Home ยป RD Q&A (vol. 41)

RD Q&A (vol. 41)


Lots of you were anxious for my review of Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp (my attempt is pictured above). I have decided not to blog about the recipe simply because it wasn’t a meal I’d make again. It was okay – a pain to make and really busy flavors. I know it’s a popular dish and others may love it, however!

Now, on to the RD Q&A…

Daniela from Austria:  I understand I have to “refuel” after a sweat session and I usually do so, when I work out in the morning. But I do a lot of my workouts later in the evening (when the kids are in bed) and I struggle with the whole refueling-thing when I hop off the treadmill at 9:00 p.m. or later. Is it necessary to refuel when I go to bed an hour after my workout? What should I eat? Is a smoothie (milk, banana, peanut butter) the right thing? Or should I have some chocolate milk? I do not work out to lose weight (although 2-3 kg would be nice) but to keep strong and healthy. Is it better to skip the post-workout meal?

Prevention RD: Great question! And on a side note, I aspire to be that woman with enough energy to hop on the treadmill after my future kiddo is in bed. You rock 🙂 My question in order to answer your question would be what does your workout consist of — length and duration? For most moderate exercise for 30-45 minutes, a small snack afterwards wouldn’t be a bad idea — something with carbohydrate (20-30ish grams should do) with some protein (1 ounce equivalent, or about 7 grams). For those seeking weight management, it’s especially important to not over-do refueling as it can quickly negate the positive benefits of exercise…namely, calorie balance. A smoothie of 1 cup milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter will quickly tally up 350+ calories and I’d say that’s on the heavy side for a snack (this, of course, is highly dependent upon the intensity and duration of the workout, a person’s goals, and their body mass). Some snack options that might be closer to the 150-200 calorie range might include a banana with peanut butter, 1/2 cup cottage cheese with fruit, 4-6 crackers with cheese or peanut butter, or 1/3 cup trail mix. I hope this helps some — if you let me know specifics on your workout routine and your body mass, I can tailor this much more for ya! 🙂


Anna: I would LOVE to be a RD but I looked at all of the classes I would have to take and saw organic chemistry and all of those hard classes that I would have to take! Did you think the schooling for dietetics was difficult and required a lot of studying? Also are internships easier to get since I live in Illinois?

Prevention RD: Oh, Anna…dietetics is no walk in the park. At least it wasn’t for me. My friend who’s a nurse said to me recently, “I think RD’s look at labs more than nurses!” Who knows, but I know we look at them a lot. Meds and all that other medical gobbly goop, too. Chemistry almost did me in during college, no lie. Now, I kind of like it 😉 It’s a very intense field, but…very fulfilling. And competitive. As for Illinois, I’m not sure how it ranks among other states, but nationwide, the internship match rate is a pathetic 50%. It’s not that there aren’t a ton of amazing, worthy, and qualified students…there just simply aren’t enough internship positions to accommodate all of the graduating RD’s-to-be. That said, it’s worth the fight to be in the 50% who do get matched. And you can always apply more than once. If being an RD is what you really want to do, DO IT! RD’s and RD’s-to-be, please weigh in here for Anna for added advice! Best wishes, m’dear!


Suzette: I have a green smoothie almost every day, and I use spinach one week and kale the next. My other ingredients pretty much stay the same: banana, strawberries, chia seeds and Greek yogurt. Is it bad to eat the same fruits every day? I almost always have blueberries on my cereal in the mornings too. These are my favorites and I tend to stick with them. I eat a variety of veggies at dinner time, and have an apple for a snack many days. I have really worked on eating more fruits and veggies in the past year and have lost 45 pounds. I feel great but lately I have been wondering…can you get strawberry poisoning?

Prevention RD: Hi Suzette! Great question and CONGRATS on your weight loss, that’s amazing! You certainly cannot get strawberry poisoning (phew, right!?)…but variety is the spice of life. That said, between you greens (spinach or kale), strawberries, and banana, you’re covering major micronutrients (iron, vitamin C, and potassium for sure). I love the protein from the Greek yogurt (active cultures, too!), as well as the omega 3-rich chia seeds. It’s really a nice balance, and if you like it, and you’re getting various fruits and veggies in elsewhere…keep on keeping on, I say 🙂 We all gravitate towards certain fruits and vegetables, whether it be cost or convenience or personal preference, but your variety sounds very sufficient. A very general rule of thumb with fruits and veggies is to try to “eat the rainbow” — strawberries are red, orange is missing (perhaps), bananas are yellow/white, kale/spinach is green, blueberries are blue/purple…it’s a good mix, really! I hope that helps some 🙂


Bianca: We’ve switched to soy milk (we drink the vanilla flavored, light). Does it have the same benefits as milk, since it has added calcium (it says 50% more calcium than milk).

