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Don’t Buy the Hype: Soda Taxes affect the future of our communities and our personal liberties

Americans for Food and Beverage Choice

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about soda taxes, and politicians’ false promises are not helping cut through the confusion. In part four of our five-part series, we'll take a look at how these grocery taxes affect the communities they're implemented in.

How will this affect the future of our communities and our personal liberties? Soda taxes can cause people to take their grocery shopping to neighboring communities. Over the long term, this harms small businesses and jeopardizes the jobs they provide. Also, when politicians start taxing common items there is no telling where the taxes will begin and end. This is a slippery slope, which can incite politicians to continue to dictate – and limit – our personal choices.

Stay tuned for more misguided motives behind beverage taxes.

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Tags: Health National Blog Balance
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Pool Side Secrets

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

In the hot summer months, pool time is a necessity, especially if you live in hot ‘ole Texas like I do!  With a drink in your hand, you and your friends can solve the world’s problems and issues all while getting a suntan, or your vitamin D as this dietitian would say. 

Pool-side chatter, while innocent and care-free, can also stir up lots of questions, conversations and secrets about what hot diet your favorite celebrity is on, how you lost ten pounds to look better in your bikini or what snacks you should bring for your kids as they splash about.  Unfortunately this is also where opinions about food and beverages can become “fact” and myths your new reality.  So to set the story straight, let’s splash a little science at some common pool-side secrets…

  1. “I read diet drinks can make you gain weight” – News flash: Diet drinks don’t have calories as they are sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners.  Research supports that they can be included in a balanced diet and can even be a tool in your weight loss efforts, provided you don’t replace those calories with other foods.
  2. “Skipping meals helped me get into a smaller swimsuit” – Skipping meals is never a good option, as eventually you have to eat!  Your body requires food to function and have energy.  A key to healthy weight loss is swapping low-calorie foods in place of higher calorie items.  .  Balance over restriction is what can help shrink your waist size.
  3. “I only pack “nutritious” food for my kids to snack on while they play” – All foods fit!  Pizza and a soda as well as fresh apples dipped in natural peanut butter have a place in the diet.  Moderation is the answer when examining you and your family’s food choices.  In fact last time I was by the pool, I had chips, guacamole, and an umbrella drink!

 As you sit and sunbathe for the rest of the summer, don’t fall into the trap of believing everything you hear.  Some of those nutrition secrets need a cannon ball of truth splashed at them!  So don’t be afraid to dive in!

 

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a full time sports dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine, where she works with athletes of all levels, serves as a media dietitian, and speaks to sports teams as well as at a variety of nutrition, athletic training, and coaching conferences. She has worked with the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Texas Christian University Athletics, FC Dallas Soccer Team and Jim McLean Golf School in addition to a variety of endurance athletes. Additionally, Amy is a consultant to the Food and Beverage Industry.

 

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European Habits we can all use

Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, CPT

There is a distinct and matchless sensation about traveling to Europe that warms my heart and soul. What I find most impressive about Europeans are their eating habits and lifestyle. Despite the many American fads, Europeans seem to be more at ease, satisfied, and happy without hearing the word diet. After having had the opportunity to visit and teach in Europe for a number of years, I’d like to share what I have learned.

Balanced Portions— Regardless of their food preference, whether eating at home or at a restaurant, portions are moderate, even their plates, bowls and cups are small sized—meaning there is always room for a small treat, if desired!

Never Skip Meals— Three meals a day is a ritual and eating together with family and friends is a habit Europeans practice often; gathering together to share meals on a weekly basis, if not daily.

Walk Everywhere— Europeans walk or bike everywhere, and keep active in their daily lives. The balance of exercise and food is something we can all apply a little more to our lives.

Simple Living— Europeans’ live uncluttered lives, bringing balance to their homes and closets as well as their diets.

Take Family Vacations— Most recently while traveling to Vienna, I met a couple from Spain who although admired the career opportunities offered in the USA, could never trade their one-month vacation each year. While this may not be realistic for many Americans, I think it’s important to balance work with downtime to get the most of life.

