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RDs help to make informed food choices

The March 1 Wellness Wednesday, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Children’s Hospital lobby, will have information on registered dietitian and National Nutrition Month.

by Janet Carter
Outpatient Dietitian Heart Health Program Coordinator
Dietitians are  the nutrition experts. Often, dietitians are confused with nutritionists.  The difference between the two is that registered dietitians have at least four years of higher education, have completed an intensive internship, and have passed a registration exam (whereas nutritionists may have had a week-long course in nutrition). 
The first thing that often comes to mind when the word dietitian is mentioned is weight loss. Helping people lose weight is only one of the tasks a dietitian can choose to do in their career.  A dietitian can also work in hospitals, clinics, schools, wellness centers, corporations, food companies, restaurants, private practice, research labs, and even Capital Hill. 
The field of dietetics is growing and changing, and windows of opportunity continue to open. 
Registered dietitians are on the cutting edge of the most current nutritional recommendations.  To learn more about registered dietitians, or more about nutrition in general, visit the Web site of The American Dietetic Association at

National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign held annually in March by the American Dietetic Association.
The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Registered dietitian Day, also celebrated in March, increases awareness of registered dietitians as the No. 1 providers of food and nutritional advice and services, and recognizes registered dietitians for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.
This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is Eat Right.
Celebrate this by practicing healthy eating for you and your family.
It is the parents’ responsibility to provide healthy food options, while it is the child’s job to decide how much to eat and whether to eat at all.

Steps to success
  • Choose a variety of foods (remember the food pyramid?):  Many different colors of fruits and vegetables; whole grains; lean meats (such as chicken without skin, turkey, fish and shellfish), meat substitutes, and low-fat dairy.
  • If you need a snack, choose something healthy: fruit; low-fat yogurt; pretzels or baked chips; whole grain dry cereal; low-fat cheese, like mozzarella cheese sticks; applesauce or fruit in its own juice; baby carrots with low-fat dip.
  • Always eat a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast is the best way to get your day started. You are more likely to weigh less if you eat breakfast.
  • Be watchful of the types of fats you consume: avoid trans fats (found in packaged and prepared foods); keep saturated fats in check (mostly found in animal products, but also packaged and prepared items) (saturated fat is solid at room temperature); substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fat (choose olive oil instead of lard, margarine instead of butter, nuts instead of chocolate, etc.); avoid fried foods.
  • Don’t forget to watch the liquid calories: Avoid sodas, juices, and sport drinks since they are high in sugar, won’t fill you up, and don’t provide nutrition. 
Join the registered dietitians Wednesday, March 11 at the Health 1st Wellness Wednesday table between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to learn more.

Friday, March 6, 2009

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