Category: Archives

The poll to decide my next feature is ready to go! Visit the sidebar (all the way at the bottom of the page if you’re on a phone or tablet)  to choose between these three options:


Healthy Posture

Supporting a healthy spine is key to preventing back pain, joint injuries, neck strains, and headaches. This is particularly important for those who spent a lot of time sitting while driving or at work. With specific stretches and exercises, you can help your body maintain healthy posture and prevent unpleasant symptoms.


Weight loss

Nearly half of Americans report attempting to lose weight each year. Unfortunately, most of those attempts either don’t work or end up with people regaining the weight they’ve lost! Usually this is caused by following crummy or contradicting advice based on media articles, fad diets, or what worked for your neighbors best friend’s hair stylist. In this feature, I’ll help clear up the confusion on sustainable, realistic ways to lose weight and keep it off while still enjoying your relationship with food.


Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating that reflects the eating habits of people in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. People in this area tend to have lower rates of heart disease, stroke, depression, and type 2 diabetes.1-3 For these reasons, the Mediterranean Diet is often touted as a way to promote health and prevent chronic disease.

Vote for your favorite!







You can have the opportunity to win my favorite personal blender to have for your very own! Visit Dietitian on a Diet on Facebook and check out the giveaway post (pinned to the top of the page) to find out how!

Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 10th at 7 pm. Hope to have you join in!


Are dietitians the same as nutritionists?


I recently wrote a post called What I Eat in a Day as a Registered Dietitian. Some of you may be wondering what exactly a Registered Dietitian is, and probably even more of you are wondering if or how it is different from a nutritionist. I can help! Here are some of the basics about Registered Dietitians and what we do.


What is a Registered Dietitian?


Registered Dietitian is the designation given by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (at least in the US) to people who have completed certain requirements to be considered nutrition experts. Here are the requirements from the Academy to become an RD:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree – The classes you take must meet nutrition-related requirements set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, a brand of the Academy. Some course requirements include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, basic nutrition, macronutrients, micronutrients, clinical nutrition, food science, weight management, and medical nutrition therapy.
  • Complete nutrition internship hours in a variety of settings – Since dietitians work in so many different types of roles, internships need to include several of those experiences. My internships included clinical inpatient nutrition, outpatient nutrition counseling, food service management, dialysis nutrition, childhood nutrition at a WIC clinic, and senior nutrition with Meals on Wheels.
  • Pass the RD exam – This test covers all of the required competencies put forth by the Academy

Registered Dietitians must also complete 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years to maintain their registration.


How are dietitians different from nutritionists?


Simply put, “nutritionist” is not a protected term, while “dietitian” is. Nutritionist is a term for anyone who teaches about nutrition, while dietitian is reserved for those who have met the criteria described above. So all dietitians are inherently nutritionists, because they teach nutrition, but not all nutritionists have completed the requirements to become dietitians.

This obviously creates a bit of confusion for consumers – I get these types of questions all the time! A few years ago, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics also coined the term “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist,” and allows their RDs (or RDNs) to use that term if desired to help clarify their roles as nutritionists.



Where do dietitians work?

Dietitians are working all around you, and you may not even realize it! Dietitians may do all of the following:

  • Calculate recommendations for tube and IV feedings and nutrition supplementation for critically ill patients in hospitals
  • Plan nutritionally balanced menus for large food service operations at long-term care facilities and schools
  • Teach nutrition for general health, managing and preventing chronic medical conditions, and navigating food allergies/intolerances in private practices, hospitals, medical clinics, and chiropractic offices
  • Provide nutritional guidance to low-income populations in WIC clinics and community health centers
  • Teach specialized diets for clients in dialysis centers
  • Monitor the nutritional health of residents in long-term care facilities
  • Provide nutrition information to the public via social media, blogs, websites, newspapers, etc.
  • Support athletic performance with proper nutrition in health clubs, gyms, on military bases, and with sports teams

These are just some examples of roles that dietitians fill. Stay tuned, because I plan to make a post soon featuring “a day in the life” of several different dietitians who all work in different settings, to give you an idea of what all kinds of different dietitians eat!


