As I’m writing this, I’m on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego.  I spent two nights and three days at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Just in case you don’t know, this is the annual meeting for dietitian and nutrition professionals.

The first night I connected with other nutrition bloggers at the Weber Shandwick reception for the nutrition blogger network.  Afterward, a group of us went out to eat.  It was so nice to connect with other like minded professionals, sharing and swapping ideas.

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This was an exciting and nerve wracking conference because it was my first year as a speaker!  Jill Castle and I presented Solid Start: Best Practices for Introducing Complementary Food to Infants on Sunday morning.  We highlighted the latest evidence for optimal nutrition for infants including pros and cons of trends such as baby led weaning.  This is a picture before the presentation with our moderator Lynn Brann.

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The session was a success and we got lots of positive feedback.  Then we headed to our booth at the product marketplace to showcase and sell our book Fearless Feeding and educational handouts for dietitians in private practice.  Here’s a picture of us with students at Columbia who use our book as their textbook!

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The next day was my time to go to a couple of sessions and check out the exhibits.  I found some interesting products I plan to follow up on and potentially review.  Here are the ones I was the most excited about:

Up 4 Probiotics for Kids: I recently started giving my kids probiotics but the one I’ve been using is a powder.  Little D doesn’t like it unless I put it in his smoothie or cereal.  Big A will drink it with some juice but she makes it clear that it’s a major sacrifice.  So when I saw this vanilla chewable probiotic I got excited.  It also contains vitamin D so you get two with one.  But now that I visit the site, I don’t see any research on their product, which is important for me with a probiotic.  I’ll keep digging and let you know.

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Jones All Natural Sausages: I stopped by this booth and was impressed with the taste and quality of their sausages.  The guy manning the booth said they don’t contain nitrates, natural or synthetic, and they are relatively low in sodium. But now that I go to the website I don’t see an ingredient line to double check (trust, but verify, right?).  I will check these out the next time I go to the store.

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Bare snacks: These fruit chips look like an interesting alternative to traditional snacks, an ongoing theme in the exhibit hall.  They are crunchy, baked apples, either plain or flavored (cinnamon, Chile lime etc).  They just added coconut chips too.  I brought home some samples to try out on the kids. Find out more at their website.

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Cook Simple Products: I stuck at this booth quite a while, checking out their products, also called “meal starters.”  Basically they contain the spice and ingredient mixes used for quick and healthy cooking.  For example, they tell you what ingredients to add to it, like a can of diced tomatoes, ground meat, eggs etc. and the exact directions for cooking (see this example).  They are not too high in sodium and contain wholesome ingredients.  Some of the meals I want to try are White Bean Santa Fe Chili, New Orleans Jambalaya and Alaskan Salmon Patty.  See all the Cook Simple Products here.

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Nourish Snacks: How can I not try products created by a registered dietitian (Joy Bauer from the Today Show)?   These are snacks that are made from whole food ingredients.  They can also be personalized and mailed to your home.  Find out more on the site.

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It went by quickly and before I knew it, I was being picked up at the airport by my three favorite people.  I was in such a hurry before I left, I forgot to buy more food to keep them eating balanced.  I’m not even going to ask what they ate.  Because what happens at home (when mommy is gone), stays there.

{ 11 comments }

Transform Your Relationship with Food by Doing This One Simple Thing

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on October 14, 2014

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There’s a package of chocolate chip cookies sitting on the table at work. Six different people have six different thoughts about it.

Person A, who is trying to avoid gluten to lose weight, thinks of how every food on earth must have gluten.

Person B, who is watching fat, tries to guess how many grams it has.

Person C, who is trying to cut carbs, knows instantly this food doesn’t fit into his daily allotment.

Person D, who is watching sugar, is certain there are at least 3 teaspoons of the white stuff. She can feel her insulin surging just thinking about it.

Person E, who tries to eat only real food, is disgusted by the long list of unpronounceable ingredients in just a cookie.

Person F doesn’t think much about it besides “there’s cookies.”

Same cookie, negative perceptions

Each of these people, except person F, has a negative connotation about the same exact food item. So instead of just seeing a cookie, they see what they believe is bad in the food.  But the worst part is this feeling sticks.

For example, Person D is looking for a reason to start eating sugar again because the scale didn’t move that morning.  So she ends up eating a few of the packaged cookies followed by eating ice cream later, and the whole week is blown.  Person B, the low carb eater, doesn’t eat them but just seeing a forbidden food sets off a desire to eat because even though he knows he shouldn’t, he loves sweets.

But person F forgot about the cookies almost as soon as she spotted them.

Different cookie, positive perceptions

Now let’s see what would happen if we change things and the cookies had a different label to match each person’s preference.

