Although the RD exam seems like a far away goal, I thought I’d reblog this for (sooner rather than) later.

Mission: Dietitian

I was determined to take the RD exam ONE time in my life and then move on with my career.  When I googled “RD Exam Study Tips” I got horror stories on forums where certain people had taken the exam multiple times and couldn’t pass.  It was a little unsettling, yet motivating- this is a test you have to take seriously.
Disclaimer: this is just what worked for me! I offer no guarantees! 🙂

I used Jean Inman’s review – not the seminar, just the CDs and written course – as well as RD-in-a-Flash Flashcards.  I studied passively for a few weeks (just every now and then, scanning over things) then set up a schedule to get through the Inman CDs and the corresponding notes, domain by domain.  The Inman materials were definitely most helpful in reviewing everything that could be on the test.  Having the audio helped keep…

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The 12 Best Foods For Your Skin!

The 12 Best Foods For Your Skin

How to eat your way to a better complexion!

1.)  Almonds – The antioxidant in almonds, Vitamin E, will help to prevent painful sun burns from the sun’s UV rays.  One tip: Try to watch portion sizes when it comes to almonds.  They are incredibly calorie-dense…1 oz, or around 24 almonds, contains about 150 calories.

2.)  Flaxseeds and Salmon – These are the omega-3 powerhouses. Omega-3’s help maintain cell membranes and allow water and nutrients to be absorbed into the skin (while keeping the toxins out).  People who consume high amounts of omega-3’s have less wrinkles, redness, and irritation.

3.)  Tomatoes – Lycopene is the phytochemical found in tomatoes. This phytochemical is an antioxidant that decreases the aging process caused by sun exposure. One tip:  Don’t like tomatoes? Lycopene is also in ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

4.)  Go Orange and Yellow! – Orange foods such as sweet potatoes, papayas, apricots and oranges are packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A.  Vitamin C promotes collagen production, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. And Vitamin A reduces the risk of skin cancer and prevents the overproduction of dead skin cells, which can clog your pores.

5.)  Spinach – The folate in spinach, which helps to maintain and repair DNA production, has been shown to reduce the risk of tumors and skin cancer.

6.)  Tuna – Tuna contains the mineral, Selenium.  Selenium helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity, which will help it to appear smoother and tighter.

7.)  Oysters – Oysters are loaded with Zinc, which is a mineral that helps promote elastin production and also reduces sebum production. Sebum is the oil produced by your skin as a form of protection as well as to keep it moisturized.  The overproduction of sebum, however, may lead to clogged pores and thus, acne. So order some oysters next time you’re at a seafood restaurant!

8.)  Mushrooms – This fungi is rich in the B-vitamin, Riboflavin, which helps with tissue maintenance and repair.

9.)  Wheat Germ – Wheat germ is high in Zinc, which has anti-inflammatory properties.  Some studies show wheat germ can reduce the appearance of acne.  Wheat germ also contains Vitamins D and E, which have anti-oxidant effects on the skin.  Never tried wheat germ? Try sprinkling it over a salad,  yogurt, or blending it into smoothies.

10.) Green Tea – The catechins in green tea are cancer fighters due to it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

11.)  Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder – According to some scientific studies, chocolate lovers have been shown to have better skin texture and stronger skin resistance.  This is due to dark chocolate’s antioxidant, flavanols. Tip: Don’t overdo it – a little dark chocolate goes a long way.  A one ince square is all you need to do the trick.

12.)  Water, Water, Water – Did you know your skin is made up of 90% water?  Make sure you’re drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water a day to keep your skin smooth and moisturized.


Low-Sodium Diet In-Service

This week during my patient services rotation at Mon General Hospital, one of my assignments was to create an in-service presentation for the food service employees.  In-Services are a form of continuing professional education provided by the hospital or employer during working hours in order to improve worker knowledge, education, and attitudes.  Typical in-services are in a sit-down, classroom setting and last anywhere from 15-30 minutes.  Employees are educated on a variety of topics relating to their respective field and are given a quiz at the end to assess what they have learned.

