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Posts Tagged ‘Meridan Zerner’

Nutrition Consultation at Cooper Clinic

August 11, 2014 Leave a comment

In this year’s Medscape survey, 50 percent of primary care respondents said they spent 16 minutes or less with patients. Cooper Clinic physicians spend up to two hours with every patient. We’re rounding out the blog series that broke down each of the six components of the comprehensive preventive exam at Cooper Clinic. If you haven’t followed along, read about the first five (of six) components to get caught up.

  1. Medical Exam & Counseling
  2. Laboratory Analysis
  3. Cardiovascular Screening
  4. Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Scan
  5. Skin Cancer Screening
  6. Nutrition Consultation

One-on-one consultations with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) are designed to help patients gain the knowledge and skills needed to achieve a healthy lifestyle. This consultation includes nutrition coaching, a personalized action plan with diet recommendations and a computer analysis of a Three-Day Food Record to calculate the nutrients in your diet.

If eating well were easy, we would all be healthier and weigh less. But the bottom line is that staying faithful to mindful nutrition is hard. We may know what foods to choose, but just cannot find the strategy to make good choices. Or we may think we know the right food choices to make, only to find that a “healthy” bran muffin has as much fat and calories as a gooey cinnamon roll. Some of us would not know how to recognize a good fat from a bad fat if our life depended on it (which in some ways is kind of does).

Our RDNs can take the complex concepts of nutrition and translate them in simple terms as they apply to your individual dietary habits. Are there specific foods you love that need to be modified to be more nutrient dense? If your cholesterol is a tad high and you want to increase fiber in your diet for cholesterol lowering? An RDN can show you how to make simple changes in your food choices to make that happen. Are you on the go and prone to missing lunch? Our RDNs can tell you which of the meal bar substitutes (and there are a zillion out there) make the most sense for your nutritional needs, taste preferences and weight goals.

There is so much information online and in the news that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Is it good to take calcium supplements to protect the bones or bad to take calcium supplements because of risk to the heart? Do I get enough calcium in my diet so I don’t even have to worry about supplements?

With a one-on-one consultation, your specific needs can be addressed. Are you a vegetarian worried about protein intake? Are you pre-diabetic and wonder which food choices will help you lower your blood sugar? Do you entertain clients at restaurants and need to find a way to eat a healthy meal from the menu without being a wet blanket? Surely nothing kills a party faster than having the host order a chicken breast with kale and a side of water.

Just as important as helping you make a road map for your nutrition journey, our dietitians are with you every step of the way. They are there for you if you need to come in to the clinic for a visit to brainstorm about roadblocks or you can schedule a phone consultation as frequently as would like to keep you headed in the right direction. The nutrition train is definitely one you want to get on board.

To learn more about Cooper Clinic’s preventive exam, click here or call us at 866.906.2667 (COOP).

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What Nutritionists Eat When They Dine Out

I was sitting in an interview with Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, listening to her give tips on how to make a healthy decision at meal time when I thought, “I wonder what she eats when she goes out to dinner?” The writer asked questions about changes anyone could make when they were meal planning and the information Meridan shared was great. There were plenty of tips and tricks I could use while grocery shopping but I spend more time dining out with friends and family than I do cooking at home.  A few weeks later, I finally got around to chatting with Meridan about how she decides what restaurants to dine at and what she orders.

“Whatever happens, always eat consistently throughout the day,” says Meridan. Meals and snacks provide you with the necessary nutrition and energy to have the most productive day. Eating regularly also helps to avoid overeating when you do finally sit down to eat. Consider eating a lighter lunch before a big dinner but definitely don’t skip a meal.

