Claxton Dietetic Solutions Articles

Tailgating Gone Healthy
Even if it’s still 90 degrees outside, fall is definitely on its way because college football has started back! Here in the south, college football is a big deal. Everybody has a team they root for. I personally went to the University of Alabama and love watching the Crimson Tide play. But whether you root for the Vols, the Aggies, the Tigers, or the Bulldogs, I think we can all agree that the tailgate party is almost as important as the actual game. And who is the biggest player at the tailgate party? The food!! Tailgates across the nation are spread with a smorgasbord of sandwiches, meats, snacks, beverages and desserts of all kinds. You don’t typically find a whole lot of healthy options on these tailgate tables though and with football season lasting until January, that can mean growing waistlines and unintended weight gain. So how can we as dietitians fight against this? What healthy items can we bring to the table that aren’t the cliché veggie or fruit tray? Well, I have done some research and come up with a few options! 1) Stuffed Mini Peppers: This is a perfect sized appetizer to bring to a tailgate party. The mini pepper “boat” provides vitamins/minerals and has less calories than a bread based bottom but is stuffed with savory ground beef and melted cheese that will satisfy even the manliest of men. 2) Kabobs: These can be fixed any way you want, based on preferences and food availability. You could try chicken, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil for an Italian theme or chicken, pineapple, onion, cheese for a Hawaiian theme! If you are vegetarian, just grill up an assortment of veggies! Peppers, corn, onions, even eggplant! 3) Black Bean and Corn Guacamole: Every tailgate party needs a good dip and who doesn’t love avocado these days? Avocados are already packed with fiber and nutrients and adding black beans and corn to the mix only kicks it up a notch. A definite win. 4) White Chocolate, Strawberry and Oatmeal Cookies: You will  make lots of friends if you are the dietitian that brings dessert to a party. The oatmeal base is lighter than a cake or brownie base and has added fiber and nutrients. You can even switch out the fruit inside the match the colors of your supported team (blueberries for Auburn or Michigan, etc.) Having a few healthy choices available at your party will help balance out calories ingested. Other tips (for you, your family or your clients) when it comes to moderating intake at tailgate parties include: 1)      Scan the entire area first: Look at all the is bring offered before getting a plate. Decide what ACTUALLY sounds good to you and remember you don’t have to eat everything just because it is there. For example, you may like guacamole, but on that particular day you may be more in the mood for a sandwich and chips. Go with what sounds good to you. 2)      Dial into hunger/fullness cues: Decide how hungry you are and portion your food based on that determination. Eat slowly and stop when you feel full. You may feel full before you get to dessert and that’s ok. Don’t yourself past your limits. If you really want dessert but have reached your fullness level, give it some time and come back for it later. All this talk of food and football has got me ready for the weekend! I hope it has for you too! Head over to the recipe page to find another healthy option to bring to your next gathering. Happy tailgating! And Roll Tide 😊.  
Transitional Eating
Alright, lets take a poll. Are you Team Summer or Team Fall? Do you love hot days spent by the pool, kids running through the sprinkler with a popsicle in hand? Or are you craving a crisp, cool breeze on your face as you sip a pumpkin spice latte? I have seen that people have very strong opinions on this topic. I must admit, I am 100% Team Fall. I am so ready for cooler weather, colorful leaves and mmmm…. seasonal coffees. But as much as I hate to admit it, it seems as though summer is sticking around for a bit even as we reach mid-September. But whatever team you find yourself on, I believe there is a way for us to channel both seasons and enjoy this transitional time through one of our most favorite pastimes…eating! Below are some recipe ideas combining summer produce with classic fall flavors. These recipes are courtesy of and are also featured on our recipe page. Apple Smores: Get out the marshmallows for one more summer campfire but swap the graham crackers for crisp apple slices for a great transitional snack! Spinach and White Bean Soup: Soup is a staple fall menu item, but this soup’s light base makes it a perfect transitional menu item. Sausage, Cheese and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes: Fill this classic summer produce with warm, rich fall ingredients makes for a easy, different dinner idea. Harvest Cobb Salad: Typical cobb salad ingredients are swapped out for richer fall favorites like apples, pecans and dried cranberries. As I have mentioned on the blog before, seasonal eating is a great way to save money and provide the greatest variety of flavors and nutrients for your diet. This tip is helpful to remember in all aspects of the dietetics world and can be applied in all career settings. Whether you are wanting to spice up your clinical foodservice menu, counsel a client through healthier eating habits or simply change up your weekly dinner menu at home, seasonal eating will take you far. 
Back to School Edition- Part 2!
