Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 National Dog Day
Health Benefits of Having a Dog

Studies have found that:

• Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
• People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
• Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
• Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
• Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
• Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Caring for a pet can help with those healthy lifestyle changes by:
• Increasing exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
• Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
• Helping meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
• Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
• Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet.
• Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.

Pets and older adults
The key to aging well is to effectively handle life’s major changes, such as retirement, the loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. Pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:
• Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth.
• Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
• Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

Resources and References

5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Edible Art: Olympic Colors

The symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green, and red on a white field. This was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, adopted in June 1914 and debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

The Olympic Charter states the Olympic symbol represents the union of the five regions of the world and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

Olympic Colors made from fresh foods.

Olympic Cups and Skewers

: Layer raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, yellow squash, and blueberries in a dessert cup.

: Use a wooden skewer. Add the following fruits and/or  vegetables: zucchini or kiwi; yellow squash or grapefruit; blueberries; raspberries; and black berries.

Serve skewer in Olympic cups.

Nutrition Information.

41 Calories
1 g Protein
10 g Carbohydrates
3 g Dietary Fiber
0 g Fat
0 g Saturated Fat
0 mg Cholesterol
36 mg Vitamin C
1 mg Sodium 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July is National Hot Dog Month

National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
How It's Made - Hot Dogs
U.S. Laws Regulating Hot Dogs
Food Safety
Hot Dogs and Nutrition
Hot Dogs and Sodium Nitrate
Choking risk
Commercials Then and Now

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce designated July as National Hot Dog Month in 1957. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council ( is an organization created in 1994 by the American Meat Institute and is funded by contributions from hot dog and sausage manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, ingredients and services. The Council conducts scientific research and provides information to consumers and media on questions related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages.

What's In A Hot Dog by Joy Bauer

How It's Made - Hot Dogs  

U.S. Laws Regulating Hot Dogs (
A hot dog, frankfurter or wiener is a cooked sausage. They are made from beef, pork, veal, turkey, chicken, or a combination and the label must state the type of meat and other foods used.

Federal Standards of Identity.
1. Hot dogs may not contain more than 30% fat or no more than 10% water.
2. Beef or all-beef: Contains only beef with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added.
3. Kosher: All-beef, usually heavily seasoned.
4. Frankfurter may contain up to 3.5 percent fillers and made from a combination of meats.
5. Turkey or Chicken Franks can contain turkey or chicken and turkey or chicken skin and fat in proportion to a turkey or chicken carcass.
6. If variety meats, cereal or soy fillers are used, the product name must be changed to "links" or the presence must be declared on the label. Hot dogs can be 15% byproducts; heart, kidney, liver or other organs. But it must be labeled.
7. Up to 3.5% non-meat binders and extenders (such as nonfat dry milk, cereal, or dried whole milk) or 2% isolated soy protein may be used, but must be shown in the ingredients statement on the product's label by its common name.
8. If a hot dog has a casing, or a thin skin and it is different than the meat used in the hot dog, the label must say so. For example, if a chicken hot dog has a pork casing, the label must list the pork casing on the ingredients list. If the casing is artificially colored, the label must indicate this
9. All ingredients in the product must be listed in the ingredients statement in order of predominance, from highest to lowest amounts.
10. To protect consumers against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, mechanically separated beef is considered inedible and is prohibited for use as food. It is not permitted in hot dogs or any other processed product. (Mechanically separated meat is a process whereby meat is separated from the bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without crushing, breaking or grinding the bone.)
11. Mechanically separated pork is permitted and must be labeled as "mechanically separated pork" in the ingredients statement. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20% mechanically separated pork.
12. Hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.
A vegetarian hot dog is a hot dog produced completely from non-meat products. Vegetarian hot dogs are usually from some sort of soy protein, but some contain egg whites (not acceptable to vegans). There are also vegetarian hot dogs made from tofu.

Food Safety
1. Hot dogs should be reheated until steaming hot before eating, due to the threat of listeriosis.
2. If there is no product date, hot dogs can be safely stored in the refrigerator in the unopened package for 2 weeks; once opened, only 1 week.
3. Frozen hot dogs maintain their quality for about 1 or 2 months.
4. Do not leave hot dogs at room temperature for more than 2 hours and no more than 1 hour when the temperature goes above 90 °F.
Hot Dogs and Nutrition
The traditional hot dog is high in fat and salt, and contains very little or no fiber. Yet Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs during Hot Dog Season which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Below is a list of hot dogs, from beef, pork, turkey, low fat, no fat and vegetarian. Moderation, individual needs and preferences are key to planning your meals. If you are someone that eats hot dogs more than once a week, it might be wise to choose a lower-fat variety.