  1. Think lean and green. Always go for salads, fruits and vegetables first. These foods are high in fiber and will fill up your stomach faster. Whether it’s a cup of fruit or vegetable soup, you will be starting off with foods that will keep you from overindulging later in your meal.
  2. Consider sharing an appetizer. Splitting that delicious appetizer will help you manage portion control. Eating two appetizers instead of an entrée is another great way to make sure you’re eating a healthy portion size.
  3. Substitute for something healthier.  If your meal comes with pasta or rice, consider substituting that for double veggies in order to get the healthiest version of the meal possible.  Most restaurants are willing to allow customers to substitute or make changes to the listed menu items as dietary needs continue to change.
  4. Skip the sauce. Depending on what you order, you’re adding an additional 500 calories to your meal. Skipping that extra sauce, oil or butter goes a long way in managing your caloric intake. Meals may start out healthy but be mindful of how little extras add up quickly.

Choose restaurants carefully and always know before you go. Look at menus online before deciding where to plan your next meal. Check out Healthy Dining Finder for restaurant reviews and contact Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services to find out how to plan meals according to your lifestyle.

Have a Happy, Healthy Fourth!

Are you getting enough fruit each day? Men should have 2 cups/day and women should have 1.5-2 cups/day. Make half your plate fruits and veggies!

Do you love barbeque? Although the healthy options are usually limited at your favorite barbeque joint, you can keep it under control by finding a good balance. Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Colleen Loveland, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, offers some healthy tips to enjoy the barbeque season.

Barbeque Restaurants
Barbeque isn’t known for being healthy, but there are healthier options out there. When choosing meat, try smoked barbeque turkey. This choice has 6 g of saturated fat versus 13 g in brisket. Turkey is a great option to get the smokey flavor without the calories and fat. Instead of ribs, which has 15 g of saturated fat, try a pulled pork sandwich. This only has 8 g of saturated fat. If you can, split your meal with a friend. Not only should you make the leaner meat choice but beware of the side items. Creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, breaded okra and potato salad will easily contain 20 g of saturated fat. The best solution is to opt for steamed vegetables or a salad with the dressing or sauce on the side. Remember to drizzle your dressing and not drench.

Barbeque at Home
To avoid restaurants’ less healthy options, throw a healthier barbeque bash at home. Having options and using your imagination can create many healthy choices. Switch from burgers and brats to kebabs. Use lean meat, chicken, tofu or fish but in smaller portions. Try alternating meat with a variety of vegetables like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash. Add fruit to the mix by adding pineapple and apple slices. For the juicy taste and texture, find a reduced-calorie marinade or brush a little olive oil on your favorite meat or vegetables.

Side Dishes

Cooper Clinic recommends filling half of your plate with vegetables, which happen to taste great when grilled. Throw a corn on the cob on the grill for a side dish. Did you know it’s a whole grain? Instead of a baked potato with the unhealthy fillings, try boiling new potatoes seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Try this recipe for a healthier version of a barbeque favorite, coleslaw.

Sauces
When it comes to barbeque sauce, always choose them on the side to help limit sodium, fat and calories. By drizzling small amounts, you are in control of how much goes on your dish. Also try dipping your fork in the sauce first and then pick up your food. You will use a third of what you would normally pour. Always limit cream-, butter-or cheese-based sauces.

Now, let’s get to grilling! Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, shares the healthiest ways to grill your favorite meats and vegetables this summer.

View recipes from Cooper Clinic dietitians to make your Fourth of July celebration a healthy one.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian, click here or call 972.560.2655.

See-Food, Supplementation and Exercises for Your Eye Health

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Have you been spending a lot of ‘screen time’ with a new gadget from Christmas? The average American adult spends an average of 9.5 hours every day in front of a screen. Do you think that sounds too high? It adds up. Between a computer screen at work, watching the news at home, playing Candy Crush on an iPhone, browsing Pinterest on your iPad. Cooper Clinic Dietitian Meridan Zerner explained recently on Fox 4 Good Day that all of those devices (and anything with a screen) emit a blue light which is problematic for the retina. Yes, we can be more aware about our ‘screen time’, but what else can we do? Meridan gave suggestions for diet, supplementation and even eye exercises. Check it out below.

