French Dressing Baked Fish Fillets by Jackie L. from North Carolina

We all know that fish is good for us. But sometimes we just don’t think about cooking fish at home. Now DaVita renal dietitian Jackie L. from North Carolina offers us a recipe for French Dressing Baked Fish Fillets that has a delicious hint of sweetness that will have your family clamoring for second helpings. It even fits into a renal diet.

White fish is a smart choice for a healthy diet, because it’s low in fat, plus it’s rich in B vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B3), and vitamin B6, which supports our skin, nervous system and red blood cells. It is also a good source of protein and contains several essential minerals.

French Dressing Baked Fish Fillets is a recipe that DaVita dietitian Jackie has been enjoying and recommending for a long time. “I first tasted this recipe at a hospital cafeteria 12 years ago,” she explains. “Over the years, I have made the recipe often for my family to enjoy. The original recipe calls for a potato chip topping. To reduce the sodium content, panko bread crumbs are substituted for potato chips.” Panko is a variety of flaky bread crumbs used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for food.

Jackie, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, attended Mount Mary College. She decided on a career in dietetics, because of her interest in nutrition and food. After being assigned to a renal medicine floor as a hospital dietitian, she chose to make the renal area her specialty.

In Jackie’s work at DaVita, she says the challenge lies in “motivating patients to make changes.” She makes a difference by “individualizing patient education, keeping in mind the patient’s resources, lifestyle and personality.” The rewards come from “patients implementing recommended dietary changes and finding positive results in their well-being.”

When asked what she enjoys most about working with her patients, Jackie replies, “I focus on the positive of what the patient can eat vs. what the patient cannot eat.”

Jackie’s approach to working with patients is simple and non-threatening. “I usually only share diet management tips that I would not find difficult to follow myself,” she explains.

When asked about the single most important thing patients can do to improve their health, Jackie’s answer is simple: “They need to adhere to the recommendations that come from their dietitian and others on their medical team.”

Sometimes it’s all about substituting one food for another. As an effective tool for other dietitians, Jackie’s recommendation is “take time to take a diet history from the patient to determine which foods high in sodium, phosphorus or potassium the patient is eating, then write alternatives the patient seems agreeable to trying on their monthly Nutrition Report.”

Jackie works in the DaVita clinic in North Charlotte, North Carolina. “I recently transferred from South Charlotte to the North Charlotte clinic,” says Jackie. “Making this change has required me to get creative and develop diet plans for all budgets.”

After 10 years on the job, 5 with Gambro and 5 with DaVita, Jackie appreciates the support and emphasis on quality that DaVita offers. “What I enjoy about working with DaVita are the great patient education materials and continuous improvement for quality care,” states Jackie.

“The most interesting thing I've learned since I started working at DaVita is the medical information from a nurse or physician perspective,” Jackie reveals.

Ultimately, working at DaVita is about getting to know and enjoy the patients. Jackie remembers one time when a patient stayed positive even in the face of a difficult disease. “Often when a particular patient at my home clinic would ask if he could eat a certain food, my reply (providing it was an appropriate food) typically is ‘Yes, but limit to a half cup.’ This patient has a caregiver who accompanies him to dialysis. One day the patient and caregiver were having a conversation on the treatment floor  when I approached them. The caregiver blurted out ‘Here comes half cup,’” Jackie remembers. “The patient and his caregiver chose ‘half cup’ as a nickname for me. I found this so funny. Despite the patient’s illness, he manages to have a good sense of humor.”

Why not take a tip from DaVita dietitian Jackie and include more fish in your diet? It’s easy, thanks to her recipe that makes fish delish. We’re sure you’ll agree that yummy French Dressing Baked Fish Fillets is a kidney-friendly entrée that satisfies even fussy eaters.


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