Blog has MOVED!


Hi there!

Looking for more Skinny On Nutrition posts? Please visit my new website Millennial Nutrition! It’s got all the great nutritional information found here with a new emphasis on the millennial generation’s obsession with food.

For millennials, food is not just a means of sustenance — it’s a defining characteristic of who they are. On Millennial Nutrition, I will explore this shift in our food culture. I connect with my fellow Gen Y’ers by sharing health and nutrition tips through Instagram-worthy food pics, credible and intriguing articles, and to-the-point videos.

Topics include fun, trendy tips to stay healthy while still living the millennial lifestyle of travel, food festivals and craft beer tastings. Underneath the content of every piece lies a foundation of factual nutrition science—no diet fads or ingredient myths will be promoted here.

Can’t wait to see you over at Millennial Nutrition!


Avoid These New Year’s Diet Blunders

By avoiding these common diet blunders, the New Year will bring a new you!

By avoiding these common diet blunders, the New Year will bring a new you!

The New Year provides a chance to start fresh and dream big. Many people will be making resolutions for 2016, myself included.

If your resolution has anything to do with improving your health or fitness, you’re not alone. Over half of us will make some sort of health resolution. Unfortunately, 90 percent of us will fail to follow through with our goal by Valentine’s Day.

While we can blame lack of willpower, there are a few diet blunders that can easily be avoided to make sure you reach your goal. Don’t let these diet roadblocks ruin your New Year’s resolution:

1. Cut out entire food groups or nutrients.

Low-fat, no sugar, gluten-free—if you’re jumping on board with these elimination diets to drop a few pounds, you’re not going to get lasting results. After all, these diets do not build realistic lifestyle habits.

One of the most common diet trends is to cut out carbohydrates or sugar. First, let me just say that carbohydrates are not to blame. When you choose the wrong kind of carbohydrate (think cookies, candy, and soda) and eat excessive amounts then, yes, that will inevitably end a greater waistline. But it’s also important to remember that carbs are an important source of fuel for your body. If you regularly feel sluggish and fatigued, it may be a good idea to look at your carbohydrate intake and ensure you’re getting the right kind in the right amount throughout the day.

One serving of carbs is about 1 cup (or the size of your fist). Stick with carbohydrates that are a good source of fiber and provide protein as well. Here are a few suggestions: Ezekiel sprouted-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta and bread, and Qrunch Organics quinoa burger. Of course, fruits and vegetables are always good sources of carbohydrates.

2. Skip meals or snacks to cut back on calories.

While it may seem easy to just cut calories by skipping snacks and meals, it’s important to eat every 3 to 4 hours. Go much longer than that and you’ll become hungry and angry, or “hangry” as us Millennials call it. Once “hangry” sets in, a salad with grilled chicken just won’t do.

Keeping healthy snacks on hand is the best way to avoid becoming “hangry.” Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Trail mix with nuts, raisins, wasabi peas, and dried edamame
  • Hummus with bell pepper slices and snap peas
  • Cottage cheese with a bit of salsa and 3 tortilla chips crumbled on top

3. Keep tempting foods in the pantry or refrigerator.

If your kitchen is anything like mine after the holidays, it’s littered with canisters of caramel popcorn and tupperware of homemade cookies. At this point, come to the realization that you’ve had your change to enjoy these indulgences and it’s now time to say goodbye.
The first thing to do when embarking on a health goal is to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of any tempting treats that you know will sabotage your diet and instead full your fridge and pantry with delicious, clean foods you’ll be excited to eat. Be sure to put my staple items on your grocery list:

  • Fruit: Berries, Apples, Bananas
  • Vegetables: Lettuce, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Snap Peas
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • Protein bars and shakes
  • Turkey or Ham Lunchmeat
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • String Cheese
  • 100% Whole-Wheat Bread
  • Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Sparking water

4. Forget about exercise.

What you eat is about 70 percent of the weight loss equation. Exercise is the other 30 percent. If you want to reach your goals quicker and plan for them to stick for years to come, you cannot neglect exercise.

A couple things to consider:

  • Do a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training. Cardiovascular training will get your heart rate up and resistance training will build muscle fast (and in turn, boost metabolism).
  • Go shopping for fashionable workout gear. Use those gift cards you got from Santa to treat yourself to stylish apparel. You’ll be more motivated to workout hard when you feel good about yourself.
  • Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! Run hills at a park near by, check out, or follow workout routines found in health magazines like Women’s Health.


