Tag Archives: nutrition

The Best Sweet Potato-Black Bean Burgers

22 Jun


Version 4About the Author: Hi! My name is Hanna Malzenski and I am a Junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism with a Sustainability Certificate. At the University of Iowa, I am a member on the public relations team of my sorority and starting in the fall I will be writing for Iowa’s school newspaper, The Daily Iowan. After graduating from Iowa, I hope to be writing on the topic of the environment or attending law school to study environmental policy. Outside of academics, I enjoy instructing yoga and channeling my creativity through different forms of art. Being a vegan for over a year, I am frequently spending my free time finding new plant-based recipes and learning more about the vegan lifestyle. Hanna’s Instagram

These patties cover all the bases: vegan, gluten-free, protein packed, low fat, and low sodium! They are great because their two main ingredients, sweet potatoes and black beans, are nutrient dense foods that fuel your body and provide you with tons of energy! Not only is this dish super yummy but it is also extremely versatile! You can serve these patties by themselves, as a burger, in a veggie bowl, or as a snack! One last thing before you get started, these burgers, hot or cold, are also delicious as leftovers because all of the flavors soak and blend together well!


3 Large Sweet Potatoes

~27 oz. of Black Beans (About 2 medium cans),6B0F0C7B-E8B6-4AE6-841B-C5265E70AFCF

drained and rinsed

2 cups of Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

2-4 Chipotle Chilies soaked in adobo sauce,

finely chopped

2 tbsp. of adobo sauce (from chipotle chili can)

2 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. of coconut oil (for frying the patties)


Pre-heat oven to 400’. Rinse, clean, and poke holes in the sweet potatoes; cook for 40-50 minutes. Check softness of potatoes using a fork. If potatoes are still hard, cook until soft using 5 min intervals.

In a large bowl, combine oats, black beans, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce, cumin, and garlic powder. Use a fork to smash beans while mixing.

Scoop out sweet potatoes and mix in with other ingredients. Once evenly mixed, shape mixture into patties.

Heat coconut oil in a skillet and cook 2-3 patties at a time, 10 minutes on each side for crispiness.

Store any leftovers in your refrigerator and most importantly, enjoy!!

Hanna Malzenski ❤


4 Guilt-Free SuperFood Dark Chocolates🍫

10 May


These chocolates are so easy to make that you will never want to buy chocolate at the store again! They are infused with superfoods, and have no sugar added! Dark chocolate is very nutritious because it is packed with antioxidants, iron, magnesium, copper, and can improve blood flow,  raise good cholesterol, protect your skin form UV rays, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve eyesight and improve cognitive function…and since these recipes have additional superfoods added to them, and no added sugar, you can feel 100% guilt-free!!

To make these all you do is melt the coconut oil and/or cacao butter on a double broiler, then mix in cacao powder and other ingredients listed, and garnish with the superfoods you mixed in as you please! Then pour into a silicon mold. I used this one click here. Freeze overnight, and there you have it! Best to keep these refrigerated once they are done freezing overnight.


🍫Matcha-Reishi Chocolates:


IMG_37361🍫 Moringa-Chaga Chocolates:


🍫 Blueberry-Vanilla Chocolates:


🍫 Mint-Chlorophyll Chocolates:

Peace, Love, Superfoods ❤ Colleen Poling, RD

TOP 7 “High-Risk” Situations

12 Aug

After an illness, away for business, vacation, bad weather, family pressure, at work, buffets and parties can all be considered “high risk” situations which can be detrimental to your nutrition and exercise routines. Seeing other people overeat and not engaging in regular physical activity can lead you to do the same. Vacations and celebrations may make you think that all rules are off. If this happens only once in a while, it is not a problem. The problem comes when you do a lot of eating out, overeating and celebrating. Being prepared for these “high-risk” times make all the difference in whether or not you are able to make a long term change in your eating habits and exercise routine. You need to have a plan in order to be successful when you are in these “high-risk” situations. Once you have this plan it is good to practice what you are going to do by saying something like, “No thank you” when you are offered more pie, or asking for “no fries” to your server. Your most important work is developing a plan to deal with these high-risk situations. Here are some the top 7 high risk-situations, and a few suggestions on how you can plan for them:

1) Traveling on Business:

  • Stay at a hotel that has a fitness center.
  • Check your suitcase and walk around the airport while waiting for your plane.
  • Pack walking shoes.
  • Wear a pedometer and set a goal for steps each day.
  • Pack fruit for a snack in place of donuts and sweet rolls that are often served in the plane.

