Meet Amy Gardner, MS, RD! Amy is a registered dietitian with a group private practice, Metrowest Nutrition. Here, Amy embraces a diet-free approach to healthy eating and helps children, adolescents and adults with lasting behavior change. We at Heathie were so lucky to get the chance to chat with Amy to hear about her career and the advice she has to share!
What was your path to becoming a dietitian?
Amy became interested in nutrition at an early age. She told us, “When I was in 7th grade, I did a science project on diabetes after my learning my grandfather had it. I wanted to understand how food could help him.” Amy’s interest in nutrition only developed more over the years. As an athlete, she was interested in how nutrition could fuel her performance. At home, Amy was one of three girls. She understands the body image issues that young girls face in our culture.
Amy started as a Nutritionist at McLean Hospital in 2000. Here, she took a special interest in eating disorders. This evolved into her to creating her private practice as a way to support patients in an outpatient setting. In 2011, this grew into a group practice including several other dietitians. Amy was eager to create an environment where dietitians could learn from one another and work collaboratively. Amy said, “I’ve enjoyed learning from my clients and mentoring other dietitians.”
Tell us about your practice, Metrowest Nutrition?
“We have ten dietitians and three different locations throughout Metrowest Boston Massachusetts,” Amy said. “We have a special interest in fostering healthy eating habits from a young age, helping families work together to support each other a positive relationship with food.” Metrowest Nutrition works with individuals and families to set nutrition and lifestyle goals. They support clients through the process of change at a pace that feels comfortable to them.
What is your approach to care?
“It is my goal to support my clients. To make them feel empowered,” Amy said. Amy works with clients create goals that are true to their values and offers her skills to provide integrative nutrition, nutritional therapies, and even plans that will help manage mood with nutrition. She focuses on encouraging healthy eating behaviors. “We teach that you can be healthy at different sizes,” said Amy. “It is a non-diet approach and mindfulness-based.” Amy explained that part of her approach is in identifying areas of her clients’ lives that need nourishment – even if they may not appear to be food-related, like lacking creative outlets or problems in a relationship. She helps them create an environment for lasting lifestyle change.
What advice do you have for new dietitians looking to get into private practice?
“Talk to people already in private practice,” Amy said. “Ask someone with experience if you can pick their brain.” Amy recommends finding your niche, determining a specialty that will highlight your specific skills and align with your passions. Networking is key too.
How do you think technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing health care?
Amy said that technology in private practice is great. “It offers ability for client support and connection between sessions,” she said. “And it really cuts down paperwork!” Amy is currently integrating Healthie at her private practice. “I’ve enjoyed playing around with it,” she said. “I love that it was specific to dietitians!”