National Nutrition Month: Finding Balance & Answers

Welcome, March! Coming in like a lamb with warm sunny days, more daylight and the celebration of healthy food. These are all things I could get used to.

Today marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month (NNM); RDs’ ears are ringing with recognition and an entire month is dedicated specifically to food and health education. I’ll do my part to bring you information on any questions you have, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Last night, I let down a little wall. I caved. I knew that someone needed a dose ofm comfort food, and I was more than happy to give it to him.

macncheese 002

The initial idea was to make homemade Mac n’ Cheese – none of that “processed” stuff!

But we lounged, and talked, and enjoyed some rare late-afternoon time together on a random Monday. I had been at an intriguing and mind-opening (as always) lululemon training all day, and it was all in the name of balance.

macncheese 003

Every now and then, giving in to convenience is okay. Every once in a blue moon, it’s okay to pick up a box of Annie’s, throw in some skim milk for the “cream” and broccoli for extra nutrients, and sit down with your bowl of shells!

If there’s one processed dinner I can get behind, this is on the list. We’re still alive, I still made it through Spin class this morning, I still got some vegetables in there. Choose your battles, and know when it’s okay to bend a little bit!


Now, to kick off NNM with some input from you, I’m opening the doors.

If you could ask a Dietitian ANYTHING, what would it be?

I’ll do my best to answer all questions here, and/or via e-mail if it’s more of a personal question! Feel free to throw it all out there, the more you know the easier it is to make healthy choices for yourself.



Filed under about me, balance, Dietitians, learning, Lululemon, Nutrition

22 responses to “National Nutrition Month: Finding Balance & Answers

  1. Jamie

    I have been at a plateau with my weight forever it seems like. So, I guess my one question would be what I should do nutritionally to break through this horrible place that I am stuck at. I do track calories (points) but is it possible that my body is just determined to stay here? Or could there be something wrong with my metabolism?

    • Heather C

      Jamie, thanks for putting this out there! I wouldn’t automatically assume something is “wrong” with your metabolism. But, metabolism rates do change as people lose weight/gain weight, do more/less exercise than their normal routine, eat on different schedules, etc. It will adjust to MAINTAIN. If you’ve been losing weight over a long period of time, it’s definitely possible that your metabolism has adjusted to accommodate a consistent calorie deficit. Some things that might help: tracking HUNGER level with each meal/snack – see if you have just become routine with your intake vs. recognizing hunger; try new exercises just to keep things interesting and engage new muscles; take the focus off of Calories Numbers for a week or two and focus more on nutrients and hunger levels (see if anything changes).

      I hope that helps! I’m always open to answering Qs via e-mail, too.

  2. you know, after all the times I’ve bothered you with nutrition questions, right now I can’t think of a single one. but that looks delicious. broccoli + cheese is always right in my book.

  3. I agree – sometimes you just need some good old mac & cheese from the box. Doesn’t hurt to add a bit of nutrition! 🙂

    Mmm, now I have a hankering for some M&C myself. 😉

    I have a random question… I heard or read recently that you should refrain from drinking fluids while eating b/c it interferes with the natural enzymes in your saliva for digesting food. I always need a drink with my meal – generally h2o! – so I’m just wondering if you have any info on that??

    • Heather C

      I haven’t heard that, and I don’t agree with it! There are some liquids that interfere with certain nutrient absorption (i.e. coffees & teas have been shown to decrease Iron absorption), but I don’t believe that ANY liquid would alter the natural enzymes’ capability to do their work. Above all, H2O is a safe bet! 😉

  4. Jess

    Yum Mac ‘n Cheese!!

    I second Jamie’s question. I am on the same boat! 😦

  5. runyogarepeat

    What are some tips for dietetic internship applications? What type of experience should students focus on getting?
    I love Annie’s occasionally!

    • Adrienne Kotyk

      Can I make a suggestion for your applications? I may just be a random follower to this site but I’ve been in this process of applying for internships and learned a couple things. There are 2 main things that you should focus on.
      1) Have great references. Pick people who you know will have great things to say about you and make sure that they completely understand what is expected of them. Have at least one person be a RD.
      2) Be yourself. This is 100% needed for your interviews. They want someone who is enthusiastic and knows what they want in life.
      Volunteer work looks good on the resume also, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t have much.

      Hope that helps!

      • Heather C

        Thanks for the comment, Adrienne! Those are great tips!

