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Practical Tips from a Registered Dietician

Leslie Schlapfer, Registered Dietitian, currently works as nutritionist in AFLAC Clinic at Scottish Rite. She is married with 2 adult sons (ages 32 and 28) and 2 cats. Leslie brings a wealth of knowledge when it comes to nutrition from her years of experience.

What gave you the nudge to go into being a dietician?

The 1984 famine in Ethiopia really had an impact on me. It put me on a quest to educate myself. it was then I knew I was interested in this field.”

She goes on to say she also has working experience in clinics, CHOA, and even the Navy.

What does a typical day look like for you now?

Every day is different. When I walk into work, I don't know what I will be greeted with each day. Sometimes I bounce all over the hospital.

What is one misconception about nutrition that you have heard?

Some parents may feel the dietician will give them a diet or tell them exactly what to eat. Dietary intervention is my job. But I try to figure out what the patience needs by looking at history, the patient, and any medications; then I help make a unique plan.

What are some practices for families who do not have access to a dietician?

  1. National Cancer Institute has a ton of resources on nutrition for all types of issues – weight loss, weight gain, feeding tubes, etc.

  2. National Cancer Institute also has a telehealth service you can utilize.

  3. Start simple when eliminating foods. For example, if your child is drinking a lot of sugary drinks simply change your beverage to a sugar-free option or even water.

  4. Be honest about what is happening.

  5. Trade offs happen. Yes, the hunger is real, but you can still give them pizza. But consider a thin crust so it is less calories. The trade-offs will be part of it!

What does it look like to have someone referred to you?

Every day, I don’t know what I will walk into. I am referred patients on feeding tubes, in clinic, and in the hospital when there are needs. I don’t see everyone, but I do make rounds. Twenty percent of referrals are from a parent reaching out. Typically, they talk about how their child is a picky eater or they don’t eat vegetables or unable to get the formula they need.

Any advice or encouragement?

I would love for parents to be more forthcoming with their struggles without the fear of being judged for it. I’m here to help. There is no judgement.

To hear more of Leslie’s advice, listen to her interview with Chris and Christy on The Lighthouse Podcast!

MEET LESLIE SCHLAPFER: Leslie, Registered Dietitian, currently works as nutritionist in AFLAC Clinic at Scottish Rite. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics from Georgia State University, and Master of Science in Health Services from California College for Health Sciences. Leslie is married with 2 grown sons (ages 32 and 28) and 2 cats. Her favorite activities are running, playing tennis, and hiking. Really, she enjoys being outdoors. However, she doesn’t enjoy camping!

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