ABC segment

I loved sharing these tips on ABC 15 Arizona!

Is Flexible Dieting More Than a Fad?

With Flexible Dieting, you can enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt--as long as it fits your macros.

With Flexible Dieting, you can enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt–as long as it fits your macros.

This article was published on

It’s tempting to dismiss the newest diet trend — called “flexible dieting” — as just another fad. But, the thing about flexible dieting is that it’s deliberately “anti-fad,” and, when done right, could help build life-long habits for healthy, balanced eating.

Rather than focusing solely on total calorie intake, flexible dieting takes into account the source of calories by tracking consumed grams of macronutrients — protein, carbohydrate and fat.

The concepts behind flexible dieting are not based on any new philosophy in the nutrition world. At the diet’s core is the idea that you should be able to enjoy any food in moderation — yes, a diet that says you can have an occasional donut or brownie — just as long as you can account for it in your total macronutrient intake for the day. For this reason, the phrase, “If it fits your macros,” has become something of a flexible dieting slogan.

How to Get Started on a Flexible Diet

How can you start flexible dieting? First, determine the total calories you should be consuming in a day, using Then, calculate how to distribute those daily allotted calories using the USDA’s Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges: 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates; 10 to 35 percent from protein; and 20 to 35 percent from fat.

Or, even better, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist to get a truly customized analysis of your macronutrient needs to achieve body composition goals.

After you’ve set your daily macronutrient totals, you track your total grams of protein, carbs and fat consumed from meals and snacks every day. While this can be the most inconvenient part of following the flexible diet, it serves as a strong educational tool. Knowing how many grams of carbohydrate are in a donut or how many grams of protein are in a chicken breast can help people make healthy food choices even when they are no longer tracking every morsel eaten.

Another advantage of following the flexible diet is that all three macronutrients are accounted for in the diet. These all play important roles in health. Many traditional fad diets reduce or eliminate a macronutrient (think low-fat, low-carb, etc.), leaving the dieter feeling deprived and often leading to overindulgence. While these diets may work for the short-term, they are not realistic life-long eating routines.

If you’re interested in integrating the philosophy of flexible dieting, commit to seriously tracking your dietary intake for at least two weeks to gain an understanding of the macronutrient composition of foods you commonly consume. As you become more aware, you will not need to track every meal. While it’s not a point of focus for flexible dieting, it’s also important to take into account micronutrient intake and fiber. After all, you still need to make sound nutrition choices. Otherwise this would just be another fad diet.

The Forgotten Senses of Flavor


This article was published on

Chefs rely on frequent tasting of sauces and stews to ensure the flavor of their dishes are just right. While taste is an important aspect of flavor, research shows the keys to a memorable meal go beyond that. How food looks, smells and even sounds can make all the difference.


People can “see” flavors before actually tasting a food or beverage, says food sensory analysis expert Rena Shifren, PhD, president of ProSense Consumer Research Center in Tucson, Ariz.

To prove her point, she had a room of attendees at an Institute of Food Technologists meeting identify a variety of different-colored jellybeans — first with their eyes open and then with their eyes closed. Flavor identification was easy when they could see the jellybeans, but more difficult when they had to rely solely on smell and taste.


People first smell the aroma of a food or beverage in anticipation of the flavor they are about to taste. Once consumed, vaporized volatile organic compounds from the food or drink are released and travel up the retronasal passage to the olfactory bulb, where the compounds are translated to flavor by the brain — “I’m eating a strawberry!” the brain thinks. But, if the sense of smell isn’t working — say, due to a cold — that process breaks down and foods can taste bland.


While it may seem a bit outlandish, the sounds that a food creates during the process of eating can also enhance or detract from flavor. Just think of the last time you heard a crunch or a sizzle from your food and how it affected your desire to eat it — or eat more of it. Sound gives our brains clues to the texture of a food, which might translate to freshness or quality in our brains. A bite of crisp, juicy apple or one that’s soft and mushy — which would you prefer?

Experimental psychologist Charles Spence, a professor at Oxford University and head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, believes sound is forgotten as a flavor sense. “What we hear while eating plays an important role in our perception of the textual properties of food, not to mention our overall enjoyment of the multisensory experience of food and drink,” Spence told Food Navigator.

