- 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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March 25, 2010
Nutrition month: Healthy eating from the ground up
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Hardly a day, a week or a month goes by without some sort of local or national health campaign. March is National Nutrition Month. Created and sponsored by the American Dietetic Association, it's been an annual event since 1980. I've been in practice for as long and I've seen themes come and go. This one is an absolute winner!
The theme for 2010 is "Nutrition From the Ground Up." Going green — in all its meanings — is really important. Think of all the good things that we get from the ground:
- Whole grains (wheat, barley, oats, rice, maize, quinoa, and millet) have sustained civilizations throughout history.
- Vegetables of every size, color, shape, texture, and flavor. Each has a unique nutrient fingerprint. Do they add variety to our diets — you bet! Soups, salads or sides — sauteed, sliced or slapped on sandwiches.
- Fruit has been described as the ovary or womb of plants. Gross? No, lovely. That fleshy pulp surrounding the seed provides the seed — and us — with life-sustaining vitamins, minerals and phyto-compounds that are crucial for health. There's something to the saying about an apple a day.
- Legumes, beans, nuts and seeds are the plant version of protein foods. They grow on bushes or vines or even underground (peanuts). Sold dried or fresh, they can be cooked into a main meal or side dish.
What's the point? Research shows that plant foods are low in calories and sustain us in many important ways. Fresh or lightly processed they are also "earth friendly."
Throughout history humans have sought ways to fulfill our basic need for food. One could argue that worldwide agribusiness is mankind's ultimate accomplishment. However what will be our culinary legacy? What will our food supply look like in 10 years? In 50 years? I hope it will be predominantly "green" and not man-made "wonder" bread, chips, catsup and fruity flavored drinks.
Do we need a National Nutrition Month to help us be aware of what we should eat? Maybe so. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a list of monthly health observances — and many of them focus on nutrition. Take advantage of them.
What are your thoughts?
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