How to Really Make 2019 A Healthier Year

By Julie Stefanski MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE

If you’re someone that likes to make lists, you may already have an inventory of changes you’re going to make in the new year.

We’re curious though, how did your resolutions for this year turn out?

A big round of applause if you followed through and made changes to improve your health.  For many of you though, thoughts didn’t turn into actions or perhaps those new choices didn’t stuck around past March.

Whether it was losing weight, stopping smoking, or even getting a new job, why didn’t you reach your goals?  To help you out, we turned to health and nutrition experts for the best ways to improve your success in getting healthier during 2019.

“Ditch the vague resolutions of ‘lose weight’ or ‘save money,’” recommends Lindsey McCoy, RD, CSSD. “Instead, start thinking on the small scale; so small you might almost think ‘why bother?’ Because our health is a reflection of the small choices we make every single day, ask yourself ‘What step can I take within the next 48 hours?’ Drinking just one extra glass of water a day adds up to almost half a gallon at the end of the week. Likewise, walking an extra lap around your office building at lunch could add up to 2-3 miles. These small choices amount to a big impact on your health.”
Set Yourself Up for Success
Zach Cordell, MS, RDN suggests focusing on where the change is most sustainable, “Examine how your faith and culture influences your dietary behaviors, for good or bad.  If you have Sunday dinner with your family after church and you’re choosing to stay away from all fried foods, and that’s all your family serves that may be […]

Time to Add Mushrooms To Your Menu

Mushrooms are definitely one of those foods that people either love or hate!

Being from Pennsylvania, the state that produces the most mushrooms, I thought we’d take the time to shine a spotlight on this unique nutritional powerhouse since it’s Mushroom Month!  My other inspiration was a revelation by one of our dietitian experts.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium, copper, and even potassium.  But what often gets the most attention is the claim to fame of being a vegetarian source of vitamin D.  Did you know that certain commercially grown mushrooms have 25 times the vitamin D content compared to others?

Not only do our customers learn new things about nutrition from our courses, our authors do too!  Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC who recently tackled the update to our course “Vitamin D: Should “D” Stand for Deficiency?” was reminded that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a significant number of health issues including certain risks of cancer and preeclampsia as she revised the course.

One point about mushrooms really stuck out to Lauren, “I’ve been studying human nutrition since 1998 and I don’t know how I missed the fact that some companies are exposing mushrooms to UV light, resulting in Vitamin D production.”

While all mushrooms have some vitamin D2, the nutrient can be significantly increased in commercial mushrooms by exposing them to ultraviolet light.  Lauren explained, “Quick pulses of ultraviolet light flash over the mushroom’s surface, going through it, and setting off a chemical process that converts a compound similar to cholesterol inside the mushrooms into vitamin D. Does anyone else think that’s cool, or just me?”

As the local food movement has grown in strength so has the activity of foraging.  Last […]

Should You Kick Your Career Off Clinical Style?

It’s that time of the year when the job hunt for new dietitians is in full swing.  Although the bulk of available opportunities remains in the clinical setting, with ever expanding roles of dietitians in areas of media, culinary work, and retail dietetics, new grads have the option of skipping the traditional route of hospital-based practice after getting those well-earned RDN credentials.

Is it necessary for new dietitians to start their careers in clinical nutrition? Check out part one of our two-part blog.
The Case for Clinical
For many new dietitians, work in a hospital or long-term care facility takes the number one spot on their list of desired job possibilities.  Sari Schlussel-Leeds, MS, RDN, CDN, a dietitian based in New York agreed, “Starting out in clinical nutrition is a must in my opinion. It’s a great opportunity to hone your knowledge and skills and the clinical information is so valuable to any future endeavors relating to medical clinical findings for those you serve. The people skills that are heightened when dealing with a vast population of differing socioeconomic strata will serve a dietitian not only professionally, but personally as well.”

Zachari Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, an executive chef who specifically entered the dietetics field to help him confidently assist his mother who was having some health issues, feels a clinical base is an absolute necessity.  “As a dietetic internship preceptor, I have always advised my mentees and students to begin their careers in the clinical setting. Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is the basis of everything we do in dietetics, from culinary nutrition to community nutrition to public policy.” Zac added, “Regardless of their eventual professional goals, it is beneficial to the new RD to practice independently […]

Experts Offer Easiest Ways to Add More Plants to Your Plate

As healthcare professionals, we strive to keep our choices based on evidence-based practice. What’s holding you back from applying what we know about nutrition to your life?  While June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month, any way that you can make your diet more plant based all year is a good move for health.
Fresh or not, we asked Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for the easiest ways to get those five recommended cups of valuable plants into your daily routine.
First Things First
Opting for vegetables at breakfast is a favorite of many nutrition experts.  Kate Chury, RD, of Thinkybites.com suggests keeping a good supply of frozen vegetables on hand for both convenience and their nutritional value.