For my in-service presentation, I chose to do low-sodium diets. Low-sodium diets are ordered for patients who have heart failure, cardiovascular disease, heart surgery, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.

What do you think of my Low-Sodium handout??

Eating Healthy on a Budget

As a graduate student, I am definitely on a tight budget.  But sparing your wallet does not mean you have to spare your health and wellbeing.  Check out this video by a Washington DC dietitian, Rebecca Scritchfield, RD.

What Do Olympic Athletes Eat? – A LOT.

With the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony starting tonight, I began to wonder exactly WHAT and HOW MUCH Olympic athletes eat on a daily basis. What I found was astounding.

The number of calories needed to fuel elite athletes and keep them in tip-top shape varies greatly. Some gymnasts and wrestlers only take in between 1,200-1,500 calories a day, while some shotputters and swimmers consume nearly 7,000 calories a day.  In fact, Michael Phelps reported consuming over 12,000 calories per day in order to train for the Olympic games!! To put that into perspective, that is what the average person is supposed to consume in SIX days.  The extra calories are required due to Phelps’ intense training schedule of 6 days/week, 5 hours/day.

However, each sport and event requires different caloric and nutritional needs depending on the intensity, speed, endurance, strength, and many other factors needed by the athlete…as seen in the figure below.

Olympic Athletes 2012 Pictured With Their Diets

Take a visual-look at what EXACTLY Olympians eat on a daily basis. Complements of  for the pictures/information.

Turkish Taekwondo fighter and Olympic hopeful Bahri Tanrikulu, 32, consumes 3,000 calories a day as well as taking vitamins and ergogenic aids.

Turkish wrestler and Olympic hopeful Elif Jale Yesilirmak, 26, consumes 3,000 calories a day. She avoids red meat, eats lots of fish, and drinks plenty of water (at least 5 liters a day!).

Turkish javelin thrower and Olympic hopeful Fatih Avan, 23, consumes 3,500 calories a day. His diet is mainly protein-based.

Turkish 800-metre runner and Olympic hopeful Merve Aydin, 22, consumes 3,000 calories a day. It may not look like a ton of food, but most of her calories comes from eggs and a vast variety of nuts and legumes.

Turkish weightlifter and Olympic hopeful Mete Binay, 27, consumes 3,500 calories a day. He always eats a complete breakfast and gets plenty of protein in the form of red meat and 2 glasses of milk a day. He also makes sure to satisfy his sweet tooth by eating yummy desserts.

Turkish Taekwondo fighter and Olympic hopeful Nur Tatar, 20, follows a strict diet of 1,500 calories a day in order to reach her goal weight class.

Michael Phelps’ 12,000 Calorie Diet

How exactly does Michael Phelps eat SO much food? What exactly does he eat?? You may be surprised to find out, check out the video below!


A day as a Nutrition Services Hostess

Today I had the opportunity to shadow a Nutrition Services Hostess at Monongalia General Hospital.  A Nutrition Services Hostess is responsible for “the preparation, service, and/or clean up of meals including, but not limited to, simple food preparation, tray assembly, cafeteria service and dishwashing”.

A Nutrition Services Hostess taking a patient’s menu preferences onto a handheld computer.

One of the most important roles as a hostess is assisting patients in selecting menu items based on personal preferences while still staying in accordance with therapeutic dietary guidelines. I realized that hostesses not only need to have a vast knowledge about the hospital’s menu items, but they also need to be knowledgeable about what foods are allowed to be substituted according to a patient’s special dietary restrictions (ie. low sodium, low fat, carbohydrate counting, fluid restriction, pureed, clear liquids, etc).  Each hostess is equipped with a small handheld electronic computer where they can edit a patient’s menu instantly and quickly.