2) After an illness:

  • Rest if you are ill or have a fever.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Plan the day you will go back to your activities, start slowly and don’t expect to be “up to speed” the first day.

3) On Vacation:

  • Pack a cooler with fresh fruits, raw vegetables and water bottles.
  • Plan to go out to eat only a couple times during the week. 
  • Take a walking tour of the towns you visit.
  • Go for a bike ride on the board walk.
  • Plan a hike or a walk in the woods, on the beach, or in the mountains.
  • Explore a new fun activity such as golf, tennis, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, or skiing.
  • Plan meal and snack breaks.

4) Bad Weather:

  • Go to the mall or a convocation center to walk if you can’t walk outside.
  • Walk the steps in your house.
  • Have a balance ball, free weights, and/or a resistance band at home to use.
  • Have a video at home for aerobics.
  • Enjoy a walk/run in the rain.
  • Take advantage of your group fitness classes or fitness center

5) Family Pressure:

  • Tell others that your new habits are important to you.
  • Ask that they help you stay on track.
  • Invite others to join you in a healthy activity, such as a walk or a healthy food party.
  • Model food eating for others and yourself.
  • Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car.
  • Write a grocery list from your weekly menu to be sure you have all your food when grocery shopping. This will also ensure you don’t buy unneeded food.
  • Keep problem food out of the house.
  • Plan how you will handle holidays, weddings and family reunions before the event.
  • Nothing succeeds like success.

6) At work:

  • Ask co-workers to not offer you snacks.
  • Bring fresh fruit and nuts to work to have when hunger strikes between meals.
  • When celebrating special occasions, take a piece of cake or other treat, have a bit and take it back to your office and throw it away. Or just politely say No thank you.
  • Ask co-workers to bring in healthy treats when celebrating special occasions and not cake or doughnuts.

7) Buffets and Parties:

  • Have a small snack before going out to eat so you are not so hungry.
  • Don’t sit next to the buffet or bowl of potato chips so you cannot snack on them.
  • Alternate drinks containing calories with those containing no calories.
  • Do not go back for seconds.
  • Bring a lower calorie, nutritious dish to share.

Only you can make wise choices when eating away from home, under stress or tempted by friends, family and co-workers. No risk no fun, right? You have to be prepared when you are skydiving, or bungee jumping, the same goes for handing these high risk-situations. Know what your high-risk situation are, and have a safety plan in place for when they come. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your family, friends and co-workers. They often will help you, you just need to ask.

6 Tips to Succeed in Dietetics, and 6 Job Options for the Nutrition Grads

8 Apr

I gave a presentation for the Kent State Student Dietetic Association yesterday on 6 tips to success in dietetics and 6 career options/opportunities in the field for after gradation and during undergrad volunteer opportunities. I want to share this useful information that I have learned along the way!

I wish that I had some of these tips as a Freshman in college, because by the time I was a senior it was too late, and I had to continue to get experiences after graduation. I would not change my experiences for the world, but I would have been able to excel a lot faster with these tips. For those of you who did not get an internship, DO NOT WORRY! I am here to tell you that you can still get one, all you need to do is persevere and keep getting more experience. Your hard work will pay off, and it will be worth it in the end! And follow my advice….because I have been through it 3 times!

Dietetic Internships:

  • Join free: www.allaccessinternships.com for information on all internships, tips, articles and work experience opportunities
  • Do not despair if you did not get an internship this matching round, there is only a 50% acceptance rate! You can still gain experience and reapply next year.
  • Consider distance internship. You can tailor your rotations to your professional goals, AND they accept more interns than the traditional intern! I got accepted to the Sodexo Distance Education DI and there were 40 spots open at this internship.
  • I applied for internships the first time in the spring of 2009  and did not get matched, then I applied  Again for the November fall matching in 2009 and after an interview flying out to philly, all  paid by my nonexistent bank account, did not receive a match yet again. I felt completely  defeated and broke. I kept telling myself throughout college that it will be worth it, just  get through this impossible physiology test or nutrition test and deal with this professor  and you will be done and things will get easier. I applied for the internships telling  myself, just take the time to do this and it will be worth the effort put in. But when I did  not match the second time, I felt like all my efforts were for nothing.
  • After about a month of loathing in self-pity I decided that I was not going to work as a server any more, and that I deserved better, because I worked so hard for my college  degree.
  • I started searching the internet for jobs. At that point I was willing to travel, and that is  when I applied for as many jobs where I fit the qualifications. I was called for a phone  interview for a nutrition research assistant position in North Carolina at the Nutrition  Research Institute, and was hired! Hope again filled my eyes. Working in research was a great  experience that opened many doors for me. After research I worked volunteering with the community with the Children’s Hunger Alliance. After applying for the April 2011 matching round, I finally got a match!

