- 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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Oct. 24, 2009
Menu planning: Save your diet and save time
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Menu planning can do more than save your diet — it can save you time and money. Planning a week's meals will organize your shopping list and lessen your time at the grocery store. Stick to your list and you'll also avoid overspending.
There's no perfect way to plan menus. Some people like to look at cookbooks or Web sites for recipes. Others look for sales and coupons and build meals around the sale items. My personal approach is a little different: I like to build meals from the staples I keep in my pantry and refrigerator. I then use garlic, seasonings, low-fat dressings or salsas to add variety and flavor.
My weekly grocery list typically looks like this:
- Fruit — what's in season or on sale plus family favorites
- Veggies — salad greens, carrots, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and any others I need for specific recipes
- Whole-wheat tortillas, bread or rolls
- Skim milk and low-fat yogurt
- Meat, fish and nuts — what's on sale
- Canned items — veggies, fruit, fish, beans
- Starches — brown rice, potatoes
From just these foods I can make a variety of meals, such as:
- Traditional dinner: Roasted meat, sautéed or steamed veggies, whole-wheat roll or small potato (with skin) or rice pilaf, and a side of fruit
- Tacos: Tortillas filled with beans, grated cheese, veggies and perhaps meat or fish, with a side of fruit
- Salad: Spinach or other salad greens with leftover meat, veggies, fruit and beans or nuts, with whole-wheat dinner rolls or bread
- Stir fry: Veggies, with or without meat or fish, over brown rice, and a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert
I just add a glass of milk or some yogurt, and I've got four dinners that not only please my family but are also nutritionally balanced.
Leftovers? I've got lunch for the next day.
So what do you do? Are you a planner? Does menu planning help you eat healthier meals, spend less or save time? Have you had success getting your children, spouse or other family members involved?
Thanks for sharing,