Last week’s blog focused on our back to school participants ages 5-18. This week we are talking about college! College is a time of budding independence. Individuals are charged with managing class schedules, grocery shopping, paying bills, studying, and most importantly eating. Mom and dad are no longer there to say when, where and what dinner will be so on campus dining options are VERY important. I am even going to venture out on a limb here and say it’s the MOST important aspect to the multitude of millennials choosing a campus home. A recent article featured on The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Smart Brief covers this topic well.  The link to full article is posted at the end, but I have placed 3 main points below illustrating how collegiate dining services are changing.  Multiple Formats--“According to our 2019 report, today’s students want variety in every sense of the word, not just when it comes to the kinds of foods they’re eating (although that’s certainly important) but also regarding the range of dining formats (think on-campus grab-and-go kiosks, coffee shops, or c-stores). It’s no longer enough just to have a dining hall. According to our report, over half of operators say sales are increasing at dietary restriction-specific locations, more than 40% say sales are increasing at on-campus c-stores, and 37% say sales are increasing at on-campus coffee shops.” Global Focus--“As colleges and universities look to cater more directly to diverse student populations, more global dishes are also appearing on dining hall menus, and diets such as vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and keto are also being taken into consideration.” Sustainability--“More than 7 in 10 students say they’d sacrifice functionality to be more environmentally friendly when it comes to single-use disposables. In general, students believe composting and recycling are very important, and they agree that their school’s dining program generates too much waste. To stand out from competitors, many schools are taking steps to improve sustainability efforts. Reusable food containers, for instance, which students are highly interested in, could present a viable solution to cutting back on waste.” Looks like a great time to be going to college! I wish I could have had these options back in my day! Head on over to the recipe page and try our featured coffee cake recipe. No studying required!’t-what-it-used-be?utm_source=brief
Back to School Edition Part 1
School is back in session! If you have a K-12 student, bus routes, school supplies, homework and packing lunches are again a part of your daily routine. A new year of experiences is waiting just around the corner. As a kid, back to school shopping was always a favorite of mine. Especially for school supplies, even the backpack and lunch box! I have always been a fan of creativity and organization. As a parent I take those loves and focus them on my child’s lunches. Thinking of ways to make a child’s lunch nutritious AND fun is quite the task, but I like to think I am up for the challenge. Letting children help you pack their lunch (in whatever way is most appropriate and safe) is a great way to teach them about nutrition and health in the process. The more they are involved, the more they will listen and learn. This will take a little more time so set aside 10-15 more minutes than you usually do, but I believe is very much worth the time and effort when it comes to your child’s knowledge and intake of healthy foods. Below are a few tips to help get you started! 1)   Have multiple options of pre-packaged healthy foods on hand for your little one to pick from. Many grocery stores offer a variety of ready-to-pack trail mix, pre cut fruits and veggies, pre-portioned cheese cubes/slices and single-serve yogurts. I have even seen hummus and cracker cups and single serve guacamole cups as well! These products are usually a tad more expensive but do 99% of the work for you. You then just need to direct your child to pick 1 or 2 of these items to put in their lunch box each day. This helps combat monotony as they can choose something different each day if needed. 2)   Utilize cookie cutters to make eating sandwiches a little more fun. Your child can cut the sandwich with the tool (under supervision) and be excited to show their friends the dinosaur, heart, star, etc. shape they have made the next day. 3)   Have a high quality, insulated lunch box and thermos picked out for your child. Make sure there are ice packs included and educated your child about how and when to use them! Food safety is very important! You can always quiz them when making their lunch if an ice pack is needed or not! Bentgo Kids is an example of a high quality lunch box for kids. I hope this has been helpful and has sparked some excitement about the school year ahead. Head on over to the blog for a kid friendly lunch box recipe! Happy packing!
Nutrition App Spotlight
We have all heard the saying, “There’s an app for that,” signifying that nowadays there is a digitally based application to help you with just about any task. But, in reality we now have about 100 apps to help with any need we can think of. This is true for the nutrition world as well. A plethora of apps are available to help you and your clients achieve their health and wellness goals. So how do we know which apps are worth downloading or buying? To help with your search, I have highlighted 3 top rated health and wellness apps below! Noom: Noom is an app focused on building healthy lifestyle. Creating healthy habits leading to an overall healthier body. The app's free tier provides users with the ability to log food and exercise use and even has an in-app pedometer. Noom steps it up though with customized premium plans that provide daily goals and personalized coaching to help you achieve your fitness goals. This version does cost money, but seems to provide an incredible value for the money invested. My Fitness Pal: Created in 2005, MyFitnessPal is a powerhouse of an app with a large food database that allows users to track calories the calories and macros of the foods you eat as well as calories burned through exercise. Users can import recipes and calculate estimated calorie needs with their goal weight in mind. Fooducate: Similar to MyFitnessPal, Fooducate is a weight loss, health improvement-based app that allows you to track calories in/out. Fooducate helps you shop and eat healthy by allowing users to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products from barcodes. Fooducate gives a letter grade A-D with a quick nutritional summery helping you make the best choices based on your goals. There are MANY more apps out there, but these three seem to be the highest rated and offer extremely helpful information and accountability. And it’s always helpful for us, as practitioners, to guide our clients to helpful resources outside of our office! Visit your app store and check some out for yourself! Let’s not get lost in this digital age. Happy downloading! 
