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Avoid Eater’s Remorse During The Holidays

November 29, 2013

The holiday season is a time meant for joy, celebration, and spending time with family and friends. But for many this time of year can also bring stress, frustration and unwanted weight gain.

Between family get-togethers, workplace holiday parties, and with what seems to be an endless array of cakes, cookies, pies and other sweets during the holiday season often times the temptation to overindulge can seem overwhelming.  Add in the late dinners at the mall food court after a long day of shopping and it is not hard to understand why weight gain is common during the holiday season.

But with some forethought and a little resolve, it can be possible celebrate the holiday season without seeing the scale move in the wrong direction. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.


Most of us find it hard enough to find time to exercise when little is going on. Add holidays to the mix and exercise is probably not a priority on our to-do list, unless it consists of running through the mall to catch the latest sale.

By maintaining a regular exercise schedule, you can help to eliminate stress and lessen the holiday tension. At the same time, exercise will help to balance out some of the extra calories you may be eating.

Most people take a few days off during the month of December to finish last minute holiday shopping, so take the time to fit in some exercise as well. It will get you into the habit of exercising, and you can continue the regime after the holiday season is over.


Most holiday parties are planned ahead of time. This gives you the option for some healthier eating days leading up to the event. If the party is potluck style, be the one to bring the fruit or veggie tray. You’ll be surprised as to how quickly the carrot and celery sticks are eaten.

If the party is going to be at a restaurant, research the menu ahead of time. More and more restaurants are starting to post their menus and daily specials, so do some research and plan ahead to avoid falling into an unexpected, hidden calorie trap. It will save you the indecision while the waiter is staring over your shoulder and give you the opportunity to mentally prepare for self-control.


It’s easy to skip lunch or an afternoon snack if you know you’re headed to a holiday party, which is sure to have decadent desserts and plenty of alcohol. You may think that by skipping a meal or two you are saving yourself calories that can be eaten later in the day but this plan has the potential to backfire by causing you to overeat at your next meal. Ultimately, your one huge meal could be more calorie dense than the two smaller meals you would have consumed normally.

To avoid this trap, try adding protein to your lunch or afternoon snack routine, such as low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and unsalted nuts. Most people think twice about snacking, but it actually helps to spread food intake out throughout the course of the day and can often lead to lower daily calorie intake.


The holidays are a time to focus on family and friends, rather than beating yourself up over eating an extra cookie or going for seconds on the stuffing.  Focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing.

Remember that the common holiday temptations are around us all year round. The strategies to get us through the holidays are those we should be applying to our daily lives, regardless of the time of year.

Katie Serbinski, MS, RD

September 23-27, 2013 Marks “Malnutrition Awareness Week”

September 15, 2013
Find Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC on Twitter @RobMastersonRD

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), a leading organization for advancing the science and practice of clinical nutrition, has named the week of September 23-27, 2013 “Malnutrition Awareness Week” to help improve understanding of a condition that affects 1 in 3 patients who enter the hospital.

By raising awareness, it is the Society’s hope that clinicians can more effectively diagnose and treat a condition that can increase a patient’s risk of complications such as skin breakdown and infection resulting in longer length of hospital stay and recovery times.

Interested in learning more? Clinician’s can find out how to improve patient’s outcomes by visiting the A.S.P.E.N. website where malnutrition tools and resources are available.

Disclosure: The author of this post (Rob Masterson) is a member of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Upcoming Lactose Intolerance Webinar

August 2, 2013
Find Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC on Twitter @RobMastersonRD

As you are well aware, lactose intolerance, described as the gastrointestinal symptoms that may be experienced following intake of lactose (milk sugar) in amounts greater than the body’s ability to digest and absorb lactose, affects many in the U.S. However, what you may not know is that health professionals and patients perceive and communicate on lactose intolerance differently and that misconceptions related to lactose intolerance can lead to the unnecessary elimination of dairy foods from the diet.

Always at the forefront of providing the most sound nutrition resources for consumer and healthcare communities, [NL] Nutrition Lately would like to highlight an upcoming opportunity for dietitians and doctors to earn credit and learn about best practices when communicating about lactose intolerance.

Join the National Dairy Council for a free health, nutrition and medical professional webinar on Wednesday, August 7 from 12 – 1 p.m. CT. Robin Plotkin, RD, LD, and Jennifer Goodrich, senior analyst at The Hartman Group, will discuss lactose intolerance perceptions and ways to bridge the communications gap between patients and health professionals. As research suggests, health professionals and patients perceive and communicate on lactose intolerance differently, and Robin and Jennifer will highlight effective management techniques in order to help maintain good nutrition.

