The Importance of Food, Nutrition and Building Healthy Habits

Food is all around us. It nourishes us, strengthens us, and energizes us each and every day of our lives – and as a food service company, you can imagine how much of our day revolves around food.

Simply put, we love food – but what we love even more, is how it brings people together. It motivates our teams to provide the best product and drives our passion to deliver the best experience – and for our Wellness and Nutrition Team, food is truly the heart of soul of their job.

As we celebrate National Dietitian Day, we are so proud of our team of over 40 talented dietitians across Compass Group Canada. They drive our commitment to wellness, provide engaging education, support our children in schools, patients in hospitals, elderly in senior living facilities and individuals in government facilities create a food environment that inspires individuals to fuel their healthy lifestyle.

Our dietitians use their expert knowledge and specialized skills to translate the science of nutrition in a way that our guests can understand. They unlock the potential of food and nutrition to encourage healthy living to support our people in a BIG way.

In celebration of our wonderful team of dietitians, we are so excited to shine the light on this piece of our business. We had the opportunity to sit down with a few of our team members to chat about all things food, nutrition, health and wellness!


Meet Brielle Perl, Director of Marketing, Nutrition and Support, Amrit Chhoker, Senior Manager, Wellness & Nutrition and Karli Nummikoski, Manager, Wellness & Nutrition.


What initially inspired you to pursue a career in dietetics, and how has that motivation evolved throughout your professional journey?

Brielle: “The experiences and support my family provided me initially inspired my pursuit of a career in dietetics. They always did and continue to share valuable knowledge and skills around food, the joy of cooking, and the significance of using a scientific mindset – the combination of all three pointed me in the direction of nutrition.

My profession continues to evolve, providing a dynamic experience motivating me to continue along this path.”

Amrit: “Health and well-being has been engrained in my life as part of my upbringing. My father, in particular, contributed nutrition as a first defense to a healthy lifestyle, mind and body, and it is something that has stuck with me for life.”

Karli: “From a young age, I recognized the influence of food on both physical and mental wellbeing. This, along with a simple love for food (I’ve always been a foodie!) initially sparked my interest in nutrition. This interest grew into a deep appreciation for the transformative power of food, which has motivated me to pursue a career that promotes nutrition awareness and improves health outcomes on a large, community scale.


Can you recount a memorable moment where you felt a significant impact from your guidance or recommendations on the health and well-being of our guests?

Brielle: “I have the privilege to directly influence patients’ treatment and wellbeing through the development of menus and patient dining programs within our Compass One Units in hospitals across Canada! This is so impactful as it focuses on elevating the patient dining experience through the opportunity of providing comforting, delicious, and nourishing food. It always brings a smile to my face when I know my job has made the day of our patients a little bit brighter – how special is that?”

Amrit: “I once worked with a senior living resident at one of our Marquise Units to improve her health outcomes by achieving weight gain and meal enjoyment. This showed me the true impact I could have on someone’s quality of life and reminded me of the truly special power we have as dietitians at Compass Group Canada.”

Karli: “I feel the positive impact of my job when I witness the implementation of my nutrition-based recommendations in the “real world”. Working with our Chartwells units to implement healthier menus and student nutrition initiatives feels particularly impactful to me, given these efforts encourage healthy behaviours from a young age, which will hopefully continue throughout their lives. It’s fulfilling to know that our job can promote real change in the lives of future generations, and I feel so lucky to have a role in that.”


Reflecting on your experiences, what do you believe is the most significant misconception people have about nutrition and dietetics, and how do you work to address it?

Brielle: “One of the most significant misconceptions is that individuals will only find dietitians working in a hospital or clinical setting. Dietitians work in many other settings – such as community health organizations, food industry and food service management, research and innovation, public health, workplace wellness programs, policy advocacy, media and public relations – the list goes on and on! I work to address this through creating awareness of the key roles dietitians have in food service management and how dietitians bring value by leveraging our skill set to make a difference in many settings.”

Amrit: “In my experience, when someone hears the word dietitian, they hear “diet”. Nutrition is about balance and enjoyment of food, and I think it’s still a work in progress to create awareness of the full scope of what dietitians can do.”

Karli: “In my experience, the most significant misconception people have about nutrition is that healthy food lacks flavour and excitement. I focus on implementing menu changes that not only enhance nutritional balance, but also celebrate the diverse and delicious aspects of food! By collaborating with our talented chefs for culinary innovation, making small yet impactful menu changes, and endorsing our healthy options in unit, my goal is to change the perception of healthy food!”


As a dietitian, you play a pivotal role in shaping not only individual health outcomes but also contributing to broader societal shifts towards healthier eating habits. How do you envision the future of nutrition and the role of dietitians within it?

Brielle: “The future is bright – I see a future with dietitians in settings all around us. We will continue to be your credible resource and will provide comfort to individuals by promoting their health and well-being through evidence-based nutrition interventions and advocacy efforts.”

Amrit: “Nutrition and dietetics have been evolving with the times within the world of nutrigenomics, and use of technology. I would love to see an embrace of technology for training and education, as well as the incorporation of a more holistic approach to health management.”

Karli: “As society continues to acknowledge the significant impact that food has on health and wellness, I envision a greater need to address public health food and nutrition challenges, with dietitians being on the forefront to guide policy development, implement sustainable nutrition practices, advocate for preventative health measures, and empower individuals to make informed nutrition choices.”


In just one sentence, can you tell us why you love what you do?

Brielle: “I love what I do as I appreciate the unique opportunity I have to make a tangible, positive impact on our guests health and wellbeing.”

Amrit: “I love what I do as our work directly impacts the quality of life and health and wellbeing of our guests.”

Karli: “I love what I do as I get to combine my love for nutrition with creativity and problem-solving, to ultimately contribute to enhanced health outcomes of our guests.”

Compass Group

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