Balance and moderation is the key to a happy lifestyle, whether it’s taking a half day from work occasionally, or including some sweet treats to your diet. So the next time you’re feeling deprived of some “you time”, look to Europe and see what you can do to bring some balance to your life.

Sylvia is the founder of Hispanic Food Communications, Inc, a nutrition and food communications consulting company. She is a bilingual Hispanic native, a leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic cuisine as it relates to nutrition and health, and an advisory partner to the Food and Beverage Industry.

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Top Five Summer Hydration Myths

Kim Galeaz, RDN CD 

These five summer-related food and beverage myths are just as relentless and oppressive as the Midwest heat and humidity. They just won’t go away. But I’m persistent, too, so here are the facts.

1. Myth: Only water hydrates.

Fact: All beverages hydrate because they’re all high water content. Milk, juice, regular and diet sodas, sports and energy drinks, tea and coffee all count as hydration.  Even summertime lemonade and sweet tea. In fact, diet soda is 99% water!

2. Myth: Caffeine dehydrates.

Fact: Your morning coffee, latte, and summer peach tea all hydrate. When the IOM (Institute of Medicine) released the 2004 DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) on water needs, they determined caffeine-containing beverages do not negatively affect hydration in people accustomed to consuming caffeine. Not accustomed to consuming caffeine? Your body will adjust in about five days. So go ahead, kick back, and cool off with a big glass of refreshing iced tea.

3. Myth: Eight cups daily.

Fact: You actually need more: Men need at least 13 cups of total fluid daily and women need at least 9 cups. But this is in a temperate climate and without strenuous activity. So when you’re taking your daily exercise run, playing badminton on a humid summer evening or riding your bike in the park, you need to balance accordingly. Which is why it’s good to know all beverages hydrate. Bonus fact: research indicates you’ll drink 45 to 50 percent more if it’s flavored.

4. Myth: Beverages with low-calorie sweeteners are off-limits.

Fact: All no- and low-calorie sweeteners are safe to consume (hundreds of studies confirm) and can be an effective weight loss/management tool. And no, they don’t increase your appetite or cause weight gain either. I’ve been drinking about three diet sodas daily for over 40 years and my weight is optimal.

5. Myth: Sugary beverages and foods are off limits.

Fact: Sugar is okay to enjoy, including summertime popsicles and snow cones (lots of water!) and lemon shake-ups at the State Fair. Paying attention to ALL calories and choices daily is the key, not over-focusing on just sugar. Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy choices instead and enjoy sugary drinks and foods along with - not instead of - an overall healthy diet.

 

Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk


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Picnics, BBQs and Pool Parties, Oh My!

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

In just a few short days Memorial Day Weekend officially kicks off summertime!  Bust out the sunscreen, bathing suits, and grills–fun in the sun has finally arrived!  People of all ages, shapes, and sizes will be headed out to picnic, BBQ, and have their first pool party of the year with their family and friends.

With all of these events comes lots of fun food and beverages.  Parties every weekend can lead some to indulge more than they should.  The key is balancing your sweet treats and drinks with other nutrient-rich healthy swaps.  No one wants a party-goer who can’t enjoy a cookie, soda, or hotdog every now and then— so learn to surround your treats with lighter choices.

When planning your picnic or BBQ, try to balance your indulgent snacks with some nutrient rich or low-calorie options, such as diet soda, vegetables, fresh fruit, and light beverages. Also be sure to balance what you eat and drink with plenty of activity. Swimming, playing badminton, or taking a stroll in the sunshine are all ways to achieve the perfect balance during the season.

Summer is a great time of year to relax, hangout, and enjoy.  Remember that all foods fit – enjoy your favorites while balancing them with low calorie options and activity!


Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a full time sports dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine, where she works with athletes of all levels, serves as a media dietitian, and speaks to sports teams as well as at a variety of nutrition, athletic training, and coaching conferences. She has worked with the Texas Rangers and is the sports dietitian for Texas Christian University Athletics, the Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas Soccer Team and Jim McLean Golf School where she works with amateur and professional golfers.

