Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate Banana Shake (It's Healthy!)

I've never been much on smoothies, quite frankly because I feel a meal without some food to chew on is not quite a meal. But I've been seeing many yummy-looking blended drinks popping up on Pinterest, so I thought I'd try my own recipe. No regrets. It's like a heavenly treat in a glass.

Chocolate Banana Shake
  • 1 small to medium-sized banana
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat, plain (or vanilla) Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella
  • 1 cup ice cubes
The rest couldn't get much easier than this: put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Even better, it's a well-rounded shake with a good mixture of healthy carbs, fiber and healthy fat coming in at only 300 that means you can have some food with it!

My chocolate banana shake can be enjoyed in many ways:

I prepared one for breakfast this morning and drank it with a hearty slice of toast. If you're short on time in the mornings (aren't we all!), it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare. Pour your delicious shake into a thermos and take it with you on the drive to work. If you are on the run, I suggest adding a whole grain granola bar to complete your meal.

As a snack, it could cool down a summer afternoon. Hopefully while you're lying by the pool or hanging out in the backyard.

It could stand-in for a milkshake as a healthy dessert. Yep, healthy!

This shake can party too--add some vodka, Kahlua and/or Baileys and you've got a Banana Mudslide.

I love it when good food is flexible. And fun.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Diabetes Alert Day. Take the Risk Test Here.

Today, March 27, 2012, is the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day. The ADA calls Alert Day a "wake-up call" asking Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This year, the ADA is debuting an updated risk test. Don't worry--it's painless! No finger-stick required. All you'll have to do is answer a few questions about your weight, age, family history and other potential risks for diabetes or pre-diabetes. It takes less than a minute and it's free! If you find out you are at risk for developing diabetes, you'll get some tips that will help you prevent the disease that affects more than 26 million Americans. Last year, over 600,000 people took the test. It's the ADA's goal to beat that number this year. Be one of them!

Take the test here. If you would like to share your score, please make a comment below. By sharing the action that you're taking to prevent (or treat) diabetes, you might help others to take action too. Everyone should be aware of their risk. We have to face it in order to "stop diabetes." 

I took the risk test this morning. My risk was a "1," which means at "lower risk." But I do have some risk factors for developing diabetes--a family history. So I'm taking action now by eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.

Read more about Alert Day here. If you are at risk for developing diabetes or have diabetes and want help, contact me. It's my specialty and I'm on your team!

You can make a difference in your risk.

Spring Asparagus and Penne Salad (with Goat Cheese)

Spring has come early this year in St. Louis. As the guy at Home Depot said to us Sunday, "It came on February 29." That means I'm already planting flowers, busting out my spring wardrobe and yearning for fresh, crisp and cool spring recipes. I found the inspiration for this one in Cooking Light's May 2011 issue. Believe me; you will want to try it! In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die." (If you don't know Rachel, just know that she uses that phrase when something is really, really great). It's super simple to make--so it doesn't take much time away from your outdoor activities--and it'll work for Meatless Mondays too. Unless you're Mr. Patton...then you can add some grilled chicken.

Seriously, this might very well be the most satisfying salad I've ever had. Each bite was an absolute delight, portraying its own tantalizing flavor. Delicious. Since it's got a full serving of pasta, this isn't a weenie salad either. It's a dinner salad: made to be a full meal. It utilizes one of the year's earliest veggies--asparagus--and one of my all time favorite cheeses--goat cheese. The goat cheese sits atop the salad in a chunk, becoming softer and creamier as you eat. When it so pleases you, add a tiny bit to a forkful of the greens and pasta. It's a savory, cool treat for your taste buds. I also included some multi-color, mini heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joes that Mr. Patton surprised me with--great selection, babe! If you can get them for your recipe, definitely do; they add a unique twist because each one is different. If not, cherry tomatoes will work just fine. Pumped up yet? Here you go!

