Hosting a Moo-velous Holiday Party

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 11:01 AM


The holidays are upon us and with that so are holiday parties. As health and wellness professionals we can help people navigate the plethora of food choices to find a balance between enjoying holiday fare and being mindful of wellness goals.

At some point, you have likely been charged with hosting festivities just as your patients and clients are, too. This may be an exciting opportunity — a time to showcase traditional favorites as well as new recipes. Or it could be a point of anxiety… leading to worries that sitting space is limited, your culinary skills are not Martha Stewart-like or a friend has a food sensitivity.

My husband (Steve) and I tend to fall into the latter party host category more often than not. Our place is small, and we stress over menu options. Being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I want to offer good for you options, but Steve wants more traditional party foods. We tend to concede and offer a variety of foods on the nutrition spectrum.


Here are some helpful tips that work for me that you or your clients may like:  Read the rest of this entry »

Dairy Foods: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:24 AM


With the holiday season in full swing, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what gifts I will give my wife and kids this year. As we all do, I want to give gifts to my family that are beneficial and meaningful to them. A gift they will treasure and remember fondly who gave it to them.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when it comes to health, I think dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt, have all the qualities of a perfect gift:shutterstock_167608301 Read the rest of this entry »

Starting Solids: Feeding Tips for New Parents

Posted by Mark R. Corkins, M.D. @ 7:08 AM


Here I was, a newly minted doctor in general pediatric training with my pride and joy: my infant son. He had reached the age when we could start feeding him solid foods, but no one had ever given me any other guidance besides that. So I did what every smart father does: I called my dad.

I asked, “Dad, we are going to start Christopher on solids, any advice?”

He solemnly answered, “Outside.”

Puzzled I repeated, “Outside?”

“Yea,” he said. “Do it outside.”

So much for parental advice.

While our parents may not always provide the insight we hope for, there are some guidelines that we can share with our patients to help them figure out when and how to start feeding their children solid foods.100714acc_r

National Dairy Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics have created a useful guide, Airplane Choo Choo: A Feeding Guide for Children, which outlines the current recommendations for advancing the eating plan in the early years of childhood. Designed by dietitians and pediatricians to provide simple tips on appropriate portions and foods, this guide can help your new moms and dads through the various stages of their child’s growth. I suggest providing this resource to your clients, along with discussing some other best practices I learned along the way as a pediatrician, including: Read the rest of this entry »

Cereal and Milk: It Just Fuels Right!

Posted by David Grotto, MS, RDN, LDN @ 8:27 AM


Ever since I was a kid, I refused to limit my love affair for cereal and milk to only the breakfast occasion. This combo proved a simple and delicious after-school or before-bedtime snack that I didn’t have to bother mom and dad to “make”– especially considering my limited culinary prowess as a kid. The recipe ingredient simplicity of bowl, cereal, milk and spoon was culinary genius! Maybe, if I felt really adventurous, I’d add on a banana or other fruit topping… maybe.

The food pairing of cereal and milk was something my parents intuitively felt really good about — having a hunch that the combined nutrition merits were very special. As both a parent and a registered dietitian, I’m thrilled to confirm that my parents’ hunch was spot on. The marriage of cereal and milk* is not only a tasty combination that has been appealing to kids and adults alike for over a century, but it is truly an ideal breakfast when combined with a serving of fruit, snack or any occasion-pairing based on its nutrition, health benefits and convenience.1,2042914breakfast_s

The milk and cereal duo delivers important nutrients that kids and adults otherwise might miss out on if they skipped breakfast altogether or picked a less nutritious choice.1,3,4 That’s a smart thing to do as it turns out that when it comes to breakfast foods, the cereal and milk combo is a one of the best choices in supplying up to 10 important nutrients for the amount of calories they provide.1,3  Read the rest of this entry »

Chef’s Corner: Tips for Cooking with Lactose-Free Milk

Posted by Chef Alan Corona @ 7:00 AM


Some people with lactose intolerance may think they need to live a life without dairy – but as we know, and as I’m sure you tell your clients – that’s usually not the case. One of the most challenging – and rewarding – parts of my job has to do with utilizing ingredients that are a bit unfamiliar, or perhaps just “misunderstood,” especially in the context of accommodating special dietary needs for my guests.

Today, I’d like to share a few simple tips and techniques for cooking with lactose-free cow’s milk that may be helpful to you as you work with your clients. When you know how to cook with it, lactose-free cow’s milk can provide the same flavor and versatility of regular milk (because it is milk!), allowing lactose intolerant individuals to enjoy the rich taste and nutritional benefits of dairy without distress! Using lactose free cow’s milk is a great way to make your recipes, because the end result can be enjoyed by your whole family, no matter if they live with or without lactose intolerance.


