Tag Archives: dietitian

Rethink Your Snacking Strategy

To snack, or not to snack. Is that the question? “Snacking can be an important part of a healthy eating plan,” says Judi Sowl, registered dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “But it all depends on what you eat, and how much.”


Many of us think of snacks as unhealthy “convenience” foods like cookies and chips, making it important to redefine snacking. “A snack should really be a miniature meal that includes a variety of nutrient rich foods,” says Sowl.

Here are six tips for healthy snacking:

  • Plan ahead. In order to snack well, you need healthy foods on hand, otherwise you’ll be reaching for that bag of potato chips. Purchase fresh veggies, and wash and chop them as soon as you get home. Keep them in water at eye level in the fridge, making them them easy to grab and munch.
  • Appeal to the eye. A bowl of fresh fruit on the counter is pleasing to the eye, and may inspire you to make a healthy choice.
  • Variety rules. Include 2-3 food groups in your snack. Peanut butter on apple slices with a couple of whole grain crackers, or low-fat cottage cheese and avocado slices on a piece of whole grain toast are perfect examples.

Homemade baked granola with yogurt and blueberries in a glass and old wooden background, selective focus

  • Eat mindfully. Instead of mindless munching in front of the television or computer screen, take the time to sit and enjoy your snack. “If you’re hungry enough to need a snack, take the time to do that. If you’re not, skip it,” says Sowl.
  • Portion size matters. For adults, a 100-200 calorie snack is about right. Active teens and children need more calories. Be sure to portion snack foods that pack a caloric punch. “Nuts make a great snack, with their combination of protein and healthy fat, but it’s easy to overindulge,” says Sowl. “About two tablespoons of nuts is all you need.”
  • Think mini-meals. A cup of soup or a whole grain waffle with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries make a satisfying snack. Or try a small whole wheat tortilla with black beans, low-fat cheese and salsa.

Would you like help developing a personal approach to healthy eating?  Learn more about Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching at MDCMC.

Click here for more healthy snack ideas, and happy snacking!

Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching: Get your Healthy Eating on!

For many, the start of the new year brings a resolve to make positive changes in their health. Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is now offering Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching, a new one-on-one service that supports people in improving their health and well-being through dietary changes.

“Think of it as having a personal trainer to support healthy eating,” says Carmen Schroeder, Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC who provides the service. “Our goal is to make healthy eating accessible to all by offering individualized assessment, recommendations and support.” The service includes a one-hour consultation, with half hour follow-up appointments also available.

Clock with healthy diet healthy food

“People are overwhelmed with a great deal of information about health and nutrition,” says Schroeder. “There’s so much information out there.” She says patients often come in seeking clarification on nutrition information gained through their own research. “That’s where we start,” she explains. But there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to nutrition. “We make sure patients have up-to-date, reliable information so they can make the most informed choices possible about their eating.”

Lifestyle Nutritional Counseling is for people at all ages and stages of life. That includes anyone seeking current, expert nutrition information including those with pre-diabetes or high cholesterol, athletes interested in sports nutrition, adults who want to lose weight, or college students looking to make healthy choices away from home.

Like personal training, Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching helps patients make gradual changes that can be incorporated into their lives. “We work with each patient individually to provide a lifestyle plan to help them reach their goals,” says Schroeder.

An initial one-hour assessment and consultation with a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist for Lifestyle Nutritional Coaching is available at a cost of $75. To make an appointment, call DCMC at (920) 746-0510.

Tart Cherries: Healthy, Local and Delicious

“Healthy food doesn’t taste good.” Is that what you think? As a registered dietitian at Ministry Door County Medical Center, I’d like to help change your mind. And Door County tart cherries might help!

Tart cherries are the smallest members of the stone fruit family. This “family” includes plums, apricots, nectarines, and peaches. Here in Door County, we grow two of the most popular varieties of tart cherries: Montmorency and Balaton. Cherries are a good source of vitamin A. They also contain anthocyanins, a compound found to block two enzymes which play a role in inflammation. Since inflammation has been linked to many chronic diseases, consuming cherries may play a role in prevention and treatment.

What we know for sure is that cherries are DELICIOUS. You can use them in all parts of a meal from appetizer to beverage, salad to bread, main dish to dessert. Dried, frozen or fresh, add cherries to your favorite recipes for an added boost of flavor and possible health benefits. The Wisconsin Cherry Growers website has many recipes using cherries in a variety of ways. This recipe combines two Door County favorites: Salmon and Tart Cherries. The salsa would also be great over poultry or pork.


Caramelized Salmon with Cherry Salsa   

Makes 4 servings

1-1/2 pounds fresh for frozen salmon fillet with skin

3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. grated orange peel

½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1 ripe mango or papaya (seeded, peeled, and chopped)

1 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed, drained and halved

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, basil, or cilantro

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper


Thaw fish, if frozen. Stir together brown sugar, orange peel and pepper. Place fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan. Rub sugar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2-8 hours.

Remove fish from pan, draining off any juices. Place salmon, skin-side down, on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from medium-hot coals. Grill for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Do not turn fish.

Meanwhile, toss together mango or papaya, cherries, herb, vinegar and red pepper. Spoon fruit salsa over warm fish. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories 373, Carbohydrate 16 grams, Protein 34 grams, Fat 19 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Sodium 100 mg

-Judi Sowl, RD