National Family Meals Month

National Family Meals Month

With the return to school in August comes National Family Meals Month!  Who knew this was a thing?  But- it makes total sense to me.  Did you know that families that dine together have children with lower rates of depression and drug use?  Or that family meals foster better eating habits with less risk of obesity?  Meal time is about the only time in my day where I have quality time with my girls and husband, so I honestly hate to miss it.


Below are some tips for a healthier family dining experience:

  1. Look at your weekly calendar and carve out at least 4 out of 7 days you can dine together.  More is better, but life gets busy with work, school, sports, etc.
  2. Involve the whole family in meal prep.  This lessens the burden on you and encourages your kids that they can actively participate in meal planning.  Dad can grill, kids can wash and/or cut veggies or stir grains on the stove.  It also teaches kids cooking skills.  Win wiin!
  3. Try not to have “food fights”.  If someone isn’t wild about the dish prepared, politely ask him/her to help themselves to leftovers.  For younger children, have a healthy back up if possible.  Try to limit use of “kid food” like hot dogs, mac n cheese and chicken nuggets.  Kids eat what you feed them. Start healthy first.
  4. Don’t force feed your kids!  Making them “finish their plate” in order to have dessert only encourages overeating.  It’s like saying, “if you eat ALL of this, we’ll feed you more”!  Small servings of food are fine.
  5. Include fruit or dessert as part of the meal.  Alternate treats and fruit so kids get used to having both as their end of meal treat.
  6. Keep the chatter positive.  Limit talk about politics, family illness and gossip.  This is a time to share good news and not bring everyone down.
  7. Ask each family member about their day- name 3 positive things that happened.  It will lift everyone’s spirits.
  8. Serve water or milk at meals.  Soda and juice add more calories and sugar to everyone’s meal, which most kids and adults don’t need these days.
  9. Keep a variety of frozen veggies on hand and microwave them for simpler meal prep.
  10. “Reuse” leftovers in other dishes.  Add black beans or chicken to salads or pasta dishes.  Add leftover salad to sandwiches.  Teach your kids that food is a resource and should not be wasted.
What to expect from a nutrition consult

What to expect from a nutrition consult

I am not proud to admit this, but recently, I had a very unsatisfied customer.  From the time she walked in from the time she left, I could tell she was going to be difficult.


Maybe she’d had an off day and was taking it out on me, or maybe she expected me to just give her some printed handouts of what to eat and what not to, but it made me think- what do my clients expect of me?


For starters, she showed up early and I hadn’t arrived yet. Normally, I am there before my clients, but traffic was heavy and she arrived 10 minutes before me.  Was I late?  Nope.  But she sure made me feel like I was.  Note to self- arrive earlier than early.


I asked a lot of questions (a lot).  I send a long, detailed client profile form that clients fill out before meeting me.  This includes medical history (if applicable), eating style, supplement use, shopping habits, reactions to stress and a 3-day diet history.  In her case, the diet history was left off, so I asked a lot about eating habits and food preferences.  I do this to find out where you may need help with your diet.  It’s a 2-way street.  I ask questions, and I expect answers in return (detailed if possible)!


I provide articles and handouts based on your interests and health goals.  Sometimes I obtain this information before we meet, but many times, our hour together is where I glean the most information.  It’s helpful to tell me why you’re there and what I can help most with (shopping, recipes, meal planning or information).  I may also give you coupons if I have them to try new foods.


After the visit, I put together diet materials suited to your situation or health goals.  If weight loss is desired, I’ll give you a 1-day sample blue print of serving sizes and foods to eat, based on what you normally like to eat.  It would be foolish for me to give you exact foods to eat on certain days as I know most people don’t eat this way and circumstances change from day to day.  Ideally, dietitians want to give you the tools to make your own food choices and provide meal and snack ideas instead of planning your whole meal schedule.  I also provide recipes and tip sheets to help with ideas.


Finally, after your visit, I write a progress note for your doctor or other care provider to let them know about what we covered.  Visits are often due to physician referral, so I keep them posted of your health goals and progress.  This also gives me an opportunity to market for more referrals.


A Night at Findlay Kitchen

A Night at Findlay Kitchen

I wish I could say I was working in Findlay Kitchen because I’m starting a small cupcake or empanada business, but alas, I am not.  I was there a few weeks ago because I volunteered to help with a program called “Cooking for the Family”.