Space is limited, register today! CME and CPE credits* are available as well.

*CME and CPE credits available.

*CPE: This program has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for 1 CPEU.

* CME: This Live activity, Lactose Intolerance: Bridging the Knowledge and Communications Gap Between Consumers and Health Professionals, with a beginning date of 08/07/2013, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 0.75 Elective credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Bug Grub: Why a Cricket-Like Cuisine is on the Horizon

June 18, 2013
Find Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC on Twitter @RobMastersonRD

Imagine a scenario in which you are at a restaurant, enjoying a delicious meal, having a terrific time dining with a friend when you hear a conversation one table over like this:

Customer: “Excuse me, I have a bug on my plate.”
Waiter: “Yes, how does it taste?”

A response like this in a typical U.S. restaurant and a bad tip would likely be the least of the waiter’s concerns. But could this be an ordinary conversation held at a respectable dining establishment in the future? Believe me when I tell you, it already is.

Take the Los Angeles restaurant Typhoon, for example. A popular spot which has offered Pan Asian cuisine for over 18 years proudly dons a menu that includes Singapore-style scorpions and Taiwanese crickets, among other insect dishes.

The Northern Thai restaurant Sticky Rice in Chicago offers fried worms (bamboo caterpillars) on their menu. And that’s not all—they also serve a dish called khai jiaw khai mod, which is a Thai-style omelet with ant eggs. As one reviewer boasts, “It’s a delicious, fluffy omelet filled with salty, squishy half-inch-long sacs of tiny black ant eggs.”

In the mood for Mexican cuisine? New York City’s Toloache, a contemporary Mexican bistro, has a menu with several different varieties of tacos including Chapulines (grasshoppers) served with onion and jalapeños.


Don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stomach such exotic and adventurous food? You might be selling yourself short. Turns out, the average American eats around one pound of insects each year through unavoidable and allowed amounts in common foods like peanut butter and rice. These tolerable and non-hazardous amounts, regulated by the FDA, are known as The Food Defect Action Levels. But unlike the dishes mentioned above, these little “additions” to food are unintentional. So why are certain amounts of insects allowed in our food? Here’s what the FDA has stated:

“The FDA set these action levels because it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects.”

In all honesty, this sort of thing does seem unavoidable. But accidental consumption aside, some insects actually have quite an impressive resume when it comes to reasons for eating them. Just check out a few of the benefits being touted by entomophagy (consuming insects for food) supporters below and maybe you’ll see why a bug you squash today could end up being served on a plate tomorrow. Read more…

Farm-To…What? 3 Farm-to-Fork Trends Shaping the Way We Eat

May 28, 2013

Living in Chicago for the past three years has made me somewhat of a #foodie (or what my friends like to call, a ‘food nerd.’) If you can’t find me at one of the city’s newest restaurants openings exploring unique menu concepts and exotic cuisines (and Chicago is in great supply), you may spot me sipping on a cappuccino at the local coffee shop, nose-deep in a newly released nutrition, culinary or restaurant trend report.

And upon finding me, if you were to ask me to share insights on the materials I’ve covered, there are four words that would inevitably come out of my mouth: Sustainability. Local-Sourcing. Environment. Farms.

As more and more Americans become conscious of the personal, local and global consequences of our food consumption, ideas centered on environmental degradation and food products, including ‘Farm-To’ concept, continually tops the consumer trends charts.

In fact, among the National Restaurant Association’s ‘What’s Hot in 2013’ Trends, the topic of environment and sustainable foods was featured in six out of the top 20 trends, including locally sourced meats, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, hyper-local sourcing, sustainable seafood and farm/estate branded items.

There is a Farm-To Movement, growing like weeds (no pun intended) in this nation and new concepts are popping up daily. From the local farm to our forks, Nutrition Lately explores three ‘Farm-To’ trends that are shaping the way Americans eat.


Bloody MaryThe most historic of the farm-to-fork trends the restaurant Farm-to-Table concept. Farm-to-Table restaurants are changing the dining-out game. Why spend top-dollar at a Michelin-starred restaurant when you are guaranteed the freshest meats, seafood and vine-ripened produce at the local farm-to-table restaurant fraction of the price, which likely sources from the farm down the road? What’s more is the seasonality feature that is often found at these restaurants, often providing menus tailored toward seasonable.

