Posts Tagged ‘Registered Dietitian’

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.

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.

Eating Well in College

Eating healthfully at college may seem like an impossible task but with the right knowledge and resources it can be done. Often times, students don’t focus on their diet with all the excitement that goes with leaving home for college and gaining new independence.

One of the things you can avoid is the dreaded “Freshman 15.” It’s pretty common for students to pack on pounds, especially that first year. Like a kid in a candy store, you are introduced to large amounts of ready-to-eat food available 24 hours a day. To avoid weight gain, try these tips:

  1. Put yourself on a schedule. Eating every 3-5 hours during the day makes it easier to avoid the out-of-control eating when hunger hits.
  2. Watch the grazing. Be sure to eat your balanced meals and planned snacks so the calories are better controlled.
  3. Include breakfast daily. Eat within an hour of waking to boost your metabolism and help control indulging late in the day. (Note: Breakfast recipes from Cooper Clinic)
  4. Be aware of non-hunger cues that make you want to eat. Food can be a great comfort for emotions and used for: coping, celebrating, relaxing, procrastinating and a part of socializing. Make sure you sit down and focus on eating rather than eating while doing other tasks. Mindless eating can lead to extra calories.
  5. Pay attention to the calories in alcohol which can lead to weight gain. It’s not only the empty calories from alcohol but also the munchies that often accompany drinking contribute to weight gain. Never drink on an empty stomach alternate each caloric beverage with water or seltzer and dilute the drink with water. Don’t forget, it’s always acceptable to decline a drink.

You can learn more about nutrition to make smarter choices to fuel your body for your college experience. Before you leave home, visit a nutrition expert at Cooper Clinic to learn the nutrition basics. Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can arm you with tools to balance your meals and snacks, choose appropriate portions, navigate social eating situations and make it easy to enjoy a healthy lifestyle during college and for years to come.

For more information about nutrition consultations at Cooper Clinic, click here or call 972-560-2655.

Post provided by Colleen Loveland, MS, RDN, LD, CDE

Eat More For Less

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

What if you could eat more food for fewer calories? The trick is to fill up on the right foods that satisfy your hunger but carry a lower calorie count. These types of foods tend to be high in water and fiber content so you can eat in volume, feel fuller and consume a lesser amount of calories.

Calorie density is simply the number of calories in a certain volume of food.  Low calorie density foods have fewer calories per bite. For example, three cups of popcorn has only 80 calories. High calorie density foods are higher in calories for a smaller amount. One cup of nuts has more than 800 calories. Do the math and that’s eight times more calories than popcorn!

“The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet” by Barbara Rolls, introduces the concept of Volumetrics. The Volumetrics Plan is based on low calorie density options such as water-based and higher fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and broth soups, balanced out with other healthy choices such as high fiber whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods high in sugar and fat-even healthy fat found in nuts, avocados and olive oil (because of the high-calorie load).

Many years of research have proven that the quantity of food we eat has a greater impact on satiety than the actual number of calories. Satiety is the full feeling at the end of a meal that signals our brain that we have eaten enough. This is great news for many of us who like to eat a fuller plate of food and still slim down. It follows the My Plate guidelines of filling half your plate with vegetables, one quarter with lean protein and one quarter with healthy carbs. So how is this done? See the tips below for tricks to eat more for less.

How to Volumize Your Diet:

  1. Pile on the vegetables. Vegetables are one of the best examples of low energy density foods because they contain high water and fiber content for a minimal number of calories.  Plus they are super-nutritious! One half cup of cooked vegetables or 2 cups of leafy greens has about 25 calories and an average of two grams of satisfying fiber. Pile your plate with volumes of Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, okra, spinach, kale and romaine lettuce.
  2. Fill up on fluids. Choose water-rich foods such as fruit to accompany a meal or as a fiber-packed snack. One serving of most fruits has about 60 calories, such as 1 ¼ cup strawberries or watermelon and ¾ cup blackberries, blueberries or fresh pineapple. Other ways to get more volume from fluid is to serve a broth-based soup prior to or with a meal or drink a glass of water or a sugar-free beverage before a meal.
  3. Slash the fat. Cut down on oil, butter, eggs and high-fat dairy, such as whole milk, cream, full fat salad dressings and cheese. Replace these with lower fat options such as fat free milk, reduced fat cheese, lower fat dressings, egg whites and non-fat yogurt. Choose leaner meats, fish and skinless poultry, and trim any visible fat.

