We are approaching the unofficial start of summer as we coast into the Memorial Day weekend. Family Food wishes all a happy and healthy weekend and a special salute to those who put their lives on the line to protect our country.

Here are some tips to help you out as you prep for your cookouts this summer.

Sweeten your cookouts by grilling some fruit.

Be sure to practice food safety!

Grilling vegetables is a fantastic way to enjoy them. Try some asparagus!

Water is important to our health for so many different reasons. How much are you drinking? Try some fruit infused water at your cookout.

Black bean burgers make an easy, tasty, heart-healthy option. These are also great to make a head of time and keep in the freezer to have on hand for your vegetarian guests.

Going on vacation and trying to maintain your goals? Keep these tips in mind.

by: Kristen Hicks MS, RD, LD, PhD Student

Visiting with your doctor is essential to making sure that you are receiving the best care. Why? Your doctor is responsible for ordering labs, determining physical activity capabilities and diagnosing health conditions. According to Healthy People 2020 objectives, your doctor is recommended to increase the proportion of office visits that include nutrition counseling or education related to nutrition or weight. However, their opportunities are limited due to time, knowledge and billing restrictions preventing them from fully educating you on your health problems.  For these reasons, more recently collaborative healthcare system has been adopted among practices, worksites and hospitals. A recent study demonstrated that patients receiving counseling by a combination of doctors and registered dietitians resulted in significant reductions in BMI percentile compared to usual care or by doctors alone (Resnicow et al., Pediatrics, 2015). Doctors are a critical component to the team, however, they are utilized to diagnose your conditions and ensure your safety.

On the flip side of the coin, your dietitian at Family Food is there to learn about your diagnoses and abnormal lab values to provide the most individualized nutrition counseling session. Depending on your doctor’s diagnoses, we will tailor our nutrition recommendations to ensure that your health outcomes are improving such as hemoglobin A1C, cholesterol and weight status. Seven of the 10 leading causes of death can be partially attributed to lifestyle choices such as poor diet, physical inactivity, stress, alcohol intake and tobacco use. Recent statistics explain that approximately 20% of cancer diagnoses are related to individuals being overweight or obese. Increasing statistics are a serious health concern to you, yet with individualized nutrition counseling from Family Food dietitians, we aim to manage or treat your conditions by improving lifestyle habits. Research shows that Medical Nutrition Therapy provided long term (6-12 months) yielded significant weight loss and maintenance beyond one year (AND, 2016).

Collaboration among doctors and registered dietitians provides the landscape for making the best improvements to your diet and lifestyle for optimal health. It is recommended to see your primary care physician at minimum of one time per year for your annual physical. Remember, doctors are a critical component of the healthcare team they provide accurate diagnoses based on lab values, symptoms and physical signs. The other member of the healthcare team, Registered Dietitians, can then utilize this information to provide YOU with the most individualized nutrition counseling to manage and improve your conditions. Discuss with your insurance about your benefits for Medical Nutrition Therapy with a Registered Dietitian to get your health on track today.

As we take time this year to celebrate our mothers this Mother’s Day, it is a good time to reflect on women’s health. In particular with nutrition, there are a few key things that mothers and women everywhere need to be mindful of throughout their lives.

Calcium: Calcium plays a key role in our bone health. It is recommended that women of ages 19-50 aim for 1000mg each day and women over 50 years old to aim for 1200mg daily. About 3 servings of low-fat dairy products will help to reach this goal. Calcium is also found in sardines, leafy green vegetables and almonds. Discuss supplementation of calcium with your doctor before taking.

Vitamin D: This vitamin is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” and for good reason! We synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. It is actually not found naturally in many foods besides fish and a small amount in eggs. Vitamin D is fortified in our dairy products which is great because it works together with calcium to keep our bones healthy. The recommendation is about 600IU each day. This might be something worth discussing with your doctor at your next check up as many people in our country tend to be vitamin D deficient.

Folic acid: This nutrient is key for preventing birth defects and it is recommended that all women of child bearing age supplement their diet with 400 micrograms per day along with eating foods high in folic acid which includes fruits and vegetables.

Fiber: The current recommendation for women is 25 grams of fiber daily. Fiber is important for our heart health, blood sugar control and even may help keep us fuller for longer. Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some research shows that whole grains may be beneficial for easing menopause symptoms.

Vitamin B12: This vitamin is of particular interest for women (and men) over 50 years old. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in red blood cell production. Unfortunately, as we age we become less efficient at absorbing it. Fortunately, it can be found naturally in meat, fish, dairy and eggs, but a discussion with your doctor may be a good idea to see if you need to be supplementing it to your diet.

Physical Activity: Regular activity is important for our overall health. Maintaining a regular exercise pattern can be crucial during menopause as this is when maintaining physical activity can be most challenging. Aim for 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days each week. The good news is that this does not have to be 30 minutes in one chunk of time. You can break your full “30 minute exercise meal” up into “exercise snacks” of at least 10-15 minutes at a time and still reap the benefits. Try to find an activity that you enjoy. The key is get your heart rate elevated.