approach to feeding coined by Ellyn Satter, who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Family Therapist and internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding. The “Division of Responsibility with Feeding,” defines specific jobs for parents and kids when it comes to feeding and eating. The Parent/Caregiver is responsible for the “what”, “when” and “where” of feeding and the child is responsible for the “whether” and “how much” of eating. For example, it is the parents’ job to offer a balanced meal or snack at regular intervals (usually 2-3 hours but at least every 4 hours) in a designated eating area. This must be a priority. With this approach, parents must also trust that their child has the ability to determine "whether to eat" and "how much" from what they provide. By following the “Division of Responsibility” with feeding, kids will grow up to be competent and intuitive eaters. This is something I work on with every family I counsel. Most parents are in the habit of trying to control or micromanage their child’s eating so we work on developing an individualized plan that works for them. For more information check out this website”.
As a Pediatric Registered Dietitian, she understands the importance of good nutrition for both physical growth and cognitive development. Proper nutrition allows children to grow, learn and thrive. Kids who maintain a healthy weight have better self-esteem and are at a lower risk for developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. But, she also knows that getting balanced meals on the table is a challenge. Despite our best intentions, busy schedules force us to eat more meals on the go and leave little time to cook at home and eat together. We are bombarded with conflicting messages about food and nutrition and our kids are exposed to not-so-healthy foods at parties, sporting events and school. With all of these obstacles, it’s hard to figure out what and how to feed our kids. But, feeding a healthy family doesn’t need to be complicated and small changes in how and what you feed your family can make a big impact on your child’s overall health.” When working with clients, she takes a no-pressure approach to develop a realistic plan, including moderation and balance, which she believes are the keys to maintaining a nutritious and healthy lifestyle in today’s fast-paced world. She says, “We focus on a way of eating that is healthy, enjoyable and sustainable.”
There are many people that claim to be a “nutritionist” so it’s important that individuals seek advice from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist like Angie with extensive training who can provide sound nutrition recommendations.
For more information about Angie Dobrzykowski and Dietititian Connect, LLC please visit her website, www.rdconnectmd.com, or email her at [email protected] You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter @rdconnectmd and like her Facebook page: Dietitian Connection Maryland.