In his laboratory, Spence evaluated how subjects perceived crispness and freshness by manipulating the sounds of noisy foods using headphones. Louder and higher frequency sounds were associated with fresh, crisp foods, while quieter and diminished frequencies were linked to stale, soft foods.

The sound of food is an area that food marketers could take advantage of for improving the overall eating experience, especially for aging adults, Spence advised.

So there’s more to eating than just the taste of food on our tongues. We also eat with our eyes, our noses and our ears! Together the five senses act like a symphony in our brains and make eating a pleasurable act.

Origin of the Sandwich

If I had to bet on what you ate for lunch today, I’d put my money on a sandwich. After all, 49 percent of U.S. adults eat at least one sandwich per day. And who can blame them? The savory filling between two slices of bread is convenient, satisfying, and customizable.

You may think the creator of such an ingenious meal was a renowned, talented chef, but that’s not the case. As the story goes, a gambler by the name Earl of Sandwich was too invested in his game to break for mealtime so he nibbled on “a piece of beef between two slices of bread” while placing his bets. The name quickly gained in popularity. When you ate two pieces of bread with something in the middle, you were eating a “sandwich.”

Sandwiches first appeared in American cookbooks in the early 1800’s, but recipes called for more than just meat between two pieces of bread. A variety of foods were added to sandwich recipes including cheese, condiments, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Today, you can find sandwiches on almost every menu of any restaurant—from fast food to gourmet.

Burgers are one of the most popular sandwiches with 9 billion purchased at US restaurants and other food outlets just last year. As consumers continue to demand high-quality ingredients, terms like “grass fed,” “natural,” and “hormone-free” are common burger descriptions on menus. Although the price of beef is expected to rise, there is no forecasted decline in burger consumption.

Another division of the sandwich category is deli and sub sandwiches. A majority of deli and sub sandwiches are prepared at home, however, they still top the charts of sandwiches purchased at foodservice outlets mostly due to their perceived healthy connotation and customizability. Subway, the leading deli sandwich provider with ownership of over 60 percent of the market, entices customers with a variety of topping allowing people to “eat fresh” on the go.

While burgers and deli sandwiches may have the greatest stake in the sandwich market, breakfast sandwich are expected to create competition. Breakfast sandwiches have displaced bacon in the top 10 breakfast items and are praised for their convenience and portability. McDonalds’, who offers 15 breakfast sandwiches, recently announced a trial in some restaurants to expand the time breakfast is offered so consumers can enjoy breakfast any time of the day.

Whether you have your sandwich for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you are sure to enjoy it with the many toppings, flavors, and dressings offered. I’d bet on it.


Technomic Inc. 2014. The sandwich consumer trend report. Technomic Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Datassential. 2014. The keynote report: sandwiches. Datassential, Chicago, Ill.

Taking the Grill Test


The GrillGrate is a grilling must.


This kitchen tool review was published by the Food & Nutrition Magazine May-June issue and on their blog, Stone Soup.

Halftime at my parents’ annual Super Bowl party involves two things: critiques of the over-the-top musical performance and grilling. My dad, husband and uncles usually handle the latter while my mom and I stay glued to the TV for the former. But who says girls can’t grill? This year, using the GrillGrate, I gave it a go. (And you can just imagine how the guys felt about having a registered dietitian in charge of the grill!)

I’m now happy to report that whatever reservations my family had about my grilling abilities are now gone forever after tasting my healthy barbecued chicken. And I owe my rave reviews to the GrillGrate.

Grilling is one of my favorite ways to prepare foods. There’s something about cooking over an open flame that makes flavors come alive, and we all know that taste is the No. 1 reason people choose to eat the foods they do. As a result, grilling makes healthy foods like lean meats and vegetables appetizing without having to smother them in breading or fattening dressings.

The GrillGrate is made of interlocking metal panels with a “raised rail” design. The panels sit on top of any grilling surface and raise food above grill flames to protect from flare-ups and create even heat distribution. According to the manufacturer’s claims, the unique three-dimensional design results in juicier and more tender meats and perfect sear marks. The most innovative component of the GrillGrate is the fork-like spatula that slides smoothly into the ridges of the silver panels, allowing for effortless flipping of grilled food.

