Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Greek Yogurt 101: 3 Things You Need to Know

Greek yogurt has become a staple on my weekly grocery shopping list, as it has for my grown kids and their families. That may be the case for many families, since over the last year, 60 percent of households bought Greek yogurt. Since the popularity of Greek yogurt continues to grow, I am guessing you may be getting questions about it from clients, friends, or family. Here are three things you need to know:

What is Greek yogurt and did it originate in Greece?

Greek yogurt is yogurt which has been strained to remove much of its whey, making it thicker, richer, and tangier than traditional yogurt. The term “Greek” refers more to the process for making it than it does country of origin. The exact country of origin is unclear – since Africa, India, Greece, and Arab countries all have traditional cultured milk dishes created by straining.

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Why Do People Drink Milk?

I am mystified when I hear people question why we humans drink the milk of other animals. Yet a simple search of the Internet reveals that this is a sentiment many share. But is the belief that people shouldn’t drink cow, sheep, or goat’s milk consistent with human history? With human physiology?

Milk for Centuries

When we delve into this subject a bit deeper, we find that milk has been an important source of human nutrition for thousands of years. Milk drinking is not just a practice of Western culture, but a shared part of human existence around the world, as archaeologists and anthropologists have found: (more…)

Care for Yourself and Others with Mindful Eating Over the Holidays

While on a flight home recently, I listened as the flight crew told passengers that “in the event of an emergency the oxygen masks will drop down. Put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others.” I thought how important that instruction is in many other situations as well. If we, as health and wellness professionals, don’t take care of ourselves, we are in no position to be of any help to others. The same is true for our clients.

Though the holidays are not considered an emergency, at times all the extra activities and responsibilities can leave people exhausted. After all, expectations are high — our own and those of others. With so much to do, getting enough sleep, physical activity and eating right, often get pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s my tendency, anyway.

So, it’s up to us to remind those we work with (and ourselves) that the body’s need for sleep, exercise, and good nutrition does not take a holiday. In fact, during busy times we need nutrient-rich meals and snacks —coupled with physical activity— more than ever to give us energy and stamina to help us be at our best.

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Here are a few strategies I plan to use that might also help you and your clients use a mindful approach to balance enjoyment with health and wellness throughout the busy holiday season.  (more…)

Dairy Foods: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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 (more…)

Cereal and Milk: It Just Fuels Right!

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  (more…)

Fueling Up for the Long Run: My Nutrition Plan for Ultra-Marathon Training

A lot has happened since I wrote my last post on race training in January 2013.  I completed my third 50K as well as marathons number seven, eight and nine; and I signed up for my first 50-mile race, which is now less than a month away; and I’ve fine-tuned my nutrition plan for training as my mileage increases.

After three positive 50K experiences, it made sense for me to tackle 50 miles, which is the next distance in the ultra-marathon world (an ultra is any distance beyond the 26.2-mile marathon distance). Training for a longer distance race means increasing weekly mileage (my average is 60+). It also means incorporating more back-to-back long runs on the weekends (for example, 24 miles on Saturday, 18 on Sunday) to become accustomed to running on “tired legs”  and learning how to drink adequate fluids and get enough calories while running so hydration and energy stores are maintained.

Given my nutrition background, I have a good knowledge base to work from, but for the most part, figuring out how to fuel up before a run has been a process of trial and error. Here are strategies that work for me, and could be useful for sharing with your active clients. (more…)

Affordability vs. Nutrition: You CAN Have Both!

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.

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Here are some of our favorite shopping and planning tips to help your clients navigate the wallet vs. taste bud conversation: (more…)

Help Families Fill Nutrition and Reading Gaps This Summer

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: (more…)

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

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. (more…)

The Complexity of Cancer and Food

Cancer is scary. It is a complex disease that does not discriminate — it can impact all parts of the body, and all ages, young and old, without warning. Most people have an experience with cancer either personally or through family, friends, coworkers or others they know. My experiences involve many people like my cousin, Scott, who was close to my sister’s age and lived a block away from us growing up—he was almost in the 2nd grade when he passed away. Scott maintained his childhood sweetness and wonderment at the little things through his short life; there was nothing his parents, support network and medical staff did not try to help him beat cancer. More recently my friend Dena lost her life to cancer right before her 30th birthday. I also am a registered dietitian (RD) and worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for about 5 years, where I met and worked with many patients, some of them with cancer.

As an RD, I wish we knew more about how to reduce the incidence of this horrible disease, but the reality is cancer, the second most common cause of death in the U.S., is a multifaceted disease that appears to result from the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors. Among the environmental factors, diet and nutrition, including milk and milk products, have received considerable attention as potential modifiers of cancer risk, but we still have a long road of discovery ahead. (more…)