- 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. 14, 2010
Talking to kids about healthy food choices
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
When my son was 2 years old, he took a large swallow of clear soda thinking it was water. Eyes watering and throat burning, he swore off drinking anything with bubbles.
About a year later, however, he started to realize that his older cousins and their friends drank soda. And he began to brag to his friends that he drank soda too. As his mother I was somewhat amused by his behavior. As a health professional, I thought, "Oh dear." But despite his claims, my son wasn't actually drinking soda. Oh he tried to like it, but to no avail. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Fast forward one year. A neighbor recently offered my son a diet soda, and my son asked my permission to have it. My obvious response was, "Honey, you don't like soda." His equally obvious answer was, "Mom, I like this kind."
Thinking that some lessons have to be learned the hard way, I let him have the diet soda. As he sipped, he started reading the nutrition facts label to me. "Mom, this has 0 grams of fat in it!" Pause. "Mom, this has 0 grams of protein in it!" Pause. "Mom, this has 0 grams of car-bo ...." "Carbohydrates, honey," I filled in.
And so the label reading continued, and I listened and assisted with sounding out the big words. Then I realized my moment had come. I asked my son, "If something has no carbohydrates, no protein, no fat, and x, y, z of everything else, is it good for you? Is it good to put it in your body?" My boy who loves to talk was silent.
What do you think? If a food or beverage has little nutritional value, is it good for you? If your body doesn't recognize anything in it as digestible, absorbable or nutritious, should you eat it? Does it add value to you in another way, for example, as a way to avoid extra calories? How would you explain it if someone asked you?
To your health and your children's health,