For our family party, I went set up a trial: I cooked half of our chicken on the GrillGrate, and the other half directly on the open-flame grill. The GrillGrate meat sliced with ease and exuded succulent juices. My taste buds confirmed what my eyes saw and I enjoyed each and every bite of the flavor-filled chicken. My family agreed that there was no comparison to the traditionally grilled chicken, which was drier, more difficult to chew, and less tasty.

I even made a Grill Grate believer out of my dad. After the Super Bowl ended, he was actually sad to see it packed up to go. But I now know what I’m getting for him for Father’s Day!

5 Steps for Branding Yourself as a Nutrition Expert

Build credibility of the dietitian brand by becoming an expert in your field.

Build credibility of the dietitian brand by becoming an expert in your field. Photo Credit: Flickr

You can also view this article on the Food & Nutrition Magazine blog, Stone Soup.


As registered dietitians, we should be seen as the go-to resource for nutrition information. Unfortunately, misinformation about diet and food runs rampant on social media and the Internet, many times promoted by self-professed experts with little to no schooling or training about dietetics.

What can we do about this information gap? By making an effort to brand ourselves as nutrition experts we will increase awareness of the profession and instill credibility in our skills.

We are exposed to brands every day. Whether on TV, billboards, magazines, food packaging, or storefronts, brands identify the product or service of a “seller” and serve to differentiate them from others. While branding on the business level is common, it’s becoming just as important on a personal level, especially when it comes to being recognized as an expert in a field of work.

While branding sounds like it should come naturally, it does take effort. Here are five steps to brand yourself as a nutrition expert:

1. Be Up-to-Date on the Latest Research

Research is continually evolving and it’s our job not only to be aware of new findings, but also to be open to new approaches to diet and lifestyle. More importantly, we must be able to translate new findings into appropriate recommendations for the public. Subscribing to scientific journal newsletters, building relationships with researchers personally or through social media (such as following them on Twitter), or attending nutrition conferences are ways to stay up-to-date on the latest science.

2. Align with Other Professionals in Respected Organizations

It’s not enough just to be a member of professional organizations to build the credibility of your brand — you need to make the next step. Take on a leadership position, commit to attending meetings or mentor other members. A major part of your brand is the people you surround yourself with. Getting involved with your state or district Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics section is an easy way to link arms with like-minded nutrition professionals.

3. Invest in Continued Education

To truly be an expert in your field, you must be willing to continually learn. Make it a priority to attend conferences (such as the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo), listen to webinars and read books about your profession. Equally as important to gaining new knowledge is strengthening basic skills such as writing, public speaking and social skills. If you feel that you lack these skills or they are weak, take a class at a local community college or join an organization such as Toastmasters (a public speaking organization) to sharpen your skills. Knowledge is power for building your brand as an expert in the field of nutrition.

4. Be Present on Social Media

Being present on social media is essential for building your brand. It’s important to respond to messages and requests because they may open the door to new opportunities for growth and development. To be an expert, you must be connected with your community and accessible to those who need your guidance. In addition to a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, create a “resume webpage” where your credentials and accomplishments can be shared.

5. Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor to impart knowledge and provide guidance can help you make choices that are true to your brand. Reach out to someone you respect and actually ask them to be your mentor (rather than just calling on them when you have questions). Set up reoccurring meetings and come prepared with discussion topics. Advice from someone who is knowledgeable about your career field is invaluable when developing your brand.

The question is no longer if you have a personal brand, but whether you will choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf by someone else. Start building your brand as a nutrition expert today and be an influential player in the future of the field of dietetics.

Invest with Nutrition Now to Age Better Later


Avoid accelerated aging with diet. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

Avoid accelerated aging with diet. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

You can also view this article on the Food & Nutrition Magazine blog, Stone Soup.

From the moment of conception, the human body is aging. And while it cannot be stopped, it’s possible to influence how quickly the body ages. One of the most significant ways is through diet. Think of every bite as a deposit into the bank of health, with nutrient-rich foods being valuable currency. And remember: It’s never too late to make contributions. Here are some tips for each decade of life that promote healthy aging.