A hostess is also responsible for the final assembly of patient trays.  A meal ticket is printed out for each patient tray with specific food items, condiments, drinks, desserts, silverware, garnishes, and the exact quantity of each.  Once 10-15 trays are fully assembled, the hostess is responsible for placing the trays onto a cart and wheeling it up to the appropriate floor.  Before a tray can be delivered, the hostess has to ask the patient for two patient identifiers: “What is your name?” and “What is your birthday?”  This is to ensure tray delivery to the correct patient. A hostess also has to be sure to either wash hands or use hand sanitizer in between rooms to prevent spreading germs or bacteria.

Once the patient correctly identifies themself, the hostess can then serve the patient courteously and provide any assistance the patient may need (adjusting the table placement/height, opening food packages or containers, etc).  The hostess then asks if there is anything else the patient may need.  If there is a problem, it is essential that the hostess follows up in regards to any meal service requests.

Overall, I learned a lot about the food service system of a hospital and how it operates so efficiently.


Follow me on PINTEREST!

Please follow me on Pinterest!

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own \or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”.

What Are The “Healthiest” Oils??

Oils are a type of plant, animal, or synthetic fat used in cooking, baking, flavoring, and food preparation.  The macronutrient composition of oils are comprised 100% of FAT.  You’re probably thinking that fat doesn’t sound like a good thing…Well, think again. There are many complex components that make certain fats and oils “healthy” while others are considered “unhealthy”.

Choosing what type of oil to buy and use can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many different options:  Vegetable, Olive, Peanut, Soybean, Sunflower, Canola, Corn, Almond, Avocado, Coconut, and Sesame Oil…Which one do you choose and why?

What constitutes as a “healthy oil”?

It is recommended that a healthy diet should be comprised of 25-35% of calories from fat. There are two main types of fats: Saturated and Unsaturated.

SATURATED FAT: Saturated fats come mostly from animal fats and are solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are completely saturated with hydrogen atoms along the fatty acid chain and there are no double bonds between the carbon atoms.

Saturated fats contain no double bonds within the carbon chain. This specific molecular structure is Myristic Acid.

This is considered the “bad” type of fat because it has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by raising total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).

UNSATURATED FAT:  Unsaturated fats come from both animal and plant products and are generally liquid at room temperature.  Unsaturated fats contain at least one double bond within the carbon chain. Unsaturated fats can be in either the cis or trans isomer. A cis isomer is when the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond, whereas a trans isomer is on the opposite side of the double bond.  in general, trans fatty acids are unhealthier. Fatty acids have two different ends: the carboxyl end (-COOH) and the methyl end (-CH3).

There are several different types of unsaturated fats:

1.)   Monounsaturated fats: Contains 1 double bond. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).

2.)  Polyunsaturated fats: Contains 2 or more double bonds.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:  This is an essential fatty acid from mostly plant and marine/fish sources. It is essential because the human body is unable to synthesize omega-3’s and therefore it must be consumed in the diet.  It is considered an omega-3 because the first double bond starts at the 3rd carbon atom from the methyl end of the carbon chain. Omega-3 fatty acids are reported to have several health benefits, which are still under scientific review and debate.  The reported health benefits are decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammation, depression, cognitive decline, arthritis, and dry skin.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids:  This is also an essential fatty acid with the first double bond starting at the 6th carbon from the methyl end of the carbon chain.  Omega-6 fatty acids are reported to have adverse health effects such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, and certain cancers.

3.)  Trans fats:  This is an unsaturated fatty acid in the trans position (two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bond).  Trans fats have different chemical and physical properties that make it valuable in food production, such as increasing the shelf-life of food. However, trans fats have been shown to be one of the “worst” types of fats for the human body.  This is because it increases the risk for heart disease by increasing LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and decreasing HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). Therefore, most leading health organizations recommend consuming as little trans fat as possible or consuming <1% of total energy from trans fats.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Oils and Uses in Cooking

When choosing an oil, in general try to choose oils that contain more mono and polyunsaturated fats and less saturated and trans fats. 