The sugar watcher would be delighted to find the cookie has less than a teaspoon of sugar.  And the low fat guy would like that it is low fat, less than 3 grams.  And the real food gal, being told they were made with natural ingredients, likes that there are no preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Not only do they all partake, they each eat quite a bit.

But to person F, it’s still just a cookie.  She thinks of having one but really isn’t feeling it today so she passes.

What gives?

A 2012 study in Eating Behaviors looked at how different dietary approaches affect how people relate to food.  There were those that followed a restraint model of eating versus moderation.  In the study, restraint is defined as someone actively restricting foods or utilizing self control while moderation is “self-regulating eating based on responding to one’s needs and desires in a reasonable manner.” For example, a moderate eater might take small portions but feels totally comfortable going back for more if she’s still hungry.  Where a restrained eater might try to stick to certain rules of eating (low carb, low sugar, portion control etc.)

In a group of college students, restraint was linked to worry about weight, less (perceived) ability to manage weight, more emotional and binge eating and lower life satisfaction. On the other hand, those that were categorized as moderate eaters believed they could effectively manage their weight and had lower emotional and binge eating. Similar results were seen in a group of people about to go for weight loss surgery.

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How you approach food, translates to how in control you feel

If you noticed, person F is this type of moderate eater.  Instead of a singular food or meal focus, she considers her diet as a whole.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t look at fat, sugar or preservatives but her eating is a balance of listening to internal cues, experiencing food satisfaction and considering health, not a set of inflexible food rules.

It’s like the difference between someone who chooses to be happy and someone who let’s circumstances decide happiness.  The person who chooses happiness focuses on what he has control over — his attitude.  He reminds himself what really matters in life so the little stuff can’t get to him.  But the person who focuses on  circumstances ends up frustrated because of life’s inevitable ups and downs. He’s letting all the little things get in the way of the most important thing: long-term happiness.

Whether its happiness or our diet, when we take time to choose a healthy outlook, we feel more in control.  For food, this is a big-picture, balanced approach that is flexible.  And in the end eating is not only of better quality, it keeps us from using up all of our energy sweating the details.

What do you think when you see a cookie?

{ 4 comments }

Monthly Meal Plan (October)

October 6, 2014
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It’s been really hot here and I’m hoping the temperature finally drops so it feels a little more like fall.  The mornings and evenings have been cooler though. Regardless of the weather, I love this time of year. Although it always makes me nervous to see Christmas decorations out already!! Big A’s birthday is Friday [...]




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How (and Why) I Feed My Family with Respect

September 30, 2014
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This is The Feeding Diaries, an ongoing series about the feeding escapades in my house. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Lately I’ve been thinking about how the golden rule applies to feeding my family. For me it boils down to R-E-S-P-E-C-T for all.  Mom. Dad. Daughter. And son. And here’s how [...]




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7 Ingredient Granola Bar Recipe (No Bake)

September 24, 2014
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I was looking for an easy recipe to make for Little D’s kindergarten class.  On Fridays they have fun centers and when I volunteer they put me at the cooking station.  I wanted to pick something he likes so I thought about making homemade granola bars (he used to call them “rolly bars”). But I [...]




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Feeding Baby: Book Review and Giveaway

September 19, 2014
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It seems a lifetime ago that I was standing in the grocery store, panicked, talking to my mom friend about starting Big A on solids.  This is when I started to research feeding. It would have been nice to have Feeding Baby: Simple Approaches to Raising a Healthy Baby & Creating a Lifetime of Nutritious [...]




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Feel Guilty About Your Kid’s Eating? Join the Club

September 9, 2014
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I recently talked to a mom who has struggled with her son who eats few fruits and vegetables.  I could see the guilt written on her face.  She a good cook and a healthy eater.  Her other child eats more of a variety.  And even though her son is gradually expanding his food base, it [...]




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Monthly Meal Plan (September)

September 2, 2014
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September is here and summer is over. A few things will change when it comes to meals.  We probably won’t grill every Thursday because that pushes dinners back because we have to wait for my husband to come home.  Eventually when it cools down we’ll start soup/stew night again on Thursday.  Little D has late [...]




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5 Back to School Routines That Make Life Easier

August 25, 2014
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The time has come. As of yesterday, both of my kids are in school full time. While many different emotions are running through me as my youngest starts kindergarten, one of them is definitely excitement.  I’m looking forward to one drop off and more time to get the important stuff done. Although work will take [...]




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Why I Will Never Lie to My Children About Food

August 19, 2014
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This is a post from 2012 (with a  change in title).  I’m taking some time off before the new school year starts.  So I may be slow to accept comments and get back to you over the next week or so. “Just tell him we aren’t selling ice cream today,” the nice lady at my [...]




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