Monthly Archives: September 2012

Healthy Snacking for the Visual Learner

This week Roanna and I put the final touches on our student forum project we were assigned this rotation. The idea was to design, set up, advertise for, and implement a student forum held in the dining hall. We chose the topic of “Healthy Snacking” and used portion sizes of real food found in the dining hall as visual aids.  Roanna designed the sign used to advertise the forum, and I made the brochure with the template Mary originally created as a snacking brochure for kids.

Healthy Snacking Brochure PDF

Roanna and I set everything up and were at the table for 2 hours over lunch period in Cafe Evansdale.  During that time, students had the opportunity to see what portion sizes looked like, what healthy (and unhealthy) snack options exist in the dining hall, and could ask any nutrition questions they had.  The highlight of the forum was when a student saw our display of celery and peanut butter and was inspired to get her own celery and peanut butter right then from the dining hall with her lunch.  Ahh, influencing the future generation to eat healthy! 🙂 Feels good.

Here are some pictures we took of our display. We chose the snacks based on what was available in the dining halls, and included nutrition facts (calories, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber) on cards below each item. See if you can distinguish between what the healthy snack options are, and what the unhealthy snack options are. Recognize any of your favorites?

Categories: Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition Counseling on Campus

One of the great services that WVU provides their students, is the free service of seeing a Registered Dietitian on campus.  I know of a lot of universities across the US have a Registered Dietitian on staff, sometimes through the student recreation center or student dining services.  However at many universities students have to pay a fee to meet with a dietitian, so I think its great to have a free service here at WVU.

Students can set up a meeting with the RD for many different reasons. Meetings can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in length, depending on the student and their goals.  They may want to talk about recent food allergies, weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, body composition change, how to eat for an upcoming race or competition (ie: marathon, 1/2 marathon, sprint triathlon), eating disorders, or basic nutrition information.

As a dietetic intern working with the RD here on campus, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on and participate in the counseling sessions with students.  Sometimes there are just one or two meetings a day, and other days there are half a dozen meetings with students, all with different nutritional goals.

Since many of the meetings are first-time sessions, and not follow-up sessions, there are a lot of questions that need to first be asked in order to paint a picture of the student’s area of concern.  For example, let’s say a student sets up a meeting mid-semester and complains that he has gained 10 pounds since starting school (almost the full “Freshman 15”). What are some questions that you would ask him to determine how to help him?

Here are some questions that I would ask:

  • What is your height?
  • What is your usual body weight? How long have you maintained that weight?
  • What is your current body weight?
  • How much weight have you gained in how many months?
  • Do you have a meal plan or do you shop and cook for yourself?
  • Walk me through your day, focusing on what you eat and when.
  • What beverages do you drink during the day & night?
  • Do you eat out at restaurants/fast food places?
  • How often do you eat dessert, and what type and serving size of dessert?
  • How do you think your diet differs now compared to what it was back home? (what was your typical diet like at home in high school?)
  • What was your activity level like in high school?
  • What is your activity level like now?
  • What are your weight-loss/body composition goals? Why?
  • When would you like to reach these goals by? Why?
  • How are you best motivated?

These are questions that anyone can ask themselves if they are trying to lose weight.  When you sit down and write down the answers to these questions, you are laying out all the details of what got you to where you are now.  This detailed picture now helps the dietitian and the student to see patterns and problem areas that if worked on, can be fixed. For example, maybe a student used to never eat fast food at home, but now finds themself eating at Burger King 3 times a week. Maybe the student used to be active in sports in high school, but now is sedentary due to lack of organized sports.  Perhaps a student used to eat dessert only a few times a week, but now they are unable to resist the donuts and ice cream that are available at every meal in the dining hall.  Maybe the student used to eat 3 scheduled meals a day back in high school, but now they are grazing throughout the day.

The point is, in order to fix the problem and help the student reach his weight loss goals, you need to help him identify what patterns lead to the 10 pound weight gain. Once the patterns are identified, you and the student can work on making nutrition goals that will be tailored to his individual problem areas.

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace

One of my rotation requirements was to conduct an in-service to the food service employees on topic of my choosing.  I chose to present on “Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace” and conducted the in-service last Thursday to several Café Evansdale employees. I chose the topic because I found it to be interesting, as well as relevant to the food service workers at Café Evansdale.  There were all 4 generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y) in attendance, which is great.

The 4 different generations grew up in different time periods which played a role in shaping their work ethic, work style, and communication style.  Educating employees on the different generations and what historical and cultural events occurred at different times in America’s history promotes patience and understanding among employees.  The employees in attendance found the 8-10 minute presentation to be entertaining (reminiscing the good old days) and I feel that they will look at their co-workers with more understanding, patience, and acceptance, rather than with misunderstanding and unnecessary frustration.

Here’s a copy of my handout that I made for the presentation. I also posted a copy up in the dining services manager’s office for employees to see and learn from.

Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace PDF

Categories: Current News, Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hydration for Athletes

Hydration is a very important aspect of sports performance– when athletes are dehydrated, their sports performance suffers. And why is it that some athletes still experience dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke? It can’t be due to lack of availability of water, as water is free and readily available in the US.  What it could be due to, is a lack of education on the importance of staying properly hydrated.

For my internship rotation this week, I got to pick a sports nutrition topic to speak to a sports team about, and I chose hydration. I spoke to about 40 athletes on the swimming team, and Roanna covered pre-workout snacks as well as breakfast for these swimmers who have 5:30am practice.  Here are the key points from my speech on hydration.

What’s the big deal with water? Water is arguably the most important nutrient for athletes, and it’s not even a nutrient that provides any energy, or calories.  The human body is generally 55-60% water, and your muscles are about 70% water. So any large fluctuations in body water storage can lead to a variety of health concerns as well as poor sports performance.  Urine output typically contributes to 60% of water loss, with the remainder through sweat, waste, and respiration.  However during exercise, sweating can contribute up to 90% of water loss. This amount depends on body size, exercise intensity & duration, and the physical environment.  The only way to maintain hydration status on a daily basis is to make sure your daily water intake  is equal to your daily water loss.  The goal is for water balance.

What are the consequences of poor water balance? Failing to maintain that water balance can have negative effects on health and sports performance.  When there is a net loss of body water, it can lead to increases in body temperature which in turn can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Dehydration also leads to a loss in blood volume. When there is decreased blood volume, the heart is pumping less blood to the muscles, which means that muscles are getting less oxygen delivered to them. This basically means the muscles are unable to work as hard. Secondly, when the aerobic capabilities of the muscles are diminished, the muscles begin to rely more heavily on anaerobic metabolism. The more the body has to rely on anaerobic metabolism, the quicker lactic acid builds up in the muscles, the higher the perceived rate of exertion, and the faster fatigue will set on.  All of this can lead to less than optimal sports performance!

As little as a 2-3% decrease in body weight caused by dehydration (150# athlete losing 3-4.5# body water during exercise) can result in those increases in body temperature and heart rate even though the intensity level of the exercise remains the same.  Symptoms of a 2-3% decrease in body weight due to dehydration include: increased thirst, loss of appetite, discomfort, increased heart rate, impatience, and decreased blood volume.

How much fluid do individuals need on a daily basis? The adequate intake for fluid for males (ages 19+) is 3.7 liters per day and for females, 2.7 liters per day. However these numbers include the fluid that we consume through solid food intake, such as fruits and vegetables. Therefore the adequate intake for fluid/beverage intake is 3.0 liters(13 cups) per day for males and 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for females.  Athletes may to need switch around and modify these recommendations based on their activity levels and the physical environment around them.  Another way to determine your daily fluid needs would be to drink 1 mL of fluid per 1 calorie consumed. So an athlete on a 2000 calorie/day diet would need to consume 2000 mL or 2 L (8.33 cups) per day.

On a daily basis, the goals would be to drink enough water to produce clear or pale yellow urine. Optimal hydration is going to stimulate urine every couple of hours.  And caffeinated beverages can be included in fluid intake, but keep in mind that caffeine has a slight diuretic effect. For every 1 mg of caffeine, there is a 1 mL fluid loss. So if someone has a 240 mL cup of coffee, that contains 80 mg of caffeine. Meaning 80 mL of that 240 mL is going to be lost through that diuretic, transient effect. So a 240 mL cup of coffee really only provides about 160 mL of fluid gain.

What is the role of pre-exercise hydration? The goal of hydration before exercise is to really set the stage for optimal sports performance.  Athletes who avoid fluids before training or competition tend to fatigue quickly, experience dizziness or fainting, have increased body temperature, increased heart rate and perceived level of exertion, and consequently perform at a sub-optimal level.  However, athletes probably don’t want to over-hydrate either, as frequent bathroom breaks can disturb practice time (keep in mind though, that slight over-hydration is better than slight dehydration, performance-wise).  The recommendation is to consume generous amounts of water 24 hours before the event/training. Be well hydrated the day before! Then, about 4 hours before exercise, drink 13-20 oz. If the urine remains darker than that pale yellow or clear color, drink about 8-13 oz 2 hours before exercise.  Then, 10-20 minutes before exercise, drink 7-10 oz.  It’s best to stick to water rather than sports drinks at this point, because sports drinks are really designed as a fluid replacement to be used during practices– save the Gatorade for after a long practice.

What is the role of hydration during exercise? The goal of hydration during exercise is to maintain plasma volume and electrolyte balance for optimal sports performance.  The fluid and electrolytes lost during exercise can vary greatly from individual to individual.  It all depends on body size, exercise intensity, exercise duration, and physical environment (temperature, humidity, wind velocity).  For some, fluid losses may be no more than 16-20 oz per hour. For others with more intense workouts in warmer and more humid climates, fluid losses may be closer to 2-3 L per hour.

