Jordan Eichacker

Learn more about the latest diets, nutrition, mindful eating and other information from our Clinical Dietitian, Jordan Eichacker, MS, RDN, LN, on this blog: Dietitian Digest.

Jordan has been working as Madison Regional Health System’s only Clinical Dietitian for one and a half years. She provides nutrition therapy to both inpatients and outpatients of all ages.

What are carbs? What is considered a good carb?

The media leads us to believe that carbs are the devil, right? Carbs make us fat. Carbs cause diabetes. Carbs should be cut out. So, what’s the truth?

First, let’s learn the importance of carbohydrates and how our body utilizes them. Simply put, carbohydrates provide us with energy we need daily to think, work, exercise and live. When we consume a food that contains carbohydrates, the carbs are broken down as glucose in the blood. That glucose then either remains in our blood at a precise level, is stored in our liver or muscles as quick energy reserves, or is stored as fat as a last resort.

Abundant in the food supply, types of carbs include grains, starchy vegetables, beans, fruits and fruit juices, milk and yogurt, snack foods and sweets. Non-starchy vegetables contain small amounts of carbohydrates. While some carbs contain vital micronutrients to prevent anemia, lower blood pressure and serve as antioxidants to boost our immune system, respectively, others are lacking any sort of nutrient profile.

The key to consuming the “right” carbs is to feed your body for what it craves: nutrients. A good question to ask yourself is “Was this food grown or naturally cultivated, or created through processing mechanisms?” Whole, minimally or altogether unprocessed, nutrient-dense carbohydrates are best. Fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, beans and lentils, and whole grains are some of the most nutrient-dense carbohydrates in the food supply.

Lastly, portion size is the key to prevent excessive carb intakes at any given meal or snack. For healthy adults, my recommendation here is to choose carbohydrates in ½ cup portions for starchy vegetables and grains and 1 cup portions for fruits, milk, and yogurt. Applying adequate portions of carbs gives us energy, but not so much to send us into fat storage mode.

The bottom line is, carbs are not the devil but choices and portions matters. If your goal is to feel nourished and energized, choose carbohydrates you like and know to be whole foods most often. I love oatmeal for breakfast, Greek yogurt for snacks if I’m hungry, and roasted broccoli for dinner. What sources of carbohydrates do you fancy?

"Fast Food": Tips and Strategies for Quick and Hearty Home-Cooked Meals

Is fall a busy time of year for you? Are you on-the-go with kids' activities and fall gatherings? Have family suppers moved to the pizza place instead of your own place? As the temps drop, do you find yourself cooped up indoors, more sedentary, and more likely to indulge in that late-night snack? In lieu of all this, I'd like to offer a few tips and strategies to creating your own "fast food" and eating healthy, heartier meals to curb those late-night cravings. With these helpful hints, you are bound to boost your energy, create healthy habits, and discover that good nutrition in the home is possible even with the busiest of schedules.

  • Use a crockpot. What’s better than coming home to the smell of a fully prepared meal? Perfect for soups and roasts, just add a low sodium base, your choice of veggies and lean meat, and spices. SANTA FE CHICKEN RECIPE - PDF
  • Cook once, eat twice. Prepare twice as much chicken, brown rice/quinoa or veggies for future use. Use leftovers in salads or sandwiches. Grab a yogurt, fruit and take along as a to-go meal. CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE - PDF
  • Be unconventional. Make omelets for supper. Have rice for breakfast with your choice of toppings for a healthy and filling “breakfast bowl.” Move past the social food norms, forget the rules and cook simply. BREAKFAST BOWL RECIPE - PDF
  • Choose fresh, frozen, or canned – all are equally nutritious. In the frozen section, buy Steamables to microwave and eat. Choose canned veggies to open, drain, rinse and eat. Cut up fruits and veggies as soon as you get home for the grocery store and store in containers to refrigerate.
  • Blend and go. There is nothing wrong with throwing together a quick smoothie on the go. Blend fruit, Greek yogurt, flax or chia seeds, leafy greens with some ice, a little water and you’re set! SMOOTHIE RECIPE - PDF
  • Stash small Ziploc bags full of healthy snacks such as homemade granola bars, nuts like almonds, and dried fruit in your car for when you need them.
  • The ultimate go-to. A Rotisserie chicken is convenient because it’s hot and ready to serve. Add a whole grain and veggies for a complete nutritious meal.

Call MRHS at 605-256-6551 how I can assist you in building your own custom nutritional plan.

The Keto Diet: What is it and is it good for weight loss?

The Keto Diet has been around since the early 1900’s as treatment for epilepsy but has recently resurfaced in main-stream media as a weight loss solution.

The term “Keto” originates from the word “ketosis”, a process in which the body does not receive an adequate supply of carbohydrates and as a result enters into a fat-burning state accompanied by rapid weight loss.

When followed religiously, Keto does work. However, because of its restrictive nature, it is not likely to be sustainable for the long term. Carbohydrates from fruits, starchy vegetables, etc. are severely limited (less than 20 grams per day or one medium apple) which puts individuals at risk for nutrient deficiencies. At least 130 grams of carbohydrates are recommended daily to fuel our brain and muscles.

The best weight loss approach is one that encourages a variety of foods and has your food preferences in mind. The key is making small, realistic changes to your current lifestyle. As part of Madison Regional Health System’s weight loss and fitness program, Complete 90, we explore strategies to help you overcome your individual barriers to nutrition in order to assist you along in your weight loss journey.

After all, doesn’t the word “journey” have “you” in it?

Call MRHS at 605-256-6551 to find out more about Complete 90 and other nutrition services offered by me.

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