Diet

Try a “see-food” diet. Ha! Really, though—eat salmon, sardines or tuna two to three times a week to receive omega-3—this acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Meridan said to literally eat your garnish. Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and baby spinach should be in your daily diet. These veggies are not only for good health, but also for your eye health. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are actually in your eyes. When I think of eating healthy for my eyes, I think of carrots. But I learned lutein and zeaxanthin have been proven to be much more effective than beta-carotene, which is found in carrots and other orange vegetables.

Supplementation

Do you really need supplements? Meridan said this is when to take a reality check. Are you going to eat perfectly every day? Are you really going to have fish two to three times a week and five to nine servings of vegetables a day? New Year’s is a great time to make healthy changes, but if the answer is no, then that’s where supplements come into play. Cooper Complete®’s newest product, MVP (Maximum Vision Performance), is a great supplement to support eye health. It includes vitamin D, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin. Learn more about it here.

Eye Workouts

Yes, these really help. Meridan said eye works are beneficial, especially for those of us who have a lot of screen time!

  • Do an exaggerated eye roll and blink definitively. Do it in the other direct and repeat for five reps. This exercise will stretch your eye muscles.
  • She also suggested using the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen, look 20 feet away and focus for 20 seconds.

Also evaluate the distance you sit from a computer screen. Studies show that you should be at least an arm’s length away from a computer screen. Take frequent breaks for your mind, body and eyes.

For more information about Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, visit coopercomplete.com.

Fitness Band or Pedometer? What’s on Your List?

December 13, 2013 1 comment

Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit® Flex, Jawbone™ UP—these are just a few examples of what the exercise world knows as “fitness bands”.

A fitness band is a tracking device or tool that provides information to the user on total physical activity. The device tracks steps taken, calories burned, miles and some even track sleep (depends on the brand).

These tools help us track exactly how much exercise we’re getting and how much energy we are expending. Fitness bands can help “alleviate the disconnect between feeling like you worked out really hard and the reality that you actually didn’t work that hard,” says Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Sports Dietitian Meridan Zerner.

Consider the fitness band like a scale. There’s no way of knowing exactly how much you weigh or how much weight you’ve lost if you never step on a scale. Sure, fitness equipment in the gym will help you measure distance, calories, steps, etc., but the moment you step off the treadmill or elliptical, the tracking stops.

A fitness band goes wherever you go, tracking every step, every calorie, every mile. We asked Zerner to explain further.

What’s the difference between a fitness band and a pedometer?

A fitness band adds the next level of technology. With the band, you’ll have a profile you can look at every day to track your progress over days, weeks, months and years. Depending on the brand, you may even be able to compare yourself to other people online or in a fitness challenge. With a fitness band, you get a more detailed readout than you would with a pedometer. A pedometer will only tell you how many steps you took, whereas a fitness band will tell you steps, calories burned and may even tell you how much more physical activity you need to do to reach your goal.

What are the benefits of using a fitness band?

Most people struggle with a certain amount of disconnect when it comes to a true measure of their intensity, total effort or amount of mileage accrued. Tools like this help provide a reality check of how much physical activity we’ve done, how much more we need to do and how much it will take to reach our goal or get to the next level. The reality is, sometimes we aren’t working as hard as we think we are working. A fitness band will help keep that reality in check.

Studies on these types of fitness tools have found that people are more successful when they get immediate feedback. They get a sense of how their workout today fits into the big picture and their long-term goals. Fitness bands provide the ability to look at short-term and long-term goals together. Perhaps your long-term goal is to run a six-minute mile. To achieve that end goal, you must first achieve milestones along the way—perhaps starting with an eight-minute mile, chipping away at that time until you reach your goal.

Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas has equipment that measures similar data to a fitness band. Members are given a chip they can insert into any piece of cardio equipment at Cooper Fitness Center. That chip logs into Preva®, software designed to give “a personalized fitness experience that not only entertains, but motivates you to achieve and exceed your fitness goals.”

