The plain apple is a treat all by itself, but some dessert and snack lovers like their fruit a little fancier. And so, DaVita dietitian Sandra from the North Star state delivers this recipe for Apple Bars.
Sandra became a dietitian when she recognized her interest in nutrition went hand-in-hand with a love of experimenting and sharing food ideas. The University of Minnesota afforded an opportunity to study for a career in dietetics.
Sandra says the most challenging aspects of her present position are the continuing changes in health care that she passes along to educate and inform patients. She reports that a very rewarding aspect is seeing patients make small changes in lifestyle which effect positive results for them and their families.
“I try to make a difference in patients’ lives by showing a positive attitude and offering ideas for foods and meals that meet their needs. I try to make the eating experience fun,” states Sandra. She says her monthly contact with patients where they share ideas and she offers counseling is most enjoyable. “I try to get to know patients personally and relate to each of their situations.”
The single most important thing a patient can do to improve their health, according to Sandra is, “accept kidney disease and live within guidelines while still enjoying life. Moderation is the key.”
In an effort to be helpful and effective, Sandra says that every month she provides a small snack or sampling of food or drink. “Patients always look forward to my visit and anticipate the surprise,” she says. “We enjoy the new items and discuss ways to incorporate them into a daily routine or, if necessary, use on a special occasion.”
A DaVita dietitian for eight years, Sandra enjoys the support she receives from fellow professionals. Teamwork, she says, is very evident. And the company-provided materials such as ideas, policies, recipes and educational materials are supportive. “The fact that such a large company can be concerned about each individual patient and employee is impressive,” states Sandra.
The caring is contagious as Sandra illustrates in a story about a patient. “I had an elderly patient who was very frail but always told me that she loved homemade, vegetable-beef soup. One month I decided to make some and bring it for our treat. She thoroughly enjoyed the soup and took some back to the nursing home. Her life ended that month, but I was glad that we made her final days comfortable.”
What Sandra says is special about the Minnesota units is that they are like small families with caring environments that nurture strong relationships among staff and patients. “Many patients are elderly and don’t get to experience holidays and special occasions. We [the staff] make a big deal about celebrating together. It’s worth seeing the shining smiles on patients’ faces and hearing their words of joy. My teammates are exceptional.”
Sandra shares the recipe for a treat that is enjoyed by all ages. Apple Bars are yummy and recommended for all the renal diets. (For the diabetic-dialysis diet, please use sugar substitute instead of sugar as noted in the recipe and follow the helpful hints.)