National Nutrition Month gave me the perfect opportunity to ask the experts – Akron Children’s registered dietitians – what they like to eat and why.
It’s clear from their responses that they believe “tasty” and “nutritious” can co-exist. Here’s what they had to say:
Starting the day off right
“My favorite breakfast is steel cut oatmeal made with skim milk, a handful of fresh blackberries, a packet of Truvia, and a sprinkle of cinnamon,” said Deb Hutsler, RD/LD, manager of nutrition services. “You can make a batch of the oatmeal ahead of time, pour it into bowls and store it in the fridge. In the morning, just pop it in the microwave with a little more milk, cook for two minutes and stir. Yum!”
Michele Gresser, RD/LD, the clinical dietitian for Akron Children’s infant/toddler feeding team, likes to start her day with a sesame seed bagel, a little light cream cheese, and fruit smoothie or skim milk.
“My favorite meal is pancakes with turkey sausage and eggs. It’s a good mix of sweet, savory and salty,” said Jamie Kahn, RD/LD, who works with teens in the hospital’s adolescent medicine and cystic fibrosis centers.
Sally Phillips, RD/LD, is also a fan of pancakes, especially blueberry pancakes, which she pairs with bacon and orange juice.
Mid-day fuel of choice
Kathleen Houck, RD/LD, a dietitian at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley, loves hummus on rolled whole wheat flatbread. She sometimes adds veggies and cheese.
“Hummus (a 2 tbsp. serving) is less than 100 calories with healthy fat, protein, fiber, B vitamins and other minerals and no added sugar. Multiple flavors are available,” said Kathleen. “I buy it from a local Mediterranean or Lebanese deli/grocery. It’s made fresh daily without any additives or preservatives. It tastes better and is cheaper. I recommend going to different ethnic food stores or any local store to try some new foods and take you out of your routine.”
Dinner done right
Sally’s favorite meal is white chili, complemented with a hard roll and fresh fruit.
Whenever possible, Sieglinde O’Neil, RD/LD, who works with childhood cancer patients, opts for fish – any kind – for dinner.
Michele’s favorite dinners are a grilled chicken Caesar salad (with dressing on the side) or pasta with marinara sauce (also on side) and fresh bread.
Claudia Meade, RD/LD, who works with children with diabetes, often has a warm, nutrient-packed dinner waiting for her after a long work day.
“I love pinto beans made with garlic in the Crockpot,” she say, “and I round out my dinner with brown rice, and a salad made with chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro and avocado. It’s my favorite dinner because it tastes so good and the beans are high in protein and fiber. Brown rice is also a good source of fiber, and a salad incorporates a vegetable, along with a heart healthy fat in the avocado.”
Claudia rounds out her dinner with a glass of milk – a good source of calcium and vitamin D.
And, for those snack attacks
Like many people, Sieglinde admits her snacks vary depending on her mood.
“Some days, I like crunchy snacks like yogurt-covered pretzels or organic peanut butter – plain or honey roasted – on Hazelnut Thins crackers,” she says. “I also love yogurt-covered raisins, or dried papaya or cranberries with a piece of cheese.”
All of these, she notes, are good choices before she works out because they include both a carbohydrate and protein.
Michele’s snacks of choice are cheese and crackers or a small piece of dark chocolate.
Kate Lorenz, RD/LD, a dietitian at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley, joins Claudia in the “hummus fan club.”
“Hummus with a whole grain pita is my favorite snack,” she says. “It’s a great balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to keep me energized and satisfied between meals.”