Roasted Asparagus and Penne Salad (with Goat Cheese)
Serves 2.
  • 2 cups whole wheat penne noodles
  • 1 small bunch (1 pound) asparagus, cut in half with tough ends trimmed off
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (preferably mini heirlooms), cut in half
  • 4 big handfuls of spring mix
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Recipe for Lemony Vinaigrette (below)

Bring water to a boil and add penne. Cook until al dente, drain and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sauté asparagus and onion in a drizzle of olive oil.
Prepare dressing.
When asparagus is bright green and starting to brown, remove from heat.
In a large bowl, toss lettuce, pasta, asparagus and onion, tomatoes and dressing.
Divide onto two large plates and serve with a chunk of goat cheese on top.

Lemony Dill Dressing
Serves 2.

Whisk the following ingredients in a small bowl (or shake in a jar):
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • A dash of Kosher salt
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper
  • Several grinds of fresh ground pepper
  • A couple shakes of garlic powder
  • A liberal amount of dill (about 1/4 teaspoon)

I'll be eating it again tomorrow for lunch :) And it will probably make the dinner menu again real soon.

Let me know what you think! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Apple a Day: Some Clout?

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Is this old wives tale really true?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased consumption of blueberries and apples may be associated with decreased diabetes risk. A Harvard research fellow who worked on the study said that this doesn't prove the fruits themselves prevent diabetes. However, the research is in line with other studies that have shown fruits high in flavanoids help prevent health problems like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Flavanoids are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that have powerful antioxidant effects. This research suggests that it could be certain flavanoids found in apples and blueberries that are behind the beneficial effect of lowering diabetes risk. Dr. Loren Greene, professor of medicine, suggests that the pectins and fibers found in fruit could also contribute to the benefits. Study participants who consumed one-half cup of blueberries two to three times per week and those who consumed at least five apples per week had a 23 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the 24-year long study period. I'd say that's a result that carries some clout. And not to mention, it's achievable.

It's important to note that all fruits and vegetables have different types of antioxidant compounds, depending on their color. So don't just concentrate on one or two types--mix it up! Remember to use MyPlate when you build your meals: half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Also try to enjoy more fruits and vegetables as snacks and for dessert. There's substantial research that concludes this is a healthy practice for overall wellness, even if it doesn't directly decrease your risk of diabetes.

Source: Reuters
Photo credit: Clare Bloomfield

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Seuss-Inspired Recipe

I have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss books growing up. It's hard to forget the wild characters and silly rhymes. It seems as though Dr. Seuss' stories will live on for generations! In honor of the release of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, I’ve created a Seuss-inspired recipe. The most famous green eggs and ham, of course! Dr. Seuss’ version pictures green eggs on a platter with a green ham—not so appetizing to me. I got the inspiration for my recipe from one of Mr. Patton’s recent Men’s Health magazines.

Green Eggs and Ham

Ingredients (per sandwich)
  • 1 whole wheat English muffin, toasted
  • 2 slices deli-sliced ham (any variety except a sweetened one)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1-2 slices tomato
  • 1 tablespoon spinach pesto, recipe below

First, prepare the spinach pesto (or use store-bought pesto). I prepare this recipe in a larger batch and freeze in single-serving portions to use later. Freeze leftovers in 1-2 tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray or between two pieces of parchment paper.

Spicy Spinach Pesto
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts (or walnuts instead)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Dash Kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil

In a food processor, pulse spinach, pine nuts and lemon juice. Add seasonings and pulse. Add olive oil and pulse until smooth.

Gather your remaining ingredients. Spray an 8 to 10-inch skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Crack the egg into the skillet and “fry” to your desired done-ness. While the egg is cooking, lay the ham alongside it to warm, with the tomatoes on top of it. Flip once. Place cheese on top of ham. Toast the English muffin. Layer ingredients on your plate: bottom half of the muffin, pesto, egg, tomato, ham, cheese and the top half of the muffin.

Viola! An updated and delicious green eggs and ham. Not to mention, a filling and healthy breakfast change-up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Product Review: Balance Bar BARE Blueberry Acai

This is the second of the Balance Bar products I've sampled (the first was nimble). This time I was offered a complementary sample of the newest addition to the BARE line: BARE Blueberry Acai.

I stashed one in my purse for emergency sustenance during my trip to the mall last Saturday. A couple of my favorite stores were having sales and a girl's got to keep her energy up on a day like this! Well--it sure did come in handy.

