Choosing a Meal Plan to Promote Health

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:00 AM


Dietary patterns, whole foods, and a total diet versus single nutrient approach to nutrition was a key theme that emerged from a symposium at the American Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2014 this spring. The Dietary Guidelines provides examples of several dietary patterns that foster healthy eating. When choosing a meal plan for your clients, how do you decide which meal plan to choose — the USDA Food Patterns and their vegetarian variations; the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, based on the DASH research studies, developed to help reduce blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors; or the traditional Mediterranean-style eating patterns (from Greece or Spain)? The Mediterranean diet, for example has been gaining attention.

Publication of the PREDIMED (Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet) multicenter randomized trial by researchers in Spain last spring, raised awareness in the health professional community and the general public that the Mediterranean dietary pattern might help lower cardiovascular disease risk. Read the rest of this entry »

Get in the Game with National School Lunch Week

Posted by Camellia Patey @ 7:14 AM


At one of my first school nutrition meetings I heard an experienced school nutrition professional say, “We know that for some of our students school lunch on Friday could be the last real meal they are able to have until they get back to school on Monday.” This quickly puts into focus how significant school meals can be to a child and their family. Since that conversation, when I think about National School Lunch Week (NSLW), October 13th-17th, 2014, I view it not only as an opportunity to help engage all students in healthier eating, but also to raise awareness on how providing at-risk children with nutrient-rich meals at lunch also helps to address hunger.

sna-logo-colorSCOREBOARD-300dpiThis year, National School Lunch Week(NSLW) occurs just a few weeks after the release of the Hunger in America 2014 Report by Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States, and it shows how huge the need to address hunger is in the United States. The Feeding America Network, a nationwide network of 200 member food banks, serves more than 46.5 million people annually who rely on their local food bank or pantry to help feed their families, including 12 million children. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you Attending FNCE 2014? Don’t Miss These Opportunities to Connect with Us

Posted by Tab Forgac @ 7:44 AM


Some of you may have seen some of these highlights from Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, President of National Dairy Council, but I wanted to make sure that all of The Dairy Report readers were informed of all the exciting things happening at the Academy’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) this year!

The health and well-being of Americans is not only crucial to long-term health, but also to America’s future.  More Americans are dealing with issues related to food insecurity, namely hunger, which can impact their health.  An especially vulnerable population affected by hunger are our nation’s children — one in five households with children in America is food insecure.

For almost 100 years, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to providing sound science, improving child health and serving as a resource for health and wellness professionals, parents and school stakeholders. NDC helps ensure that Americans do not face hunger, are well nourished and get enough physical activity as part of the equation to their well-being. Additionally, NDC helps connect Americans to where dairy foods come from, including how they can be part of a sustainable lifestyle — good for people, communities and the planet. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a Break from the Sodium Debate and Champion a Total Diet Approach for Blood Pressure Control

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:56 AM


The on-going debate among scientists and health experts about how much sodium is consistent with good health continues. Of note is the publication of three articles in the New England Journal of Medicine last month that helped fuel the debate.

Contributing to the ongoing conversation was one paper from a large multi-national study (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology [PURE]) that found an estimated sodium intake between 3 and 6 grams/day was associated with a lower risk of death and cardiovascular events – while both higher (>7 grams/day) and lower (<3 grams/day) estimated sodium intakes were associated with greater risks. Due to the uncertainty raised about the cardiovascular health effects of a low sodium diet, the authors say more clinical trials are likely needed.  Read the rest of this entry »

New NDC Site Aims to Help People #EatConfidently with Lactose Intolerance

Posted by Karen Kafer, RD @ 8:07 AM


There’s a lot of confusion around lactose intolerance. Some people mistake digestive issues with a milk allergy, while others consider themselves to be lactose intolerant. Too often, people think they need to cut dairy products out of their lives entirely. In fact, roughly 1 in 10 people think they’re lactose intolerant, and that’s through self-diagnosis. As a result, many people are missing out on the nutritional and taste benefits of their favorite dairy foods – but they don’t have to.

National Dairy Council (NDC) has launched a new lactose intolerance website,, where people can find helpful information, resources, recipes and more to make educated decisions about their condition. By creating a user-friendly online destination about lactose intolerance, NDC can provide the tools and resources necessary to help people understand how dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) can still be a part of a healthy lifestyle, suited specifically to their individual needs, whether they’re lactose intolerant or not.

