Sibley is known for our incredible nurses and doctors, but what most parents don’t realize is that we also have a team of specialists who also help to mend and manage children’s health. March is National Nutrition Month, so we’re highlighting our own Sibley Nutritionist, Laura Hamilton.
What do you do here at Sibley?
I work on the Preventative Cardiology Team. I meet with patients and their families to help them get a better understanding of how their diet and food choices are affecting their health, both positively and negatively. I then help parents, and older children, like teens, create a better plan for their eating. I also work with our infants and help with their feeding struggles.
What’s the best part of your work?
I really enjoy talking to families who have convinced themselves that to improve their nutrition, they have to be perfect every day. They get overwhelmed by that idea. But I’m a nutritionist and even I’m not perfect every day! When I see people realize that they can find ways to fit good nutrition into their lives and that they don’t need to let perfect be the enemy of good, I get really excited. We can all work with our imperfections and our particular struggles to be successful, healthy eaters.
What led you to nutrition?
I have a BS in Health Science. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so while I decided, I started working as a personal trainer. While doing that, I just realized that you can’t just exercise your way to a different physical appearance or better health. What really makes the difference is what and how you eat.
I then went on to get my master’s in nutrition at Syracuse University working my way through as a personal trainer. In that time, I also reconnected with a good friend, who later became my husband. I’m originally from upstate New York, but while we were dating, my husband asked me to relocate to the South – I got my job at CHOA and the rest is history!
What’s the hardest part about your job?
Like everyone who gives health advice, it’s difficult when you talk to people who aren’t ready to make changes. Sometimes, you have to just give people the best information you can and hope that one day down the road they’ll remember it and take it to heart. You never know.
What are your nutrition-advice pet peeves?
I hate diets that don’t incorporate normal eating patterns. If it’s a diet that’s super hard to do, you’re not going to be able to continue it. I can say that from experience – I’ve been up and down that road and I know how it ends!
That said, you can pull bits and pieces from any number of diets. Wanna try the Whole 30 principle of cutting out sugar for 30 days? Go for it! Make lifestyle changes until you find a new normal that is also beneficial for you. NO ONE is perfect, I promise! If you need some chocolate, have a piece, you are fine!! (Make it dark chocolate for additional benefits!)