Check out this Cooking Oil Comparison Chart! It categorizes healthy vs. unhealthy oils, and oils better for cooking vs. dressings.

Healthy Cooking Oil Comparison Chart.
Complements of

When it comes to choosing a cooking oil in the grocery aisle, you have to take into consideration the health benefits as well as the cooking technique.

Safflower Oil:  Safflower oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fat.  It is best for medium-heat cooking such as stir-frying or sautéing.

**Canola Oil:  Canola oil got it’s name in 1978 as “CANadian Oil, Low Acid”.  Canola oil is made from the rapeseed. Canola oil is considered very heart healthy due to it’s low saturated fat, high monounsaturated, and moderate polyunsaturated fat content.  Canola oil has a high smoking point and  can be used for high-heat cooking, such as frying.

Sunflower Oil:  Made from sunflower seeds, this oil has a very high smoke point and is commonly used for frying foods.  Even though it has an abundance of polyunsaturated fat and Vitamin E, most of it is unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids and very little healthy omega-3’s.  Therefore, this is not the best nor the worst oil to choose from. If you’re looking for something healthy, try canola or olive oil.

Corn Oil:  I would stay far away from corn oil. The polyunsaturated content is 98% omega-6 and only 2% omega-3’s.  It has a high smoke point and is commonly used for frying. Not worth it.

Peanut Oil:  Peanut oil can be used for deep-frying, sautéing, or grilling food. The proposed health benefits of peanut oil is mixed among the research. It has a relatively high saturated fat content compared to most other vegetable oils, but it also has a high poly/monounsaturated fat content.  I would probably avoid this oil and stick to one with more definitive research on the health benefits. Plus, many people have allergies to peanuts.

**Olive Oil:  Olive oil is used in many Mediterranean and Italian dishes because it is one of the tastiest oils. It is high in monounsaturated fat and is beneficial to heart health.  Olive oil has a low smoking point and it used for simmering foods on low heat as well as for dipping/dressings.

Soybean Oil:  Soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and for that reason, it is probably not the healthiest choice. It has a very high smoke point and if you are looking to buy soybean oil, avoid the hydrogenated versions.

Avocado Oil:  The fatty acid composition of avocado oil is similar to that of olive oil, and it thus a healthy option. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and contains loads of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Butter/lard:  Bad, bad, bad. High in saturated and probably trans fats. Just stay away from these as much as possible. Try to stick to soft tubs of margarine instead of solid bars of butter/lard.

**These are the healthiest options.

Fat composition of common oils

Fat composition of common foods


The Mediterranean Diet

I absolutely love this quote by Registered Dietitian, Jane Thacker:

“I think the toughest thing I do as a dietitian is to get people to look at food differently than what we’re used to in the United States. In Europe, people don’t eat a frozen dinner in front of  their TV; their meals are very social,” she said. “Food is a celebration of life — the tastes, the smell, the laughter, the bonding. Food means so much more to people than sustaining our bodies through calories.”

Where is the Mediterranean Diet typically consumed?

The Mediterranean Diet is typically consumed by populations in the Mediterranean region. This consists of areas such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and parts of the Middle East.

Composition of the Mediterranean Diet

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts – Around a small handful a day. Even though nuts are high in fat, they are mostly polyunsaturated fats and not saturated fat.  Avoid salted, candied, and honey roasted nuts.
  • Fish –  Around 1-2 times/week. Fatty fish such as mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore, tuna, and salmon are rich sources in omega-3 fatty acids.  Anti-inflammatory omega-3’s have been shown to lower triglycerides and improve heart health.
  • Low-fat cheese and yogurt
  • Red wine in moderation – The anti-oxidants in red wine (not white wine) have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Moderation is defined as one glass of red wine per day for women and two glasses per day for men.  A standard glass of red wine is 5 oz.  Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can be detrimental to your health.
  • Oils (especially olive oil) – Unlike butter, 0ils are high in monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats and contain very little saturated fats.
  • Low intake of red meats – Red meats are typically high in saturated fat.
  • Regular physical activity

Potential Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Some of the reported health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet include reducing the risk of:

  • Overall mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease mortality
  • Cancer mortality
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

If you want to learn more about the Mediterranean Diet, read a literature review I wrote for an undergraduate nutrition class.