The site houses sharable, educational content, including easy-to-understand articles, recipes, infographics, and videos and acts as a hub for social media conversations about lactose intolerance – all available via three easy-to-navigate sections of the site: Read the rest of this entry »

This Fall, Embrace Play with Fuel Up to Play 60

Posted by Ann Marie Krautheim, MA, RD, LD @ 7:53 AM


As students head back to school this fall, it is important that we not only continue to work together toward common goals of helping kids lead healthier lives and fueling healthy families, but that we continue to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity and its impact on student health and wellness.

Physical activity, in combination with good nutrition, is essential to a healthy lifestyle.i In fact, studies show that active kids may do better academically and have a greater ability to concentrate in class. However, currently 71 percent of students grades 9-12 do not meet the 60 minutes per-day physical activity recommendation and 48 percent do not attend PE classes in an average school week.ii This means that many may face a disadvantage inside and outside of the classroom.ii

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Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Back to School Lunch Time

Posted by Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD @ 7:44 AM


Students with access to healthy foods and physical activity tend to be healthier and better learners. By lunchtime, which is usually a good four to five hours after breakfast, my fourth-grader Topher, is sure to be hungry. A satisfying midday meal provides him the fuel he needs to focus on learning in the afternoon.

Over the summer, Topher took up an interest in helping me make his camp lunches. I have found that when I allow him to make decisions about what he eats and participate in preparation, it increases the likelihood that he eats what’s in front of him.


With school back in session, I’ve put together 5 strategies to contribute to a successful lunch plan that you may want to share with your clients: Read the rest of this entry »

Affordability vs. Nutrition: You CAN Have Both!

Posted by Kim Kirchherr @ 8:11 AM


What makes you choose to eat the food you do? Does a certain food or aroma drum up memories from childhood? For most of us, the answer is yes and the food choices we make come from what we are familiar with and what is available. As dietitians, we strive to help people make better choices in support of their health goals while taking into consideration all the things that impact people’s food choices, from culture to taste to kitchen skills to budget and more.

When it comes to grocery shopping, sometimes the budgetary considerations outweigh the nutritional considerations. How do we help people manage the two, and can healthier shopping be done on a budget? This topic is always on our minds as health professionals, and this month, Hunger Action Month, is a great time to pause and consider the one in six Americans who are at risk of hunger.


Here are some of our favorite shopping and planning tips to help your clients navigate the wallet vs. taste bud conversation: Read the rest of this entry »

Leading Pediatrician Bob Murray Answers Women’s Questions About Lactose Intolerance and Pregnancy

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RD @ 10:16 AM


During pregnancy, a woman’s concern over her own health as well as that of her developing baby is heightened. She wants to do everything she can to make sure her baby is healthy at birth, during infancy and beyond. Many women have questions or mistaken beliefs about what they should eat or not eat during pregnancy. As a result, they may unknowingly consult unreliable sources of information or receive well-intended advice from family members and friends that is inaccurate.

That’s why we were so pleased when Dr. Bob Murray, a well-known and respected pediatrician, agreed to help us answer some questions women have about lactose intolerance during pregnancy, and how it might affect their own health and that of their baby. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking For a Reliable Resource for Dairy-Related Questions?

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RD @ 8:22 AM


Have you ever had someone come to you with questions about dairy products or health-related topics that you weren’t sure how to answer?

When I first started working at National Dairy Council, it was my job to answer questions from multiple audiences. I was amazed (and frankly overwhelmed) at the number of dairy-related questions there were, and I was dismayed by the amount of misinformation being communicated. Are there antibiotics in milk?  Do naturally-occurring hormones in milk cause early puberty in girls?  Why is there sodium in cheese – does it have a function?  Can I bake with light butter? That’s why I was so pleased that the July-August issue of Food & Nutrition was dubbed the “Dairy Issue” – providing reliable information to answer many of your dairy related questions. Below is a preview of some of what you will find and links to the publicly available content:

shutterstock_121900495smIn the Matter of Milk - “Milk’s wholesome reputation has been rattled in recent years” by rumors of hormones in milk causing early puberty in girls and possible antibiotic residues in the milk supply. But are the alarms based in fact or fiction? Author Kerry Neville, MS, RD, helps us understand the facts behind these issues as well as what constitutes good farm management practices by interviewing experts, such as a professor of dairy management and a registered dietitian whose family owns a dairy farm. She tells us, for example, a veterinarian might administer antibiotics if a dairy cow is sick — but milk from cows taking antibiotics cannot be sold. This is important information to share with the public. She also assures us that “While family history, height, weight, diet and exercise have been found to influence the age of puberty in girls, there is no [conclusive] evidence to date that milk consumption – or the hormones naturally found in milk – has any effect.” Read the rest of this entry »