Simple Swaps: Choose This vs. That

  • One cup air-popped popcorn (31 calories) vs. one cup regular potato chips (137 calories)
  • One cup grapes (104 calories) vs. one cup raisins (434 calories)
  • One cup Kashi® GOLEAN Crunch!® Cereal (190 calories) vs. one cup Kellogg’s® Low Fat Granola (380 calories)
  • One cup Progresso® Vegetable Minestrone soup (100 calories) vs. one cup Campbell’s® Cream of Mushroom soup (200 calories)
  • One Yasso Greek frozen yogurt bar (80 calories) vs. one Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla ice cream bar (300 calories)

For more nutrition tips, download the Cooper Clinic Nutrition brochure, call 972.560.2655 or request an appointment online.

The Joy of Soy: 5 Ways to Enjoy Soy

April 22, 2013 3 comments

92664538_EdamameApril is National Soyfoods Month. It’s a great time to add some soy to your diet several times a week or to try it for the first time. Here’s the scoop on its nutrition and health benefits, as well as simple ways you can sneak some soy into your routine.

Soybeans are part of the legume family and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Soy is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, iron and calcium. It’s low in fat and cholesterol free.

Research shows that soy can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol and may reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. Consuming soy foods may also be associated with reduced risk of osteoporosis and certain types of cancer, notably breast cancer.

Here are five popular ways to enjoy soy:

Edamame (small green soybeans):

  • Usually found in the frozen food aisle, but also ready-to-eat in the produce section.
  • Try shelled or unshelled.
  • Easy to prepare by boiling or steaming.
  • Serve as an appetizer or snack in the pods and then remove the shells before eating.
  • Add to salads.
  • Prepare as a side dish. Toss with corn, tomatoes, red bell peppers, herbs and a little bit of oil.
  • Nutrition facts: ½ cup shelled edamame (Seapoint Farms brand) has 100 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 30 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein.

Soy Nuts (also known as dry roasted edamame):

  • Dried and roasted soybeans.
  • Enjoy as a high fiber, high protein snack with less fat than other nuts.
  • Various flavors include slightly salted, wasabi and Goji blend.
  • Nutrition facts: ¼ cup (Seapoint Farms brand, wasabi flavor) has 130 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 130 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.


  • Plain tofu (firm, soft, lite or silken) can be used in stir fries, tossed into salads, made into vegetarian burgers, used in place of yogurt or sour cream in creamy dips, soups, sauces or desserts. A 4 oz. serving has 100 calories, 4.3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0.7 g fiber and 10 g protein.
  • Baked tofu is an easy option because it comes pre-cooked and seasoned and in different flavors, such as Thai sesame peanut and Italian herb. Serve warm in pasta, soup or stir-fry or serve cold on sandwiches or salads. A 2 oz. serving (White Wave brand, Sesame Peanut Thai) has 90 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 280 mg sodium, 1 g fiber and 9 g protein.

Soy Milk:

  • A lactose-free vegetarian milk option.
  • Plain or flavored (chocolate and vanilla); regular or lite.
  • Drink it plain.
  • Pour it over hot or cold cereal.
  • Add to coffee as a low fat creamer.
  • Use it to make cream sauces.
  • Create your own protein shakes blending soymilk and fruit.
  • Nutrition facts: 1 cup plain soymilk (Silk brand) has 90 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Soy flour:

  • Use in baked goods to replace up to ¼ of the amount of flour (per 1 cup of flour: combine ¼ cup soy flour with ¾ cup all-purpose flour).
  • Stir it into sauces and gravies to thicken them.

If you’re looking for more convenience, try some of these soy-based products:

  • Energy bars made with soy
  • Soy burger patties and other soy protein meat-alternatives
  • Soy protein powder (added to smoothies or shakes)
  • Soy yogurt and cheese
  • Low fat soy frozen desserts

Happy Soyfoods Month!