Prevention RD: Calcium-wise, you’re probably good (however, here’s an interesting journal article to read on fortification and absorption), but it’s important to understand the role of fortification in getting all that calcium into the soy milk. Much more so than the calcium situation in sweetened (“light”) soy milk is the presence of added sugars. Cane sugar (and Reb A from stevia) is added to sweeten up the milk product leading to 5 grams of sugar (5 of the 7 grams of total carbohydrate come from the added sugar, in fact). For this reason, I’m a huge proponent of unsweetened milk substitutes — have you tried unsweetened vanilla almond milk? So yum! I hope this helps some!


Julie: Is nitrate-free lunch meat like ham and turkey so bad? Thanks.

Prevention RD: In *my* opinion? Absolutely not so bad at all (Is this my Subway pregnancy craving speaking? Kidding, kidding). Pay attention to the sodium content as that tends to be where luncheon meats lose a lot of their nutritional tout. And of course, try to stick with the leaner options, like turkey, roast beef, and chicken. 🙂 Good question, Julie – thanks!


Anonymous: Before I ask my question, I’ll tell you the story behind it. When I was 12 years old I was very overweight. I weighed 198 pounds… and something clicked in me to change my lifestyle. I lost 74 pounds from then till I was at the age of 15. The way I lost it was in a healthy way, I changed what I ate, portion size, and I started to exercise. I am now 17 and the career I plan to pursue is being a Registered Dietician to help others go through what I did. It was a struggle, but it made me who I am today. I stand by living healthy and by the motto of “everything in moderation”.  It’s my passion.  Obviously I lost the weight at a time my body was growing. So, I lost a lot of weight in my chest area. I am insecure off how small my chest is now. I wanted to change that in a healthy way though. Is there any foods or something I could do to increase the size of them?

Prevention RD: Oh don’t I wish! I’ve been small-chested my whole life and that has fluctuated along with my weight. As I lose weight, my chest is always the first thing to go. Just like “spot reducing” is difficult (perhaps impossible), so is increasing breast size through diet. 🙂 (P.S. If you Google and read otherwise…it’s all myth!!). I’m sorry! Just know you’re not alone 🙂


Linda: My husband has been put on a low salt diet. I have never cooked with added salt as he’s had high blood pressure all his life. But I realize how salt “sneaks” in my favorite recipes with canned cream soups for gravies. This is a recipe for a homemade cream soup mix- but it still has 715mg of salt. How can I lower the salt content? I would appreciate any home made mixes for those recipes that sneak salt into them. This is a Taste of Home recipe for home made cream soup mix: 2 cups nonfat dry milk powder, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes, 1/4 cup chicken bouillon granules, 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes, 2 teaspoons dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon dried celery flakes, 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.

Prevention RD: Hi Linda! Salt is such a tricky feller. Personally, I’d struggle most with a low salt diet…I’ll be real upfront about that one! Assuming the mashed potato flakes are plain, the sodium in this recipe is from the bouillon (over 13,000 milligrams of sodium in that 1/4 cup!!) and the powdered milk (750 milligrams in the 2 cups). Sadly, bouillon is PACKED with sodium. Could you use a low-sodium bouillon and use half the amount? You could substitute in Mrs. Dash or another low-sodium/sodium-free flavoring in its place, if needed. What about making a gravy from scratch using a roux (one part unsalted butter to one part flour) and adding low fat milk and seasonings to create a gravy/cream sauce? Very tasty, easy, and much lower in sodium! I hope this helps!


Lena: Any tips on foods that would be good for backpacking? Long hikes, have to carry food in and garbage out, limited utensils available on the hike.

Prevention RD: Have fun on your new adventures, Lena! I’m excited to hear about them! I would become a fan of some healthy convenience foods – Kind Bars, Larabars, and other snacks of the like. I made trail mix in a class I was teaching just today — we used popcorn, cereal, marshmallows, pretzels, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, banana chips, and peanuts and mixed it all together – delicious! Peanut butter sandwiches are always a good option, too. Veggie chips are healthy and very light to carry (they may get crushed en route, but…worth a shot). Whole pieces of fruit travel well, too. I know when I’m on a plane or traveling, healthy snack bars and trail mix are my go-to’s (homemade or store bought)! I hope this helps some…I’m so not creative 🙂 Oh, and HAVE FUN!!


Kristin: How would you recommend determining your healthy weight? My doctor said “you are tall so you’ll never weigh 100lbs but….” He never gave me an answer on how much I need to lose. I’m 5’9″ and weigh 166lbs and can’t find any consistent info. I work out 5 days a week and consider myself strong but want to make sure I’m healthy too.

