DaVita renal dietitian Terri from Arizona suggests this new twist on an old favorite. Her Mandarin Orange Jell-O® Pie is satisfyingly sweet and light as can be. It’s a fruit-filled treat both adults and kids will love, and it’s kidney-friendly, too.
Terri’s Mandarin Orange Jell-O Pie recipe is just one example of how Terri works to keep her patients on healthy eating plans. In fact, Terri chose to become a dietitian because of her desire to help others learn about, and cope with, their special dietary needs. Originally from Indiana, she attended Indiana State and now lives and works in Arizona.
In her interactions with renal patients at DaVita, Terri’s biggest challenge is helping people to understand the importance of following their kidney-friendly diets. “I believe that everyone can do better somehow and only the patient can make the changes,” Terri explains. When individuals do make the necessary changes, the results are easily recognized by all.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is to witness what happens when patients follow my advice. They see the difference in their lab results and they feel the difference when their labs are better,” Terri explains. She says the best advice she could ever give someone coping with kidney disease is to eat right. “If you have diabetes, watch the carbohydrates. If you are on dialysis, watch the potassium, get enough protein and take your phosphorus binders as prescribed,” she advises.
Kidney-friendly foods don’t have to be plain and boring, and Terri’s found a fun way to introduce new recipes to both patients and those she works with at her DaVita dialysis center. “I have been celebrating monthly patients’ birthdays,” she explains, “so I make a dessert that patients can have on their diets, and they get to taste it, as does the DaVita team.”
Terri’s supportive approach is all about smiling, caring and being a good listener. Positive feedback is important, and Terri says she was surprised by how much it means to patients to get grades and stickers on their lab report cards.
A relative newcomer to DaVita, Terri appreciates the tools the company provides that help her educate her patients. Another plus is the support she gets from her coworkers. “You have access to your peers when you get stuck on something you are working on,” Terri points out.
Although the core group of teammates at her clinic is fairly new, they are focused on pulling together for common goals. “Everyone is trying to work on being more customer-friendly and becoming better teammates,” she says.
This DaVita dietitian enjoys the challenge of helping her patients eat better while sticking to their budgets. And because the DaVita clinic where Terri works is located on an Indian reservation, she’s learning about the culture. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about our Native Americans,” she says.
Terri’s serious about helping others, but the DaVita team and their patients know how to have fun, too, and she relates an anecdote about one such time. “We go on rounds with the doctors, as most places do. One day one of our patients did really good as far as lab numbers,” Terri explains. “The social worker and I were making a big deal of it and we let him know we are his cheerleaders. He then told us he would bring us cheerleader outfits, and we were to have pom-poms next time. This made everyone in the room laugh.”
Put a smile on the faces of those you love with a dessert that’s light and full of flavor. Terri’s Mandarin Orange Jell-O Pie is a sumptuous treat that’s guilt-free and kidney-friendly. It’s the grown-up, healthy way to enjoy gelatin and the perfect way to top off any meal.
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