Which fitness band is best?

Zerner prefers the Fitbit, as it is “more discreet than the Nike Fuelband,” she says. Ultimately, the brand of fitness band you choose depends on your personal preference, what information you want to get from the tool and your budget.

If a fitness band isn’t in your budget, start with a baseline pedometer. Even this will give you “a more accurate mental snapshot of what you are really doing and how far you are really walking to enable you to meet their fitness goals,” says Zerner. “Using the tools in the toolbox—no matter how expensive or inexpensive—can help you reach your goal.”

Tis the holiday season! We’ve also shared Kitchen Gift Gadgets, stayed tuned for more blog posts for gifts that keep on giving.

Healthy, Portable, New!

December 6, 2013 Leave a comment

We’re well into the holiday season—that time of year when we’re all on the move. Whether we’re on planes, taking a road trip or in the mall there’s little time to think about healthy eating on the go. Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Meridan Zerner understands this dilemma well and has scoured the grocery stores for the newest, nutritious, portable snacks. She found snacks that are easy to pack and carry around, not messy, and delicious, of course. From bars to crackers and nuts, these snacks pack a punch of nutrition to keep you going.

Bars: Bars are a great grab-n-go snack because they combine whole grains, proteins and carbohydrates in one bar. Here are a few tasty options:

Chips: These chips are a crunchy option for those who like a saltier snack:

Crackers/Granola: Crackers and granola can also add variety to your snack options:

Nut Butters: These nut butters provide added nutrition to a cracker, a piece of fruit or even a vegetable like celery.

Gourmet Nuts and Seeds

Visit our website for more health tips and snack recipes. For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services download our brochure, call 972.560.2655 or request an appointment online.

Cooper Challenge on Good Morning Texas

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Did you see familiar faces on Good Morning Texas earlier this month? If you missed it, we’ll be on air live again tomorrow! The producers at WFAA-ABC selected four bloggers to work with Cooper Clinic dietitian Meridan Zerner and Cooper Fitness Center’s Director of Fitness Mary Edwards for four months as part of the Cooper Challenge. On Oct. 2 Meridan introduced each contestant and shared their challenges and opportunities for weight loss. Meridan said each of these contestants face common challenges that we all struggle with and wanted to share to help motivate others. Check them out:

Valerie is an award-winning blogger for Family eGuide who has struggled with her diet. Valerie was trying to lose weight with a very low-calorie diet (approximately 1,000-1,200 calories per day). Meridan said with her height and weight she needed a more balanced diet and is working on a more balanced diet with minimal carbs at night.

A dad of five kiddos, Colby also known as “Days of a Domestic Dad” online, doesn’t get much good quality sleep. Meridan said that not receiving proper sleeps can be a huge barrier in maintaining or losing weight. Rather than measuring his progress on the scale, Meridan said she wants to look at his change of body fat.

Arena also known as “The Nerd’s Wife” eats a lot of take out. Rather than eliminating it all together, Meridan will help her to choose better choices and slowly start adding in easy nutritious meals she can prep at home.

Latrice also known as “The Untidy Clean Freak” has a challenge we can all understand—she is a chef, so she is always around food! With her diet plan, Meridan is trying to lower her blood pressure with minimal sodium. Latrice said one of her goals is to run the National Veteran’s Day Run in Dallas on Nov. 11—go Latrice!

After introducing each contestant, Meridan gave a breakfast nutrition consultation. “Studies show those who have breakfast eat less over the course of the day,” Meridan stated. She presented many quick breakfast options (under 300 calories) to help jump start their Cooper Challenge. Click here to watch the video clip.

Along with a healthy diet, Mary provided simple at-home workouts for our contestants—even if they can’t make it into the gym. A common struggle for all four contestants was a lack of time. Mary demonstrated a few exercise moves to get them moving and to kick off the challenge—click here to watch the video.