This past weekend I had a chance to try out a new farm-to-table at a larger scale Food Dance (think Applebee’s with a farm-to charm). I went on a two-hour road trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan to scope it out and the local food was both delicious and fresh, from the sun-dried tomato quiche right up to my 9-Step Blood Mary.

[NL] Farm-To Fact:  Farm-to programs increase opportunities for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers. Visit your local farmer’s market this summer to increase your Farm-to-Fork eating at home.


An interesting off-shoot to the farm-to-table concept is farm-to-hotels. A recent NBC News article quoted Charles D. Dorn of Dorn Group, a hospitality consulting firm, explaining that “hotels’ embrace of the locally sourced trend is an evolution of hotels’ increasing focus on environmentally minded practices.”

The Hilton Orlando is one hotel that has embraced local sourcing on their dining menus as well as the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which started a food initiative across its brands that requires in part that chefs incorporate at least five local ingredients in their menus.

 [NL] Farm-To Fact: Decreasing the distance between producers and consumers can promote food security and also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on oil.


One of the most recent farm-to initiatives is the farm-to-school. The National Farm to School Network is one such example, with a vision to enhance the health of all school children’s, farms, the environment, economy and communities by building strong local and regional food systems. The objective is to include local products in school meals-breakfast, lunch, and after-school snacks as well as educational tools and classroom snacks.

A similar off-shoot to this is the Farm to College program, which connects colleges and universities with producers in their area to produce local farm products for meals and special events on campus.

Both of these initiatives benefit our communities by strengthening knowledge and attitudes toward food, agriculture and the environment.

[NL] Farm-To Fact:  Increasing the awareness of farm-to initiatives, especially in school meals programs, can serves to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, thereby improving childhood nutrition, reducing hunger, and preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases.

 Elise Truman, MS, RD

Egg-cellent Nutrition: The Health Benefits of Egg

March 31, 2013

It’s Easter! That means Easter baskets, egg hunts, and the all important tradition of dying and decorating eggs. And with the egg often being the focus of so many Easter events it’s seems like the best time to talk about the health benefits of the “incredible edible egg.”


While many only focus on the cholesterol content of eggs, it really has so much more to offer and certainly packs a nutritious punch.  A healthy diet that includes eggs can aid in weight management, muscle development, healthy pregnancy, and brain and eye function.  A single egg, at only 70-80 calories provides 6 grams of high quality protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals including B-vitamins and vitamin D. That’s a ‘shell’ of a nutrition profile if you ask me.

Eggs and Protein

As mentioned, a single large egg provides 6 grams of high quality protein. This means it is easily utilized by the body keeping you energized and it can even make you feel fuller longer, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. In fact, some research has shown that eggs eaten at the beginning of the day can reduce overall daily caloric consumption.

Eggs and Pregnancy

Choline, an essential nutrient found eggs contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. A single egg provides approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Eggs and Brain Function

The term “egg head” refers to an intelligent person, and rightly so. That’s because choline also aids in adult brain function by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes. It also helps play a key role in relaying messages from the brain to other parts of the body.

Eggs and Vision

Eggs contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that have been shown to help prevent macular degeneration, a common condition among people age 50 and older.


If you’re interested in learning more about egg nutrition, check out another great resource at

Did you know?

  • It is a common misconception that ALL the protein is in the egg white, however, nearly half is located in the yolk.
  • Many people shy away from eggs due to their cholesterol content. But more and more research shows that eggs can be included in a healthy diet without significantly impacting cholesterol levels, or the risk for heart disease.
  • The latest USDA data shows that eggs are lower in cholesterol (185 milligrams per large egg on average, which is 14% less) than previously recorded. The USDA data also shows eggs are now higher in vitamin D.
  • Dietary guidelines suggest Americans consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. One large eggs contains about 185 milligrams.
  • May is National Egg Month.


It’s Registered Dietitian Day

March 13, 2013

Today marks the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) 6th annual National Registered Dietitian Day. As stated on the ANDs website, “Registered Dietitian Day commemorates the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.” Not familiar with this special day? Or those it represents? I’d like to take this opportunity as a RD to introduce you to the world’s nutrition experts.