 

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Tags: National Blog Balance
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Exercise and Nutrition: A Balancing Act

Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD

May is Exercise is Medicine Month, an annual initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine to emphasize the essential role exercise plays in an overall plan to promote good health and prevent chronic disease.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist who taught in a cardiac rehabilitation program for 13 years alongside an exercise physiologist, I know firsthand that nutrition and exercise go hand-on-hand to support heart health. And in my own life, I also realize the importance of balancing nutrition and activity to maintain good health, feel better and allow flexibility in my food choices.

Six years ago I needed to lose about 20 pounds, so I downloaded a smart phone app to track my food intake and physical activity. The app calculates your calorie level to lose weight. As you enter your exercise, meals and snacks it keeps a running total of the calories you’ve consumed and expended along with the number you have left for the day.

 By recording my food and exercise, I successfully lost 20 pounds in four months. Once I reached my goal, the app gave me a “raise” of about 500 calories/day. The good news is I continued to track my food intake and activity every day so I’ve maintained the weight loss within ±2 pounds for six years.

And, no, I don’t feel deprived! The app makes it easy to indulge sometimes and balance it by eating fewer calories at another meal or exercising more. For instance, I love soft-serve ice cream with real sugar so I make room for a 4-ounce portion several nights a week. On the other hand, I like drinking diet soda so I save the calories I would consume in a regular soda to use for something else. If I overdo one day, my goal is to come out even on exercise and food calories at the end of the week. 

With summer right around the corner, warmer weather and longer days will make it easier to be active outdoors. Challenge yourself to move more so you can enjoy summer’s barbecues and picnics without gaining weight. Just be sure to balance the calories you eat with adequate exercise.

 

Neva Cochran is an award winning registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications consultant in Dallas, Texas. A veteran media spokesperson and popular speaker she was also a 20-year freelancer for Woman’s World Weekly magazine. She is a past president of the Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and past chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.



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Shhh! My top secrets for an ideal balance

Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, CPT

Don’t Believe All the Diet Hype

If you are smitten by diets that offer timeless promises, but are packed with limitations and restrictions that are nearly impossible to follow, don’t waste your money. Instead, look for meal plans that include both your caloric needs and some of your favorite ingredients. Don’t begin omitting food groups based on fads and trends, unless you have a specific medical condition. Remember, it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet and that all calories count!

Flavor is Royal

Discovering the ultimate mindful eating experience is something we should all try to aim for as often as possible. Recent studies have shown that people truly have an affinity for bold and rich flavors, suggesting that we are drawn to foods that have a strong and excellent taste. The trick is finding a happy place where we can enjoy flavorful foods mindfully—without over indulging. Next time you sit down to eat a flavorful treat or drink a refreshing beverage, enjoy them, but in appropriate and mindful amounts. There are plenty of treat sized beverages and snacks that can be enjoyed in your balanced diet.

Get Moving

It’s no question that we need to exercise more – 80% of the adults don’t get the recommended exercise. It’s critical that we move, no matter what it is we do. It is best to start with simple and fun activities before we can start a daily exercise routine that can burn hundreds of calories. Remember that every step burns calories-- so stay active through the day.

Keeping the Balance

Mix up your movement! Variety is the spice of life and crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. This could be changing an exercise routine, adding other nutrients to your meals, or simply increasing your fluid intake.

 

Have any other great tips for keeping the balance in your life? Leave a comment below!

 

Sylvia is the founder of Hispanic Food Communications, Inc, a nutrition and food communications consulting company. She is a bilingual Hispanic native who is a leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic cuisine as it relates to nutrition and health.