As bloggers, our contestants have been sharing their Cooper Challenge journey on their multitude of social media channels with the hash tag #CooperChallenge. Reach out to the contestants via email, Twitter, Facebook—whatever social media channel you have to give them words of encouragement to help reach their goals and to Get Cooperized™.

Tune in tomorrow morning to catch up with our contestants, hear their progress and get further health tips from Meridan and Mary to keep them on track!

To receive free health tips from Cooper Aerobics, click here to receive The Cooperized. Distributed on the first and third Tuesday of the month, The Cooperized offers research-based health information and tips from all of our Cooper experts, guiding you to Get Cooperized™.

For more personalized help, learn more about nutrition services at Cooper Clinic and professional training at Cooper Fitness Center.

Heart Disease: Using Nutrition to Take Control

August 9, 2013 4 comments

Our daily nutrition choices can go a long way in reducing our risk of heart disease.  In this video, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian, Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD shows us practical and simple ways to make heart healthy choices at each meal. Her tips include adding good choices to our diet, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and reducing foods like cheese and butters. Making even one of these changes on a daily basis can make a significant difference in protecting your heart for the future.

For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.

What’s Really in Your Juice?

July 29, 2013 1 comment

Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic registered dietitian shared ‘what’s really in your juice’ on Fox 4 Good Day.

Anytime I’m in the grocery store I love to check out the latest juices. They look so enticing with the juicy fruits and fresh vegetables on the labels, but I always check the nutritional values before buying a new drink. And sometimes I’m surprised by what’s really in my juice. Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic was recently featured on Fox 4 Good Day sharing the facts about popular juices.

Meridan surrounded herself with a myriad of juice drinks and started the conversation by explaining—when choosing juices it all depends on the portion and caloric intake.

100% Juice

Sometimes we see 100% juice or we see the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ and think it’s a healthy option. Meridan said, “In reality it’s a glass of high-sugar, high-calorie and low-protein—which is pretty much a recipe for weight gain.”

Liquid calories are really the no. 1 contributor to weight gain in everything we take in as a nation.

Meridan presented a bottle of 100% juice labeled “citrus mango pineapple,” and explained that the no. 1 ingredient is apple juice, which is an inexpensive filler. There is minimal nutrient value in apple juice and it can result in cavities and weight gain.

You would think the 100% juice would be a healthier option, but it’s not if it’s filled with high fructose corn syrup. In the average bottle of 100% orange juice that you can buy in the airport or local convenient store there can be up to the equivalent of 22 sugar cubes. After drinking this bottle, you won’t feel full and you may crave more in calories later in the day.

Kids Drinks

We give kids packaged drinks in their lunch boxes, that aren’t really juice to begin with. If you read the ingredients, you can see they contain a lot of water and high fructose corn syrup. For example, a Capri Sun® contains the equivalent of eight sugar cubes. And the nutritional value of cranberry apple raspberry juice is not much better. Apple juice is again the no. 1 ingredient, and a glass contains the equivalent of 28 sugar cubes.

Fruit & Veggie Juices

Juices like Naked Juice® are everywhere with other popular juices in the refrigerated section of grocery stores. When you see these you think—that has to be healthy, it looks very organic. Yet even in one of these bottles featuring berries on the label, the no. 1 ingredient is—you guessed it, apple juice.

“When it’s all said and done if you’re somebody who’s never going to eat a fruit or vegetable, I would suggest a very small serving of this, otherwise you’re likely to gain weight. Of course if you need help adding fruits and vegetable to your diet a  Cooper dietitian can help out.”  And adding real fruits and vegetables has an added benefit—real fiber which can help with digestion.

Portions

Meridan demonstrated a common pour for a juice glass and compared it to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended four ounces a day for kids. “When we look at the amount kids are drinking you can see it’s really contributing to ill health and weight gain,” Meridan said. “If I could go from the standard American juice glass to the recommended four ounces a day, you could lose 10 pounds in a year! That is without dieting or exercise! That’s powerful.”