The analysis provided is based on 2 ounces cooked. It is important to read the label and check the portion size. Some of the hot dogs listed below were rounded up to 2 ounces in order to show a comparison of equal weight.

Hot Dogs and Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite
Many brands of hot dogs contain sodium nitrite and nitrate. It is used as a food preservative, flavor enhancer, prevents spoilage and helps prevent botulism. Sodium nitrite and nitrate occur naturally in some vegetables, fruits, grains, spices and water. In the 1970’s there were a number of studies that linked the consumption of nitrite with cancer in laboratory rats.

As a result, the FDA and the USDA commissioned a comprehensive review of sodium nitrite's role as a food additive. The results from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated that nitrite does not cause cancer, although exposure to high nitrite levels in certain populations may be associated with cancers. The NAS recommended people's exposure to both nitrates and nitrites be reduced as much as possible without endangering the protection against botulism.

The meat industry made substantial changes in the past 20 years to address the concerns about nitrite in cured meats. It reduced the use of nitrite in the processing of cured meats and now averages one-tenth of what the regulations allow.

In a Consumer Report analysis, it was found that the nitrates and nitrites in all the hot dogs tested were well below the maximum level for the additives established by the USDA. A hot dog labeled uncured cannot add nitrates or nitrites, but that does not necessarily mean the product is free of them. The three uncured hot dogs tested contained nitrites and nitrates because the compounds occur naturally in spices and other natural ingredients added during processing.

As I reviewed the literature, it was clear the controversy over nitrites causing cancer still exists today. The American Institute for Cancer Research report found that consuming one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about one hot dog) every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent. According to the AICR, the average risk of colorectal cancer is 5.8 percent, but 7 percent when a hot dog is consumed daily over years.

Choking Risk
Policy Statement Prevention of Choking Among Children, American Academy of Pediatrics (pdf)
Hot dogs present a significant choking risk, especially for children under 14 years of age. Seventeen percent of all food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs. It is suggested the size, shape and texture of hot dogs be modified to reduce the risk of choking. Pediatric emergency doctors note that a wedged hot dog is almost impossible to dislodge from a child's windpipe. To serve hot dogs safely for children, one should slice the hot dog into bite-size pieces. For adults it is recommended to slice hot dogs down the middle length-wise.

Commercials Then and Now

Hebrew National Hotdog Commercial

1978 commercial for Oscar Mayer Hot Dog Wieners. Hot diggity!


Hot Dog Commercial (2010)
OSCAR MAYER Selects. They're a great way to re-connect with your family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Create a Kid-friendly Kitchen

June is Home Safety Month and the
 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has prepared tips to
Cooking and spending time in the kitchen is fun for kids, and also provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about healthy nutrition. Here are tips to create a kid-friendly kitchen:

Cooking with Kids - Kitchen Safety - The Smart Shopper

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kids Eat Right, Monday Message for June 4, 2012

Article of the Week
Help your child become a better eater by inviting one of
their friends to dinner.

Hot Tip
Looking for nutrition powerhouse that's easy to prepare?
Look to potatoes!

Recipe of the Week
It's asparagus season. Try this delectable veggie grilled,
steamed or broiled!

Featured Video
These 15 minute pickles are a great alternative to chips.
Plus they're fast and easy to prepare.  

15 Minute Pickles

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kids Eat Right, Monday Message for May 28, 2012

Article of the Week
Young people with a positive image of themselves don’t obsess about calories, food or weight. 
4 ways to give your child the gift of a positive body image.  

Hot Tip
Pack food right from the refrigerator into your picnic cooler
immediately before leaving home. 

Recipe of the Week
Pick up a precooked pork loin roast from your
supermarket deli counter to make these
quick sandwiches for your kids.  

Featured Video
Want to give your kids a tasty, creamy snack that hits the spot on hot days? 
Try Mom's Mango Smoothie!  

The Kids Eat Right Monday Message is a benefit of the Kids Eat Right Campaign Volunteer program.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 Nutrition Highlights, Events, and Food Finds

Heat Safety Awareness
Brown-Bag-It Day
Gifts from the Garden
Cooking with Spaghetti Squash
National Brown-Bag-It Day

Gifts from the Garden Month
Not yet, but in about 6 to 8 weeks I should have a
garden filled with fresh vegetables.

Cooking with Spaghetti Squash

Recipe Makeover: Bon Appétit Slow-Roasted Salmon with
Cherry Tomatoes and Couscous

The original recipe is located at the following link: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes and Couscous 

With some slight changes and portion control, you can save over 200 calories, 10 g fat, 30 mg Cholesterol, and 237 mg Sodium.