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Spring Ahead with Balanced Choices

Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN

Are you one of those people who dreads Daylight Savings Time? You just start getting used to waking up with the sun, and boom– we turn the clocks ahead!  Well springtime is the perfect time to do some forward thinking about your eating and exercise habits, too. As a dietitian, I enjoy helping people improve their eating habits and enjoy better health, but the truth is, I don’t expect you to eat perfectly healthy meals and snacks 100% of the time

I sure don’t, and perfection is not necessary to create a healthy lifestyle!

A healthy lifestyle is created with balance:

  • Get your zzz’s. Sleep is vital to health. It helps maintain a healthy immune system and even helps with weight control!
  • Plan your meals each day - a simple bowl of oatmeal, a fruit and yogurt smoothie, a hard-cooked egg, or a glass of milk and a breakfast bar can do the trick when you’re in a hurry in the morning. Using the USDA guidelines to choose variety each day at lunch and dinner. It’s pretty simple: a cup of vegetables or salad; a half cup of whole grain rice or pasta or a small roll; and a 3-5 ounce serving of protein.

Everything you eat and drink matters, so this is why the concept of moderation is so important.

I don’t know too many people who want to drink water exclusively, so an occasional sweetened beverage is fine. I also love dessert, but I can’t eat dessert every day and maintain a healthy weight. Keep portions in mind and make choices that are right for you- there is no one size fits all diet.

You know what’s good for you. Spring ahead with these healthy habits each day!

In addition to being the mother of 3 sons, Rosanne has nearly 30 years of experience in the food and nutrition field. She is the coauthor of several books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®, which all share her philosophy of balancing healthy eating with exercise and an enjoyment of life's little pleasures. Check out her blog, Chew The Facts, for more on this topic.


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Tags: Health National Blog Balance
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March Madness: Basketball, Bunnies & Debates

Kim Galeaz, RDN CD 

I’ll be having my own kind of March Madness this month - the kind only a practical dietitian can have when balance, moderation, and sensibility get lost in hysteria.

1. Basketball.

Elimination is essential in a basketball tournament– but I find it maddening when eliminating certain foods and beverages – whether it’s high-salt restaurant foods or sugary beverages – is considered health-promoting. It is more realistic and sustainable to balance salty, sugary, and high-calorie foods within your overall eating plan. So as you cheer your alma mater or favorite teams, opt for plenty of calorie-burning activity to offset the extra party foods and beverages. Remember to pay as much attention to your personal health as you do to the office pool.

2. Bunnies.

Easter heralds the start of the annual “bunny bashing” - Don’t put chocolate Easter bunnies in your kids’ baskets! Too much sugar! This hysteria is typically followed by suggestions for “Easter basket makeovers,” most starting by eliminating the big chocolate bunny. Or worse yet, eliminating the Easter basket entirely. I find this maddening, because I consider the chocolate bunny tradition as a teachable moment. Teach kids how to enjoy chocolate in moderation along with nutrient-rich foods and beverages, that elimination and avoidance isn’t necessary. Teach them that rituals, traditions and seasonal festivities are the foundation of a rich life.

3. Debates.

As I watch all the presidential debates, I wonder what the candidates would say about taxing foods and beverages. Or about bans and restrictions on sugary beverages. Do they support such extreme measures under the guise of improving public health?  Or would they be more moderate and reasoned, suggesting education and personal choice as the more sustainable way to improve health? I certainly hope they’d choose the latter. Otherwise, you’ll have to add me to the 80% of Super Tuesday primary voters who at exit polls indicated they were angry/dissatisfied with current elected officials. 


Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk

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Back to Basics: Nutrition Education

Carol Berg Sloan, RDN, FAND

I grew up in El Monte, a suburb of Los Angeles and worked as a consultant to the school district there for many years, specifically in nutrition education for K-8 schools. Just after I left this position in 2012, the El Monte City Council placed an initiative on the ballot to support a soda tax. I was not surprised when it was rejected by a 77% vote. Soda tax initiatives continue to pop up all over the country, despite their failed record to actually improve public health as is their alleged purpose. Unfortunately, most tax proponents continue to ignore this fact.