Prevention RD: I hate this method of figuring out “ideal” body weight, but for women, it’s 100 lbs + 5 lbs for every inch over 5 feet. (For men it’s 106 lbs + 6 lbs for every inch over 5 feet). So at 5’9, your “ideal” body weight is 145 lbs… +/- 10%, so 131 to 160 lbs. Now, I hate this method, because at 5’9 and 160 lbs, a woman’s BMI would be 23.7 — very much so in the healthy range (with room to go up in weight and still be “healthy”). But, my arguments against the validity of BMI is for a whole different rant. The calculation above is used in more clinical settings. BMI is used more so in “real life” and what most insurance companies and what not would consider a “healthy” body weight. Neither method is perfect — I think it really comes down to what’s right right weight for YOU…and that should be weight you’re happy at, healthy at, and able to maintain long-term. I hope that helps!! Thanks for your question, Kristin 🙂

If you have a question for the next Q&A, please send it to me at [email protected] or post below! Thanks so much!

Be well,


Share With Your Friends!


  1. Laura Bartee, RD, LD
    May 14, 2014 / 11:15 pm

    RD here weighing in on the school question!

    Are dietetic programs hard? Yes, they are harder than other majors. But are they doable? Absolutely! Don’t let organic chemistry scare you – it’s actually VERY useful in understanding how the body metabolizes and breaks down nutrients. I think that if you are truly interested in nutrition, you will be more nerded out by learning how we break apart food and use it to make energy, than you will be overwhelmed by the chemistry classes.

    Internships are tricky – it all depends on what you do during school to set yourself apart from everyone else. All dietetic students are the same for the most part – smart, dedicated, usually type A. You have to do things and have experiences that are different than everyone else and use them to market yourself.

    You can always apply for distance programs (some programs take up to 25-30 students a year!) if you don’t want to move. Internship selection gets more tricky the more you limit yourself via location, price, specialty. If you can be open minded and willing to flex on some of those things, you’ll easily find a program for you! Yes the overall match rate is 50% but you have to be very smart and methodical during the application process to increase your personal chances of matching.

    As a FYI if anyone needs help with application process, I blogged through my internship and talked about how I personally got matched. Just hit me up if you need help or have questions! I’d be happy to show you some support!

    • Nicole, RD
      May 15, 2014 / 7:52 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Laura…great advice ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anna
      June 23, 2014 / 12:07 pm

      Thank you! I will!

  2. Danielle
    May 15, 2014 / 10:40 am

    I always love your Q&A sessions and really appreciate you taking the time to answer everyone’s questions! To go along with Daniela’s question, I have similar thoughts/concerns about my protein intake. I’ve recently started P90X3 (it’s the 30-minute version) to tone and to just get some exercise. I am not doing it to lose weight, only to build some muscle and feel better. He preaches a lot about getting enough protein to repair and build muscle but I wonder if I’m getting enough or maybe even too much. I drink a protein shake in the morning with 1/2 scoop of Sunwarrior, spinach, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, and almond butter. Then I eat normally (mostly vegetarian) throughout the day. He advises you to snack throughout the day but most of the time I’m not hungry. The shake in the morning really fills me up and although I usually do eat some breakfast, I feel like I’d be fine skipping it. I cook every night and then take the leftovers for lunch the next day and the meals have several vegetables and grains. How do I know if I’m getting enough? What are you feelings on protein powder – is it necessary? Thank in advance for your help!

    • Nicole, RD
      May 15, 2014 / 7:50 pm

      Hi Danielle! Can you provide portions on the protein shake ingredients? I’m not necessarily for or against protein powder…I think it really depends on the person. I use it on occasion myself, but it’s definitely not a staple in my diet. That said, I’m not SUPER active (especially in pregnancy), so my needs are less, as well.

      • Danielle
        May 16, 2014 / 4:31 pm

        So I usually make the shake for both my husband and I, so you can divide these quantities in half. Here are the portions – 1/2 scoop protein powder (8.5 grams for 1/2 scoop), 1/2ish cup frozen spinach, 2/3 banana, 1-2 T. chia seeds, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 T. almond butter, 3ish cups almond milk, 1 cup water. Those are definitely guesstimates! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Sara
    May 15, 2014 / 4:44 pm

    This is in response to Anna’s question: When I started college, I had never heard of dietetics before, and I had NO interest in any science related jobs. I was set on majoring in journalism and working for a publishing company. When I was a sophomore and a junior, I started cooking, looking at food blogs, and developing an interest in nutrition, and thus learned about dietetics. I was SO nervous about taking all of the science classes necessary for the major – I did not have any confidence in my abilities to get through those classes. Halfway through my junior year of college I finally bit the bullet and changed majors (and added a fifth year to my undergraduate education). It was THE BEST decision I’ve ever made. If you really want to study nutrition and become a dietitian, go for it!!! The chemistry and biochemistry classes are challenging, but the major classes are SO interesting. Honestly, working through all of those classes increased my self confidence – if I can tackle those classes, who says I can’t manage grad school (first year down, one to go!). Internships are tricky, but like Laura said, you just need to figure out ways to set yourself apart from the pack – good grades are not enough. Look for jobs on campus with the food service dietitian, take up leadership roles in clubs, take a clinical practicum, and get to know your dietetics/nutrition professors! Good luck!!!