For short-duration activities, your normal intake of electrolytes may be adequate to replenish losses in sweat. That is, if all you’re doing at a track meet is 3 attempts at a high jump, water will work just fine. For athletes competing and training for longer durations (>45 minutes) at higher intensities (say, a 10k race), electrolyte replacements via sports drinks will be critical for sports performance and to prevent low sodium in the blood.

Athletes should aim for matching their sweat and urine output (fluid losses) with fluid consumption. The goal is to maintain hydration at less than a 2% reduction in body weight. Now, unless an athlete is weighing themselves religiously before, during, and after every practice, how will they know if they’ve lost 2% of their body weight in water?  In addition to paying attention to the signs and symptoms of dehydration, athletes should know that for most individuals, 7-10 oz of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise should provide adequate hydration during exercise.  Aiming for an 8 oz cup of water every 15 minutes is a good goal to have.  If an athlete is using sports drinks during prolonged exercise (ie: 60-90 minutes), keep in mind that beverages should be no more than 8% carbohydrate solution. If an athlete drinks a fluid containing more than 8% carbohydrate solution, it will pull water into the intestines and can cause bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.  How do you figure out the % carb solution? Take a look at the nutrition facts.  Take the grams of carbs per 8-oz serving, and divide by 240 mL. Multiply by 100 to get the percent carbs. For example, a sports drink that contains 15 grams of carbs per 8 oz (240 mL) serving would be a 6.25% carbohydrate solution. An 8% solution would have no more than 19.2g of carbs per 8 oz serving.  Fruit juice is typically around 15%!  If you want a fruit juice, try watering it down to get to that 8%.

So things to remember during exercise: know where the fluid is; it should be readily available. Bring a water bottle, know where the beverage station is, or be aware of where water fountains are.  Consume fluids early in practice.  It’s going to take about 10-20 minutes for any water ingested to reach the blood stream, so fluid should be consumed continuously and gradually during practice and competitions rather than all 32 oz at once.  Additionally, sports drinks are not necessary unless the exercise session lasts longer than 60-90 minutes. These longer duration exercises need carbohydrate and electrolyte replacements, but for shorter duration exercises, plain water is recommended.

What is the role of post-exercise hydration?  After exercise, water plays an important role in speeding up the recovery process.  Athletes should replace water lost as soon as possible, within 2 hours.  Drinking slowly and consistently is recommended, and urine should return to that pale yellow/clear color.  If you did weigh yourself before you exercised, your weight after exercising should be within 1% of your original, pre-exercise body weight.  That means for a 150# athlete, they should weigh no less than 148.5# after rehydrating.  The rule of thumb is to drink 2-3 cups (16-24 oz) of fluid for each pound lost during exercise.  And again, for long-duration (60-90 minute) physical activities, sports drinks afterwards will provide the electrolytes that were lost from sweating, as well as speed up the replenishing of fluid and energy reserves.

*Remember* Hydration Training! Get into a hydration routine during training and practices. If you all of a sudden amp up your fluid intake during a competition, it could cause gastrointestinal distress because that level of hydration is unfamiliar to your body. If you get into a proper routine now, they’ll be no surprises during competitions…just excellent performance.

Source: Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition, 3rd Ed., by Fink, Mikesky, & Burgoon

Categories: Sports Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

October Wellness Newsletter

For the past 7 years, WVU Dining Services has been providing monthly wellness newsletters to its 200+ employees.  Each month has little articles that cover different aspects of wellness.  As a nutrition student and dietetic intern, my job requires that I almost exclusively focus entirely on the nutrition aspect of wellness, which falls under the “physical wellness” portion of the Wellness Wheel.

The Wellness Wheel is something I was introduced to in college a couple of years ago. My manager for one of my jobs met with me and helped me choose specific, attainable goals for each portion of the wheel. Broad examples include:

  • Spiritual wellness – participating in spiritual activities
  • Emotional wellness – learning how to manage stress
  • Intellectual wellness – opening yourself up to new experiences
  • Physical wellness – exercising regularly
  • Social wellness – developing friendships
  • Environmental wellness – working to ensure the stability and longevity of our natural resources
  • Financial wellness – learning to differentiate between luxuries and necessities.

So, when I was told I’d be in charge of designing and writing up the October wellness newsletter, I appreciated the opportunity to learn and teach others about different areas of wellness rather than sticking to 100% physical wellness.

The format of the newsletters are typically the same each month. There is a main article relating to any aspect of wellness, a recipe, a fitness article, stress management article, and a smoking cessation article, all of which I was responsible for writing for this October.  There’s also an emotional wellness in the workplace-type article that another employee is responsible for each month, and a list of employee birthdays that month.

The newsletters are sent out at the beginning of the month, so I spent most of yesterday morning putting it together so it’d be ready for printing next week.  Here’s a sneak peek of my contribution to the October Wellness Newsletter below. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

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