Recent “added sugar” data from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that a variety of foods and yes, beverages, contribute added calories to the American diet. However, singling out one item in the grocery cart to tax just doesn’t make sense to me, as is reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. According to their recommendations, overall dietary balance is what matters.

We need to empower consumers with science based nutrition information so they can make their own decisions about what they choose to eat and drink- not by arbitrarily taxing their everyday food and beverage choices. Utilizing resources such as the “Calories Count” initiative, which makes calories clear and easy-to-understand, is a great place to start.


Carol Berg Sloan RDN, FAND is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent food and nutrition communications consultant in Long Beach, California. Carol has served as a delegate to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a committee member of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutrition Education for the Public and Dietitians in Business and Communication Dietetic Practice Groups.

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Tags: Health CA Blog Balance
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Striving for Better Balance

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND

Welcome to 2016, a leap year with one extra day to help all of us fulfill our New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve resolved to do things that will improve your health, like finally getting active.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which advise government nutrition policies for the next five years. The message was clear – when it comes to achieving a healthy weight, balance is key. With that, I’ve resolved to get more balance in all aspects of my life. What does this mean? I’m trying to incorporate more activities that soothe my mind, lessen stress, and improve my overall well-being. Here are some examples:

  1.  Movement Reminders: I tend to sit at my desk for long periods of time, getting stiff and stressed. I now set a reminder on my iPhone that prompts me to get up, stretch, and move every 45 minutes. These short 1-2 minute breaks are a wonderful way for me to calm my mind and soothe my body.
  2. Shorter Fitness Walks: I tend to avoid working out if I think it’s taking too much time—it’s easy to come up with excuses, right?—so I’m now doing shorter 10-minute walks on my office treadmill. Just one week into the New Year, and I’ve already gotten more steps in one week than I got in all of December!
  3. Soothing Breathing: Santa brought me a new activity tracker, which has a heart rate monitor. I marvel at how I can slow my breathing, slow my heart rate, and gently and easily reduce my feelings of stress.
  4. Sweet Rewards: I have an afternoon sweet tooth. Some days I grab a small piece of dark chocolate, other days I’ll sip on my favorite beverage, a chocolate cherry soda. Choosing a diet or zero calorie beverage helps me achieve balance in my calorie intake.
  5. Expressing Gratitude: I end each work day be saying out loud three things I’m grateful for that happened during my day in my home office. By focusing on the positives, I end each work day with a lower stress level and more upbeat, positive outlook.

Will I continue these activities throughout the year? They’re all easy to do, and I can see almost instant results, so I can confidently say the answer is yes. With these guidelines, I hope we can all find ways to achieve better balance in 2016.

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has lived well with Type I diabetes for more than 37 years. The owner of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting, LLC, she consults with a variety of food and beverage clients on issues related to nutrition and health. 

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Benefits of a Plan

Pat Baird, MA, RDN, FAND

Vacation. Retirement. Healthy weight.  What’s the common thread?  In order to be successful they all require a plan.  Financial experts, for instance, recommend that a solid plan, realistic goals, and a budget along with periodic reviews be established in order to ensure a comfortable retirement.

The same is true for maintaining a healthy weight. That may seem even more challenging at this time of year when the emphasis is on indulgence.  Food is everywhere!   Take it from this dietitian:  whether it’s holding steady or losing some weight it should never be based on deprivation.  The d-word should never be part of the plan.  Rather, smaller amounts of everything and eliminating nothing are the best course to reach a weight goal.

All foods can fit so use the trade-off system.  If you really enjoy soda, for instance, drink it in moderate amounts.  Or have a diet soda if having some cheese at a party is where you want to spend some calories.  The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association say low-and-no-calorie sweetened beverages and other foods have the potential to help people reach and maintain a healthy body weight and are helpful with glucose control for people with diabetes.

Take a few minutes every week to look at your schedule and where you’ll be.  Anticipate, plan, and think about your upcoming food and beverage choices; and factor in some activity each day.  Use a pedometer to track steps, and keep a food diary as well.  Smart phones are ideal for recording both.

