national nutrition day

3 Tips for Better Eating this Month

Happy RD Day! Everybody needs a Hallmark holiday, right?

In celebration of RD day on this National Nutrition Month, we’re offering you all a present: 3 tips for better eating this month and every month.

1. Make vegetables a main dish. Gone are the days of keeping vegetables on the side of a slab of meat. There are so many ways to make vegetables a main dish: veggie stir fry, vegetarian chili, taco salad, hearty vegetable soups, roasted vegetables with rice…etc. Try to start cooking some of your meals by first opening the vegetable drawer. Toss all that’s in there in the oven or the pot for healthier meals.

2. Lighten up on snacks. Snacking is very American. There are whole cultures that pretty much never snack, and their children are doing just fine. That said, we Americans happen to like our snacks, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Try to light them up, though, by serving veggies and fruits. There are all sorts of Pinterest ways to make them healthy snacks for kids, if you’re one of those moms with loads of free time and that’s your sort of thing. Or, you could just slap some nut butter and raisins on celery and kick it old school.

3. Lower your salt intake. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but most of us are eating too much. The good news, though, is that you can slowly reduce your salt intake, and your taste buds will adjust. The best way to combat high sodium in your daily diet is to watch your intake of highly processed foods. When you’re cooking your own meals, adjust the salt slightly over time to reduce it. Trader Joe’s often has fun mixes for experimenting, or you can make your own, and these can fill in for salt (have you tried their new umami?!). Use spice mixes on fish, chicken, rice or even popcorn.

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In addition, National Nutrition Month® promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, also celebrated in March, increases awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and recognizes RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.

toddler cup

Ask Amanda: Switching breastfed babies to a cup

Switching breastfed babies to a bottle or a sippy cup can be a challenge in the beginning. In this week’s kids’ nutrition Ask Amanda column, pediatric dietitian Amanda Gordon offers some ideas to make the transition easier

Dear Amanda, I have an 11-month-old infant who has nursed since birth and never accepted a bottle. She won’t drink well from a sippy cup either. My milk supply is running low and I’m not sure what to do.

First off, congratulations on making it breastfeeding for 11 months!  That is a big accomplishment.  According to CDC, only about 1/3 of all women who initiate breastfeeding in the United States make it that long.  

In terms of your good question, cow’s milk isn’t an option for babies until one year for many reasons. It contains high concentrations of protein and minerals, which the immature kidneys, stomach and intestines of young infants cannot handle well and it can make them sick. Cow’s milk also lacks iron, vitamin C and other nutrients that infants need, compared to breastmilk or infant formula. .We usually recommend trials of cow’s milk or a gradual transition after an infant turns one year old with a continuation of breastfeeding as possible. 

In terms of the bottle issue, many of the speech and feeding therapists we work closely with often recommend a transition straight to cup, instead of a bottle if an infant is that close to a year old and nursing.  When asked, my colleague, Ellie Trefz, MS, CCC-SLP, recommends, “I would say that starting a straw or open cup would be the next option. You could try water or expressed breastmilk if the infant is under one year old.”

If your supply allows, I recommend continuing to breastfeed up until one year, while also working on cup drinking with water.  Infant formula is an acceptable substitute as needed up until one year, and you can serve it in cup over the next month if necessary.  Whole cow’s milk, as long as it is well tolerated, is a good option after your baby is over a year.  

Ask Amanda is a weekly column from Feed to Succeed dietitian Amanda Gordon. Have a question? Email Amanda and let her know or submit an “Ask Amanda” question for a future column.

Have you ever wished you could take a dietitian or a cooking expert along with you to the grocery store?

A Dietitian’s Tour of the Grocery Aisles

Have you ever wished you could take a dietitian or a cooking expert along with you to the grocery store? In this final episode of Feed to Succeed’s nutrition podcast season 3, listen as Betsy and Jen walk up and down all the grocery aisles with you by their side. Get label reading tips, food tips and expert insight into what is worth buying ready-to-use, and what is better to make on your own.

Click here to listen on iTunes