Fuel to Move!
Registered dietitians are typically known as the “food and nutrition experts.” Here on the blog, topics usually center around food, nutrients, weight, eating habits, etc. But did you know that dietitians have a knowledge about exercise as well? I do want to be clear though, that registered dietitians are not exercise experts. We are not exercise physiologists, personal trainers and those of the like. But we do have a general knowledge of physical activity and understand the importance of implementing physical activity into a person’s life to not only achieve and maintain a healthy weight but attain an overall sense of wellbeing. There are many different types of exercises. Examples include but are not limited to: aerobic, strength training, low intensity, high intensity, stretching, interval and circuit training. As a clinician, it’s important to assess your patient or client’s current views towards exercise, current exercise habits and his/her attitude towards increasing physical activity (if deemed appropriate). Promoting increased physical activity should be in line with the person’s ability and affinity as well as within their desired schedule. Keep in mind we want to work within our scope of practice so if a patient/client is wanting a specific exercise regimen, it would be best to refer them to a local exercise specialist to meet those needs. One of the best ways we can help our patients/clients as they embark on an increased physical activity journey is to educate them on how to properly fuel their body for that exercise. A simple education on pre and post exercise foods will be immensely helpful to them. Here are a few tips to communicate to them during this time. Tips: 1) Overall, it’s important to utilize the “buddy system”- that being carbs + protein. Balanced meals and snacks will help keep a person fueled and satisfied not only through an exercise period but the rest of the day as well. 2) Pre Exercise: Utilize the “buddy system,” but focus more on the carbohydrates. Examples of good pre exercise snacks include a banana with 2 TB peanut butter, ½ cup grapes with one stick of string cheese, or a yogurt parfait with fresh berries and granola. 3) Post Exercise: Utilize the “buddy system,” but focus more on the protein. Examples of good post exercise snacks include 1 piece of fruit with a handful of nuts, whole grain wrap with turkey/cheese/veggies, or 1 piece of whole wheat toast with 2 scrambled egg whites. Again, these are just examples and the specific amounts of each food will be determined by you (the RD) for each patient/client to help meet their individual estimated needs and health goals. Remember to be specific and incorporate his/her personal food preferences to ensure compliance and sustainability! Head on over to the recipe page for an example of a great pre OR post exercise snack!
Food First Philosophy
Working as a dietitian in long term care or within a skilled nursing facility is a special job. You are getting to work with a population that has very real nutrition needs and most likely has nutritional deficiencies and/or weight loss. In fact, the most common issue you will see within this population is weight loss. How can we fight against this? Even prevent it? The answer- food first. The food first philosophy aims at increasing calorie/protein/nutrient intake while preserving quality of life; something that is very important in all stages of life, but especially this stage. So, what does “food first” mean? Well, it means exactly what it says. When trying to increase calorie/protein/nutrient intake utilize real food first before turning to oral supplements. Dietitians can sometimes come under the stereotype “supplement pushers.” But we are so much more than that. And yes, oral nutrition supplement have a very real place in our job and in some cases are the most appropriate option. But the food first philosophy encourages us to exhaust all real food options first (if appropriate) before recommending an Ensure, Boost, Magic Cup, etc. Below are some tips to help you implement the food first philosophy in your facilities: Food Preferences: Don’t neglect collecting food preferences for all new patients. This is crucial. This ensures the patient is getting foods and beverages he/she actually likes, getting them off on the best food possible. If your CDM gathers the food preferences, make sure and references these when making a recommendation for a patient. You don’t want to add fortified oatmeal at breakfast if the patient dislikes oatmeal. Fortified Foods: Speaking of fortified oatmeal… Utilize the fortified foods offered at your facility (or talk with the CDM/FSM about adding some to the menu). Fortified foods are simply foods with a little extra bang for their buck. Examples include cheesy eggs, fortified potatoes (made with butter, sour cream, etc.), fortified oatmeal (made with butter, brown sugar, etc.), fortified soup (usually a cream based soup with added protein). Energy Dense Foods: Educate the patient on energy dense food choices and/or make recommendations on how they can add them to their daily meal plan. Two examples of energy dense foods include nuts/nut butters and full fat dairy foods/butter. If a patient still has poor PO intake or is still losing weight after utilizing all real food options, then you move to oral nutrition supplement choices. These include but are not limited to Ensure/Boost, Magic Cup, Ensure pudding, MedPass 2.0, or  TF if medically appropriate. Be sure and consult the patient before making a recommendation for a certain supplement. Always be sure they are on board! The good news is, we have a lot of tools in our tool box when it comes to helping fend off weight loss and increase PO intake in the geriatric population; it’s just important to know which tools to use first.
