- 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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June 3, 2011
Step up to MyPlate, the new food icon
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
For nearly 20 years the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid has cast its shadow over America. Its goal was to influence everything from what farmers grow, to how manufacturers make products and even what Americans choose to buy and eat. Today, however, there's a new icon in town — and it's called MyPlate.
Plain and simple, the new plate icon shows what types of foods should comprise your main meals — one-half vegetables and fruit, one-fourth grains and one-fourth protein, with a little low-fat dairy on the side. A plate is easy to relate to. You see it and think, "Hey I can dish up servings like that." The old pyramid was quite abstract, and many people found it hard to transfer the concept to the table.
The website www.ChooseMyPlate.gov offers additional information, including details about the food groups, healthy eating tips, weight loss information, and tools to analyze your diet and create a personalized eating plan. All of this is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
MyPlate also features a few key messages:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals — choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Missing from MyPlate, however, is any symbol for physical activity. I can understand the desire to keep the icon simple, but this is an important concept. I'll be interested in learning why this was left off — especially since being active is key to fighting the obesity epidemic. The MyPlate website does at least link to www.LetsMove.gov, a site supported by a consortium of government agencies and dedicated to helping kids and families get more active.
On balance, I'm glad to see the new icon. It very much supports what the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid has promoted for more than a decade — an emphasis on vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and small amounts of lean protein and low-fat dairy. The Mayo Clinic pyramid also includes physical activity — and will continue to do so — as an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight and staying healthy.
Check out MyPlate and take another look at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid too. What are your thoughts?
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