Water

This is always your healthiest option. It is very important, especially in the summer heat to stay hydrated. Every cell in the human body requires water to function properly. When we don’t drink enough water, the cells begin to lose their function. Always keep a bottle or glass handy as you’re going about your daily routine.

The bottom line on juices—moderation is key. For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.

Summer Camps Offer Play With a Purpose

July 23, 2013 1 comment

Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic registered dietitian makes learning about nutrition fun at camp.

Summer is in full swing and our phones haven’t stopped ringing from parents hoping our Summer Fit & Fun Camp is the perfect day-camp for their child. Parents typically call for a camp that will keep their kids away from video games and TV. Cooper Fitness Center Assistant General Manager Meredith Rosson says parents ask what sets our camps apart from other camps and she loves having the opportunity to tell them.

1. Our philosophy is to keep kids active all day with exposure to various sports. Our Kids Camp and Youth Camp are the sample platters on our camp menu. In these day-camps children in both age groups will try new sports like lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, disc golf and handball. This helps kids who might not excel in traditional sports like basketball or soccer, find something they feel comfortable with.

2. We provide a safe and encouraging environment within our day-camps for children to try these new activities. On the first day of camp our counselors emphasize how important it is to try new sports and how imperative it is to encourage one another. Children’s sports become so competitive at such a young age now, our camps provide a less competitive and more encouraging atmosphere to just have fun playing, not competing.

3. It’s not just sports–it’s games too! Some of our non-traditional games like Pilo polo, Last Man Standing, Nukem, and relay races are camp favorites. These games are great for the kids to share in their neighborhoods or recess with friends. They also works on the basic motor development skills children need to transfer to future athletic endeavors.

4. Our Counselors. Our Counselors go through three rounds of interviews and a background check to make sure they are just the right fit for our camp. We look for individuals that show a passion for uplifting children in a complete wellness manner. We maintain a 10:1 ratio of kids to Counselors and we also have Junior Counselors assisting. We ensure your children are safe and surrounded by individuals that want to be good influences in your child’s life.

5. Nutrition and fitness is made fun. We have experts in certain fitness and nutrition areas to complete the wellness picture in a kid-friendly 30-minute lesson. One of our popular lessons is led by Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic. She provides lessons that cover topics, like learning to “eat the rainbow” or what foods make you “leaner, stronger, faster, smarter.”

Another popular activity is the Friday Orienteering Scavenger Hunt with Shannon Edwards, Director of IGNITE! at Cooper Fitness Center. Shannon has always loved adventure and with the creation of his orienteering programs for kids, our campers have loved their Friday scavenger hunt. For the thrill of the hunt, they don’t mind running around our 30-acre campus to lead their team to victory.

6. Every day is different! I often hear from parents that their child got bored at other camps because every day was the same. We do our best to ensure that doesn’t happen. During our Counselor training we take several hours to plan out the entire summer and ensure that we make each day different.

7. Tailor it to your needs! Our sport specific camps like Soccer Camp, Tennis Camp, Basketball Camp and Dance Camps are weeklong camps that last one to two hours per day. If you are looking for a day-camp, you can pair a sport camp with our day-camps. We will ensure your child is at the right place and right time for each activity. This allows a heavier focus on their technical skills in a specific sport, which are coached by one of our Sports Pros, while also enjoying the remainder of their day at Youth Camp or Kids Camp.

8. It is affordable. Comparable to most YMCA camps, our day camps provide a “play with a purpose” philosophy without the high price of many sport and wellness programs. This allows parents to be able to sign their children up for multiple weeks at our day-camps without breaking the bank.

Most importantly we have fun! Summer is a time for kids to be kids and we want them to enjoy their summer break with fond memories of summer camp. For more information visit our website.