Cook More, Stress Less


By Celina Scala

With the party-packed, calorie-laden holidays behind us, many of us now find ourselves shaking off our food hangovers and vowing to change our eating habits for the better. Yet even when armed with the best of intentions, we easily wind up feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to make time for healthy, home-cooked meals, and we find ourselves ordering takeout before February.

Making more meals at home, however, can actually be less stressful than you may think with just a little planning and simple shortcuts:

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Grilling Up a Happy, Healthy Holiday

By Anne Coltman

As we all look forward to Memorial Day, I’m sure most of us have plans to fire up the grill, head to the beach, or host a backyard get-together. As a dietitian, I often get questions about “good” and “bad” foods to eat on this day. While all foods fit in moderation, here are some ideas to lighten up your holiday feasts:

Enjoy the warm weather by getting active! Consider taking a walk, enjoying backyard volleyball or going for an afternoon swim.

Grilling meats is a naturally low-fat approach. Enjoy lower-fat meats like chicken, turkey burgers, extra lean or ground beef or fish on whole wheat buns. Top your burger with fresh vegetables and fruit.

Use colorful sauces and marinades. Use heart-healthy oils like olive and canola oil mixed with fresh herbs and lemon juice to minimize sodium and unhealthy fats. Substitute the mayo in your potato salad with low- or nonfat yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice to cut fat while pumping up flavor!

Prepare salads full of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. These include spinach, asparagus, radishes, cherries, apricots and pineapples.

Consider desserts of fruit salad or grilled pineapple. Angel food cake with fresh berries and frozen yogurt is a low-fat, delicious way to enjoy frozen treats!

Be mindful of food safety. Keep raw meats separate from other raw foods and in the refrigerator. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Cook all meats thoroughly.

Enjoying time with your families and friends does not have to mean packing on the calories. Stay healthy and enjoy the holiday!

Anne Coltman, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, is a nutrition support dietitian who works in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center.

Making Informed Food Choices

By Kelly Roehl

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy habits.

While there are endless food options with the ease of online ordering and delivery services, it is up to you what you decide to put in to your body. The theme for National Nutrition Month 2012 is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

As registered dietitians, we encourage our clients to think before they eat. Here are a few ways to “check” your meals to make sure you’re getting the right types and amounts of nutrients for a healthy weight and lifestyle:

Make half your plate vegetables with a side of fruit. Produce is packed with antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals to protect against chronic disease.

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Where to Draw the Line on Cholesterol

Eggs are high in cholesterol but contain important nutrients.

By Heather Rasmussen

As a registered dietitian in a cardiology clinic, one of the most common questions I get asked relates to dietary cholesterol. Patients either state that they are avoiding dietary cholesterol as they know that it is “bad” for their heart, or they ask if the rumors that has been circulating about the dangers of cholesterol consumption are really true. As a researcher in the field of heart disease, I know the ins and out of cholesterol, and have a variety of responses in my arsenal.

First, it is true that in some people (approximately one-third), dietary cholesterol does increase your own circulating cholesterol. However, it raises both your good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, so the ratio of the two does not change. Thus, it is thought that because of this simultaneous increase in both HDL and LDL cholesterol, dietary cholesterol does not greatly impact heart disease risk. However, there are a few caveats.  One, some research shows that eggs (containing dietary cholesterol) increase risk of heart disease in diabetics. In addition, there is some concern that if we measure our own circulating cholesterol after eating (not fasting as most of how cholesterol is measured), that dietary cholesterol may have a negative impact.

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Dieting All About Dedication, Moderation

By Laura Oliver 

When you’re striving to attain a healthier weight, which diet is best for you? What should you avoid? How many calories should you consume? Sometimes people focus too much on restriction of food and calories and not enough on balance. When in doubt, go back to the basics of a portion-controlled meal plan.

Focus on what you can have. Get excited about healthful eating. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy do the body good. They give you stable energy and provide you with essential nutrients that help strengthen your muscles and bones.

Keep your weaknesses in check. You do not have to write down everything you eat every day, but keep track of your weaknesses. If you struggle with desserts, then set a goal and allow yourself to have a realistic number of desserts per week. Then, stick to it. Continue reading

Healthy Eating Is Challenging For Dietitians, Too

By Yimin Chen

Lunchtime and snack time in the hospital for a registered dietitian is always a challenge, as everyone around stares to see what we will choose to eat.

Just the other day, another fellow dietitian and I were cruising down the snack aisle of a food shop when someone made a comment about the chips we had chosen for a snack being “unhealthy… especially for a dietitian.”

It got me thinking — as difficult as it already is to eat a healthy diet, it is particularly difficult when I am expected to “know better.” I always find myself explaining to people that I balance my caloric intake with increased physical activities, and that every food can fit into a healthful diet. If you are willing to work off the extra calories from that bag of chips, then you can have that bag of chips. Continue reading

The Difference Between Dietitians, Nutritionists

Cassie Vanderwall, dietitian with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IllinoisBy Cassie Vanderwall

Registered dietitians across America are celebrating because March 9 was Registered Dietitian Day and March is National Nutrition Month. This month is special to us because we get to celebrate being a registered dietitian. I wanted to celebrate by sharing the differences between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist.

Dietitians and nutritionists are not created equal. Dietitians hold the legally protected “RD” credential that is reserved for clinicians who have been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association. Some RDs call themselves “nutritionists” because this term is more familiar to the American public than dietitian, but it is important to note that not all nutritionists are RDs. Continue reading