Heart Smart Food Label Reading

February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Heart HealthThere’s no better time to start reading food labels than this February, American Heart Month. One of the most important steps when eating for a healthy heart starts when you’re at the grocery store before you add foods to your cart. Reading food labels can be a bit tricky. With a few simple guidelines, you will know know what to look for and literally what to take to heart.

1.  Serving Size. Start at the top and check out the serving size. This tells you how much of the product is in a single serving. All of the data that follows refers back to what is in that single serving. Beware of multiple servings in a package (see “servings per container” below), because you need to calculate the right amount according to how much you actually eat.
Heart Smart Tip: Pay attention to the serving size to keep your weight in check. Maintaining a healthy weight is going to help keep your blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar in a healthy range.

2.  Servings per Container. You will find this right below the serving size. Just like it sounds, it’s the number of servings in the whole container. For example, if the serving size on a box of crackers is 10 pieces and you eat 20 pieces, double the data listed to account for the amount you eat.
Heart Smart Tip: If there are multiple servings in a package, it’s a good idea to stick with just one serving. This will help you better manage portions and weight. Take out the amount of one serving, put it on a small dish and immediately return the package to the fridge or pantry.

3.  Calories. Check out the calories! This tells you, based on the serving size, how much the food counts toward your total daily calorie budget. Simply put, if you’re watching your waistline for peak heart health, then this number is worth counting. If you know the number of calories you need to achieve a healthy weight, then you can figure out how much you can eat of that specific food.
Heart Smart Tip: Calories are your body’s fuel source. Try spreading them out throughout the day for your best energy levels. Skipping meals usually leads to overcompensating by chowing down at other times of the day, particularly in the evening hours. Eating too many calories at any time of day and especially at night when you’re typically relaxing and more inclined to overeat, is counterproductive when you’re trying to watch your weight.

4.  Total Fat. Look at the total grams of fat on food labels. The general recommendation for a heart healthy diet is about 30 percent of daily calories from fat.
Heart Smart Tip: A 2,000 calorie diet should contain no more than about 65 grams (g) of fat per day. To put this in perspective, if a single serving of food contains 30 g of total fat, this accounts for a big chunk, almost 50 percent of your daily allotted fat! You might want to reconsider your options.

5.  Saturated Fat. This number is especially important for your heart. Saturated fat is one of the “ugly” fat sources in the diet. It drives up the LDL (bad) cholesterol, which clogs your arteries and increases your risk of heart disease. Offensive saturated fats are found in high fat dairy foods (whole milk, cheese, butter, cream-based foods and ice cream); high fat meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ribs; and oils found in coconut and palm kernel oil and products made with these ingredients.
Heart Smart Tip: Select low-fat and nonfat dairy products, such as fat-free milk, 1 percent milk, reduced-fat cheeses (with no more than 3  g saturated fat per serving), nonfat yogurt and low-fat frozen treats. Ban butter and go for liquid oil-based spreads instead. Choose meats that are low-fat with no more than 3 g of saturated fat per three ounce (oz.) serving. Avoid coconut milk, yogurt and frozen treats which are extremely loaded in saturated fat.

6. Trans Fat: If saturated fats are “ugly,” trans fats (a.k.a. hydrogenated fats) are “evil.”  They are evil because not only do they raise your LDL cholesterol, they also lower your heart protective good HDL cholesterol. That’s a double whammy! Trans fats are artificial and were originally created to improve food texture and keep foods more shelf-stable. Common sources of trans fat include some margarines, cakes, biscuits, fried foods, sweets and many high fat dairy products. Note, many liquid oil-based margarines now contain no trans fat and therefore can be included in small amounts in a heart healthy diet. Try not to get any trans fat in your diet.
Heart Smart Tip: Look for the number “zero” on labels next to the trans fat. Beware: if one serving of a food lists 0 g of trans fat, it may still contain trace amounts. By law, a food company does not have to disclose any trans fats if a single serving contains no more than 0.5 g of trans fat.  Read the “Ingredients” list at the bottom of the label and if one of the first ingredients is “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil,” then put that food back on the shelf. If you choose to occasionally eat foods containing trans or hydrogenated fats, then at the very least, consume just one serving.