    • Nicole, RD
      May 15, 2014 / 7:48 pm

      GREAT advice! I couldn’t agree more, especially about finding ways to set yourself apart for the internship process ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anna
      June 23, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      Thanks so much!

  4. Megan
    May 16, 2014 / 4:36 pm

    Great Q&A session, as always, Nicole!

    For Anna-
    I would say most dietitians I know had an interest in science at least a little bit before going into that for school. Organic chemistry is definitely doable, even if you don’t love chemistry, but you just might need to study a lot for it! As far as internships go, I think if you are willing to move, that may increase your chances. Also, have you looked at any coordinated programs? That is where you do your classes and internship all in one (I did mine at the University of Missouri located in Columbia, MO). I know there are other ones (I think somewhere in Ohio and possibly Kansas State?). Just a thought because I LOVED my program. Also, schooling will be getting more intense for RD’s-to-be because it will soon be mandatory that they have Masters degrees as well, so that is more schooling. Just some additional things to think of!

    For Lena-
    I’m an avid backpacker so and an RD so I have some good ideas for backpacking foods. Many times, when I’m in a hurry, I buy the freeze-dried foods from the outdoor stores that you just need to add boiling water to. They aren’t usually the best tasting, some are high in sodium but they usually have a good amounts of protein, carbs and fat. Some day I would like to have a dehydrator so I can make my own food that I just add water to, but that’s when I have a little more space in my tiny apartment. Some foods that pack really well, tacos! You can just heat up some black beans or pinto beans (cook them from dried first or open a can and drain, then repack to save weight and space) or pack some cooked ground beef/chicken/turkey that is seasoned with taco meat. The beans and meat do last for about a day (as long as it isn’t super hot or longer if it is below freezing). Then at camp you can just heat up some tortillas on a camp stove. I also like to pack egg sandwiches. I cook the egg over hard at home and layer it with some cheese. Those usually last 2 days and still taste great no matter how smashed they get in my pack. For other good, different snacks, hard cheeses can last 2-3 days out in the back country and soft cheeses last about 1 day. Hope that gives you some ideas!

    • Anna
      June 23, 2014 / 12:11 pm

      Thanks so much! Mizzou is actually in my top two colleges I am looking at for Dietetics! I love nutrition and I am willing to do anything! Haha

  5. John Peter
    May 20, 2014 / 5:25 am

    So I typically build the shake for each my husband and that i, therefore you’ll divide these quantities

  6. Samantha Angela
    May 21, 2014 / 9:21 am

    To go along with Kristin’s question about ideal weight, here’s a really interesting blog post from Yoni Freedhoff on the matter of ideal weight.

    “Like every other area of your life, your goal with weight management or healthy living is to do your best, and whatever weight you reach living the healthiest life you honestly and actually enjoy – well that’s your “best weight”. And I’m here to tell you, whatever that weight is, it’s frickin’ great.”

  7. Liz
    May 21, 2014 / 3:29 pm

    About 12 years ago, I looked into becoming a dietitian. I completely freaked out by how hard the classes looked just to receive my verification statement (you need a verification statement before you can apply to DI programs). 2 years ago, I looked at it again and went for it. I’ve just completed my 1st year in a 2 year post-bac program and plan to graduate May 2015. I’m applying to DI programs this winter.

    What I did the second time I looked at it, was to take an exercise science class to see if I enjoyed the topic. The class covered nutrition, exercise, and some anatomy/physiology. After that class, I knew I loved nutrition. Then I called a local hospital and asked them if I could do a job shadow to see if I liked the job and to get a sense of what a dietitian does. They were gracious enough to let me shadow them for about 5 days. After that, I applied.

    I have to say, the curriculum is a lot of fun, and it is absolutely fascinating to see how our bodies work. I’m glad I did it. It is hard, especially for someone like me who has a limited biology/chemistry background, but, I’ve really been putting in the work and that helps.

  8. Anna
    June 23, 2014 / 2:06 pm

    Hi- thanks for all of the feedback! I am actively looking for colleges with a coordinating program for dietetics! ๐Ÿ™‚ So for coordinating programs, you don’t have that 50% chance you will get the internship since you will be doing it durning your schooling right? Please correct me if I am wrong haha! I am so excited to be a RD and I am so thankful that you answer all of my questions along with other RD’s! ๐Ÿ™‚

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