- 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. 10, 2012
A healthy diet is a smart investment
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Eating healthy is expensive. I've heard it. You've heard it — maybe you even agree.
Junk food is cheap. How can you argue against the dollar menu?
I would suggest, however, that the discussion needs to be about more than cost. It must also take into account health and wellness. My position on this is supported by a recent study in the journal "Intelligence."
This particular study looked at the type of meals young children received (slow food versus fast food) and whether there was an association with cognitive ability and cognitive growth. Overall, slow food was associated with better cognitive ability and cognitive growth in childhood.
These findings build on previous research showing that diets rich in antioxidant (lots of fruits and vegetables) are good food for the brain.
Of course, many other factors play into a child's cognitive abilities, including socioeconomic status. Providing proper nutrition is not without challenges, as we know. Food security, lack of neighborhood markets and an over-abundance of junk food in poorer neighborhoods are all very real problems.
Of course, the appeal of fast food isn't just that it's cheap. It's a mainstay for many people because it's easy and, yes, fast.
I can't change the world or the fact that people's lives are so busy that they need meals that require no preparation. But even if you need food that's quick, you can make healthier choices without breaking the bank. Consider these ideas:
- Skip the fries and choose or bring seasonal or canned fruit.
- Pair frozen pizza with steamed veggies, salad or fruit.
- Buy fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables depending on what fits your budget and lifestyle.
The government estimates that getting the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables can cost as little as $2 a day. That seems like a pretty good investment to me.
Here's to your health,
- Von Stumm S. You are what you eat? Meal type, socio-economic status and cognitive ability in childhood. Intelligence. 2012;40:576.
- How much do fruits and vegetables cost? U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib71.aspx. Accessed Oct. 8, 2012.