A Registered Dietitian (RD) is an expert in the field of nutrition. Their years of education and knowledge received from accredited universities and programs help promote healthier lives by educating others regarding food and nutrition. RDs do this by interpreting scientific data pertinent to nutrition and translating it into useful solutions for individuals seeking healthier lives through food and nutrition. RDs are an invaluable member of the health care team in clinical settings and in many other roles as well. You can find RDs in various lines of work such as public health, foodservice management, acute and long term care facilities, and entrepreneurial positions.


As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Food is such an integral part of everyday life and because of its vital role it should have priority when making  decisions regarding your health. That’s where a RD can be so important. From digestive problems, weight loss, pregnancy, to eating disorders, athletic performance, and diseases like cancer or diabetes there are so many areas a RD can help by providing sound and proven nutrition therapy and education.


If you’d like to know more about Registered Dietitian Day, RDs, or how to contact one please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics official website or post a comment below for a response from [NL]. Have a happy RD Day!


Health Benefits of Folic Acid

January 6, 2013

In light of this week (National Folic Acid Awareness Week) and this month as a whole (National Birth Defects Prevention Month) [NL] would like to share with you some information regarding this amazing and vital B vitamin. Here’s a breakdown of some information you should know.


Folic acid, also known as folate, is one of several B-vitamins. It is needed for production and maintenance of new cells as well as for DNA and RNA synthesis. This particular B vitamin is especially important for women of child-bearing age, those considering becoming pregnant, or already pregnant. This is because folate is vital for proper development of a fetus’ brain and spine and the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs), most commonly anencephaly and spina bifida.


Anencephaly is a disorder that results when a neural tube fails to close creating an absence of a portion of the brain and skull, leaving a portion of the fetus’ brain tissue exposed. The occurrence of this NTD can significantly be reduced with sufficient folate intake.


Spina bifida is the other common NTD resulting from insufficient intake of folate before and during pregnancy, among other complications. This birth defect results in an exposed portion of the spinal cord and abnormal function due to vertebrae not being fully formed and fused.


Good food sources of folate include mushrooms, green vegetables (spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus), peanuts, legumes (lima and kidney beans), citrus fruits and liver. Fortified breads and cereals are also good sources. Raw forms of these food sources are typically higher in folate due to the effects of heat processing which can rid food of most of its folate.


It is recommended that all women of child-bearing age consume 400 micrograms of folate each day.


Besides significantly reducing the risk of birth defects in infants folate has also being linked with potential benefits in dementia, in which folate appears to effect memory and abstract thinking. Poor folate status has also been connected to the development of some cancers, especially colon cancer.


For more information please visit the National Council on Folic Acid website for Folic Acid Awareness Week.


16 Ways Millennials are #Winning the Food Game (Part 4 of 4)

December 22, 2012

Hello again and welcome back to the final installment of our Millennial Eating series. We’ve come down to the final four reasons why Millennials are #winining the food game.

Check it out!

4. Odds are Organic

While Millennials tend to be more price conscious than Baby Boomers, they are willing to pay more for specific attributes they value which include convenience, freshness, health, variety and natural/organic.

Organic foods are made in a way that limits the use of synthetic materials during production. For instance, an organic vegetable would be grown on a farm without pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. When it comes to natural/organic products, for example, 58 percent of Millennials said they are willing to pay more for natural/organic products, compared to only 43 percent of Baby Boomers who said the same. Free Photo - Raddish

According to Scott Mushkin, Managing Director of Food and Drug Retailing at Jefferies, “Millennials, generally speaking, are not a one issue generation. Natural and organic, flavor, and convenience mean a lot.” Perhaps this is why 30% of Millennials eat foods that are certified organic, compared that to the 21% of Gen X-ers and 15% of boomers.

Furthermore, when rating food quality in a Techomic survey, respondents said they consider which ingredients were from local, sustainable and organic sources. They preferred descriptors like “free-range” or “grass-fed”.

Nutritional Impact: Millennials understand the health aspects of organic foods. The non-exhausted list includes:

  • No Pesticides/Herbicides- We like to ‘pick our poison’, just preferably not in our vegetables
  • No Hormones – How we like our men: Buff, yet steroid- free
  • No Antibiotics-  I’ll save these for when I get sick, thank you
  • High Nutrient Levels – Like on Christmas, I’ll take the smaller package if the value of what is inside is higher.
  • No Artificial Coloring- Ever buy a red, seemly juicy tomato…that wasn’t even ripe?

