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 »

Could Dairy Fat Have Different Effects Than Other Fats Related to Type 2 Diabetes?

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


You are likely aware of the growing debate playing out in the media among scientists and health experts about the health consequences of fat, particularly saturated fats. Although current guidelines recommend that consumption of saturated fat from any source be limited to no more than 10 percent of calories, emerging research is beginning to show that not all types of saturated fats have the same effect on health. While it’s too early to make sweeping nutrition recommendations, it’s critical that we, as health and wellness experts, are aware of the advances.

One recent example is a large European study (free full text available) which found that the type of fatty acids circulating in the blood differ when it comes to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Read the rest of this entry »

Milk: A Nutrient-rich, Calorie-Containing Beverage is Associated With Decreased Body Fat in Kids

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 10:03 AM


As a nutrition scientist and parent, I have always wanted my own children and those of family and friends, to be healthy, active, and grow to their greatest potential. As health and wellness professionals, I’m sure you feel the same way. As you know, far too many children are overweight. Those of you actively involved in helping families with children know that choosing foods and beverages that will help them maintain a healthy body composition as they grow is important. Results of a recent beverage study may help.

If you have been following the beverage research, you know that questions remain about the role of calorie-containing beverages in childhood health and wellness. A 12-year observational study published earlier this year sheds light on the influence of beverage consumption on children’s body composition as they grow up. The researchers examined the effects of beverages including milk (plain and flavored), fruit and vegetable juices, and sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages on body composition (BMI, waist circumference, skinfolds) from early childhood (ages 3 to 5) into adolescence (ages 15 to 17). At the end of follow-up, the researchers assessed percent body fat by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Read the rest of this entry »

Join NDC in Fighting Hunger During Hunger Action Month

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN @ 7:12 AM


When you think of rural America, do you think of farms and crops? While some of our rural areas help feed the nation, there’s an all-too-common problem in some communities: 15.5 percent of rural households are food insecure. That’s 3.1 million households!

Hunger exists everywhere in America – now more than ever, according to Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 study. It affects communities from inner cities to rural and farm communities, the very same places where some of our food is grown. In fact, for one in six Americans, hunger is a very real struggle. This means that nearly 16 million children lived in food insecure households in 2012. Hunger impacts how children grow and learn, and hunger can have other long-term consequences, too.

Feeding America Serves 46M Americans

I’m proud to share that National Dairy Council, in partnership with Feeding America and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is helping to fight hunger and promote healthy food choices among food-insecure Americans. September is Hunger Action Month, a crucial time to raise awareness about this issue and get people involved in fighting hunger. And here’s the best part: Everyone can play a role. Read the rest of this entry »

Temperature is Not the Only Thing Rising this Summer: American Adults with Diabetes Reaches 29 Million

Posted by Michelle Slimko @ 7:12 AM


Just recently the CDC released the National Diabetes Statistics Report and it stated that in 2012 more than 29.1 million American adults 20 years or older have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 20.8 million in 2011. According to the report, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of diagnosed cases in adults. As we look ahead at the health of our nation, the report also noted that another 86 million adults have prediabetes, putting them at high risk for development of type 2 diabetes.  The 2012 estimated cost of diabetes in the US is a staggering $245 billion (direct and indirect) per year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Better Together: How Dairy Foods Can Enhance Farmers Market Finds

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RD @ 9:28 AM


One of the things I like best about summer is the bounty of fresh-picked sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, plums, and berries available everywhere — especially at farmers markets. Helping people make the best use of local produce from farmers markets and enhancing it with low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, like milk, yogurt, and cheese, is what I will share today.

As you peruse the aisles of picture-perfect fruits and vegetables, if you’re like me, you will start thinking about what you can pair together to make your summer meals more interesting, delicious, and nutritious. Some things just naturally go together and complement each other: lettuce and tomatoes, strawberries and rhubarb, peaches and blueberries . . .


While some dairy foods may or may not be available at local farmers markets, they always can be paired with farmers market finds to create delicious and nutrient-rich meals and snacks. Dairy foods — that contain calcium, potassium, protein, and other essential nutrients — can be paired with fruits and vegetables that have other important nutrients, like vitamin C and fiber. Together they can be a delicious and nutritionally powerful combination, which is good information to share with your clients.

Read the rest of this entry »

Milk: An Unexpected Way to Hydrate Young Athletes

Posted by Matthew Pikosky, PhD, RD, FACN @ 1:40 PM


The month of August brings mixed emotions for parents and kids. Barbecues, lazy days by the pool, and backyard whiffle ball games will soon be fond memories. However, preseason practices for various fall sports are beginning to ramp up, and soon will lead to fun fall weekends filled with cheering kids on at football games, soccer matches and more.

Young athletes are putting in hours of work on the field to get back into shape for a successful season. Perhaps equally important as this “on-field” work is properly refueling afterward and following a well-balanced diet to help ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy, recover from their workouts and perform at their best. This is where health and wellness professionals such as registered dietitians can help. Read the rest of this entry »