Help Families Fill Nutrition and Reading Gaps This Summer

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RD @ 11:47 AM


School’s out, kids are home for the summer, and a parent’s routines have completely changed and they may need your help to navigate the new schedules. They have gone from packing school lunches to making meals and snacks for their kids between trips to the beach or pool, sports events, swimming lessons, or playing with friends in the backyard. Well-chosen snacks are a great way to help fill nutrition gaps, and help kids meet their energy needs.  But many kids also experience a reading gap in the summer. By choosing the right books, you can help families simultaneously fill nutrition and reading gaps during the summer break – and have fun doing it.

TDR.little.girl.yogurtWhile we know as health and wellness professionals that it’s important to nourish the body, it’s equally as important to nourish the mind, especially since a new survey found that children spend nearly three times as many hours weekly watching TV or playing video games as they do reading in the summer. It’s important to remember that nutrition, physical activity, and learning go hand-in-hand all year long.

So encourage families and children to curl up with a good book this summer – one that delights, nourishes the mind, and encourages adventures in the kitchen and garden.  Here are a few resources that may be of interest to you: Read the rest of this entry »

Cardiovascular Disease: Where Do Milk and Dairy Foods Stand?

Posted by Moises Torres-Gonzalez @ 1:54 PM


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) comprises a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels such as coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, among others. Despite enormous advances made in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of CVD, it still remains the leading cause of death in the US and Worldwide. Globally, CVD is responsible for 17 million deaths.

Some of the risk factors for CVD — such as overweight, high blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol — are modifiable risk factors that can be influenced by diet and lifestyle. Thus, following a healthy diet and increasing physical activity are two of the most recommended actions aimed to reduce the risk of CVD.

TDR_CardiovascularDiseaseRegarding diet, some people search for health-promoting food options and may overlook some healthful choices, like dairy foods, that are readily available in a wide range of options, including low-fat and fat-free.

Although milk and dairy foods are often perceived to be associated with increased CVD risk because of their saturated fat content, there is moderate evidence that dairy foods may help to reduce the risk of CVD, as indicated in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.    Read the rest of this entry »

Refuel With Chocolate Milk

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 12:44 PM


Since summer is the perfect time to cool down with an ice-cold glass of chocolate milk, I thought I would share some of the reasons I love drinking it.

Both of my boys are big chocolate milk drinkers. As they got older they kind of lost the taste for white milk, so we gave them chocolate to keep them drinking milk. As a result, today as young adults (23 and 19), they drink milk and water or 100 percent fruit juices and very little soda. The fact that they still drink milk is a big nutritional plus for them.

I especially like drinking chocolate milk after working out or running. After Chocolate Milkweight lifting, usually with my son, I add some whey protein to it. I know I need more protein than my son to stimulate muscle synthesis after my workout. (Yang, 2012;Wittard, 2013)

Read the rest of this entry »

See How Two Proteins Naturally Found in Milk May Aid Blood Pressure Control

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 10:34 AM


With one in three Americans having hypertension and nearly 30 percent of adults having prehypertension, you most likely counsel clients frequently about dietary and lifestyle changes to help reduce blood pressure. When discussing dietary advice with people, we know it’s important to keep in mind that “People eat food, not nutrients,” so often a whole foods approach works best. But as professionals, we want to know how foods work to maintain health. We want to know the mechanisms behind the beneficial effects nutrient-rich foods have on health outcomes – in intricate detail. Blood pressure is no exception. New research into the how of blood pressure control published this spring in the American Journal of Hypertension reveals a potentially unique role for proteins naturally found in milk. Read the rest of this entry »

Help Close the Nation’s Nutrition Gap by Donating Milk

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, LD, RDN @ 7:00 AM


Have you ever reached into the fridge only to find that you are out of milk? While that may be an inconvenience for some of us now and then, it’s a common situation for the 49 million people in the United States living in food insecure households and usually don’t have access to this nutrient rich food that so many of us enjoy. According to a study by Feeding America, milk is one of the top five requested foods in food banks, but the majority of food banks cannot keep up with demand because milk rarely donated. Unfortunately, the 37 million Americans served annually in the Feeding America network only receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year.