7.  Cholesterol. The American Heart Association deems that a general heart healthy diet should contain no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per day. Foods containing the highest amounts of cholesterol are egg yolks, liver and other organ meats, and shrimp. Most meats, including lean meats, fish and poultry, high-fat cheese, butter and high-fat mayonnaise contain in the ball park of 35-90 g per serving. A “typical” serving is defined as 3 oz. of meat, 1 oz. of cheese, and 1 Tbsp. of either butter or mayonnaise.
Heart Smart Tip: Try not to consume the very high cholesterol containing foods very often and keep your daily animal protein intake from fish, chicken, turkey, lean pork and lean red meat to no more than about 4-8 oz. a day. The amount of protein you need per day should match your calorie needs.

8.  Sodium. The current dietary guidelines recommend no more than 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium per day. Too much salt in the diet drives up blood pressure which can lead to heart disease. Some foods are shockingly high in sodium, even if they don’t taste “salty.” Don’t try to guess if there’s a lot of salt in your food, read the label. Common culprits of sodium are processed meats and cheeses, canned soups and vegetables, convenience foods, salted snacks, seasonings and condiments (soy sauce, bouillon cubes, pickles, bottled sauces and dressings, such as salad dressing, tomato sauce, mustard and ketchup). The list goes on – as much as 75 percent of the sodium found in the average American diet comes from processed foods, not the salt shaker.
Heart Smart Tip: Select snacks and side dishes with no more than 300 mg sodium per serving. Choose entrees with less than 600-800 mg sodium per serving. Compare similar foods and choose the ones with the least amount of sodium. Use salt-free seasonings, such as Mrs. Dash in place of all varieties of salt, including sea salt, which is no lower in sodium than table salt.

9.  Dietary Fiber. Become a fan of fiber, if you’re not already. Fiber is famous for many of its redeeming qualities. The type of fiber that is credited for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol  is “soluble” fiber, found in oatmeal and oat bran dry cereals such as Cheerios, Kashi Heart to Heart and Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Cinnamon Oat Crunch. Soluble fiber is also known to help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. The other type of fiber, “insoluble” fiber, functions to help with digestion and satiety. A high fiber diet contains a wealth of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans, nuts and seeds. Because fiber can help fill you up, it can help you consume fewer calories and lose weight. Aim for 20-35 g of fiber every day.
Heart Smart Tip: Get your daily dose of fiber with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen vegetables are another great option and are often more convenient. Select wholegrain products, such as brown rice, wholewheat or whole-oat cereals, wholegrain breads, pastas and other high fiber starches. Compare food labels to get the most fiber bang for your buck. As a general rule of thumb, pick out cereals with at least 5 g of fiber per serving and wholegrain breads, pastas and rice with at least 3 g of fiber per serving.

So the next time you head to the grocery store, take a few moments to check out the food labels. Once you’re equipped with the knowledge, it will take less time and effort to plan heart healthy meals for you and your family.

Healthy Weight Loss with a Dietitian

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Weight LossIf weight loss is on your to-do list and you are having a hard time getting started or keeping it going, consider how a registered dietitian can help you. Losing weight is accomplished most successfully for the long term when treating it as a lifestyle, not a diet.

A registered dietitian is the nutrition expert and can help you:

  1. Design a weight loss plan, including what to eat based on your personal preferences.
  2. Explain the philosophy of mindful eating and how you can develop better skills around your eating choices.
  3. Find innovative ways to incorporate healthy eating daily, both during the week and on the weekends.
  4. Provide quick, easy and creative meal and snack ideas for you to enjoy.
  5. Work with you to manage social and holiday events that can make losing weight more challenging, but doable!!
  6. Devise strategies for eating out and travel so you can take your healthy eating habits with you wherever you go.
  7. Provide you with accountability and support and celebrate with you all of your little and big successes along the way.

Cooper Clinic registered dietitians want to work with you on your journey.  We want you to succeed and you will, with a strong commitment and a little bit of knowledge, skill and patience.

