- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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May 19, 2009
The new Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
A new Mediterranean Diet Pyramid? Was something wrong with the old one? No! The creators of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid have just updated it to reflect the latest science.
Here's what's new:
- All plant foods — fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, olives and olive oil — are grouped together and form the largest part of the pyramid.
- Herbs and spices are now part of the pyramid. They add flavor and aroma and reduce the need for fat and salt when cooking.
- Fish and shellfish are recommended more often, at least twice a week, in recognition of their unique health benefits.
The pyramid still emphasizes:
- Being physically active and enjoying meals with others as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
- Choosing the least processed forms of plant foods. Fresh, raw and lightly cooked vegetables, fruits and whole grains retain fiber and most of their nutrients.
- Using olive oil for cooking, baking, and for dressing salads and vegetables. Extra virgin olive oil is highest in monounsaturated fat and phytonutrients.
- Enjoying cheese and yogurt in moderation — preferably low-fat versions.
- Serving poultry more often than red meat. Lean red meat should be limited to several times a month.
Since the Mediterranean Pyramid was introduced in 1993, extensive research has corroborated the healthfulness of this cuisine, which has demonstrated the highest average life expectancy and the lowest rates of chronic diseases among adults. People have taken notice: Over the past 15 years, many restaurants, cooking shows and cookbooks have embraced this way of meal planning.
Even so, many still struggle with eating red meat only a few times a month. I know I've gradually (sometimes even grudgingly) changed my eating habits to make plant foods the main focus of meals. I now fill at least three-quarters of my plate with vegetables, whole grains and fruit. I'm also eating fish and seafood at least twice a week, choosing low-fat cheese and yogurt, and limiting eggs to once a week.
How have you adjusted your eating habits over the past 15 years? Tell me your stories.
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