Modified Slow-Roasted Salmon with
Cherry Tomatoes and Couscous

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 bunch dill fronds
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
3-pound center-cut skin-on salmon fillet (prepare 4 oz cooked Salmon per person)
8 ounces small cherry tomatoes on the vine

Tomatoes and Couscous
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup Israeli couscous, dry (1/2 cup cooked per person)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Yogurt Sauce. Mix yogurts, dill, chives, and lemon zest in a medium bowl until well combined. Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Salmon. Preheat oven to 325°. Pour 3 Tbsp. oil in a roasting pan just large enough to fit the salmon. Make a bed of herbs in bottom of pan; top with salmon, skin side down. Drizzle salmon with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Top with tomatoes. Bake until salmon is just cooked through in the center (a small knife will slide easily through flesh), 25–30 minutes.

Tomatoes and Couscous. Toss tomatoes in a medium bowl with 2 Tbsp. oil and parsley. Set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain couscous; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in butter and 1 Tbsp. oil. Gently fold tomatoes into couscous.

Serving. Use a large spoon or fork to serve salmon, leaving skin in pan. Serve with yogurt sauce and couscous.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Patient, Physician and Nutrition

Are you eating well?
Is not a medical nutrition diagnostic tool.

When was the last time your physician asked you -
what are you eating?

By the time a nutrition deficiency
shows up in your laboratory test -
Prevention is too late.

Contact the
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
to find a Registered Dietitian
in your area.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stamp Out Hunger with the
National Association of Letter Carriers
on May 12, 2012

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers will do their part to Stamp Out Hunger across America. Now in its 20th year, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation's largest single-day food drive. In 2011, 70.2 million pounds of food was donated, which brought the grand total of donations to more than 1.1 billion pounds of food collected over the history of the drive.

Donate items, such as canned meats, fish, soup, bottled juice, vegetables, pasta, cereal and rice that do not require refrigeration. Please do not include items that have expired or are in glass containers.

Stamp Out Hunger 2012 

Who's Hungry in America?

Remember to help out on May 12, 2012.
Place non-perishable food products in a bag and leave at your mailbox.
Your Letter Carrier will deliver the food to local food banks.
To find out how you can help go to

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nutrition Education for Older Adults, #4

Kids Eat Right, Monday Message for May 7, 2012

article of the week
Are you an athlete mom who wants to also breastfeed your baby? Follow these tips!

hot tip
What's for breakfast? Even if kids are on their own in the morning, most can make these easy breakfasts.

recipe of the week
Like Italian Beef? Try this wonderful version with an easy and different crust of noodles that you'll use again and again for other casseroles.

featured video
Sweet potatoes are popular because they taste great and are a nutrition superstar. Try these Sweet Potato Strips next time your child wants a snack.

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012 Kids Eat Right, Monday Messages

Article of the Week.  Want your kids to get active? Exercise with them. Show them that exercise can be fun instead of a chore.

Hot Tip
Yogurt, even plain yogurt, has sugar, but it can still be a healthy choice for your child's snack or as part of a family meal.

Recipe of the Week
What can be better than buttermilk pancakes for the family Sunday breakfast? How about adding chocolate chips to the batter?

Featured Video
Oats and orange juice aren't just for breakfast! This quick and delicious Southwest Oat and Black Bean Bake incorporates both ingredients to make it a great vegetarian dish as well.

Southwest Oat and Black Bean Bake
presented by Vandana Sheth, CDE RD

Sunday, April 22, 2012

President's Message from the
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sylvia Escott-Stump
Changing Lives in Little Ways...Every Day

March 2012 Issue Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I am honored to be mentioned in the President’s Message, Sylvia Escott-Stump. 

As a RD and Food Journalist…
- I look to make sense of nutrition and food controversies. Many times there are no answers, only more questions.
- I utilize food and health events to teach and bring awareness to the media, consumer, educator, and health professionals
- I share current news, (natural disasters, legislative policies, food recalls, industry events) so the public is aware of the impact of food and nutrition in our lives and throughout the world.
- I teach and prepare special need adults on how to make food and nutrition decisions; giving them the tools to lead independent lives.
- I believe an educated consumer has the knowledge to make food choices.

Thank you for the recognition.
Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RD, LDN

Friday, April 13, 2012

April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month
Discover the Benefits, Planting Methods
and Delicious Recipes

April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month and 
Tomatoes are Low in Calories and rich in Vitamin C.
They are fun and easy to grow, indoors or outdoors.