TDR.Jean.NHMACBOn June 12, I was invited to speak on behalf of National Dairy Council (NDC) at the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) Congressional Briefing. At the briefing, “Strategies to Improve Hispanic Childhood Obesity”, I discussed how NDC’s partnership with MilkPep and Feeding America is addressing the nutrition gap. Through this partnership we are striving to fight hunger by helping supply our nation’s food banks with nutrient-rich foods, such as milk. Increasing the consumption of nutrient-rich foods, like low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, will help to close the nutrition gap.There are significant racial and age disparities in the prevalence of obesity; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 22.5 percent of Hispanic children are obese compared to 14.1 percent of Caucasian children. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Food Service Program Kicks Off in Chicago

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, LD, RDN @ 7:15 AM


The 88 degree summer heat did not keep enthusiastic families and children away from the Summer Food Service Program Kickoff celebration in Armour Square Park on June 16. It was with great pride that I watched the television coverage of the fun-filled day featuring many organizations coming together to provide nutritious meals to hungry children, as well as, various Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) activities. Each organization had their own booth with educational handouts, goodie bags, fun activities, and nutritious food for kids and their families to enjoy.

Summer Food Service ProgramThe celebration kicked off with inspiring speeches from representatives from the organizations partnering to implement the Summer Food Service Program, such as Catholic Charities, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Hunger Coalition, USDA, and our dairy friends at Midwest Dairy Association, who discussed the importance of providing nutritious meals to children year round.

I am honored that representatives from National Dairy Council were able to provide FUTP60 support at the event to help spread the word that children can get nutritious food and fun physical activity through the Summer Food Service Program even when school is out. Read the rest of this entry »

The Role of Physician Assistants in Lactose Intolerant Management

Posted by Toby Amidor @ 4:35 PM


In light of the projected physician shortage and the limited time physicians have to spend with patients, physician assistants have come to the rescue. Over 95,000 physician assistants in the U.S. are trained to have the flexibility and agility to respond immediately to the demands placed on our healthcare system. It is now the physician assistants who have the first encounter with patients. It is during this time when they have the responsibility to provide patients with the appropriate guidance and most up-to-date advice when it comes to nutrition and diet.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Student’s Perspective on Experimental Biology 2014

Posted by Emily Kranias @ 7:30 AM


My nerves were starting to get the best of me as I walked up to my gate at the airport. People getting on our flight to San Diego were also going to Experimental Biology (EB) 2014. How could I tell? It was hard not to notice that most people carried poster tubes, had leather briefcases and were engaged in intense discussion over medium-chain fatty acids. I, on the other hand, a first year graduate student completing my dietetic internship and MBA, toted my L.L. Bean backpack to my first scientific meeting.

Luckily my preceptor, ever the rationalist, was there to keep me calm. When we arrived at the convention center in San Diego I was shocked at the sheer amount of people present. More than 14,000 scientists attend this meeting each year! Even more overwhelming was the amount of brainpower and expertise gathered in one place. Scientists, researchers and nutrition professionals were everywhere. When I saw some younger grad students who also looked like a couple of “deer in the headlights,” I began to relax. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Connection Summit Excitement Builds

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, LD, RDN @ 2:01 PM


I can’t wait to take the field at Dallas Cowboys Stadium with more than 700 adults and students not to mention current and former NFL athletes for the Fuel Up-Play-Learn Expo! The Expo, which takes place July 16, is packed with fun activities to empower student leaders to make positive nutrition and physical activity changes within their schools. It caps off the day-long Learning Connection Summit.

The Learning Connection Summit is more than a typical meeting. It raises awareness about the impact improved nutrition and regular physical activity have on learning, educates a diverse group of stakeholders about the supporting science, and connects individuals and organizations to create new partnerships and collaborations. The agenda includes many leading experts speaking on the topic of how to advance the cause of healthier and higher achieving students through the Learning Connection. Together we can work to create sustainable changes to improve nutrition and physical activity environments within schools, to potentially improve students’ academic performance. Read the rest of this entry »

One Change May Help Middle-Aged and Older Adults Reduce Blood Pressure

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 10:54 AM


As health and wellness professionals, you know the value of recommending small steps when helping your clients or patients reduce cardiovascular disease risk. When a person has multiple risk factors, often many lifestyle changes are needed. The more you can help people focus on one change at a time, the less overwhelmed they will feel, and the more successful they likely will be at maintaining those changes over time.  I want to tell you about a new study evaluating the effect of dairy foods on blood pressure that may help you prioritize your recommendations – but first a little background.

Years of research have focused on identifying diet and lifestyle changes to help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease – and blood pressure is no exception.  In fact, lifestyle modifications, including diet, is the first line of approach recommended in clinical guidelines for physicians who are treating patients with elevated blood pressure – an important and predictive risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  In these guidelines, adoption of the DASH eating plan – rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods – is listed second only to weight loss in its effectiveness for lowering blood pressure. Read the rest of this entry »