On first impression, I found that the bar was sturdy--and by that I mean it didn't get all crumbled up in my purse--and that's important when you're handling multiple shopping bags, trying on clothes and running around the mall for 5 hours. You know what I mean!

Even before taste, my first priority is nutrition. I'm satisfied with the nutrient distribution of the BARE bars. Like all products in the Balance Bar line-up, they provide 40% of calories from carbohydrate, 30% from fat and 30% from protein. I would prefer a slightly higher ratio of carbohydrate to protein: 50% carb and 20% protein, but this could be balanced throughout the day by adding carbs from other foods.

BARE Blueberry Acai is a good source of fiber--4 grams per bar--from granola, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, berries and inulin/oligofructose. Inulin is a type of fiber that also has other health-promoting properties: it increases calcium absorption, promotes the growth of "good" bacteria in the gut (in other words, it's a prebiotic), it's soluble (which means it helps lower cholesterol) and it has minimal impact on blood glucose. Most of us need about 25-35 grams of fiber per day to promote gut health, healthy cholesterol levels and stable blood sugars. Not to mention, fiber keeps you full for longer.

BARE bars contain 19 different vitamins and minerals. I would not recommend consuming more than 1-2 bars per day, especially if you take any multivitamin/mineral supplements. That's because too much of a good thing isn't a good thing! It's essential to eat a balanced diet to supply a variety of nutrients and you also have to remember that many of the foods we consume are already fortified too. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they're stored in the body, and can become toxic if over-consumed. For example, the BARE bars contain 100% DV (daily value) for vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin. That's great! But again, exercise caution if you are already taking it in supplement form, as too much can be harmful. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what your vitamin and mineral needs are.

The saturated fat contained in the bars (3 grams) is a little high for me, especially for a snack. If you decide to eat BARE bars on a regular basis, make sure that you are not taking in too much saturated fat from other sources over the course of the day. BARE bars are not made with hydrogenated oil, so that means no trans fat.

I like that BARE is sweetened with real sugar, agave syrup and brown rice syrup, rather than a non-nutritive sweetener. As long as they're not included in excess, my preference is typically for nutritive or naturally-occuring sweeteners (like sugar or fruit) because I don't particularly like the taste of artificial sweeteners when they're added to products. As a side note, artificial sweeteners are well-researched and GRAS (generally recognized as safe by the FDA)--this is simply my personal preference.

The BARE bar contains 200 calories, so to me, it's a substantial snack all on its own. There are 22g of carbohydrate, which is comparable to other granola bars, and makes BARE fitting for a snack if you have diabetes and are monitoring your carb intake. It kept me full for a good two hours; so that means I could finish my shopping extravaganza and was able to make dinner when I got home without feeling completely famished!

And for the taste...

I really enjoyed BARE Blueberry Acai. BARE bars are also offered in two other flavors I have not yet tried: Sweet & Salty Chocolate Almond and Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter. After seeing their photos (and really just hearing the names!), I can assure you I will be picking up some of these varieties to try next! Here's what I thought of the Blueberry Acai flavor:

  • The bars have a great fruity taste and little chunks of berries within. Yum--I like foods chunky! You can also see the oats. I felt like I knew what I was eating.
  • They did not have an artificial or vitamin-y taste, like many vitamin-fortified food products have. I've sampled many supplements over the years, so I was pleased about that.
  • The bottom is coated with a touch of yummy yogurt (coming from yogurt powder) that adds a nice touch of sweetness without being overpowering.
BARE Blueberry Acai is a good snack option. It's easy-to-carry, well-rounded and it isn't messy--a plus when you're toting it around for hours. I usually recommend whole foods for snacks, but sometimes that's not as feasible an option. The bars would be a good choice instead for travel, a post-workout snack, a long run or bike ride, an emergency stash for your purse or car or an extended shopping day. The suggested retail price of $1.69 each is affordable, especially compared to similar products.  

I will be including BARE bars on my list of snack options along with a few other type of granola bars I favor. Even though it's balanced, nutrient-packed and easy to tote around, don't forget that a balanced diet is still important otherwise.