With the “need it now” mentality fueled by social media and technology, 20-somethings are accustomed to quick and convenient, especially when it comes to food. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean healthy. Convenience foods can be high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. Few provide the right amount of quality protein — an important nutrient for this age group since muscle mass peaks in this decade. A Journal of Gerontology study showed that lean mass, and the muscle that comes with it, could decrease by up to 40 percent from age 20 to 70. Eating a high-protein diet together with exercise can counteract this loss. Include protein-rich foods like lean meats, dairy, fish and lentils with each meal.


Many in their 30s enjoy good health and are untouched by the visible signs of aging. Unfortunately, many also are preoccupied with work and family and neglect their health and take for granted their body’s resilience — a resilience quickly chipped away by poor diet. Enter multivitamins. A survey from the market research company NPD Group suggests that the average American adult meets dietary guidelines just seven days out of the year. Almost all fall short of the estimated average requirement for vitamin E, and more than half don’t meet needs for magnesium, folate and vitamin D. Taking a multivitamin helps supply the nutrients needed to support healthy aging.


In this decade, the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese sharply rises, and with it comes health risks, mostly notably type 2 diabetes. The Obesity Society reports that almost 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Weight gain is largely preventable by following a healthy diet. For those in their 40s, it’s important to avoid foods high in refined sugar like soda, candy and pastries. Instead, eating balanced meals with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber can help manage blood sugar and weight.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women, trumping cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being over the age of 50 increases the risk. Add other factors — African-American ethnicity, a family history of heart disease — and the risk increases even more. While some factors cannot be mitigated, diet and exercise are effective tools for preventing heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week (or taking a daily supplement) to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Sixties and older

The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age, and most individuals with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older. The likelihood of developing the disease doubles every five years after age 65. While there is no cure, research has focused on delaying, slowing and preventing symptoms, and nutritional interventions show promise. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests 2,000 IU of vitamin E as part of a comprehensive care plan that helps slow dementia. More research is needed, but there’s no denying the benefit of a healthy diet and lifestyle to support brain health.

No matter the decade of life, the goal should always be to invest wisely with nutrition.

When it Comes to Our Kids’ Diets, Let’s Get Real

It takes more than parents to help kids eat real. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

It takes more than parents to help kids eat real. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

Parents want the best for their kids, especially when it comes to their health. While many things can keep kids healthy — like proper sleep and regular doctor visits — what’s on the dinner table may have the greatest influence on a child’s health now and well into adulthood.

That’s why educating parents and kids about the importance of eating balanced meals with “real foods” is one of the focus areas for national Food Day — held October 24th and aimed at inspiring Americans to change their diets and national food policies.

On the front lines advancing this initiative is registered dietitian nutritionist Jaimie Lopez, who meets with families daily to counsel them on gaining proper nutrition. It’s not always an easy task. One of the greatest challenges that parents face, she finds, is the lack of clear, concise information about which foods are smart choices and which should be avoided.

“With so many food products and so much information regarding what should or shouldn’t be consumed, families can feel overwhelmed about how to feed their children a healthy diet,” Jaimie says.

A major part of this confusion comes from food labels. Food packaging is cluttered with claims such as “low-sugar,” “high fiber,” and “good source of calcium,” but a careful review of the nutrition facts panel reveals that the food may not be as healthy as the packaging implies, Jaimie adds.

If food labels can be confusing to a nutritionist, how’s a parent supposed to make the right choices?

Keep reading this article on the Food & Nutrition blog, Stone Soup.

5 Foods To Fight PMS

Instead of binging on chocolate, try these five foods to help manage PMS symptoms. Credit: Verily Magazine

Instead of binging on chocolate, try these five foods to help manage PMS symptoms. Credit: Verily Magazine

Getting your period may be a natural part of being a woman, but it’s still a total pain. Bloating, headaches, moodiness, cravings, and fatigue are just some premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that can make the pre-period week uncomfortable and unpleasant for you—and for anyone who stands between you and the last doughnut hole.

Before the late 1980s, PMS was thought to be a psychological disorder rather than a physiological response to hormonal fluctuations necessary to have children—which surely irritated women beyond normal PMS levels. It’s now commonly considered a medical condition. And with evidence about effective dietary treatment options slowly unfolding, it’s apparent that certain nutrients can actually help reduce PMS symptoms.

Read my latest article in Verily Magazine to find out which five foods you should include in your diet when PMS symptoms start acting up.