3.  Store Snobs and Selective Shoppers

I’m not going to lie; I’m a huge Aldi fan. They keep it simple and simple is good to me. They have a cute saying that I enjoy that reads, ‘You can’t eat frills…so why pay for them?” I don’t think I’m the only #balleronabudget that feels this way. But the point to my Aldi rant is that Millennials are selective about where they shop for food, for good reason, and they’re not afraid to say why.

Unfortunately, the industry tends to find Millennials as an unworthy cause when it comes to meeting our shopping needs. Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, which consults with clients on how technology is influencing shopping says “[Millennials] are not the best shoppers; they aren’t that potent. In some respects, Millennials have been hung out as an opportunity, when in fact there is not enough business there.”

So, how do Millennials respond? The way they always do; by creating their own paths. Research indicates that Millennials are 18% less likely to shop at traditional grocers and given their readiness to explore additional channels, grocers need to make changes to entice them. Millennials will buy online and shop at multiple venues rather than purchasing everything at a typical ‘one-stop-shop’.

And some stores are responding to Millennials. For instance, Whole Foods maintains over 60 boards on Pintrest with titles such as “Who Wants Dinner?” and “Eat Your Veggies”, all aimed at meeting the Millennials needs. Trader Joe’s embraces Millennials by offering ideas for how to use their diverse and capricious nutrition preferences. Every Trader Joe product is labeled and guaranteed to contain no artificial colors, no flavors or preservatives, no MSG, no genetically modified ingredients or artificial trans fats. It’s like music to a dietitian’s ears! They also came out with this handy product list to help aid shoppers in making the best possible choices.

“Despite its 45-year history, Trader Joe’s appears to have a unique and admirable appeal with many Millennials, and our early adopter participants who offered insights on the grocer largely perceive the chain as catering to their own generation,” said Ann Bahr Thompson, founding partner of Onesixtyfourth.”Trader Joe’s feels like it’s theirs. Its food offerings are inexpensive, interesting, and delicious, and most importantly, the brand is hip and cool in that elusive offbeat and alternative way.”

Nutritional Impact: Choice is a good thing when it comes to shopping, and because of the Millennials demand for choice and information in shopping, many cities are now surrounded by grocery stores such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods that have found fun ways to promote and stock healthier options.  Data  from Jefferies Group showed that the purchase of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood was very important to Millennials. These stores showcase their salad bars, healthy hot meal options and on-the-go nutrient dense snacks. Locally grown produce is also a growing trend within these grocery stores. When Millennials lead the way with healthy demands and grocers follow, everyone benefits.

2. Educated Eaters

“Although they are better educated, more tech-savvy, and quicker to adapt than those who have come before them, they refuse to blindly conform to traditional standards and time honored institutions. Instead, they boldly ask why?” (Eric Chester- “Employing Generation Why”)

We are educated and we like to share what we know. “Millennials are more likely to recommend products and start trend. They are more involved in pop culture and other activities that would compel them to try new products and recommend them to friends” (Mintel Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing). And we’ve been called ‘the most diverse and educated generation in history.”  Furthermore, 51% of Millennials consult four or more sources of information when making brand purchase decisions (8095).

book and character 2

Because Millennials were brought up in an educational system that utilized group work more than individual study, we are programmed to work with peers and solicit feedback. We’d rather shop with friends than alone. And we’re more likely to use technology like phone apps or barcodes to find out more about the nutritional value of products before we purchase them.

Nutritional Impact:

There is a story behind our food and we are looking to learn about it. How is it made? What is in it? Eight in ten Millennials say they like to hear ‘behind the scenes’ commercials for foods they consume because they want to know more about how their food is produced. Millennials don’t feel that brands disclose enough information about their food products. This is what puts Millennials ahead of the food game! Generation X tends to be less interested, and Boomers are also less engaged than Millennials. Knowledge is power…and health!

1. Health Heroes

Alas, number one. Millennials are kind of the ‘health heroes’ of the nation! Research shows that more than any other generation, Millennials care about the health and general well-being of themselves and their families.  And perhaps some of that awareness is due in part to the help of their boomer parents. “Millennials grew up in healthier homes than previous generations so have a greater awareness for health-enhancing ingredients”, says John Gehbaur, marketing manager for BASF. So thanks, mom and dad!

