- 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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Nov. 15, 2011
Updating Thanksgiving dinner
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Let's get past the shock value that a Thanksgiving dinner can easily add up to 4,000 calories. Truly, anyone can eat like that on any given day — a restaurant-style meal can easily add up to that many calories.
Honestly, though, it's difficult to get around the fact that food is a big focus of this holiday. Instead of focusing on the sheer quantity, however, why not focus on the wholesomeness of a home-prepared Thanksgiving dinner?
Many of the foods traditionally associated with a Thanksgiving dinner are actually nutritious — and so are some of the new ways of preparing them.
- Turkey. No getting around turkey for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, turkey is a lean protein and provides selenium, an antioxidant. It has virtually no saturated fat — unless you purchase a self-basting turkey that has been injected with butter or oil. Avoid these and baste your bird with low-fat, low-salt broth, wine or juice.
- Mashed potatoes. Save yourself some work, leave the skins on. They provide fiber and potassium. Or mash roasted squash (see below).
- Stuffing. Switch from white to whole-wheat bread and get the benefit of whole grains. Add flavor with fresh herbs and aromatic veggies such as carrots, onions and celery. Or try wild rice for stuffing — another good source for fiber. It's delicious when mixed with dried fruit and aromatic veggies.
- Green beans. Keep the beans but skip the cream of mushroom soup. Or try other nutritious green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, asparagus or broccoli. Lightly steam them and top with a sprinkling of lemon zest — fantastic!
- Cranberries. Beautiful and bursting with antioxidants. Try cutting the sugar in traditional recipes by at least half. Or update this garnish by substituting pomegranate seeds — mix them with a bit of sugar, chopped onion and lemon juice.
- Squash. The natural sweetness will delight you. Cut squash in small cubes or half moon shapes, toss with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs, and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast until softened and brown around the edges. If you want to save even more calories, substitute carrots. You can roast them the same way.
- Gravy. But what about the gravy? I hear you. Because gravy contains meat or poultry juices, it does contain vitamins. Try a leaner version. You won't miss the extra calories.
Reasonable portions and a few creative culinary tips can leave you feeling comfortable, satisfied and thankful as you start the holiday season.