“My personal favorites for frozen vegetables are broccoli, spinach and asparagus,” Chury said. “I often use these frozen veggies in my scrambled eggs at breakfast. It can be hard to eat vegetables at breakfast time, and I’ve found this is an excellent way to get some in the morning. Frozen vegetables are also great to add to soups, pastas, curries or just to have as a simple, quick side.”

Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, of Kellyjonesnutrition.com agreed.

“I always have frozen vegetables on hand, especially broccoli and cauliflower, which I’ll roast on the convection setting in my oven, and in 15 minutes they’re ready to go with any protein or starch for dinner,” she said. “Any leftovers can be added to omelettes or used with lunch the next day.”

The rest of your day will probably take a turn for the healthier when you start off with some good choices.

EA Stewart, MBA, RD, of the The Spicy RD Blog recommends, “Start your day with leafy greens, like scrambling baby spinach with eggs, blending a […]

What to Know Before You Go Gluten Free

When Robin finally decided to head to the doctor for a checkup it was after months of not feeling well. Her main complaint was bloating after eating foods like pasta and bread. Certain foods like ice cream, granola bars or beans also caused significant abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea. After asking a few questions, the doctor suggested a diet change, she was handed a paper on the gluten free diet and asked to return in a month. Within a week Robin began to feel significantly better. Problem solved, right?

You probably know someone with celiac disease. With the prevalence rising to 1 in 133 people, nearly 3 million individuals in the United States have this autoimmune disorder. Unfortunately, 80- 90% of people who have celiac disease don’t actually know it. Randomly starting a gluten free diet without understanding how celiac disease is identified can do more harm than good.

What is Gluten?

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley is a common food ingredient in the United States. Gliadin, a part of gluten, cannot be fully broken down by the intestine in those with celiac disease, and can pass through the barrier of the intestinal wall causing an inflammatory response. Over time, the ability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients is decreased due to damage by exposure to gluten.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gastrointestinal reflux, or vomiting. People with undiagnosed celiac disease often become lactose intolerant due to the damage in the area of the small intestine that produces enzymes which help us break down and absorb our food. Although this sounds a lot like irritable bowel syndrome the cause and treatment is different.

When someone […]

Support Your Health During Stressful Times

For thirteen years as a nursing professor I posed this question to my nutrition students– “How does stress and life as a nursing student effect your eating habits?

Inevitably students always had one of two answers:

“As a nursing student I have a very busy schedule with studying. I know I have to make good food choices to keep myself healthy to do all the work I need to do.”


“As a nursing student I have a very busy schedule with studying. I have no time to make good food choices with all the work I need to do.”

What is the difference between these two groups? Does the group that prioritizes healthy eating have more time? Do they have more money?

The difference between the two groups is their attitude.

April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress can have a significant impact on our immune system and overall health. While we sometimes have little control over the stressors in our life, we can control our attitudes towards stress and how we take care of our bodies while under stress. Research has shown that our immune systems function best when supported by adequate sleep, regular exercise, and balanced food choices.

If your stress level is high make sure to do your best in these key areas:
• Make it a priority to go to bed earlier. Poor quality sleep is a trigger for inflammation and can increase your sensitivity to stressors in your life. Important health supporting hormones are released during each stage of sleep, but hormones produced in the early stages of sleep can especially be beneficial while under stress.
• Our quality of life, energy level, and health are significantly impacted by our daily dietary choices. Stress can also interfere with the […]

Tackling Problem Feeding Behaviors

Shawn wasn’t your typical four-year-old. Extremely thin and unable to communicate verbally, his entire diet consisted of infant oatmeal cereal with pureed fruit mixed in. For three meals a day, that was it. No meats, no vegetables, no solid food whatsoever. The response of the doctor’s office? “He’ll grow out of it.”

