- 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. 8, 2012
Advice about feeding grandchildren — OK to speak up?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
I'm a relatively new grandma of two granddaughters — one is 18 months old and one is 3 months old. Their mom and dad are juggling careers, keeping up the home front, and creating a wonderful family. We're fortunate to live close to one another and to be able to spend time together.
If you're a grandparent you probably know what I'm going to say next. Mealtimes with the grandchildren are an experience. My oldest granddaughter is at the finger-food stage, which is opening up all kinds of interesting family dynamics for mom and dad, and for grandma and grandpa.
I spent the first part of my career practicing pediatric nutrition and advising parents about the latest tips for nourishing their infants and children. However, this was back when I was single and childless. A number of years have since passed, and I have more experience and expertise.
Yet, it's interesting that now as a grandparent I find myself asking what my role in all of this should be. Here's what I've decided to do, at least for now:
- Let mom and dad be in charge.
- Give advice when asked.
- Offer advice privately when concerned.
This sounds good, but is hard to do. If you're a grandparent, I'm sure that you've been torn between speaking up and holding your tongue.
Here's where I broke my rules — the minute I saw one of my granddaughters pick up an uncut grape. I flew across the room and took charge. I lectured and destroyed that mealtime.
Although I got the message across, I wonder if my family will dare ask for my advice about nutrition for my precious grandchildren. I still think that my commitment to letting parents be in charge and giving advice when asked is good. I'll work harder on offering advice privately when I have a concern.
If you're a grandparent, what are your experiences and suggestions? If you're a parent, what do you say when a grandparent joins your family at the table?
By the way, here are some tips to prevent choking:
- Have preschoolers eat at the table, or at least while sitting down. Don't let them run, walk, play or lie down with food in their mouth.
- Keep a watchful eye on children while they eat.
- Cut food for preschoolers into pieces no larger than one-half inch and teach them to chew their food well.
- Slice hot dogs and sausages lengthwise.
- Cut meat and chicken across the grain into small pieces.
- Slice grapes, cherry tomatoes and other round foods in half.
- Cook carrots or celery sticks until slightly soft, grate them, or cut them into small pieces or thin matchsticks.
- Spread peanut butter thinly on bread or crackers. A thick glob of peanut butter can cause choking.