Why Meal Plans Don't Work
If I have heard it once, I have heard it 100 times…” Can you make me a meal plan? I want to lose 10 lbs.” “I need to be healthier. Can you make me a meal plan?” “Can you make me a meal plan? I was just diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.” It never fails. And do you know what my answer always is to them? My answer is always “No!” Normally this leads to a confused face on the other end, so I always follow my answer with an explanation. You see, people are always looking for an easy way out. They want someone else to do the work for them. And I get it. I am a busy woman. I work full time and have a three-year-old and a one year old. Not to mention a grocery shopping list, laundry to do, dishes to washes, etc. I get it. An easy way out sounds nice. But when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, the easy way out can actually slow the progress of true lifestyle change. It’s important to communicate this to your client prior to your first session or at the very latest during your first session with them. As RDs we are tasked with the responsibility of cultivating change in the way people eat, drink and even exercise. Cultivating long lasting, sustainable change takes time, effort and lots of input from the client’s perspective. Giving them a preset meal plan may help them lose weight in the short term, but they have not learned how to make healthy choices on their own and independence is key for the client to experience lifelong change.   Once they are on board with your “No Meal Plan” plan you can both begin the process of setting SMART goals (as talked about in a previous blog post). If you are having a hard time getting your client or prospective client to ditch the idea of a preset meal plan, try discussing the benefits of following a more flexible or intuitive eating plan instead of focusing on the negatives of a preset meal plan. I have posted some of those benefits below. Benefits of an Intuitive Eating Plan:- You will be getting rid of the diet mentality forever! - You will learn to not only recognize you hunger and fullness but honor it as well. - There will no longer be “good” and “bad” foods. - You will learn that meal satisfaction is a full circle experience involving not only the taste and texture of food, but also qualities of the environment around you. - You will learn to honor and respond to your feelings without using food. I believe intuitive eating leads to an overall healthier relationship with food and harnessing these techniques will ultimately lead to healthier and happier clients. Good luck!
Invest In Your Health
Today on the blog we are talking to private practice RDs, those who own their own nutritional counseling business. One of the hardest parts about being in private practice is building a clientele. You not only have to make yourself and your services known to the community but you have to make the community see and understand your worth in PAYING for those services. Everything costs money these days. We are all trying to stay on budget, determine the difference between wants and needs and prioritize the goods and services we need now and those we can either wait on or do without. As a private practice dietitian you have to make the community see that your help, your expertise is worth paying for. And that can be an uphill battle. Here are some tips on how to boost your community presence, exemplify your worth and build a clientele. First: Determine the clientele or the population of people you want to reach and serve. This is completely up to you but will help guide your future marketing techniques and choices. Some RDs choose to be general and counsel any and everyone while others choose to focus on a few types of illness or topics and specialize in them. Second: Become credentialed with insurance providers. People are much more likely to utilize you if you take their insurance. This process can be long and tedious but is worth the time and effort in the long run. Third: Start developing relationships with medical and therapeutic providers in your community. Get to know your internal medicine doctor, your child’s pediatrician, your dentist, your friend’s personal trainer, your therapist etc. Word of mouth goes a long way. And have your business cards ready to hand them. Oh yeah…get business cards 😊. Fourth: Offer free general nutrition education sessions to the community (with business cards ready to go!). Offer a session at the senior center in your community on geriatric nutrition, offer a lunch and learn for therapist on how you can partner with them in treating eating disorders, offer a kid friendly education on MyPlate at a local library. The possibilities are endless.   Fifth: Be patient. This process can and likely will be slow. But as I have said in past blogs, slow and steady wins the race. Take your time, do your best with each client and word will spread! Good luck in all of your future business endeavors fellow dietitians! I hope this blog has been helpful to you!