Day in the Life of a Food Service Management Dietetic Intern

If you aren’t familiar with a dietetic internship, it’s supervised practice that every dietetic student has to complete in order to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam. Each dietetic internship consists of five rotations in the following areas: Food Service Management, Clinical (Acute Care, Long Term Care and Outpatient), and Community. There is a list of competencies we must meet in order to complete our internship. In August, I took a leave of absence from my job to complete this internship, since it’s 40 hrs/week and there was no way I could do both. Thankfully, I can focus on my internship and not have to worry about any other responsibilities.

So anyway, I just finished my Food Service Management (FSM) rotation (there are 10 weeks, or 400 hours required total for this rotation). Each rotation has a few major projects that need to be completed. For example, during my FSM rotation I have to complete a menu project where I design a one-week menu for my facility and actually implement one meal from it! My meal ¬†happened a few weeks ago, on National Pumpkin Day! ¬†My other project was a Process Improvement Project, where I selected a management process to assess and evaluate for improvement. For this project, I chose to assess plate waste at my facility and actually implemented a “food sharing table” in an elementary school in hopes of decreasing plate waste.

8:00AM Arrive at my facility’s kitchen (my facility happens to be a school!) This morning I’m meeting the Sanitation person who comes in monthly for a sanitation inspection. We go over the basics of her inspection. She checks the temperature logs to make sure food is being cooked and held at the appropriate temperatures. She also checks the ware washer and the cleanliness of the facility. She demos how to properly clean stainless steel appliances.

8:45 AM After the inspector leaves, I get out my standardized recipes for the dishes I’m making for my theme meal on Wednesday. Today I’m prepping for my harvest salad by dicing and roasting butternut squash, assembling the salad and portioning out pumpkin chocolate chip bars, which I made on Friday from scratch.

9:00 AM Start dicing squash. Toss in olive oil and then roast in the oven.

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9:30 AM Assemble ingredients for salad: spinach, craisins, and apples. The apples need to be removed from baggies and diced. I’m extremely thankful they are already cored and sliced! Take squash out of oven and let cool in racks. Once it’s cool, I add it to the salad. Toss salad and wrap in plastic wrap, store in cooler for tomorrow.

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10:30AM -12:30PM Lunch start and usually I’m helping with prepping and cooking lunch, but today I’m cutting and portioning out my pumpkin bars for my lunch tomorrow! It takes about 2 hours to cut them into individual bars, plate them and wrap them in plastic wrap. I made a total of 330 bars!

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12:30 PM Last lunch line goes through, start cleaning up. Wash dishes, bring them to ware washer. Clean and sanitize work stations.

12:45-4:00 Head back to central office to finish up working on the papers required for my projects. Check in with my preceptor, the Food and Nutrition Services Director.

4:20 Arrive home for a quick stop. This evening I’m heading up to Clifton Park to take part in Let’s Go, a childhood obesity prevention program, with five other Interns from my internship program. It’s held at a local pediatrician’s office. Let’s Go is a wellness program for 10-12 year olds and their parents, which teaches them to adopt healthier habits, focusing on the 5-2-1-0 message (5 fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours of screen time or less per day, one hour of physical activity per day and zero sugar sweetened beverages per day).

5:30-7:00PM I’m at the pediatrician’s office with the other interns, RD and the pediatrician. Tonight we’re meeting with the kids and their parents to answer any nutrition questions they may have and give them tips/advice on how to make healthier choices!

7:30PM Finally home! Make some dinner, relax and watch some TV, the newest episode of The Walking Dead!

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