Jennifer House, MSc, RD Registered Dietitian, Author, & Owner of First Step Nutrition

by Deana Levasseur
Jennifer House and Family

Jen House uses her 15 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and practical experience of raising her own 3 kids to help make feeding your family easier. She is passionate about helping parents make mealtimes more peaceful and raising children who have a healthy relationship with food.

Jennifer House R.D.
Jennifer House R.D.

What made you want to become a Dietitian?

I’ve always been interested in food and cooking. I went right into dietetics in high school and knew that nutrition would always be practical knowledge for me and my family, at every stage.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Private practice. I specialize in family nutrition: baby-led weaning, picky eating, and meal planning.

Describe your career path, what led you to own your private practice?

After graduating from my internship, I worked for just a few months casual in a rural hospital before heading back to school for an MSc in Human Nutrition. I enjoy being a student!

After that, I worked casually at the Alberta Children’s Hospital with outpatients and for Healthy Babies, working on projects such as Folic Acid and Health Weight Gain projects.

After having my first son in 2007, I decided I wanted a flexible schedule and was able to transfer my past work experience to start First Step Nutrition.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The total flexibility to work when I want, how I want. I have full creative control over what I want to create!

What type of advanced education or training do you have?

I have a thesis-based MSc from UBC.

I also take lots of online social media and small business training for managing my business. Marketing is a fun but challenging aspect of business that I didn’t learn about in school.

As a successful dietitian, business owner, author, and mother what are your tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

It’s been important to me to have set work times, without my children around. I used a combination of au pairs, day homes, and school so I could get some focused time. Otherwise, work will bleed into every minute of the day. And it’s really hard to get any work done with the kids around!

What is one thing you would tell dietetics students that hope to have their own private practice one day? 

Having a niche and a business coach from the start will be very helpful. I would suggest getting at least a part-time job for experience first, and to help fund your private practice to start out.

What is baby-led weaning and what is the best piece of advice you can give to parents that are scared to try baby-led weaning? 

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a method of starting a baby on solids where the baby self-feeds finger foods from the start and you skip the stage of spoon-feeding them purees.

There is soooo much misinformation about BLW, especially in large Facebook groups. I would recommend finding a dietitian to help guide parents through the process (I also have a book and e-course to help).

What is the best piece of advice for working with picky eaters and developing healthy eating habits in children? 

Follow Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding. This basically means: let the child choose how much to eat, without the pressure of any sort, of the food you’ve offered at scheduled meal and snack times.

What do you think is the most common misconception people have about Dietitian’s?

That we’re the nutrition police and don’t eat cake! There’s also little knowledge about what a dietitian actually is, our training, and how we differ from non-regulated nutritionists.

More about Jen House: 

Website and Blog: First Step Nutrition

Facebook: First Step Nutrition

Twitter: @firststepnut

Instagram: @firststepnut

Youtube: Jennifer House

Pinterest: First Step Nutrition

About the Author: Deana Levasseur is a Dietitian student at the University of Alberta.