Dietitians Share Their Own Tips

California Strawberries in Collandar HOF

Do you ever wonder what tips dietitians use in their personal lives with their own families? Here’s a round-up of some simple tips from top registered dietitians.

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.

Add more berries and less ice cream to sundaes.

Now it’s official… You can eat a chocolate sundae every afternoon, improve your health and even lose weight!

I know this sounds strange, but here’s why it works: The chocolate syrup you pour over ice cream isn’t exactly lean, but that’s okay because underneath the chocolate – the sundae part – is fresh berries instead of ice cream! Berries are a lot better for you than ice cream and the chocolate provides a slightly sinful incentive to make the switch seem worthwhile. Almost any fruit works with chocolate syrup, strawberries, bananas, peaches, take your pick. Apart from the fact that a fruit sundae is deliciously fresh tasting and low in saturated fat and calories, it makes a great substitute for other snacks that really load on the calories.

Bottom Line: A tablespoon of regular chocolate syrup has about 50 calories. Pour it over fruit and your total is about 110 to 160 calories. Compare that to the usual snacks – a candy bar, for example, has about 250 calories, and an ice cream cone has about 500. Now you can see why substituting the berry sundae can lead to impressive amounts of weight loss or help you maintain a healthy weight. Make the switch every day, and you can count on saving 9 to 35 pounds in a year! (3500 calories is equal to one pound of weight)

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN

Put fruits and veggies where kids can reach them.

Make freshly washed fruits and veggies available for kids to enjoy as a grab-and-go snack. Place at eye level in the refrigerator or on the countertop.

Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RD

Make a veggie plate for kids before dinner.

Children enjoy colorful foods they can pick up. Serve them a variety of beautiful strawberries, banana chunks, grapes (if age-appropriate), blackberries, and cut up fruit such as melon, peaches, or apples. Arrange the fruit on a plate with toothpicks – frills are optional – on each piece and watch it all disappear!

Also, do you struggle with your kids about eating vegetables at the dinner table? Are your little ones “starving” before dinner? Take advantage of their pre-dinner hunger by giving them vegetables on which to munch. As you’re preparing the evening meal, put out a plate of cut up veggies – like broccoli trees, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, fennel slices, olives and sugar snap peas – plus dip and both problems are solved!

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN

Take kids to the market with you.

I recommend eating fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season. Take your kids to the farmer’s market to introduce them to produce they may have never seen or tried before. The farmers can explain what everything is and when you get home, you and your kids can taste test what you bought. When children are involved in the process of picking out and preparing foods they are more likely to eat what’s served.

Angela Lemond, RD, CSP, LD

Teach little ones about the food they eat.

Favorite tip to get kids to eat healthy: Do things to build their relationship with food. Just like any relationship, it takes getting to know each other. Provide many low pressure opportunities for your child to learn about food and flavors separate from mealtimes. Examples include planting produce, taste and texture education, farmers market and farm field trips, cooking classes and experimenting with custom recipes. Start this as young as possible and your child will enjoy all aspects of feeding with minimal hassles.

Robin Plotkin, RD

Give kids age appropriate kitchen tools.

Invite your child into the kitchen! The best way to get your little ones interested in different types of foods is to allow them to be a part of the process. Give them their own kid friendly cutting board, knife, measuring spoons and cups and put them to work with age appropriate tasks. You’ll be amazed at how willing they are to eat food they helped prepare!

Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD

Swap fatty ingredients with healthier alternatives.

Do you love decadent, creamy textures? At breakfast, forego butter and reach for a ripe avocado instead. You’ll save 76 calories – and up your nutrient content – by spreading one quarter of an avocado on toast instead of 1 tbsp of butter. Top it with a few slices of tomato, dust with cracked black pepper and round out your Mediterranean breakfast with a parfait made from nonfat Greek yogurt and sliced strawberries drizzled with honey. Quick, easy, creamy, delicious and healthy!

Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

Involve kids in the food preparation process.

Encourage your children to eat healthier foods by getting them engaged in meal preparation. Even young children can help out in the kitchen by pulling the tops off strawberries or taking peas out of a pod.

Do you need more iron in your diet? Many women, adolescents, and athletes are iron depleted and one trick to boost iron absorption is to add a vitamin C-rich food to meals. Vitamin C paired with an iron containing food can increase iron absorption by as much as three times. My favorite pairing? Slice fresh strawberries over a salad of baby spinach leaves and toss with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The strawberries contain vitamin C which will help your body absorb the iron in the spinach. Not only is it a delicious pairing of sweet and crunchy foods but it gives you two servings of fruits and vegetables in one dish.

Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, CSSD

Get more iron in your diet by adding more vitamin C-rich foods.

Do you need more iron in your diet? Many women, adolescents, and athletes are iron depleted and one trick to boost iron absorption is to add a vitamin C-rich food to meals. Vitamin C paired with an iron containing food can increase iron absorption by as much as three times. My favorite pairing? Slice fresh strawberries over a salad of baby spinach leaves and toss with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The strawberries contain vitamin C which will help your body absorb the iron in the spinach. Not only is it a delicious pairing of sweet and crunchy foods but it gives you two servings of fruits and vegetables in one dish.

Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS

Use frozen fruits and veggies for “in season” produce all year long.

Using frozen fruits and vegetables makes produce “in season” year-round! Frozen fruit tossed into smoothies and protein shakes makes them thick and creamy and turns a simple drink into a nutrition power play. You can also leave fruit out at room temperature and enjoy it plain, in yogurt or with a dollop of whipped topping. And frozen vegetables are a fantastic addition to stews, soups, steamed and topped with shredded cheese, eaten plain or paired with a baked potato. Any way you slice them, fresh or frozen, produce will boost the nutrient content of your diet!