Grilled Marinated Chicken and Cranberry-Apple Salad by Lori from Texas 

Grilled, Marinated Chicken is an excellent high quality, low fat protein source, and DaVita renal dietitian Lori from Texas chose yummy spices and a wine-vinegar marinade that takes ordinary chicken from ho-hum to wow. The marinating process allows flavor to fully penetrate the meat, and if you plan ahead, nothing could be more convenient. Just pop the chicken in a zipper bag with the marinade and relax or do other tasks while it “does it’s thing.” No need to stand and watch or fuss, this marinade does it all for you. 

Why not add a fruit salad too? Fruit is an ideal source of many vitamins and nutrients, so it makes sense to incorporate it into your healthy eating plan. And apples are one fruit that’s packed with fiber and vitamins to give your body the energy it needs to take you through your busy day. Cranberries are another great low-potassium fruit that can really add a big burst of flavor to recipes. Lori has combined these two nutrition-packed fruits, along with a handful of mini-marshmallows for a touch of added sweetness, and created a recipe that would be a star on any buffet or dinner table. 

Lori, who is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended Texas Women’s University in Denton, was always intrigued by nutrition, and so she decided to become a dietitian in order to share her knowledge and help others. When asked why she chose the renal field, Lori explains that she wanted to specialize in dietetics and work in a non-hospital setting. Three years ago, Lori joined DaVita, and today she works at a DaVita center in Texas. 

Patients turn to Lori for advice and support, and she is always happy to assist. Lori believes that the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to stay as active as possible, both physically and mentally, for as long as they can. 

Lori’s approach to helping patients centers on flexibility. “I try to meet my patients where they are and strategize with them on how to move toward our goals for improved renal care,” she explains. Lori admits that the most challenging aspect of her job is helping patients balance nutrients in their diets; however, when they succeed, it’s also the most rewarding. 

Lori takes great satisfaction in helping patients achieve their specific goals and watching them develop independence when it comes to recipe modifications that allow for broader food choices. “My patients express how grateful they are for learning alternatives and being able to incorporate modifications in their diets that still allow them to enjoy social occasions.” 

It’s clear that Lori makes a difference in patients’ lives by giving them the practical tools they need to help improve the quality of their lives. Much of her job satisfaction stems from collaboration. “I love being a valued team member,” she says. 

Since coming to work for DaVita, Lori says she’s been surprised to learn that it really does take a team to help and support the patient. “Each teammate serves a specific purpose and role in the renal care picture,” Lori observes. “Our team is innovative and cohesive. My teammates are supportive, encouraging and fun.” 

Talking to Lori, it’s obvious that she is one dietitian who takes her job seriously, yet still appreciates a little levity at work. For instance, Lori describes an incident that occurred at the first center where she worked, where about one-third of her patients spoke only Spanish. Because of the language barrier, Lori decided she wanted to learn to speak Spanish herself. 

“I was talking with one of my patients who spoke both Spanish and English. He allowed me to speak Spanish to him so he could help me,” she recalls. “I sat down with him to discuss monthly labs and started reviewing parathyroid hormone (PTH). He asked me what PTH was, and I described it, in Spanish, as the hormone that helps your bones stay healthy. He told me he didn’t have any ‘bones’ to worry about. Right away, I knew it was a miscommunication. As it turns out, the word I was using for bone was ‘huevos’, which means ‘eggs’ in Spanish. So he was right — he didn’t have any ‘eggs’! We had a good laugh, and he taught me the importance of Spanish annunciation. The correct word in Spanish for bone is ‘huesos.’ Oh, the lessons we learn! He still teases me about it!” 

There’s a lot to like about DaVita, and Lori says that she especially appreciates the family environment and focus on education. “It’s exciting to work for a company that is on the cutting edge of their specialty. This is the first time in my life that work is fun for me,” she relates. “I want to go to work each day to help my teammates and my patients. I feel I bring value to the center, and I like feeling needed.” 

If you need a new take on fruit, try Lori’s Apple-Cranberry Salad recipe. You and your family will appreciate its unique blend of tangy and sweet flavors, plus it’s the perfect recipe to turn to the next time you’re asked to bring a dish to share. Pair it with Grilled, Marinated Chicken, and these two recipes make a whole meal. 


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