Read the rest of this entry »

A Big Nutrient Gap That May Need More Attention

Posted by Kristen McKinley @ 7:00 AM


While the four “nutrients of public health concern” get attention in the dietary guidance space, people may focus more on calcium, vitamin D and fiber, that appear frequently on the food Nutrition Facts panel, rather than potassium, which is not currently required on nutrition labels.  Adults and children are not meeting the mark when it comes to eating this nutrient and health and wellness professionals can help make potassium worthwhile.

With holidays approaching, I look forward to family time. As I think of my family members, I want them to have the gift of good health, and eating a balanced, nutrient-rich meal plan is part of that. Adequate potassium is not only important for overall wellness, but also for helping with blood pressure management and many of my family members have high blood pressure which can increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This can be a serious problem for many others as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and only about half have it under control.

TDR.whole.foodsFor years, many people have thought that lowering sodium intake was the main way to manage their blood pressure; however, this is not the case.  As a dietetic intern, I also was less aware of the important interaction of both potassium and sodium for blood pressure management. This was demonstrated through the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH eating plan over 13 years ago. DASH is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products — food groups that are good sources of potassium — and was effective in reducing blood pressure at low, intermediate, and high sodium levels.

Read the rest of this entry »

Can I Eat Cheese and Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure?

Posted by Amsey Bai @ 7:47 AM


Growing up in China, I drank whole milk for nearly 20 years, but cheese was never a part of my diet until I came to the United States to study dietetics. I never thought I would love cheese, but working with chefs at a large college dining hall for three years turned me into a cheese lover.

090514cheese_sThat’s why the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) article on 10 common foods with high sodium, caught my attention. Through my internship at National Dairy Council, I learned that cheese is made from four ingredients, one of which is salt, which plays a role in food safety. Thus, cheese itself is on the list, and it is also a component of several other foods listed. The ongoing need for reducing sodium in Americans’ diets concerns many  health and wellness professionals since consuming high amounts of sodium is associated with higher risk of hypertension.

Hypertension runs in my family history so I am obviously concerned about potentially developing this condition.  However, I do not want to give up cheese. Not only does cheese taste good, but it also provides high-quality protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Milk is an Adult Drink

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:28 AM


When you think of adult drinks, milk may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, when it comes to bone health, qualitative research shows that most adults associate consumption of milk and cheese with a bone health benefit, and name calcium and vitamin D as top nutrients. Baby Boomer and older consumers were more likely than younger generations to say that milk provides a bone health benefit. The older adults surveyed did not associate milk with helping to build muscle to the same degree as did younger adults.

But what we are learning – and what all adults should know — is that maintaining both bone and skeletal muscle as they age is important for helping to reduce the incidence of fragility fractures later.    iStock_16354673 XL alt 350r 4C

Recently a group of recognized bone experts from Switzerland, France, and North America collaborated on a paper to examine interactions between four nutrients – calcium, inorganic phosphate, vitamin D, and protein – and their role in preserving bone and skeletal muscle with age. Read the rest of this entry »

What Type of Milk Should Children Drink?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:39 AM


At National Dairy Council we are frequently asked by health and wellness professionals and parents what type of milk children should drink for good health. Should they drink only low-fat or fat-free milk, or is 2 percent or whole milk sometimes okay? We generally respond with current recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines, then direct parents to consult their child’s pediatrician for personalized care.

012014health_sFor example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published guidance for pediatricians in their updated clinical report, Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents. To optimize bone mass development in youth, the report encourages increased dietary consumption of calcium- and vitamin D-containing foods and beverages to meet daily requirements. It suggests that pediatricians recommend 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day for children ages 4- 8 years and four servings for adolescents. It mentions that low-fat dairy foods, such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurts are good sources of calcium.

Read the rest of this entry »

Four Ways to Honor the Harvest This Thanksgiving

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 8:34 AM


America is known as the land of plenty, so how is it one in six Americans face hunger? Hunger is real and it’s in every community across the U.S. While we have much to be thankful for, we also need to understand how we can be better stewards of what we have and help those not as fortunate.

Thanksgiving is a good time to have this discussion among our peers and with the public — it’s a time for enjoying nature’s bounty with family, counting our blessings and helping people in need. According to an issue paper by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), America is losing up to 40 percent of its food supply due to waste that occurs at every segment of the food supply chain. It is estimated that American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy.

What do people regret most about throwing away food? According to a nationally representative public poll of register voters from Sustainable America, they regret:

  • Wasted money (80 percent)
  • That there are people without enough to eat who could have used it (53 percent)
  • General environmental consequences of wasted food (20 percent)
  • That my refrigerator is disorganized and I didn’t see it in time (19 percent)

Share these four steps with your colleagues and clients to help honor the harvest:

Honor the Harvest_Final_

(Click for full-sized image)

Read the rest of this entry »