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The sun is out and it’s time to think about getting out and enjoying the beautiful outdoors! In this post, we’re focusing on hiking and backpacking! Whether you’re a brand new hiker or seasoned backpacker, a little preparation can make your time on the trail easier and more enjoyable. We’ll kick off this series with a focus on endurance. To start, begin training at whichever level is currently a challenge for you.


Level 1: Beginners


hiking and backpacking


If you haven’t been walking in a while, that’s the place to start! Begin by walking at a moderate pace for 5-10 minutes as a warm up, then pick up the pace to a quick, comfortable clip. Go for short walks, gradually working up to at least 20-30 minutes. Begin with 2-3 days per week and increase to a goal of 4-5 days weekly as you become more fit. When that becomes easier, move on to level 2.

Side note: This is also a great time to train your feet – wear the shoes you plan to hike in! Word to the wise, don’t remove your calluses. They are your friends!



Level 2: Current Walkers


endurance for beginners



If you already walk regularly or if walking is a piece of cake, it’s time to up the ante a little. Literally – go up! Add incline into your walks to work different muscles and to add a cardiovascular challenge. You can do this by adding hills or stairs into outdoor walks, increasing the incline on your treadmill, or walking up stairs. If you have a flight of stairs in your house or in your community, walking up and down them can help build up the muscle groups you’ll need for safe hiking.

Stair mills or stair stepping machines can also work well here, but do not neglect the importance of training yourself to go downhill. Most often, the majority of soreness we experience after hiking is from walking down, not up! Incorporate more ascents and descents into your training and you’ll find your time on the trail much easier. Again, I recommend wearing your hiking shoes. Sometimes inclines help you find friction points that weren’t there on flat ground! This can help you prevent disastrous blisters on the trail.

When you become trained for inclines, move on to level 3.


Level 3: Seasoned Hikers

fitness for hiking


If you’ve hiked or backpacked regularly in the past, or if you’ve worked up to training on hills or stairs, it’s time to add an additional challenge by carrying weight. Even if you are only planning to hike, not to backpack, training with weight can help your muscles and endurance grow stronger to make long-distance hikes easier.

If you are planning to hike with no pack (or a very light pack), you may choose to train with ankle and wrist weights, since they will prevent adding stress to your spine and make regular hiking easier; however, a backpack will also serve this purpose. For you backpackers, it’s time to get your pack out. Add some weight – dumbbells, soup cans, books, rocks – and go for your training walk. Continue to include the inclines from level 2!

Optional: If you are planning a long-distance backpacking or day-hiking trip, gradually extend the length of your training sessions. You don’t necessarily need to train for as long as you may be backpacking, but the farther you go, the fitter you’ll be!

Stay tuned for the next post in this series on training for hikers and backpackers – joint stability!



Disclaimer: While I am an exercise professional, I have not been hired as your exercise professional and I am not familiar with your individual health. As always, check with your doctor about your specific health situation before beginning any new exercise program.


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For the first time in Dietitian on a Diet history…we have a tie! In honor of this very momentous occasion (and because, why not?) I am holding a giveaway!



You loved both Eating Well on a Budget and Weight Lifting/Strength Training. One will be my next feature and the other will have to wait until another poll. Which is it gonna be? Here’s your chance to decide a) what my next feature will be and b) what the giveaway prize will be!


Here’s how to enter:

  1. Like/follow Dietitian on a Diet on either Instagram or Facebook (or both for extra entries!)
  2. Comment on the post featuring the image above. Include your vote (Eating Well on a Budget or Weight Lifting).
  3. Tag friends who you think might like in on the action! Each friend you tag is an entry in the giveaway as well as another vote for your choice! Voting ends at midnight October 2nd. The winner will be selected on October 3rd by a random drawing.
  4. If the winner picked Eating Well on a Budget, they will receive the Pampered Chef quick slice I use in my weekly food prep (you can see it in action here!). It cuts my food prep time in half! If the winner voted for Weight Lifting, they will receive a 6-in-1 high density massage roller kit for ironing out all of those worked-out muscles.

Ready…start tagging! May the best feature (and prize) win!