Tip 1: Be willing to travel-

  • Your chances of getting a job increase  when you go outside of Ohio or whatever state you reside in. 
  • Consider a temp job somewhere if you  do not want to stay permanently in  another state.
  • Consider a summer position if you  have to come back to school

Job option 1: Research-

  • Check out local and nonlocal hospital websites for job opportunities in research.
  • Www.nutritionjobs.com is a great website for finding nutrition jobs in all areas including research.
  • Consider a Research Assistant position in nutrition, biology, chemistry, physiology or food science.
  • You can be hired with just a bachelor’s degree in nutrition if you have strong statistics, writing skills and research skills or have experience with lab work.
  • Hospitals like the cleveland clinic, universities and laboratories are constantly hiring research assistants for their research
  • You might even be given the opportunity to co-author a paper for a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Get involved in the research going on at your own campus.
  • In college I got a negative view on research from writing papers all the time, but  writing real papers for real journals is way more exciting.
  • It is exciting to be the one actually doing the cutting edge research and finding new  results no one has discovered before.
  • Some research positions can be in the lab or fieldwork where you can be doing the  research first hand

Tip 2: Get your DTR certification-

  • One of the best things you can do for yourself if you did not get an internship this matching round. It shows that you can pass a test like the RD test and gives you more opportunities in the clinical setting.
  • The process to get all the forms takes about a month to complete as well as 120 dollars for the test. (also form to be signed by your director)
  • Once you pass the test you will be able to work under a dietitian in the clinical or long term care settings (basically do everything a dietitian can do, just with her sign off) and gain great experience
  • Looks amazing on DI applications! Some even waive hours. They look to see if you can pass the RD exam, and if you can pass the DTR exam you will be considered.
  • If you have lower than a 3.5 GPA than getting the DTR helps you look better to the DI’s. You need to prove you are good at studying and are a good test taker. They need to know you can pass the RD exam after graduation, and if your grades don”t show that, they might not rank you.
  • Visit: http://cdrnet.org/services-Prospective-RDs-DTRs for more information on how to apply for the test and for eligibility. 

Job Option 2: WIC/Public health-

  • Most WIC facilities hire nutrition graduates without being a RD.
  • You can apply for a Nutritionist I position at WIC without being a RD.
  • Job duties include: Providing basic nutrition services, including individual and group counseling to clients eligible for WIC’s special Supplemental Food program. Providing individual assessment and counseling support for breastfeeding, pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children to age 5
  • Working at WIC looks really good on your resume.
  • Volunteer at WIC

Tip 3: Networking and Shadowing-

  • Connect with Dietitians in the area.
  • Collect business cards
  • Join local and national associations such as your local dietetic association and ADA, and participate in volunteer opportunities, committees for these organizations.
  • Shadowing dietitians not only give you great connections/friendships, but also can give you an idea of where your niche may be in dietetics.
  • Dietitians love to have students. So don’t be shy!!!
  • I highly stress this, I wish I would have started sooner in networking and shadowing dietitians.

Job Option 3: Get involved in the Community-

  • Join the AmeriCorps, HealthCorps or PeaceCorps.
  • Www.AmeriCorps.gov
  • www.healthcorps.gov
  • www.peacecorps.gov
  • Get involved in local nutrition and health organizations.
  • Volunteer at food banks, food pantries, promote food security
  • Find your interest in nutrition and there will probably be somewhere you can volunteer.

Tip 4: Work your way up-

  • Work as a dietary aide in the hospital in which the internship you want is held
  • Working as a dietary aide looks WAY better than working as a server or in retail, even though the pay may be less.

Job Option 4: Work at a summer camp-

  • Working at a weight loss, diabetic, or even an adventure camp as a counselor, fitness instructor or even diet aide in the kitchen can be both rewarding and FUN!

Tip 5: Interviewing

  • 80% you, 20% interviewer talking
  • Take your time
  • Ask what types of questions will be asked (calculations?)
  • Be prepared-have questions already answered!