*Nutrition Facts
*Florida Tomatoes
*10 Health Benefits of Tomatoes
*Corinne Dobbas, R.D. from Tomato Wellness
*John Denver singing "Homegrown Tomatoes" with suggestions on how to use them in your favorite recipes.
*Recipes by John Tanasychuk, Food Editor, Sun-Sentinel @FloridaEats, SUP: Florida Eats

Nutrition Facts

Florida Tomatoes - So Delicious

Ten Health Benefits of Tomatoes
1. Tomatoes are the most concentrated food source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may play a role in the prevention and treatment of some cancers, such as colon, prostrate, breast, lung and pancreatic cancers.

2. Tomatoes are low in calories. One medium-sized tomato (about five ounces) has 25 calories, a great snack to include on a weight control program.

3. Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C. One-cup tomato provides about 78 percent of the daily value (DV)1. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C helps the body resist infection and aides in wound healing.

4. Tomatoes are a good source of fiber. One cup of diced tomatoes provides 7.9 percent of the DV for fiber. Studies show fiber may lower high blood cholesterol levels, aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and help an individual feel full longer.

5. One cup of tomatoes contains 22.4 percent of the DV for vitamin A. Vitamin A plays an important role in vision and night blindness.

6. Tomatoes are a good source of potassium (11.4% DV per one cup). Research indicates diets high in potassium can reduce the risk of heart disease and hypertension.

7. Tomatoes enhance the flavor and color of meals making food more appealing.

8. Tomatoes contain chromium; a mineral associated with helping people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.

9. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin is found in tomatoes. One cup of tomatoes provides 5.1 percent of the DV for riboflavin. Studies on riboflavin show they may prevent migraines.

10. Tomatoes are a source of folate (6.8% DV per one cup). Folate has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and neurological defects in the fetus.

1 The Daily Value (DV) of foods comes from the Reference Daily Intake or Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). DV provides a frame of reference to evaluate the nutrients consumed.

Tomato Wellness – Big Red Surprise
Corinne Dobbas, R.D. gives some insight into the difference between fresh tomatoes, and tomatoes packaged as canned, paste, salsa, ketchup, marinara, etc.

Growing Tomatoes

John Denver sings about "Homegrown Tomatoes" and includes
suggestions on how to use them in your favorite recipes. 

Time is ripe  by Nutrition Information: 172 Calories; 8 g Protein; 18 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Dietary Fiber; 8 g Fat; 3.7 g Saturated Fat; 21 mg Cholesterol; 1229 IU Vitamin A; 24 mg Vitamin C; 97 IU Vitamin D ; 366 mg Potassium; 299 mg Sodium)

Florida Tomatoes
Tomato Products Wellness Council

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Barley Foods For Schools

When Dayle Hayes, MS, RD gets on a combine it looks like fun.

In the photo. Dayle Hayes, MS, RD and Patrick Hayes, a barley geneticist at Oregon State University.

A new adventure for an extraordinary person. Dayle Hayes, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and member of the School Nutrition Association. Dayle shares and celebrates what is right with school nutrition in America. She is dedicated to improving school nutrition environments.

Dayle's latest project is Barley Foods For SchoolsShe is "exploring new ways to bring the whole grain deliciousness of barley foods to school breakfast and lunch programs." 

Dayle shares her interest in BARLEY FOODS FOR SCHOOLS has a family connection - her brother, Patrick Hayes. Patrick is a barley geneticist at Oregon State University. The OSU barley breeding website has a news page, especially for food barleys and recipes.

Dayle is looking for recipes, tips, or ideas that could help encourage kids to eat BARLEY. Please like and send to Barley Foods For Schools on Facebook.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 7, 2012 - World Health Day
"Good Health Adds Life to Years"

Ageing and health - to which each and every one of us can relate - is the 2012 theme of World Health Day. Using the slogan "Good health adds life to years", campaign activities and materials focus on how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities. 

Over the past century life expectancy has increased dramatically and the world will soon have more older people than children. This social transformation represents both challenges and opportunities. In particular, countries may only have a single generation to prepare their health and social systems for an ageing world.

Good Health and Staying Active
Adds Life to Years

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beyond National Nutrition Month
Get Your Plate in Shape with
the Student Dietetic Association at FIU

Beyond National Nutrition Month

Throughout the month of March we celebrated National Nutrition Month® (NNM), a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy). The campaign focused  attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

The March 2012 theme for National Nutrition Month® has been "Get Your Plate in Shape."  The Student Dietetic Association (SDA) at Florida International University (FIU) helped prepare this video to review the dietary guidelines in planning healthy meals. 

Get Your Plate in Shape with the Student Dietetic Association at FIU. 
A look at the dietary guidelines as a tool for meal planning.

National Nutrition Month Messages from the FIU SDA
Feel free to print and attach to your refrigerator.


Dietitian Blog List