Which diet or lifestyle would you like me to feature next on Dietitian on a Diet? Choose carefully! 🙂 The poll will be open until midnight September 30.





free wellness apps


When you start to eat well, it can feel like a time drain at first! To help out, consider all of the resources available to you. Not everyone prefers apps or tech-based toys but for those who do, they can be time game-changers. While many websites and apps (hellooooo social media…) tend to waste time, strategic use of time-saving apps can actually help make wellness easier and more streamlined. For the tech-lovers out there, here are 5 of the best healthy eating apps for your Apple or Android device. All of them are free except one, and it’s only $1.99.


1. Zipongo (free on the App Store and Google Play)

recipe app

Best for: easy-to-use recipe app (and some meal planning)
How it works: Set up your dietary preferences and allergies, then peruse the vast recipe database, divided into a variety of categories (including low-calorie, in season, and 15 minutes or less, among many others). From there you can select your favorites and add recipes and their ingredients to a shopping list (divided by grocery department).
Pros: The app boasts many healthy recipes and the categories make them easy to search through. It’s convenient to add the ingredients to your grocery list, and the divided list saves time wandering in the grocery store.
Cons: There is not an easy way to create a digital meal plan from the recipes you choose.


2. Pepperplate (free on the App store, Microsoft store, Google Play, and Amazon, available as a full website)

meal planning app


Best for: meal planning (and a self-created recipe database)
How it works: Create a recipe database from your personal recipes (entered manually) and imported recipes from over 30 different recipe websites including All Recipes and Eating Well. Add recipes to a meal plan and then to a shopping list (divided by grocery department).
Pros: Meal planning and creating your shopping list is very easy to do, and again, love the divided grocery list.
Cons: Requires a time investment to set up at first, but only until you have a good database built up.



3. Fooducate (free on the App store and Google play, available as a full website)



Best for: choosing healthful foods
How it works: Use the “Food Finder” section to scan a barcode or search for a product and see it’s “grade” based on an A through D grading system. The app also provides an explanation for the grade and tips or alternatives to improve nutrition. The app also has recipes, a food/health tracker, and a “diet tidbits” section.
Pros: I love that it includes the explanation behind the grades, so you can know whether or not a new food or product is something you want to include. For the most part I agree with the explanations and they are backed by evidence.
Cons: The food tracker is not the easiest to use and I preferred to ignore that part of the app. Also, don’t allow “bad grades” to label a food “off limits” if you really love it. Just eat it less often and/or in smaller portions!


4. Harvest – Select the Best Produce ($1.99 on the App store)

Best for: tips for produce selection and storage
How it works: Enter your state and get a list of produce that are in season and information on how to properly select, store, and use them. The app also gives information on the typical pesticide levels found in each type of produce.
Pros: Great way to expand your repertoire of fruits and vegetables, and the pesticide content info helps prioritize organic purchases to save money.
Cons: Unfortunately, this app is only available for Apple devices. Some users found the information on produce seasons in their area to be inaccurate.



5. Plant Nanny (free on the App store, Microsoft store, and Google Play)

free hydration app


Best for: promoting hydration
How it works: Enter your weight and choose a cute little baby plant (and a flower pot). The app tells you how much fluid to drink each day (count anything that doesn’t have alcohol or added sugars in it!). As you drink, you water your plant. As you water your plant, it grows. Once it’s grown up, place it in your garden and plant another! If you don’t drink enough one day, your plant will be wilted the next, and if you underhydrate for two days, your plant will be dying on the third. Drink enough on the third day or your plant dies!


Ironic, isn’t it, that it took this app to get me, a dietitian, to drink enough water in order to keep my animated plant alive (as opposed to keeping my actual real body healthy)?
Pros: For the right personality, it’s delightfully cheesy and motivates you to hydrate. The plants are cute and there are several to choose from. Watering your plant is easy and not time-consuming.
Cons: Since the app only uses weight to estimate hydration needs, it overestimates if you have a higher BMI. If your BMI is over 30, find a “normal” weight for your height, add about 25 lbs, and use that as your weight in the app for accurate recommendations.