Click: The Effects of the Mediterranean Diet on the Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Mediterranean Diet 5 Day Meal Plan

If you are considering implementing the Mediterranean-style into your diet, follow this weekly meal plan.  This meal plan was developed by Janis Jibrin MS RD and Tract Olgeaty Gensler MS RD.

Monday’s Menu:


• Fluffy Pancakes

In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups low-fat yogurt (any flavor), 1 large egg, 1 cup whole-wheat or buckwheat pancake mix, and 3/4 cup fat-free milk. This recipe make 5 servings (each serving is 4 small pancakes). Have 1 serving now and pack away 4 individual servings in the freezer for upcoming meals. Serve with 2 tablespoons light maple syrup, 1 cup fat-free milk, and 1 cup fresh strawberries.


• Chickpea Salad

In a bowl, combine 7 1/2 ounces (half a 15-ounce can) canned chickpeas (rinse in a colander for 2 minutes to remove excess sodium and drain well; save other half for Tuesday’s snack), 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper (save the rest of the onion and pepper for dinner), 1 tablespoon sliced black olives, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Serve mixture over 2 cups romaine lettuce leaves.


• Crackers and Dip

Spread 1 Wasa crispbread cracker with 2 tablespoons hummus. Serve with 1 fresh plum.


• Chicken Kabobs

Slice 4 ounces raw chicken breast into small chunks to skewer on a kabob stick. Marinate at least 30 minutes to overnight in 1/4 cup fat-free Italian dressing. Slice remainder of white onion and green pepper from lunch into chunks; set out 10 grape tomatoes. Alternate pieces of marinated chicken, onion, pepper, and cherry tomatoes on skewers and grill. Serve with one 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket, toasted over the grill. Spread pita with 2 tablespoons hummus. Finish with 1 cup fat-free milk mixed with 1 tablespoon strawberry drink mix. For added refreshment, freeze the flavored milk into a Popsicle mold the night before and enjoy this as a healthy dessert! Make 3 Popsicles and save the remainder for Tuesday’s and Sunday’s desserts.

After dinner, make the chickpea spread for Tuesday’ snack.

  • Daily calorie total: 1,469
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Percent of daily calories from fat: 15%
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Percent of daily calories from saturated fat: 2%
  • Carbohydrate: 209 g
  • Percent of daily calories from carbohydrates: 64%
  • Fiber: 35 g
  • Protein: 81 g
  • Percent of daily calories from protein: 22%
  • Cholesterol: 120 mg
  • Calcium: 1,150 mg
  • Sodium: 3,005 mg

Tuesday’s Menu:


• Yogurt Granola Parfait

In a clear, wide-mouth glass, layer 6 ounces light fruit-flavored yogurt with 1 cup raspberries and 2 tablespoons low-fat granola. Begin with a third of the yogurt, a third of the fruit and then a third of the granola. Continue until all ingredients are layered.


• Vegetable Pot Pie

Heat 1 Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie or 1 Swanson’s Chicken Pot Pie according to package directions. Serve with 10 grape tomatoes.


• Chickpea Spread

Make this spread in advance and bring it along to work. Recipe makes 2 servings. Have half the recipe today and save the rest for Wednesday’s snack. Use remaining chickpeas from Monday’s lunch (half a 15-ounce can). Mash the chickpeas lightly in a bowl with a fork. Mix in 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Mash all ingredients together thoroughly or, if a smoother spread is desired, use a food processor to blend the ingredients. Bring along 1 cup broccoli flowerets and 1 sliced red, orange, or yellow pepper for dipping.


• Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich

Slice a 6-inch French baguette roll (3-inch diameter) in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the halves with 1/3 cup 33% reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in toaster oven at 250 degrees for 4 to 6 minutes, until cheese is just beginning to melt. Meanwhile, slice 2 large red tomatoes in 1/2-inch slices. Remove baguette from toaster oven, sprinkle with a little dried basil and dried oregano if desired. Top with tomato slices. For dessert, serve 1 frozen strawberry milk Popsicle left over from Monday’s dinner (8 ounces fat-free milk mixed with 1 tablespoon strawberry drink mix, then frozen).

  • Daily calorie total: 1,548
  • Fat: 41 g
  • Percent of daily calories from fat: 23%
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Percent of daily calories from saturated fat: 10%
  • Carbohydrate: 246 g
  • Percent of daily calories from carbohydrates: 62%
  • Fiber: 26 g
  • Protein: 58 g
  • Percent of daily calories from protein: 15%
  • Cholesterol: 71 mg
  • Calcium: 991 mg
  • Sodium: 2,487 mg

Wednesday’s Menu:


• Chive and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 8 large eggs
  • .5 cup(s) milk
  • .5 teaspoon(s) salt
  • .125 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoon(s) margarine or butter
  • .5 package(s) (5 1/4-ounce package)  goat cheese, or 3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in diced tomato and chopped chives.
  2. In nonstick 10-inch skillet with oven-safe handle (or wrap handle with heavy-duty foil), melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture; drop spoonfuls of goat cheese on top of egg mixture. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until frittata begins to set around the edge.
  3. Place skillet in oven. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until frittata begins to set and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Make half the recipe. To save on cholesterol, use 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute. Your taste buds won’t know the difference! Serve half of the frittata now and refrigerate the rest for Thursday dinner. Serve with 1 cup fat-free milk.


• Turkey and Artichoke Sandwich

Spread 2 slices of whole-wheat bread with 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise and stuff with 4 to 6 artichoke hearts, 1/3 cup shredded 33% reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, and 3 ounces sliced turkey breast. Serve with 15 baby carrots and 1 cup green or red grapes.


• Chickpea Spread

Use remaining chickpea spread from Tuesday’s snack. Bring along 1 sliced cucumber to dip.


• Mediterranean Grilled Sea Bass

Make half of recipe and reserve half of that for Thursday lunch. Increase your vegetable intake by serving half a bag of baby arugula leaves with this meal (save the other half for Thursday). Serve with 1 ear of corn and 1 cup cooked sugar snap peas topped with 2 teaspoons trans-fat-free light margarine. For dessert, have 1 frozen fruit juice bar (limit 80 calories for the bar).

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 whole(s) (about 1 1/2 pounds each) sea bass, cleaned and scaled
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 2 large oregano sprigs


  1. Prepare charcoal fire or preheat gas grill for covered direct grilling over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, from 1 lemon, grate 1 tablespoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Cut half of remaining lemon into slices, other half into wedges. In small bowl, stir lemon juice and peel, oil, chopped oregano, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 slashes in both sides of each fish. Sprinkle inside and out with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Place lemon slices and oregano sprigs inside fish cavities. Place fish in 13″ by 9″ glass baking dish. Rub half of oil mixture over outsides of fish; reserve remaining oil mixture to drizzle over cooked fish. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease grill rack; place fish on hot rack. Cover grill and cook fish 12 to 14 minutes or until fish just turns opaque throughout and thickest part flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning fish over once.
  5. To serve, place fish on cutting board. Working with 1 fish at a time, with knife, cut along backbone from head to tail. Slide wide metal spatula or cake server under front section of top fillet and lift off from backbone; transfer to platter. Gently pull out backbone and rib bones from bottom fillet and discard. Transfer bottom fillet to platter. Repeat with second fish. Drizzle fillets with the remaining oil mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
  • Daily calorie total: 1,543
  • Fat: 50 g
  • Percent of daily calories from fat: 29%
  • Saturated fat: 14g
  • Percent of daily calories from saturated fat: 8.4%
  • Carbohydrate: 169 g
  • Percent of daily calories from carbohydrates: 43%
  • Fiber: 24 g
  • Protein: 110 g
  • Percent of daily calories from protein: 28%
  • Cholesterol: 599 mg
  • Calcium: 958 mg
  • Sodium: 3,507 mg

