Subject: Dietitians of the Week

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Dietitians of the Week
Check our Facebook page every weekday for our RD of the Day, as we put a much-deserved spotlight on a dietitian who's either making headlines or writing them and delivering their expertise through the media. Here are this week's featured RDs.

Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD Facebook Twitter
More and more, food enthusiasts are putting away the plates and eating their meals out of bowls. In her column for the Hattiesburg American (MS), Monday's RD of the Day explains the trend of creating healthy meals in a bowl that are worthy of photographing and sharing on social media.

"Bowls offer boundless opportunity for building a balanced meal in a beautiful way, says Rebecca Turner an RD and certified specialist in sports dietetics, "When you create an attractive ensemble of wholesome foods in a bowl, snap a photo and share it with the world."

It is more than just the aesthetics and photogenics, Rebecca writes, and it’s not just the bowl itself that is alluring. The appeal is in the combination of good-for-you foods with tasty dressings. Plus, mixing food together provides a marriage of flavor and texture, rather than food just being pushed around on a plate.

While this form of food presentation as attracted numerous names like Buddha, glory, power or macro bowl, Rebecca says that the formula to building a bowl is essentially the same: grains, vegetables, sauce or dressing, a source of protein and endless toppings combinations of nuts, seeds, olives, herbs and dried fruits.

The author of "Mind Over Fork" then goes on to provide various recommendations on how to build a healthy bowl, offering suggestions and combinations that work.

"The good news is you don’t have to dine at a fancy restaurant or post your meal on the internet to enjoy the benefits of bowl eating. You can bring this trend into your home by adhering to a few simple steps,"

For those steps, and acknowledging this social media-driven food trend, Rebecca was our Monday RD of the Day.

Read the article: Forget the plate, pick up a bowl

Holly R. Layer, RD Facebook
Tuesday's RD of the Day says that, if you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolutions are becoming things of the past. But it's only February and getting back on track is more than possible.

"One of the main reasons all those New Year’s resolutions fail is because of poor planning," says Holly R. Layer, a clinical dietitian at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, NY, in her column in the The Buffalo News. "Deciding to eat healthier in the New Year is a great idea, but what exactly does "healthy" mean, and how will that change your current shopping routine?"

After reminding readers that the truth is, "healthy" can encompass many different eating patterns, she offers some basic guidelines to follow. Most RDs have heard and recommended these all before - avoid added sugars, eat fruits and veggies, don't drink your calories, get enough protein - but they can't be stressed enough to the lay person.

Holly then provides some sound advice on how to shop at the grocery store, eschewing the trope to shop the perimeter of the store, which leaves out many important staples.

"My advice is to front-load your cart with as much fresh produce as you’ll eat in a week, protein sources (meat, eggs) and then sprinkle in some dairy, grains and legumes to round out your meals," says the blogger at

For helping her community try to get back to their healthy resolutions with practical advice, Holly was Tuesday's RD of the Day.

Read the article: Already off that resolution? Maybe a better WNY eating plan can help

Beth Peralta MS, RD, LDN  
Keeping with the heart health theme for American Heart Month, our Wednesday RD of the Day shares her top five heart-healthy foods + a great recipe for guacamole in her Healthy Living column for WCIA IllinoisHomepage, the Decatur, IL TV station's website, and segment on the station's morning show.

Beth Peralta MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian with University of Illinois Extension and representative for the Eastern Illinois Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, provides readers and viewers with some stark reality with a silver lining.

"Heart disease remains the leading cause of death, contributing to approximately 25,000 deaths per year in Illinois," Beth reminds local residents. "While these statistics sound scary, the good news is that heart disease can often be prevented through dietary and lifestyle modifications."

She then offers her top five heart-healthy foods, all of which should be familiar to RDs and nutrition professionals.

As a special treat, she provides a great way to utilize the #1 food on her list, avocado, with her recipe for homemade guacamole. (Who doesn't love some good guac?)

For addressing the importance of heart health to her community, Beth was our Wednesday RD of the Day.

Read and watch: Healthy Living: Homemade Guacamole

Sarah Cooke, RD  
Thursday's RD of the Day works with aging diabetic patients, many of whom often have trouble coping with the pernicious disease. The Press-Enterprise reports that San Bernardino County has the 2nd largest diabetes rate in the state of California, something that has become her mission to help.

Sarah Cooke, a clinical dietitian at Loma Linda University Health Care, leads a weekly class as part of an effort to combat the community's diabetes crisis, with older residents particularly vulnerable.

"The important thing is to get to people shortly after they’re diagnosed and get them the resources and proper education," she said, recently discovering that 70% of people who walk into their facility are diabetic. "A lot of people who show up for our classes have had diabetes for a number of years, have developed complications from the disease and never had the opportunity to talk to a dietitian or take a class."

During the nine years she has worked as a dietitian at Loma Linda, Cooke has seen an increasing number of younger patients who have prediabetes. She attributes it to the sodas, sugary energy and coffee drinks, and fast food that many younger people subsist on, in addition to their sedentary lifestyle.

That is translating into an onrush of suffering as these patients age, when the effects of the disease are most pronounced.

For her work on the front line of what is not just a local issue but a national hot spot, Sarah was Thursday's RD of the Day.

Read the article: San Bernardino County's diabetes rate second worst in state

Mandy Layman, MS, RD, LDN, CDE  
Learning how to eat and cook healthy food when you're young gives kids a head start on maintaining a healthy lifestyle as adults. As we see on a segment on FOX 13 News - Tampa Bay, today's RD of the Day is teaching her young patients to transform kid-friendly foods into healthy snacks.

Mandy Layman, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, brings children into the teaching kitchen at Nemours Children's Hospital Orlando Fl to answer questions about health where it starts - with nutrition.

"I just found that the families would ask questions that were difficult to answer in the exam room," Mandy explains. "So to be able to answer them in the kitchen really allows us to do some hands-on teaching."

She has had children as young as 3 in her kitchen. Layman demonstrates safe knife skills, but only allows her young sous-chefs-in-training to use plastic utensils.

13-year-old Melanie Ramirez is already seeing benefits. "It’s really inspiring me, I can actually do things that I never thought I could do. I walk every day, and I use less of my inhaler."

For this great program that helps kids develop cooking skills—and confidence—that will serve them well as adults, Mandy is Friday's RD of the Day.

Check out the full segment for more of Mandy's insight and to see parents react

Read and watch: Dietitian serves up hands-on lessons for kids