April 2012 Update: Thanks, Balance Bar, for sending me your two other BARE flavors: Sweet & Salty Chocolate Almond and Peanut Butter. Although I love all three varieties, the Chocolate Almond is definitely my favorite. It's like a healthy treat! I keep coming back to Balance Bar BARE when I'm on the run or short on time and need a filling, nutritious snack.

For more information about BARE bars and the remaining Balance Bar line of products, visit They're available at retail locations wherever Balance Bars are sold and on the Balance Bar website.

One of the perks of my job is receiving complementary samples of products or compensation for passing along my expert opinion as a Registered Dietitian. Please know that my opinion and review is not guaranteed to be positive solely because I have received compensation. I'm here to help you--the consumer--sort out nutrition information. This is my primary goal in providing product reviews.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy RD Day!

The entire month of March is National Nutrition Month, but today is dedicated to the RDs! Today, March 14, 2012, marks the fifth annual RD (Registered Dietitian) Day, a day celebrating RDs as the food and nutrition experts.

The goal of National Nutrition Month (NNM) is to raise public awareness of the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. RDs are given a day all their own to remind everyone that an RD is the best source of practical, affordable and credible food and nutrition information to promote these behaviors. RD Day celebrates the commitment of RDs, during NNM and throughout the year, as strong supporters of improving the nutrition and health of people across our nation.

I’d like to wish all my RD friends, interns and colleagues a happy RD Day. Thank you for your common dedication to health, wellness, the science of nutrition and communication of sound, livable nutrition advice!

Have you seen your RD lately? Living well is easier with an RD by your side! If you're looking for an RD, visit my website (I work with clients locally or via telephone) or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to find one near you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Up and Running

Well, I’m up, but not exactly running anymore. In the past 6 months I’ve had a sprained ankle, stress fracture and tendonitis in my ankle (that actually put me on crutches!), so I’ve decided I’m just not cut out for running. And I’m not talking marathons, either. Not even half marathons. Just 3-4 miles. My co-worker attributes it to my "bird legs." Anyway, this is part of the reason I’ve been in a bit of a slump. Oh well. I’m looking on the bright side.

If you read my recent post, you'll know that for National Nutrition Month, I set a goal to start getting up to exercise in the morning before work again. I used to run before work, but over the winter, coupled with injuries, I let this habit slide. Needless to say, I haven’t been exercising as much as I used to and I can feel it's affected more than my body composition—my mood and energy level too.

While I was still on crutches and nursing my ankle, I decided to do what I tell my clients, “Focus on what you can do.” So I hit the gym and started weight training 2-3 times per week for 45-60 minutes each session. I dreaded going over to what I used to call the "guys side of the gym," but now I really love it! I feel so much stronger already and can see the difference.

A week and a half ago, when I decided my ankle was well enough to start getting back into cardio, I decided enough was enough! The alarm got set and so did my mind. Last week I fulfilled my mission of walking every morning--for a rockin' total of six days! I have found that I get just as good of a workout power-walking (4-4.2 mph) and I actually enjoy it more. It was hard for me to slow down from running and I've really had to talk myself out of pushing it! But my hamstrings killed me for the first two days. And I mean that in a great way.

Even though it can be really tough to drag myself out of my warm and cozy bed at 5:45 a.m., it is really peaceful outside in the morning. It’s quiet and serene. So nice, in fact, that I don’t even need my iPod sometimes. I love starting my day this way, actually. Here’s what I get to look at:

Beautiful! Thank you Mother Nature for the temperate St. Louis winter.

Morning exercise clears my mind and gives me time for random thought before the hustle and bustle of my work day begins. Otherwise, I don’t get much time for random thought at all! I also have more energy at work, a clearer head and more patience. It’s nice to not be dragging. Perhaps the biggest bonus of all? I don’t have to worry all day about pushing myself to exercise AFTER work! Nice. I would definitely recommend it.

How are you doing with your National Nutrition Month goals?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Great Chicago Event Coming Up!

In the spirit of National Nutrition Month, I just wanted to spread the word about an awesome upcoming event in Chicago. Ms. Career Girl is hosting their quarterly MCG Connect event where you'll get the chance to get inspired and make connections. This quarter the theme is, of course, Health & Wellness! I LOVE Chicago (and MCG) and so wish I could be there :(  Please attend in my place if you're nearby!