In spite of some setbacks, for the most part Millennials still put health first. As we continually stress on Nutrition Lately, health is not just about good nutrition. Being a ‘health hero’ to us means adopting a balance between good nutritional choices, savvy shopping, economic health, daily fitness routines, and stress reduction.  Let the stats show you how Millennials are kickin’ butt and takin’ names:

  • Research has showed that Millennials are increasingly cost conscious, according to 8095, there are certain products that Millennials are willing to pay premium for, and health-related items come out on top at 81%.
  •  A company called Brand Amplitude studied Millennials and found that the generation is much more likely to “focus on healthiness and presence of preservatives when evaluating food options.”
  • “They are concerned about blood pressure and cholesterol along with weight management, immunity and digestion. Compared to other population segments, they are also more concerned about tiredness, stress, cancer and depression.” (BASF)
  • Millennials are 23% more likely to be committed to working out twice a week (
  • Millennials are 36% more likely to follow a healthy eating plan (

Superhero Free Photo

Nutritional Impact: When we look ahead, the cost of health care will be mostly borne by Gen Y. It is important that we do what we can now to offset the cost of healthcare in the future.  Millennials understand this because they’ve lived it. They’ve watched their boomer parents suffer from heart disease and they know what it feels like to have extreme economic constraints. Most importantly, Millennials understand more than any other generation that prevention is the key.

And in the years ahead, Millennials food preferences and values on a nutritional lifestyle will affect more than themselves. Since many will form families of their own and some are boomeranging back home, Millennials affect the household food purchases of parents, siblings, and grandparents. This in turn affects the health of not just our generation, but generations before us and to come.

In the past, Millennials have been criticized for being ‘Generation Me’. What we’ve shown in this series is that when it comes to nutrition, Millennials should be called ‘Generation We.’  We’ve given 15 reasons leading up to number one, crowning Millennials as ‘Health Heroes’ of this nation.

So, how are Millennials #winning the food game? Well, doesn’t the hero always win? 🙂

Thanks for joining!


Elise Truman Bio

16 Ways Millennials are #Winning the Food Game (Part 3 of 4)

December 21, 2012

Cheers and thanks for joining [NL] as we continue our countdown of 16 reasons why Millennials are #winning the nutrition game. Yesterday, we explained how being inherently digital, keen to nutrition expert presence, eating ethically, and going global all help Millennials in staying ahead of the nutritional curve.

Here’s four more:

8. Serial Snackers

Millennial 1: “Did you eat slunch today?”

Millennial 2: “No, but I plan on having a very big brinner.”


Millennials are serial snackers and are said to spend a higher percentage of their total foodservice dollars on snacks than other generations. According to the trend watchers, The Kruse Co , 35% of meals eaten by Millennials aren’t really meals at all; they’re snacks. “Desserts are now eaten at any time, sometimes even before breakfast. Lunch and dinner are increasingly combined into ‘linner’, and many consumers insist on breakfast for dinner, forcing restaurants to keep the breakfast grills fired all day to serve ‘brinner.’

“If students eat any square meals per day, it might be one. The rest is filled with snacks and food on the go.” says Shawn La Pean, the executive director of dining at University of California Berkeley. “Weird eating is the new normal.”

Nutritional Impact: We eat and we eat often. We eat at any time of the clock. We skip meals casually, but make up for it by eating 7 or 8 small snacks in a day. We eat all the time, so restaurants are preparing by making food available to Millennials any time hunger strikes. Due to second jobs, increased schooling, and erratic schedules more Millennials are stretching their days until the early morning hours. And though this may seem like a negative habit, frequent eating can keep the metabolic engine revved. If we go long periods without nourishment, our bodies go into ‘starvation’ mode and metabolism starts to shut down. Research points to the benefits of snacking as a long term nutritional habit.

Just remember, there is a smart way to snack. A quadruple cheeseburger and milkshake does not fit into this category. In short, aim for 300-400 calories, depending on the frequency of your snacking.

7. Veggie is Vogue

Vegetarianism has been a growing trend in the nation for years but Millennials seem to have picked up on it more so than other generations. The Hartman Group study found that 12% of Millennials are “faithful vegetarians”, compared to 4% of Gen X’ers and 1% of Boomers.

According to another study on collegiate Gen-Y eating demands, “More students align themselves along the less-meat to meatless spectrum from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan and even raw diets”.  In fact, the Vegetarian Resource Group reported that 42% of vegetarians are between the ages 18 and 34; the Millennial generation.Red Pepper

To drive the point further home, Jonathan Safran Foer reports in his book Eating Animals, that approximately 18% of college students in the U.S. are vegetarian and that half of this group want more vegetarian options to be available on campus. A Philadelphia Inquirer article featured information from Bon Apetit Management Company (which serves college and university accounts) stating that there was a 50% increase in vegetarian students and the percentage of vegan students doubled from 2005 to 2010.