Thursday’s Menu:


• Fluffy Pancakes and Fresh Raspberries

Serve fluffy pancakes from Monday’s breakfast with 2 tablespoons light maple syrup, 1 1/2 cups raspberries, and 1 cup fat-free milk.


• Mediterranean Grilled Sea Bass

Serve remaining sea bass from Wednesday’s dinner over rest of baby arugula leaves.


• Vegetables and Sweet Sour Cream Dip

Mix 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream with 1 tablespoon light maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. (One 8-ounce fat-free sour cream will take you through Thursday’s and Friday’s snack.) Dip 10 grape tomatoes and 1 cup fresh string beans in this sweet, creamy dip.


• Frittata and Baklava

Have rest of frittata from Wednesday’s breakfast. Serve with 2 cups baby spinach leaves, topped with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 cup fat-free milk. Have 1 slice of whole-wheat toast topped with 2 teaspoons light trans-fat-free margarine. For dessert, have one 2-inch-square piece of baklava, a traditional Greek pastry with flaky fillo dough and walnuts. Athens Brand Frozen Baklava Pastry is available in many groceries nationwide. It’s a great choice since the portions are tiny, and no baking or heating is required. (Have 2 squares if choosing Athens brand.)

  • Daily calorie total: 1,532
  • Fat: 56 g
  • Percent of daily calories from fat: 33%
  • Saturated fat: 18.8 g
  • Percent of daily calories from saturated fat: 11%
  • Carbohydrate: 153 g
  • Percent of daily calories from carbohydrates: 40%
  • Fiber: 29 g
  • Protein: 98 g
  • Percent of daily calories from protein: 26%
  • Cholesterol: 600 mg
  • Calcium: 1,288 mg
  • Sodium: 2,700 mg

Friday’s Menu:


• Creamy and Crunchy Yogurt

Serve 6 ounces light yogurt, any flavor, in a bowl topped with 1 cup high-fiber cereal such as Kashi Good Friends. You can choose 100 calories of any cereal, such as 1 cup Cheerios or a heaping 1/2 cup of Raisin Bran. Top with 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts.


• Vegetarian Pita Sandwich with Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Mix together 1/2 cup plain light yogurt with 1/2 finely chopped cucumber, 1/2 minced garlic clove, and a shake of salt and pepper if desired. Spread half of yogurt sauce (save remaining sauce for later use) on one 6 1/2-inch whole-wheat pita and fill with 5 halved grape tomatoes and 1 cup string beans. Serve with 1 cup (about 23) fresh cherries.


• Crackers with Sweet Creamy Spread

Mix remaining 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream (from Thursday’s snack) with 1 tablespoon light maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread between 6 squares (2 1/2 inches) graham crackers, any flavor.


• Mediterranean Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • 2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
  • 8 small (about 2 pounds with bones) skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 1/2 cup(s) chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup(s) red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon(s) brown sugar, or to taste
  • 3/4 cup(s) (about half 10-ounce package)  Mission figs, each cut in half
  • 1/4 cup(s) salad olives, (chopped pimiento-stuffed olives)
  • 1 bag(s) (5 ounces)  baby arugula


  1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt; cook 17 to 20 minutes or until chicken is browned and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife, turning chicken over once. Transfer chicken to plate. Add garlic to skillet and cook 30 seconds, stirring.
  2. Meanwhile, in cup, with wire whisk, mix broth, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar.
  3. Stir broth mixture and add to skillet; heat to boiling. Boil 1 minute, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet and sauce thickens slightly. Stir in figs and olives; return chicken with any juices to skillet and heat through.
  4. To serve, arrange arugula on 4 dinner plates. Spoon chicken mixture over arugula.