Make success your mantra and make a plan to make it happen.

Pat Baird is a registered dietitian nutritionist, a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; and President of the CT Academy of Nutrition.  She is an award-winning author of five books, a noted media spokesperson, and adjunct professor at UConn Stamford. Pat worked in healthcare at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

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A Lighter Plan for Holiday Cheer

Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN

The month of December ushers in the shopping season, along with a few extra calories. Your full schedule of holiday parties, both for work, with friends, plus family gatherings, adds up to more than one day of extra eating and drinking. I have some tips that will help keep calories in check.

  • Size Matters. Look for smaller glasses, plates, and bowls for your holiday party. Enjoy smaller sips and bites to avoid eating to excess.
  • Work the Room. When you are at your office party or a friend’s holiday open house, don’t sit, stand. Make it a point to walk from group to group and chat and mingle. This helps keep you busy, and avoids standing around the buffet table too long.
  • Be the Bearer of Healthy Snacks. Hey, I love chocolate candy as much as the next person, but sometimes the office can get overloaded with junk food this time of year. Balance out the treats by bringing in clementines, a fruit tray, nuts, vegetables with dip, homemade mini muffins, or a low calorie beverage. You don’t have to declare they’re healthy, just put them out and enjoy. Coworkers will be happy to have something fresh and healthy to snack and sip on through the day.
  • Party Planning Hydration. When hosting a party, be sure to have a variety of waters available to keep guests hydrated and help pace the drinking. Staying hydrated is the best tool to staying sane during the holiday season. Flavored sparkling waters or seltzer can be very refreshing in between cocktails and meals. You might also fill an ice tub with small water bottles, making it easy for guest to grab.
  • Lighten Your Punch. The holiday punch bowl can also throw a punch, in terms of calories. Substitute diet lemon-lime soda or diet ginger ale. Or try adding a flavored low calorie seltzer.

You can get through the end of the year without gaining a pound, while you still enjoy your favorite holiday traditions. Eat well, stay active, and happy holidays!

 

In addition to being the mother of 3 sons, Rosanne has nearly 30 years of experience in the food and nutrition field. She is the coauthor of several books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®, which all share her philosophy of balancing healthy eating with exercise and an enjoyment of life's little pleasures. Check out her blog, Chew The Facts, for more on this topic.


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‘Tis the Season of Eating: 3 Tips for 5 Weeks

Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

While enjoying your favorite stuffing and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie this Thanksgiving, take a moment and pause. Pause to give thanks for our abundance of food and beverage choices here in America.

But pause literally – or at least slow down - your hand-to-mouth action. Because if you’re going to survive this five week “season of eating” without gaining weight, you need to be mindful of every sip and bite you take. Slow down and savor the sweets, so to speak.

Here are my “registered dietitian” tips to help you navigate every food festivity without having to forgo your seasonal favorites like candy canes, eggnog, sparkling party punch, and sausage cheese balls.

  1. Strategize. At every office party, holiday brunch, buffet or cocktail party, peruse food choices before plate piling. Walk around every food table and beverage station to pick out items you rarely enjoy or you absolutely love during the holidays. Your aunt’s famous pecan cheeseball with savory herbs and homemade shortbread crackers?! Only during the holidays. Chips and salsa? Pass. You enjoy them all year long.
  2. Nibbles and Bites Add Up. Before you know it, you’ve nibbled away at hundreds of calories. And this doesn’t count those big, special meals. So PLAN those holiday choices strategically to include all of your favorite foods and beverages.
  3. Balance by Moving. Balance extra calories with extra movement. Get active. Work it. Do something. Anything to burn more calories. Dance to jazzy holiday tunes, walk to check out Christmas lights. More activity = more calories burned.

Now bring on the fruitcake! 

Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk

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Sweet Childhood Memories

Robyn Flipse

While refilling the sugar bowl after a weekend visit from a friend, who likes her coffee sweet, I found myself wondering how this ingredient found in nearly every pantry in the world has become so vilified. That wasn’t always the case. 

