Ways in which foods are integrated into the diet. Are vegetables added to soups, stews, rice, or other dishes instead of eaten as a side dish or in salads? Is milk used as the liquid in cooked cereal, blended with fruit, or mixed half and half with coffee or tea rather than being used alone as a beverage?
Trained peer counselors afford a means to extend the reach and effectiveness of health care providers—especially for breastfeeding women, members of ethnic minorities, and adolescents. Women who have successfully implemented nutritional recommendations as patients are candidates for the special training required.
Prior to the encounter between the woman and the provider, the peer counselor may meet with the woman to review objectives from the previous visit and the extent to which they were met, determine the woman's nutrition-or health-related concerns, review topics that are scheduled to be discussed during the visit, and help the woman develop appropriate questions based on her needs.
Following the encounter between the woman and the provider, the peer counselor may meet with the woman to review what was discussed, determine whether the instructions are understood, help her make plans based on available resources, alert her to resources to improve her nutritional status, and encourage her to follow-up and to take responsibility for her own health and welfare.
As needed, the peer counselor may provide other services, including giving food demonstrations and helping design educational materials.