Common Questions that I have been asked before during dietetic internship interviews:

  1. You don’t know the definition of a word on your clinical rotation, what do you do?
  2. An obese patient for bariatric surgery is not complying, what do you do?
  3. How have you been resourceful?
  4. Your preceptor is does not have the right Nutrition Care Process formula, how do you deal with that?
  5. Your preceptor does not have the right number used for the amount of calories someone should have, how do you approach your preceptor?
  6. Why do you like this internship/program?
  7. How do you think graduate coursework will differ than undergraduate coursework?
  8. If you were giving a presentation and didn’t know the answer to a question someone asked, what would you do?
  9. Why should we pick you?
  10. Tell me about yourself
  11. What are your strengths?
  12. Give an example of your critical thinking skills.
  13. When have you shown emotional stability and maturity?
  14. What are your weaknesses?
  15. Name three words that describe yourself?
  16. Talk about your ability to learn and function in a variety of settings.
  17. What do you know about the internship/company?
  18. What role do you take in group settings?
  19. Why are you interested in dietetics?
  20. What are your professional goals both long term and short term.
  21. What is a recent nutrition topic that has interested you lately and why?
  22. Pediatrics: How will you deal with dying children?
  23. Name a time when you were in a conflict, and how you resolved it.
  24. What got you interested in dietetics?
  25. Name a time when you had an impossible task and how you got it done on time.
  26. What would you do if a preceptor was not cooperating with you, what would you do?
  27. Name a time when you worked with a team and how you worked together.
  28. How are you able to perform under pressure?
  29. What makes you prepared for this program/job/internship?
  30. Do you think that your marks are a true indicator of your academic potential

Questions to ask internship/program/employer:

  1. What do you like about working for this company?
  2. What would you consider to be the company’s strength?
  3. Are there any weaknesses in the department you’re working on improving?
  4. What would you consider to be your leadership style?
  5. What do you like about working for this company?
  6. How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be evaluated? By whom? How often?
  7. How is this internship perceived by the hospital?
  8. What do you see in my personality, work history or skill set that attracts you to me?
  9. What particular computer equipment and software do you use?
  10. How do I compare to the other people you have interviewed so far?
  11. Can you describe and ideal intern?

Job Option 5: Personal Training/Fitness Instructor-

  • Earn 17-45 dollars an hour!
  • Get CPR/AED certified as well as your personal training certifications
  • Certification organizations: NASM; ACSM; AFAA; ACE; IFPA; CSCS; ISSA; NSCA; Cooper Institute
  • Background in nutrition gives you a competitive advantage.

Tip 6: Think Like an Entrepreneur-

  • With your bachelors in nutrition you have some freedom to teach nutrition, just not practice dietetics.
  • Visit http://www.dietetics.ohio.gov/guides.stm to see what is considered practicing dietetics, and what is non-medical nutrition (which you can teach).

Job Option 6: Non profits-

  • Visit www.nonprofitlist.org for a list of non profits across the USA
  • Working with non profit organizations is very rewarding, and I highly recommend volunteering or considering a staff position to one of the many thousands of non profits across the USA.
  • You can find paid and volunteer positions

Other Job Options-

  • Food Technologist/Food Scientist
  • Policy-public health, economic, nutrition related
  • Internet nutrition-
  • livestrong.com-freelance writers
  • Management/administration
  • Marketing/public relations
  • Sales-special formulas companies like Vitaflo USA and Ensure
  • School food service

Bottom Line: GET EXPERIENCE!!! You can do IT! Do NOT give up!!

Best of Luck!

Colleen Poling, RD, LD


Are you really Hungry???

24 Sep

In this blog I helped explain the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Knowing the difference can mean all the difference!


Nutrition doesn’t have to be a foreign language!!

3 Sep

Are you confused by nutritional terms and jargon? Do you shy away from nutrition because it seems to difficult to understand? Don’t worry, these terms are just big words and they can be explained easily. In this blog I will explain 10 terms and concepts you may have heard of before in a more interesting, understandable way.

  • Free radicals: The cells in your body use oxygen to stay alive. As a result of these cells using oxygen, they produce free radicals. These free radicals cause damage to our cells. These Free radicals are necessary to sustain life, for cell signaling and also ridding the body of dangerous bacterium. Normally the body has different mechanisms to fix the damage that the free radicals have caused. Also antioxidants play a big part in preventing the damage done by the free radicals. However, if the free radicals accumulate too much in the body, and no antioxidants are available, serious damage can be done. Free radicals can also form by pollution, cigarette smoke, herbicides and age. Free radical damage has been linked to parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, cancer and heart disease.