Luckily Shawn’s family was able to find help. During his first visit to a feeding clinic, staffed by an occupational therapist, registered dietitian, and speech language pathologist, Shawn screamed and banged his head on the floor when chicken nuggets were simply brought into the same room. Beyond simple picky eating, this type of response can be common among children on the Autism Spectrum.

April is world autism month. It’s now believed that 1 in every 68 children meets the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Common behaviors include problems interpreting social interaction cues, repetitive patterns of behavior, and interests. Gastrointestinal difficulties are common, but the cause and preferred treatment for issues such as constipation, diarrhea and reflux disease hasn’t been fully determined. Problems with communication skills can make it difficult for caregivers to interpret food preferences when attempting to feed, prepare or serve food to their child. Basically, every meal is a battle.

Call it what you will- Food selectivity, sensory integration with food, or problem feeding behaviors, children with ASD are five times more likely to have feeding behavioral issues. In 2013, a new eating disorder diagnosis was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V) described as Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or ARFID to reflect this type of restrictive eating.

A child with these behaviors may refuse to accept certain textures — rejecting those that are more complex […]

10 Things the Public can Learn from RDNs

For the first time in history, the number of registered dietitian nutritionists in the U.S. recently surpassed 100,000 credentialed practitioners.

That’s a lot of professional food enthusiasts.

From hospitals to schools and professional sports teams to government agencies, RDNs are everywhere. On March 14th, the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will honor the profession on the annual Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day.

These professionals are food, nutrition, and science experts who have invested a minimum of five years in education and supervised practice to earn the RDN credential.

There’s plenty that the public can learn from RDNs, starting with these 10 things:

Better habits: RDNs work directly with patients of all ages and with a variety of nutritional needs and health concerns, just like other healthcare clinicians. They are a required, valuable part of healthcare teams across the country.
What the research really says: Along with being practitioners, RDNs are also scientists who conduct research and translate that work into evidence-based best healthcare practices. RDNs are the only healthcare providers who study food science as a part of their undergraduate curriculum. When a recipe is changed to remove egg or wheat flour, for example, dietitians understand how that changes the nutrition facts, along with how it will alter a final recipe.
The diet that suits each person best: There’s no one-size-fits-all diet. Each person’s needs are different. From South Beach to Paleo, RDNs understand what makes each person different and can tailor a plan to fit those specific needs.
When to seek help: If you or someone you know has taken dietary restrictions too far, RDNs can help find a treatment team to battle the challenge of disordered eating behaviors.
How to improve athletic performance: Professional athletes turn to RDNs for nutrition advice. […]

What’s your one wish for National Nutrition Month®?

Events are planned, healthy recipe handouts are ready and anticipation is building. If you’re a dietitian, you know what March means: It’s National Nutrition Month®!

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Forty-four years ago, the first National Nutrition Month® campaign was launched with the theme “Invest in Yourself – Buy Nutrition!” Numerous slogans since then have embodied the goal to improve our own food choices and empower others to care more about good nutrition.

A favorite past slogan of mine is “All Foods Can Fit.” As most registered dietitian nutritionists can relate, I especially like to quote that slogan when someone guiltily tries to hide their dessert from me at work. I certainly wish that wasn’t part of being an RDN. I also wish more people would consider including healthy foods in their diet BEFORE they have a major medical crisis as a wake-up call.

If you could make one National Nutrition Month® wish, what would it be?

Would you wish that you didn’t have to convince everyone to eat their veggies? Or that your patients would choose balanced eating over the next fad diet?

This month, we’ll be celebrating National Nutrition Month® on our Nutrition Dimension Facebook page by sharing wishes, dreams for our clients and hope for the health of our nation from nutrition professionals across the country.

This year’s slogan, “Go Further with Food,” centers on ways we can take the next step to nourish ourselves better, make time for our health and include foods that provide the most benefits to our bodies. Whether an athlete, a student or a busy parent, good nutrition is the fuel that drives everyday activities and significantly impacts […]

Short bowel syndrome: What the RDN needs to know

Active in competitive sports, 16-year-old Sara was headed to volleyball practice when the abdominal pain became too much. A bowel obstruction related to undiagnosed Crohn’s disease led to her first small bowel resection. A little more than a year later, adhesions from the first surgery along with progression of her inflammatory bowel condition led to a second bowel obstruction. This time the significant necrotic tissue required removal of more than 60% of her remaining intestine. Beyond recovery from surgery, a diagnosis of short bowel syndrome signifies that the way Sara’s body processes nutrition may be permanently effected.