Sugar was a big part of my diet when I was growing up. My mother took pride in her homemade pies, beautifully decorated birthday cakes, and the 30 different varieties of Christmas cookies she baked every year for family and friends. In the summer she made delicious jars of jams and preserves that my sisters and I spread on her freshly baked bread as an after school snack. And every night after dinner we had dessert, even if it was just a dish of pudding. All that cooking and baking used a lot of sugar!

If I tell someone these memories of my childhood diet they often remark how lucky I was. Looking back I have to agree— there was no guilt or shame in enjoying all the sweet treats my mother prepared. But that’s not the only thing that was different.

My friends and I were much more active than children are today. We walked or rode our bikes to school every day and any place we wanted to go when not in school. We also had far less screen time with just one TV in the house and only 5 channels to watch. And our nutrition education started early, at home, by eating our meals together and learning to how to cook.  .

Heaping all of the blame for our rising rates of obesity on added sugar consumption just doesn’t make sense. Many other changes in our way of life over the past 50 years have also contributed to the problem, so taxing and restricting access to sweetened drinks is not a solution. I can’t even imagine how my mother would have reacted if a law was passed limiting the amount of sugar she could buy!  It’s time to start taking personal responsibility for our health, starting with making better food choices and being more active. Thankfully, we don’t need any new laws to do that.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, "The Everyday RD," is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

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Tags: Health Balance Choice
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Life In Balance

Carol Berg Sloan, RDN

My neighbors six year old just learned to ride a bike without training wheels. As I watched her go up and down the sidewalk at first with mom by her side and then unaided, her confidence and steadiness took charge.

This type of balance is important in every areas of our lives, especially between what we eat and drink and how we get out and move. Carefully choosing foods and beverages will help you stay fit, feel good, and be healthy! 

Here are four tips for good balance:

  • Enjoy your food and drink. Sharing a meal with friends and family is a great way connect and talk about nutrition. 
  • Don't eliminate foods or beverages that may not be as nutrient dense — there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Small portions of occasional sweets and treats will keep you in balance.
  • Calories in and calories out is not just an age old adage. A recent business trip had me indulging in local specialty baked goods, but the decision to walked to our meeting each day instead of grabbing a cab had be back on track.
  • Lastly but not least, educating ourselves about how to achieve balance and then decide for ourselves how best to achieve our healthy lifestyle goals is the way to better public health for everyone. 

So next opportunity that comes your way take the extra walk or hop on your bike and enjoy the ride! 

Carol Berg Sloan RDN, FAND is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent food and nutrition communications consultant in Long Beach, California. Carol has served as a delegate to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and as a member of the Academy Positions Committee and Finance and Audit Committee.

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Fall into Smart Portions

Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN

Fall has arrived and you may find yourself planning get-togethers for football tailgates, fall festivals, or school classroom parties, so I thought this was the perfect time to share some tips to keep things balanced.

  • Balance out the sweet-treat food with a platter of veggies with dip. Make it festive with simple orange quarters, or add a platter of whole grain crackers with cheese, or oat bran pretzel sticks with dip.
  • Offer a variety of beverages on ice - water bottles, apple cider, diet, and regular drinks. Offer mini cans of soft drinks, try mixing up a punch adding seltzer mixed with your favorite fruit drink.
  • Nutrition education starts in the home. Don’t food shame.. It’s adds an unhealthy perspective on eating, and may even promote disordered eating. It’s okay to enjoy a sweet treat on a special occasion. Plan a spread with enough of a few things, rather than too much. Portions matter, so enjoy your favorites in moderation.

Using these simple strategies, we will all be able to enjoy the fall season with family and friends, without sacrificing a balanced diet. Cheers!

In addition to being the mother of 3 sons, Rosanne has nearly 30 years of experience in the food and nutrition field. She is the coauthor of several books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®, which all share her philosophy of balancing healthy eating with exercise and an enjoyment of life's little pleasures. Check out her blog, Chew The Facts, for more on this topic.