        As for Experience: volunteer work is Great (always); I’d also recommend getting some sort of experience (even just a short summer job or maybe even shadowing an RD for a week) in hospitals. It takes some people a while to adjust to hospital work, and this helps the transition!

        Also something to remember as you interview: you are interviewing them, too! You need the program to be a great fit, because where you end up can potentially open a lot of career doors.

  6. I’m interested to hear you talk about your thoughts on different weight loss programs, which ones you recommend, and to see if you’ve looked at the new Weight Watchers program.

    • Heather C

      I haven’t looked into the “new” Weight Watchers program – what’s different? I’d be interested to hear about it! 🙂

      As for weight loss programs, there are many that I DON’T recommend (i.e. Nutrisystem, SlimFast, etc). Weight Watchers has a great base for the program (meetings, groups), but I don’t like the idea of adding “points” to food. It takes the focus off of calories, but still fuels the numbers game in the Dieters’ head. Once the weight loss goal is met, I don’t think it sets them up for success post-WW. Again, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, as I know you’re a success story and doing great!

  7. Looks delicious to me! I love thinking about you at a lululemon training – I’m already loving every minute I spend with my new lulu friends. March is an exciting month! Looking forward to learning more about nutrition this month.

  8. Elizabeth

    While I don’t have anything in mind, you know I don’t hesitate to pick your brain.

    That said, mac and cheese is totally my comfort food. We actually just finished up a broccoli and cheese casserole the other week which, while not as healthy as Annie’s, I’m sure, was completely delicious.

  9. Gosh I always want to have a conversation with our gym dietitian but don’t want to pay $90 to do it! I am always frustrated with why I can’t lose five pound or even two pounds, and it worries me for the day I have a baby and if my body will cooperate then.
    But anyway, I’d also like to know how to count calories on homemade things. Like if I make hummus, how do I know how many servings are in one batch? Do you really measure out 2 tablespoons until it’s out? That’s too many bowls to dirty and a lot of time.

    • Heather C

      The easiest way is to count the calories of everything you put into the recipe (i.e. for hummus: 1 can chickpeas (calories from the can), 1 tbsp Oil (120 cals), etc), and add it all together. Say you make 2 cups of hummus, that would be eight 1/4 c servings (4 tbsp per 1/4 cup). So, divide the total by eight!

      Ha, I know that can get confusing, but it’s a start. E-mail me if that doesn’t make sense!

  10. oh I do that too! I buy the GF annie’s mac and cheese. I think the greens make up for it, right? hehe!
    Happy Nutrition month!!

  11. I have so many questions – thank you!!! My biggest (and somewhat related) curiosities:

    1. I recently lost a significant amount to weight and was at my “happy” place. Then I broke my jaw and have been unable to eat solids (still have a couple of weeks to go, actually). This resulted in additional, unneeded, weight loss. Can you recommend some healthy guidelines to GAIN 10 lbs?

    2. Along those same lines, I have always wanted to have a muscular, athlete’s body. I work out regularly, (cardio and weight lifting). What is the proper balance in my diet (carbs/fat/cals/sugar/protein) to reach top form… and some ab definition? 🙂

    • Heather C

      Hi Laura!

      1) Tips to GAIN weight: include healthy fats in every meal + snack (they are more calorie dense than carbs or proteins), such as nuts, nut butter, oils, some cheeses, 2% yogurt, etc. Also try to make sure you’re eating a snack between meals – an opportunity for extra calories and nutrients!
      2) Proper balance for athletes can depend on the type(s) of exercise! Generally carbohydrates should make up 50-60% of the diet, protein 25-30% and fat 15-25%. In simpler terms, make sure you get some form of carbohydrate (grain) and/or natural sugar (fruits, veg, etc) at each meal + some protein. Typically, fat is found in some grain and/or protein sources (cheese, 2% or plain yogurts or milk, some meat/poultry). If it’s not naturally in the foods you eat, add oils to pasta or drizzle oil-based dressings over salads, sandwiches, etc. Also nuts, nut butters, avocado, etc. 🙂

      Abs will become more defined as you do core-focused activities (yoga, running, core specific strength training) and usually become more “visible” with less fat around the abdominal area.

  12. I hope march comes in like a lamb and stays around like a lamb… i dont need any lions appearing! ive had enough! BAHAHAHAH

  13. I think some Annie’s Mac and Cheese is totally acceptable every now and then…I make it occasionally and throw in some broccoli. No shame in that, we all need a quick fix sometimes!

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