The event is scheduled for next Thursday, March 15 at Proof Chicago on Rush Street. You'll hear from expert panelists (including an RD) who will answer YOUR questions about health and wellness. And you'll get to connect with other passionate, motivated females while noshing on appetizers and champagne. The first 50 receive a free swag bag with gifts too!

For more information or to buy a ticket, click here. Tickets are only $20--what a steal! Hurry only 7 days left!

Just a few words about Ms. Career Girl:
I'm a female entrepreneur and just so luckily happened to meet Nicole, founder of Ms. Career Girl and MCG Media, over New Year's in Nashville. She inspired me with her energy, common interest and entrepreneurial drive. MCG is to dedicated to helping you find passion in a career you love. To read more and subscribe to their blog, visit

What's on MyPlate?

I've teamed up with the nearly 6,000 USDA partners to make today What’s on MyPlate? Day! As part of National Nutrition Month, this day is dedicated to heightening public awareness of the importance of choosing healthy foods to create a nutritious meal.

The MyPlate icon, unveiled last summer, is the fresh, new USDA food graphic replacing MyPyramid, and is designed to be a visual cue to remind consumers to make healthful food choices as part of a balanced meal. It supports the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, features the five food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy), and points users to to learn about and apply the Guidelines for themselves.

The goal of What’s on MyPlate? Day is to create nationwide attention by using the outreach strength of social networks to promote MyPlate and its related messages and resources that empower consumers with the how-tos to build healthier plates. Partners, along with the general public, can use the hash-tag #MyPlateYourPlate to aid in the recognition of this social media event.

As part of this effort, I encourage you to put MyPlate into action by taking a photo of your healthful plates to share on Twitter with the hash-tag #MyPlate. I believe people can be inspired by seeing what others are eating! Snap a photograph of a MyPlate-style breakfast, lunch or dinner to share on Twitter or with the USDA Flickr Photo Group

Here's what's was on MyPlate last night:

Grilled chicken, whole wheat cous cous with sautéed baby bella mushrooms and
spring mix salad with homemade dijon vinaigrette. Yum!

What's on YourPlate? Share with me by commenting or taking a picture to share on Twitter @RDbyyourside!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Product Review: ECOlunchtray

I pack my lunch for work everyday--and I encourage my clients to do the same. But I've found that you've got to be a little creative in order for lunch-packing to remain non-wasteful. It's convenient to take disposable paper bags and plastic baggies, but all that waste can add up quickly! Luckily, there are cute lunch bags, reusable containers and "baggies" and also the ECOlunchtray.

ECOlunchtrays are made from 100% high-quality, unbreakable stainless steel that has been independently tested to be lead-free. It's also plastic-free, BPA-free and phthalate-free. Stainless steel won't retain odors, stains or residues like plastic, either. This product will last.

The ECOlunchtray is 7-inches by 8 1/2-inches with three compartments: one larger compartment for your entree (holds about 2 cups) and two smaller ones (about 1/2 cup and 1 cup) for side dishes. It's large enough to hold a full meal comfortably, but small enough to travel with ease. It's also great to help you keep your portions in check.

The only drawback with stainless is that it's not microwaveable (unless you want to see the sparks fly and catch your microwave on fire! Been there.). But it is dishwasher safe.

This is a really cool product. I love that it fits right in my lunchbox, helps cut down on waste and is BPA-free. I use mine at work. When I'm finished with my meal, I wash it and save it for the next day. It sure beats eating out of containers! You could also take the ECOlunchtray on picnics or camping trips. They're easily wipeable when you're ready to clean them up and take them back home.

The ECOlunchtray is also great for kids--anytime. It's a perfectly sized plate for the little ones and compartmentalized so each part of the meal stays separate. This is when the non-breakable part really comes in handy! It will travel well, so if you're out for a meal, you have a sanitary plate for the kids to eat from. And you know the plate will fly occasionally. You might have a mess, but at least it won't shatter!

You can pick up your own ECOlunchtray or ECOlunchbox at or in the Around the Plate Boutique.

