Ask the Dietitian

Get to know INHS's newest dietitian, Caitlin Snider, by reading her answers to some frequently asked questions. Interested in signing up for a 1-on-1 appointment with Caitlin? You can do just that by clicking here .

Hi! I'm Caitlin, INHS's newest dietitian. I grew up in Hawaii, spent a long time in California, and made Spokane my home in 2018. I've been a registered dietitian since 2016, but I've been passionate about nutrition for much longer. I have a bachelor's degree, and soon I'll have a master's degree, both in nutrition science. Over the course of my career, I've focused on promoting food security, prenatal nutrition, early childhood nutrition, and most recently, weight management and diabetes education. In my work, I apply current nutrition research and take an individualized approach to helping individuals achieve their health goals. In my spare time, I like experimenting in the kitchen, growing my own food, and spending as much time as I can outside, preferably in the company of good friends and family. 

Tell us about your background

I grew up in Maui, Hawaii, but moved to California when I was 18 to go to college. I studied nutrition at San Francisco State University, and then I worked for a hunger relief nonprofit and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program for a while before earning my registered dietitian certification in 2016. Since then, I've been mostly working with people who have diabetes or who want to lose weight. I'm also finishing up a master's degree in nutrition as we speak. 

What is the benefit of working with a dietitian?

These days it can be really confusing trying to eat well. Between all the different fad diets, nutrition blogs, documentaries, and other conflicting nutrition information, it's more challenging than ever to sift through it all. Dietitians have more specialized education and training than other nutritionists. We can provide reliable, up to date, evidence-based information about nutrition that is targeted to you and your specific health needs. We can also give you plans and support to help you put this information to practice and start seeing results. 

What are your top three tips for someone wanting to eat a healthy diet?

  1. Eat your veggies. This one may sound cliché, but according to surveys of Americans, very few of us are meeting vegetables recommendations, and yes, they really are that good for you!  
  2. Pay attention! Eating mindlessly makes it very difficult to eat a healthy, balanced diet. The simple practice of paying closer attention as you eat and listening to what your body tells you is the first step toward eating the right amount and choosing more nourishing foods. 
  3. Eat real food. Not all processed food is evil, but in general, the closer you get to eating food in its whole, natural form, the better off you'll be.

What do you think about intuitive eating?

I think intuitive eating, which can also be called mindful eating, is a wonderful answer to the confusion and overwhelm so many people feel when it comes to dieting and eating well. This approach to eating focuses on getting back in touch with your body's natural ability to regulate food intake. I find it so rewarding to see how freeing it can be as people learn to listen to their bodies. Many people often find that their body's cues can guide them toward eating the right foods in the right amounts.

What foods cause the most inflammation in the body?

This is an important question because so many of our most common health problems, like heart disease and diabetes, are related to chronic inflammation. In general, foods that are the most processed, like refined or white flours, added sugars, processed meats, etc. are the biggest culprits. A diet rich in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables can help reduce inflammation.

How much protein does a person actually need?

The short answer is that it depends. There isn't a one-size fits all approach to nutrition, and a lot of factors, like age, activity level, and health history affect your protein needs. A dietitian can help you determine your individual needs. As a general rule though, try to have a serving of protein with each meal, especially breakfast, which is where most people skimp on protein.

What is the best part about being a dietitian?

Aside from the fact that I love food, and I get to talk about it all day, I love working directly with people. Empowering individuals to be healthier by sharing information and support based on the latest nutrition and health research is work that I find fun and challenging. I can't imagine a better career for me!

What do you like to do for fun?

I like cooking, gardening, reading, traveling, hiking, and pretty much anything that gets me outside! Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. 

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