Nutritional Impact:

The backlash to the demand has been wild. Vegetarian eating plans are popping up everywhere. Schools are doing ‘Most Vegan-Friendly” competitions. Millennials are hosting Meatless Monday parties.

While meat can be a great source of protein and iron, science has also showed that there are several health benefits to eating more veggies. For instance, studies have shown decreases in mortality rates from heart disease in vegetarians. A vegetarian diet can offer lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol and often are high in fiber, folate, and phytochemicals.

And, hey! If full on vegan/veg is too much of a commitment, some Millennials opt for ‘vegetarian with benefits’:

  • Flexitarian – a person who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but who is also willing to eat meat or fish occasionally.
  • Pescetarian -a person who supplements a vegetarian diet with fish.
  • VB6 – from the saying, “vegan before 6,” a person who eats a vegan diet before 6 p.m. and then whatever he or she wants after that.See what works for you. Just try not to be too ‘vegangelical(i.e. an extremely over-zealous vegan, who is eager to make other people believe in and convert to veganism to the point of annoyance).

    6. Allergy Authorities

    Gluten, nuts and shellfish, oh my! An allergic reaction is defined as a response to an allergen, usually a food protein. Different from allergies, but sometimes similar in symptoms, are food intolerances and sensitivities (such as lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity). According to reports, these food allergies are on the rise, especially with Millennials, and the increase has forced the food market to get with it.

    According to The UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Center, the occurrence of allergic disease is skyrocketing and estimates are that as many as one-in-five Americans have an allergic condition. With this increase, more Millennials are affected by food allergies and sensitivities and have to alter their everyday eating habits.

    Nuts Close up

    Nutritional Impact:

    While in no way is having a food allergy desirable, choosing alternative foods can sometimes force Millennials to make healthier choices and be more cognizant of what is going in their mouths. Grocery stores are expanding to meet the needs of Millennials and restaurants are beginning to add suggested menus to avoid certain food allergens. I recently visited a Noodles and Company and was particularly impressed to see this detailed (and visually appealing) Nutrition and Allergen chart.

    Though it’s preferred to not have any food allergies or sensitivities, many substitutions are actually proving to be as good as or better for consumers than the original. It’s important to consult your registered dietitian and physician to get a true diagnosis before changing your eating habits, but a few examples include:

    • Lactose-free dairy milk: A good option for those with lactose intolerance and contains the same nutrients as regular milk.
    • Soy milk: An option for those with dairy allergies. Soy milks tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
    • Sun Butter for Peanut Butter: Provides organic and unsweetened advantages.
    • Gluten-Free Oat-Meal for Traditional: For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, and some brands contain more fiber than traditional oats.

    5. Communi-vores

    Cook a three-course meal and have no one to share it with? Not likely for a Millennial. Millennials are said to be more prone to eating with others than generations before. It is called ‘commensality-style’ dining and it essentially means that Millennials like to eat together, whether it be going out or cooking at home. In fact, one study reported that 45% of Millennials felt less comfortable eating a meal alone. Millennials are much more likely to prepare special meals for entertaining friends, with 1 out of 5 doing so at least several times a month.

    Darren Tristano, the executive vice president of Technomic says that, “Millennials visit restaurants more frequently than any other generation. Success with today’s Millennial consumer will depend on making an emotional connection and setting expectations.”

    Nutritional Impact: Eating with people is the best part of eating! And as we mentioned in an earlier post, eating should be about the experience, not just the food.


    In one laboratory experiment, small groups of college friends were served fresh chocolate chip cookies while being asked to discuss a campus issue. For half of the group, researchers secretly asked 2 of 3 friends to avoid eating any cookies in front of a third friend (who was left in the dark). Researchers found that students ate fewer cookies as a group when their friends ate no cookies compared to when their friends consumed a couple cookies.  This study demonstrates the power of eating communally, which is the preferred style for Millennials.  Now that we know that our positive eating habits can affect our friends, share the nutritional wealth!  And do it like a Millennial, have fun with food!

    Please join us again tomorrow when we share the final 4 reason why Millennials are #winning the food game!


    Elise Truman Bio

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