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Myth Or Fact: Is a calorie just a calorie?

Amber Pankonin MS, RDN, CSP, LMNT

There are many claims today about how reducing calories in the diet is not the only key to weight loss.  The focus has shifted to the source of calories and not necessarily the amount of calories that are consumed.  I have also seen suggestive headlines that you can simply lose weight without giving up a single calorie or without having to do any form of physical activity or exercise - this is simply not true.

Calories that accompany foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber such as fruit and vegetables are definitely a smart choice. However, I believe that you can balance those choices with more indulgent choices throughout the day and still succeed at weight loss — especially when you include physical activity in your daily routine.

With the amount of nutrition and calorie information available and with so many great selections to choose from, I don’t just think but instead know that it is possible to achieve weight loss by reducing overall calories and including physical activity everyday. Diet beverages are just one of the proven tools for reducing caloric intake, while still allowing yourself a treat.

At the end of the day, all calories count—from any source. The body of science is clear and supports that a calorie is still a calorie regardless of the source and that weight loss can be achieved through making independent choices and including physical activity. Balance is key.

Amber Pankonin MS, RDN, CSP, LMNT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, passionate about food, nutrition science, and agriculture. She works as a nutrition communications consultant, adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and blogger at stirlist.com

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Touchdowns, Tailgate Parties & Taxes

Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

It’s football season- time for tailgate parties, cheering on your favorite college and/or professional team with good friends, great food, and new taxes on your beverages.

Penalty! I vow to throw down the yellow flag on any politician or governing body that wants to propose taxes on our sugar-sweetened beverages. Together we can sideline anyone proposing these kinds of overreaching taxes under the guise of improving public health.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • There is simply no scientific evidence that sugar-sweetened beverages cause obesity or any purported health issues. In fact, according to USDA data, sugar actually plays a minor role in additional calories in the American diet.
  • Most tailgate parties contain other both healthy and decadent food choices which all need to be balanced within your entire calorie budget. Why single out our drinks in that mix?
  • Studies have consistently shown that taxes on beverages do little more than raise revenue.

As a dietitian, I want those tailgating coolers to include a variety of foods and beverages because these choices provide happiness, enjoyment, and hydration. And all daily calories should be balanced with plenty of exercise for optimal health.

So cheer on your local and favorite politicians that stand up for NO NEW TAXES on your beverages and food. Rally team support for individual choice and personal preferences. And shout loud and clear what many politicians seem to have forgotten - behavior change comes with empowerment through education and conscientious personal responsibility. Touchdown! Victory!

 

Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk

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Why I said no to an additional beverage tax in Chicago

Melissa Joy Dobbins

Although I live in Chicago, where there are many politicians, I don’t “talk politics” very often. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about politics or laws or taxes. Of course I do. In fact, I care a lot. As a Chicago based registered dietitian nutritionist for my entire 20+ year career, there is plenty to care about. I became a dietitian to help educate and empower people to make their own, well-informed nutrition decisions – because that is what really matters and what really works. 

Case in point, Chicago politicians are introducing yet another beverage tax. As a dietitian and a mom, I feel very strongly that it should be up to individuals and families to choose what they put in their grocery carts. Politicians should not be making those choices for me, you, or anyone. In my expert opinion, education – not regulation – is the key to helping people make their own, well-informed health choices.

So what can we do about this? I joined the new Chicago Coalition Against Beverage Taxes and sent a letter to my alderman to say “no” to additional beverage taxes, and I encourage you to do the same. After all, it’s not just that we don’t want the government controlling our purchases, research shows that is not effective anyway. Be informed and be heard – sign up for the coalition today.

Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with more than 20 years’ experience helping people enjoy their food with health in mind. She is known as the Guilt-Free RD – “because food shouldn’t make you feel bad!” TM. Connect with her on Twitter @MelissaJoyRD, check out her blog, and her new Sound Bites podcast.

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