I received a complimentary ECOlunchtray to try in order to share my review with my readers. As in all my reviews, I provide my honest opinion and do not guarantee a positive review, just because I've had the pleasure of receiving the product free of charge.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Product Review: Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese

Who doesn't love cheese? Although it does have some health benefits, namely protein, calcium and vitamin D, consuming too much can also be detrimental to your health. Cheese is high in saturated fat, containing around 5 grams per ounce. That's 1/3 of the recommended amount to consume in one day! This is why I often recommend reduced-fat cheese to my clients and also the reason I often it eat it myself. But a tasty, reduced-fat cheese can be hard to find. When you remove the fat from cheese, it can lose its flavor too.

I had the privilege of receiving a complimentary sample of Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese. This was a brand I'd never tried know, sometimes it's hard to branch out when you're unsure of what you're going to get. But I have been quite pleased with this product!

I've used my sample of Jarlsberg in a variety of ways so far: to snack on by itself, with a French baguette and on a toasted roast beef sandwich. 

Now, I'm certainly not a cheese connoisseur, but I have tried many specialty cheeses in the past. My favorites are the more strongly flavored, like blue cheese, brie, goat cheese and an interesting purple marbled cheese I tried the other night! Swiss was one of my first favorite cheeses and I particularly like it with apples or on sandwiches.

The flavor of Jarlsberg Lite Swiss was mild and slightly nutty. It is a softer cheese, softer than many other Swiss cheeses I have eaten. That made it delightful to snack on! I haven't tried the full-fat version for comparison, but the flavor seemed well-intact. It still tasted like a gourmet cheese, even though it was reduced-fat. It did not get that platic-like or waxy texture that many lower-fat cheese have. Like other reduced-fat cheeses, the melting properties were lost; meaning that when you heat the cheese it doesn't really melt and ooze, it just gets warm and softer. I didn't really mind and this was pretty much to be expected.

The Jarlsberg Lite has 50% less fat and 30% fewer calories than the original. Instead of 5g saturated fat, the lite loaf only has 2g. There are also only 70 calories instead of 100 per ounce. I'd say this is quite a savings. The reduction in saturated fat means it's something that I can enjoy more often! Per ounce, you'll also get 20% of the daily value (DV) for calcium; another big perk.

It was easy for me to find Jarlsberg in the specialty cheese section at my grocery. Some stores may even carry the pre-packaged deli slices too.

When I'm looking to buy a good Swiss again, I'll definitely consider Jarlsberg. I'm already picturing it as a perfect addition to my fruit and cheese tray at my next party!

For more information about Jarlsberg, click here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March is the Nutrition New Year!

That's because March is National Nutrition Month! Today marks the start of the campaign, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, urging Americans to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

The theme this year is, "Get Your Plate in Shape." The slogan refers to MyPlate, of course, the revision of the former Food Guide Pyramid that debuted in 2011.

I'm calling it the "Nutrition New Year." If you're like me, you still have a whole lot going on at the start of the real New Year. Come January 1, I don't really have a lot of extra time to start new dedicating myself to New Year's resolutions. Plus it's awfully cold outside, so I think it's tough to get a good exercise plan going. That's why I think you should start in March!

National Nutrition Month is the perfect opportunity to take some time out of your/your family's busy schedules to focus on nutrition. I think most of us would agree that we LOVE to EAT! But do you know enough about it? Often times, it’s not what you shouldn’t be eating, but what you should be eating. Healthier food choices and habits can help improve diabetes control, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and energy level. The month of March helps us focus on the wonderful variety of foods that are available and how an RD can assist you in learning more!

During NNM, there are many tools made easily accessible to the public on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' website. It’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of them! I love the tips sheets. Print some off and discuss them as a family, then make some goals related to health and nutrition. Also visit to start learning about good nutrition and to find some helpful tips.

If you're ready to set some goals for changing your nutrition habits, see your RD. We can help you make sure that your goals are realistic and target your individualized nutrition needs.
On a personal note, I've been a little more lax than usual lately myself (yes, it happens to us all) and unable to exercise due to a nasty flare-up of tendonitis in my ankle :( So I'm using March as a new starting point too! Join me. My "Nutrition New Year's" goal is going to be to start doing cardio before work again. I just hope the pleasant weather sticks around so I can do it outside!

What's your "Nutrition New Year's" goal? Tell me!