Make one fourth of the recipe. Serve with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice topped with 2 teaspoons light trans-fat-free margarine. Enjoy 4 ounces of wine with dinner.

  • Daily calorie total: 1,579
  • Fat: 36 g
  • Percent of daily calories from fat: 20%
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Percent of daily calories from saturated fat: 2.3%
  • Carbohydrate: 226 g
  • Percent of daily calories from carbohydrates: 55%
  • Fiber: 24 g
  • Protein: 80 g
  • Percent of daily calories from protein: 20%
  • Cholesterol: 169 mg
  • Calcium: 709 mg
  • Sodium: 1,786 mg


Patient Services Rotation: Day 1 and 2

This week I started my patient services rotation at Monongalia General Hospital. I will be spending the next two weeks conducting tray audits and meal rounds, creating new menus, developing and implementing a survey for patients on the diabetic diet and an inservice for food service employees, as well as executing a food waste project.

Tray Audits

Tray audits, or patient tray assessments, are conducted in order to assess the rate of delivery of a meal tray from assembly of the tray to the delivery of that tray to the patient. The tray is scored on various categories such as temperature, flavor, aroma, appearance, quality and preparation, portion size, and tray completeness.  If the tray is scored below a 90%, corrective action must be taken.

To see an example of an example tray audit form, click below:

Example Tray Audit Form

Meal Rounds

Meal rounds is a hospital policy in which patients provide feedback on meal quality, timeliness, appropriate temperatures, and uncertainties about special diets.  I perform meal rounds every morning on a different floor/wing of the hospital.  I ask a few questions, including:

“How would you rate the overall quality of the food at the hospital?”

“How is the temperature of the food? Are the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold?”

“I see you are on a __________ diet. Do you have any questions about that?”

“Is there anything else I can do or get for you?”

Based on the patient’s responses, I then rate their answers as either “Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor”.  The nutrition services department can then use this data as a way to determine patient satisfaction and identify potential areas for improvement.

Tray Line

Today I worked tray line for the lunch service.  The hospital has a very efficient system for getting trays assembled and transported to a patient’s room in a timely manner.  My job was to work the hot foods stations.  After the hot foods are added to a heated plate, the tray is passed to an employee who adds sides, desserts, beverages, and garnishes.  Around 12-15 trays are then loaded onto a cart and transported onto the appropriate floor.

Today’s lunch consisted of a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, macaroni and cheese or corn, coleslaw, and jello.  I have to say, this lunch was by far my favorite out of any of the meals I have tried so far – It was delicious!

Tray line workers are responsible for reading a patient’s meal ticket and assembling the tray with all the appropriate items.  Because there are so many different types of diets, there are many modifications that have to be made.

The different types of diets include:

  • Cardiac Diet – Low sodium, low fat
  • Diabetic Diet – Carbohydrate controlled
  • Gluten-free Diet – No wheat, barley, or rye products
  • Clear Liquid – Foods that are transparent and liquid at body temperature. Ex: juice, gelatin, ice water, popsicles, ice chips, sweetened tea/coffee, soda
  • Full Liquid – All the foods allowed on the clear liquid diet with the addition of milk and small amounts of fiber. Ex: thin cereal, strained cream soups, milkshakes, custard, and pudding
  • Mechanical Soft – Foods that are soft-textured and moist so a bolus can be formed. Half inch chunks of easy-to-chew meats/veggies are allowed.
  • Puree – Foods are totally pureed without and lumps or coarse textures
  • Cardiolite Diet – For patients taking a stress diet that day