FACES: Dietician Allen Anderson practices what he preachesWhen it comes to healthy eating, dietician Allen Anderson does more than give lip service. Anderson not only gives talks on the health benefits of eating nutritious foods when he’s at his job at the Grand Forks County Health Department, he and his wife, Kimberly, cook nourishing meals for their family.
By: Ann Bailey, Grand Forks Herald
When it comes to healthy eating, dietician Allen Anderson does more than give lip service.
Anderson not only gives talks on the health benefits of eating nutritious foods when he’s at his job at the Grand Forks County Health Department, he and his wife, Kimberly, cook nourishing meals for their family.
“We’re usually pretty good about following the principles we teach,” said Anderson. Family meals typically include whole grains, fruits and vegetables and a lean protein, he noted.
“My specialty is cooking Chinese food, of course in a healthy manner.”
Anderson, who earned a degree in dietetics from UND, got interested in nutrition during his freshman year of college, he said. A business, major, he was listening to an instructor in an introductory class talk about health care careers, and one of the ones she discussed was dietetics.
“It just resonated with me. The very next day I went and switched my major to dietetics and never looked back,” Anderson said. After graduating from UND in 2002, he worked as an inspector for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Department of Health before getting a job as a dietician with the Grand Forks County Public Health Department.
Now a health department team leader, Anderson gives talks on healthy eating, writes a nutrition blog and does media interviews on the topic. He also works with local health coalitions.
Eating healthy is easier said than done, Anderson acknowledged.
“It really does seem like the cards are stacked against us, living in a world that is targeted toward food… all the time. It’s a big reversal from say 30, 40 years ago.”
Anderson knows, though, that while difficult, making a lifestyle change is not impossible. Though his mom encouraged him and his brothers to eat healthy, he ignored her.
“Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of fruits and vegetables.” Instead, he enjoyed treats such as cookies, candies and cakes, he said. After gaining some weight, post-high school,
Anderson decided he needed to eat better.
“At first when I was really into getting healthier, I had to force myself a little bit,” he said. Now, he enjoys eating most vegetables and fruits.
Besides eating healthy, Anderson works out or swims several times a week.
“That has to go hand in hand, the physical activity for good health.” In his spare time, Anderson also spends time with his family, helps his wife with her photography business and plays guitar at church and in a band.
“I’ve loved guitar ever since the ‘80s,” he said.
Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.