Extension and Ag Research News


Prairie Fare: Seek Nutrition Information from Qualified Sources

Consider the source of your nutrition information.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

“The doctor will see you now. I’m a nurse,” my 4-year-old daughter said as I walked by her bedroom.

I guess it’s time for my checkup, I thought to myself.

At my daughter’s recent kindergarten medical checkup, she received several shots, which were fresh in her mind. I was a little wary when I entered her “office.”

“How long is the wait?” I asked as I looked at the line of dolls and stuffed animals.

“They’re going home. They’re healthy now.” she said.

“Here, sign this contract,” she added, thrusting her hands in front of me.

“Sign here and here. Here, too,” she said, pointing at the invisible paperwork.

I didn’t argue. I began signing as well as I could.

“You’re not signing in the right place. I’ll sign it for you,” she announced.

“Could you send in a lawyer, please?” I asked as she left the room. She quickly returned.

“I’m the doctor. Open your mouth wide. This is really going to hurt,” she said.

I’m sure my eyes widened. I resisted commenting on her bedside manner.

“So, what do you eat?” she asked.

“Are you a dentist or a dietitian now?” I asked as she peered into my mouth.

She grinned.

“Well, what should I eat?” I responded, a little curious about what she might prescribe.

“You need to have lots of fruits, vegetables, meat and milk so you’ll be healthy,” she said.

“So, are you saying I should skip bread and other grains?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, eat bread, too. You need to have some of everything, except not so many cookies,” she said.

“That’s pretty good advice. How would you like to be a nutrition columnist?” I asked her.

Consider the source of your nutrition information. With Web sites, TV infomercials, e-mail, magazines and numerous other sources, we have more information available to us than ever.

We also have numerous people dispensing nutrition advice, some more qualified than others. Sorting through all the information and deciding what and whom to believe can be complicated.

If you would like to learn about healthful eating, consider this: Consulting a nutritionist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting reliable information.

Many states allow anyone to use the title nutritionist. For a fee, some online businesses will send you a certificate.

In fact, I could order my 4-year-old daughter a certificate designating her as a nutritionist. After all, she’s been quoted in a newspaper.

In North Dakota, however, a person with the title licensed nutritionist has completed college coursework in nutrition and has met licensing and continuing education requirements.

A licensed registered dietitian (L.R.D.) has completed an undergraduate degree with specific science-based courses, plus internship/practicum hours. An L.R.D. has passed a national examination and met licensing requirements.

Extension agents are a good source of research-based nutrition information and classes on a variety of topics. For nutrition information and to find the NDSU Extension Service office nearest you, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/ (click on county offices).

Add more fruit to your diet with this simple recipe.

Fruit Dippers

1/2 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt

2 Tbsp. chopped peanuts (or other nuts)

2 c. fruit (grapes, banana slices, apple wedges, chopped strawberries.

Combine yogurt and chopped nuts. Mix with a spoon. Place a toothpick in the center of each piece of fruit and arrange on tray. Serve immediately with dip.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 100 calories, 3 grams (g) of fat, 17 g of carbohydrate and 2 g of fiber.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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