The program is sponsored by St. Francis Seraph Ministries and Findlay Kitchen and provided by FarmChef.  The premise of the program is for families to learn to cook affordable, nutritious meals in a 2 hr, 5-week series.  You cannot beat the price of $10.00 for a 2-hour cooking class with hands on experience and food samples.  The families also take home a goody bag with a cast iron skillet, chef’s knife and cookbook after completion of the program.


It was so much fun to be in this large, commercial kitchen.  It is bright and bustling with entrepreneurs and lay people like me that just enjoy food.  This is how the night goes:  I show up, wash my hands and put on a hair net and apron.  The chef instructs us to chop some veggies, get out mixing bowls, wooden spoons and ingredients.  We set up stations based on how many families are participating.


The families come in at 5:30 or so.  They wash their hands and get ready to cook.  Our chef LaKeisha Cook teaches them how to chop vegetables or cook quinoa, while a few volunteers oversee their progress.  How ironic that her last name is Cook!  When bowls and utensils start piling up, we grab a grey cart and load it for the dish room.


The dish room houses the fastest cleaning dishwasher I have ever seen.  There are a few stationary tubs for washing and sanitizing pots, but everything else goes through the dish machine.  Your load of dishes is done in 1-2 minutes tops.  The dish room is where you may run into some of the small business owners that are creating ravioli or specialty cakes.  Each business is in a “pod” (small room) working on their craft, or in a larger, more open space in the facility cooking.  I love the energy in this kitchen!


After we’ve prepared our recipes, we put all the tables together and everyone sits down to eat. Bowls of sauteed vegetables and steaming quinoa are passed among strangers that have worked elbow to elbow all night making jokes and talking about food.  It’s a lovely experience.


Cooking for the family has a few other locations that are always in need for volunteers.  Bush Rec Center in Walnut Hills also holds a class as well as Community Matters in Lower Price Hill.


If you’re interested in attending the class, volunteering or donating to the project, here are a few links:

Spread the word:


Fund for another person:




What my mother taught me

What my mother taught me

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mom raised 5 kids. FIVE. I can’t even fathom this. But my mom never skimped on meals.  She spoiled us with home cooked meals daily. I am blessed to have 2 awesome daughters that may be mothers one day themselves.  In honor of Mother’s day, I’d like to give you a few pieces of food advice my mom passed on to me.


  1.  You are not starving.  Yes, you may be hungry, but there are people in the world that are literally starving.
  2. Don’t waste food.  Take only what you can eat and leave the rest on the table, at the buffet or in the frig.
  3. Check the eggs before you buy them.  Open the carton and take a peak.  No one wants broken eggs.
  4. Make your own sauce.  It’s not that hard or time consuming.  All you need is tomato sauce, paste, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and a little confidence.
  5. Be creative with leftovers.  Leftover chicken becomes soup, tacos, chicken with pesto, chicken salad or chicken pot pie.
  6. Beans stretch everything.  Not enough meat in your soup or chili?  Add beans.
  7. Freeze soup, sauce, rice or chili so you don’t have to eat them over and over.  Freeze in glass, not plastic.  It’s better to reheat in glass.
  8. You have a coupon for something you’ll never eat.  Don’t waste your money.  Pass the coupon on.
  9. Buy seasonal produce– it’s cheaper and tastes better.
  10. Taste everything before you salt it.  It may not even need salt!

What did you mom teach you? Please share!

Diet is a 4-letter word

Diet is a 4-letter word

I haven’t met one client that hasn’t been on a “diet’ at one time in their life. Adkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Whole 30, Jenny Craig, you name it.  I mean, they’re coming to see me to put them on a diet.  In reality, what should be worked on, is their attitude towards food.  It’s human nature to label foods good and bad- even health professionals do this.  What about working on how you feel about yourself, your health and what makes sense for you?  I find that many clients fall prey to the endless cycle of diet, cheat, repent, repeat.

I ran across this article today and while it’s focused on a bride-to-be’s experience on a low carb diet, the quote hit home, “Dieting is “an abusive relationship that we all need to end once and for all.”  Eating should not be punishment.  To me, this is no way to live. Getting healthy is a journey, not a race.  Change takes time. What is the hurry? Here’s a great perspective:

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