Nutrition In yoU: Meet DI Emily Burns

Meet Dietetic Intern Emily Burns

What got you into nutrition?

I obviously love food! I also love helping people. Nutrition has always been a part of my life. At a young age, I was “overweight” as a child and was taken to a doctor who had no further knowledge (at least it seemed) of handling pediatric nutrition. In second grade, I was taught how to count calories, watching what I ate to fit within the weight of a “normal” size second grader.  I missed out on the carefree mindset that most kids have when it comes to eating. Overall, this experience has carried on into my early adult years, as I pursue my dream at NIU to become a Registered Dietitian. I want to be the person who helps people see that all foods fit. There should not be guilt and stress when it comes to eating. I think when diets are all around us, it’s important to have Registered Dietitians help sort through the false information about nutrition people tend to preach about.

What area of nutrition do you want to focus on?

What I love about nutrition is that there are many areas to focus on. I love fitness, so I am interested in sports nutrition. However, I have an interest in behavioral health, in terms of disordered eating and eating disorders. I, also, love clinical nutrition. So, as you can see, I want to focus on many things. I hope by the time I graduate, I can set my sights on one of those and adventure into the other later on in my career.

What is a common thing people ask or say to you when you tell them you are in process of becoming a registered dietitian?

A lot of people love to tell me what they eat. They often start off saying, “well I eat so healthy, I eat ____”. It’s nice to talk about food. Yet, every once in a while I like to talk about other things.


Looking for something to do during your lunch hour today 12-1 at the student center? Then, come join me as I talk about mindful eating and my nutrition philosophy on dining out and staying on track. Here is a sneak peak of what I will be talking about:

Dine Out and Stay on Track

Can you think of how many times that you have eaten out this week? If you’re a busy college student that may be a couple times a week. With night classes, especially, it’s hard to prepare dinner in a lunchbox and carry it around all day. So what do you do?

Stop and ask yourself:

  1. What do I have the taste for?

Do I have a taste for a burger or chicken? Once you pick up the menu and see the options, what does your eyes immediately go too?

  1. How do I want to feel once I leave?

Let’s say that greasy bacon is great once first taste it, yet after a while it upsets your stomach. Therefore, asking yourself whether you want to feel bloated or full from an upset stomach is key to deciding on what to order. Maybe you do not care about the aftermath but really want bacon, so you should have the bacon.

  1. On a scale from 1 to 10, how hungry am I?

Checking into your hungry cues is important deciding factor of what to choose. Maybe you just ate a small snack beforehand so you are not extremely hungry yet not entirely full, so you may decide smaller portion (appetizer option) or you may want a full dinner entrée depending on your hunger cues.

I know what you are thinking, well, Emily, being mindful is great and all but now, tell me what I should eat. Should I go for an egg and cheese bagel or the salad? But the truth is, you are the expert of yourself. Therefore, your health, your food choices, and all your decisions are truly up to you. I could tell you to eat the salad, but is that really going to satisfy your hunger? Only you can answer that.

Want to hear more? Then, come to the lunch talk hosted by Employee Assistance Program (EAP) this Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 12-1 p.m.

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