It is never too late to hop on the train to lose weight. Let us travel together. There may be a few bumps on the road and that is okay, just so long as you commit to a healthy lifestyle, you will become the healthier person you decide to be.

Our team of Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitians are here to help. If you live in the DFW area, schedule an appointment today!

Coca-Cola Addresses Obesity in New Ad Campaign

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Meridan Zerner at Fox 4 News

Meridan Zerner at Fox 4 News

Yesterday Coca-Cola introduced a new advertising campaign and became the first soda company to address a critical topic that we are facing: obesity. The campaign launched with a two-minute ad called “Coming Together.” The video highlights Coca-Cola’s beverage options, specifically focusing on low and no-calorie options.

Last night Meridan Zerner, Registered Dietitian with Cooper Clinic, spoke with Fox 4 News about the campaign. As they mention in the ad, it is about calories in and calories out. But that is just the beginning of the discussion. From there, it’s important to address the quality of those calories. Not all calories are created equal. Empty calories, such as those we get from soda, are not harmless. There’s strong evidence that liquid calories don’t fill you up like calories from food.

Think about it this way. The average soda contains 140 calories and approximately 40 grams of high-fructose corn syrup. If you take out two Coke’s a day and replace them with water, you would lose 28 pounds in a year.

Sugary drinks are the largest contributor to calories in the nation. When you’re drinking 140 calories of soda, what are you missing out on? For 140 calories, you could have something that could nourish and energize your body, such as a cup of Greek yogurt, an apple with peanut butter or a few carrots with humus. To look at alternatives is great. Diet sodas are an option, but they are not health foods.

Obesity is an important topic. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics, was quoted in today’s Dallas Morning News on the same topic. He said, “We’ve been on a disastrous course for many years. It’s just about out of control. We have a window of opportunity with children, and that’s my big obsession at the present time.”

As we like to say at Cooper, it’s about moderation, not deprivation. Make food choices that will benefit your health.

Leave a comment below and let us know what do you think about this new campaign.

This was written by Christine Witzsche former Communications Director at Cooper Aerobics. Christine is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

All Fruits can Fit, Even with Diabetes

December 10, 2012 2 comments

Diabetic Friendly FruitHave you ever wondered if fruit is healthy to eat when you have diabetes or prediabetes? It is! Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, much like vegetables. Since fruit contains carbohydrates and turns to sugar, it’s wise not to eat with utter abandon. The total number of carbohydrates affects your blood sugars, regardless of whether the source is from sugar or starch.

Another common myth is that you should not eat certain types of fruit, either because they taste very sweet or contain too much sugar. The truth is all fruits contain sugar and can fit into your meal plan – the key is how much you eat! One serving contains 15 grams of carbohydrate. The serving size depends on the amount of carbohydrates in the fruit. Some fruits have more carbohydrates than others, but as long as you eat one serving, your blood sugar will be affected the same amount.

Here are some examples of 15 grams of carbohydrates of fruit:

  • 1 ¼ cup whole strawberries or chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup raspberries or chopped cantaloupe or honeydew
  • ¾ cup blueberries, blackberries or fresh pineapple
  • 1 small apple, orange or kiwi
  • 17 small grapes
  • 2 Tbsp. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, mixed dried fruit)
  • 2 Clementines or small plums
  • ½ cup mixed fresh fruit
  • ½ large banana or grapefruit

Things to remember:

  • Aim for two to four servings of fruit per day.
  • Choose whole produce in favor of juice.
  • Make sure canned fruit is in its own juice.
  • Dried fruit is convenient, but the serving size is a fraction of the fresh version.
  • Frozen fruit is a great option for off season.
  • Go for variety and try to capture all the colors of the rainbow to maximize antioxidant (cancer fighting) benefits.

When you are trying to incorporate more fruit into your diet, try ready-to-go precut fruit for convenience. You can pack one or two pieces of fruit from home each day and have one with lunch and the other for a snack. Fruit is also makes for a great after dinner treat.

If you have diabetes or prediabetes you can eat fruit with confidence because it’s nutrient dense and a great way to get your sweet fix.