- 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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Aug. 24, 2011
Do you have a taste for healthy foods?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
You might not consider flavor as being a key player in prevention of disease or promotion of health. However, your perception of flavors contributes greatly to your acceptance and general liking of foods. For example, if you don't like the taste of vegetables, it's a good bet you avoid them. How then can you eat a healthy, balanced diet?
Instead of focusing on what you don't like, try focusing on what you do. Let's start with sweet — a flavor preference for most people. Did you know that some vegetables — sugar snap peas, red bell peppers and corn — have a sweet taste? Even onions can be sweet when you caramelize them. Another vegetable to try is winter squash. Cut in half or quarter and roast or microwave to have an easy meal of mildly sweet, slightly earthy flavors and soft texture that merits inclusion in the comfort food category. Not sweet enough for you? Peel, dice and roast the squash until slightly brown to experience a sweeter taste.
Maybe sweet isn't your first preference. The following options offer a mild sweetness that along with their other attributes might appeal to you. If you like foods that are crisp and crunchy, try jicama. You can cut it into thin strips and add it to a pita or wrap sandwich. In addition to flavor, you'll get fiber and vitamin C. Cucumbers are another good combination of cool and crisp. Mix them in vinegar for a stronger, pungent flavor.
But perhaps savory flavors are more to your liking. Mushrooms are a good bet. Try them sauteed. Or toss them in a stir fry, on a salad or in a sandwich.
Looking for something spicier? Peppers offer a spectrum of flavors — from mild and earthy to sweet and hot. Stuff a poblano or bell pepper with whole grains, veggies, and grated parmesan or blue cheese. Or add them to soups, salads and casseroles to punch up the flavor and boost the potassium and vitamin C content.
I encourage you to experiment with new foods and familiar foods prepared in new ways. Share your flavorful findings here to inspire others.
To your health,