  • Antioxidants: To stop the free radicals from doing any further damage antioxidants need to come to the rescue. These little scavengers are always on the look out for free radicals, putting a stop to them. Beta-Carotene (precursor to vitamin A), Vitamin C and Vitamin E are considered antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants so be sure you are eating the recommended 5-8 servings per day. Also whole grains, nuts, seeds and low fat milk contain some of these as well.

  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are responsible for the coloring of different fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are becoming very popular because of their antioxidant health benefits. Green tea, black tea, citrus fruits and apples are good sources of flavonoids.

  • Trans fatty acids: Trans fat is the least heart healthy type of fat out there. It is a man made fat which helps to keep the shelf life longer on some packaged, fried and processed foods. Trans fat raises LDL cholesterol and decreases HLD cholesterol. It is like poison to your body. Beware of these fats, because they are hidden in a lot of foods these days. Always read the label for no trans fat and also read the ingredients. Look for partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list, this is a fancy name for trans-fat. You can see that in the picture above there is no amount listed for trans fat on the nutrition facts label, but there is partially hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients. If food has .5 grams or less of trans fat it doesn’t have to list it on the nutrition facts. Tricky!! If it says partially hydrogenated oil, please put it back on the shelf, there is still trans fat in it!. Never buy stick margarine, because it contains this poison.

  • Monounsaturated fats: On the other hand this is the most heart healthy fat. Fats are nothing to be scared of, our bodies need them to live, so it is best to try and consume mostly monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats are in foods such as olive oil, avocado and almonds.

  • Lipoprotein: Think of these as peanut covered M&M’s, the peanut on the inside is the Lipo (fat) and the chocolate on the outside consists of protein. The lipoproteins are basically transporters of the fat which is inside, which are carried throughout the bloodstream. The fat could not be carried though the bloodstream without the protein around it. These little M&M’s go through the bloodstream and go where they are needed. The body needs fat and cholesterol to live. Don’t think that a fat is bad, just too much of the wrong kind is bad. These lipoproteins can consist of LDL (low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins)

  • Bioavailability: When we eat a meal, not everything is absorbed into our body. The amount of nutrients that are absorbed into the body is considered the bio-availability of that nutrient. Combining different foods together can increase the nutrient absorption, and also combining different foods together can decrease or inhibit absorption. Examples: Add olive oil to salad. The fat helps absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the salad. Combine lemon and green tea to absorb maxim antioxidants. Drink orange juice with your cereal, the vitamin c in the oj helps to better absorb the iron in your cereal. Don’t take your calcium and iron supplements together, the calcium blocks the iron from being absorbed.

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG): This is a flavor enhancer for foods such as Chinese, canned foods, chips, processed meats and most fast foods such as taco bell. It has a salty like flavor. It is a very controversial topic about if it is safe or not for us. Research has yet to prove if it is completely safe. The FDA has said that it is safe for us, however some people experience side effects such as headaches sweating and chest pain and after consuming MSG. Research has yet to find evidence between a link between symptoms like these and MSG consumption. I recommend avoiding it at all costs. This flavor enhancer is not needed when other natural spices and herbs can be used with better, fresher flavor.

  • Why too much salt is bad for us: Salt does play a very important role in our body, carrying out nerve impulses, fluid balance, muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation. We do need sodium to survive and it is essential through what we eat. However this amount is very low and American’s are consuming well over the generous amount allotted to us. Basically the kidneys help to rid the body when the sodium level gets too high, but when the level is overloaded the kidneys cannot rid the salt, it accumulates in the bloodstream. Just remember that wherever salt goes, water follows. So when the salt is in your bloodstream water will be right behind following it, causing an increase in blood volume. When there is more blood the heart has to pump it all, which overworks the heart and makes it harder to get the blood where it needs to go. The pressure increases in your arteries and therefor causes your blood pressure to increase. Do not add salt to any foods at the table or when cooking, instead use herbs and spices for flavor. Avoid processed foods such as frozen, canned and boxed meals which contain overloads of sodium.

As a nutritionist I know that nutrition can come off as very complicated, and it is indeed when studying into great depths. However, as you can see, these terms and concepts can be explained in a very simple way! No need to shy away from nutrition because of these terms. It is important to know what is going into your body, how your body works and what your body needs to function! In order to do that you must understand nutrition! Nutrition doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be a foreign language!

Please leave any comments for any other terms/concepts/processes/mechanisms you may need explained! 🙂