Nancy Ernst: 10 reasons to see a registered dietitian

Nancy Ernst: 10 reasons to see a registered dietitian

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Nancy Ernst is a registered dietitian at Gundersen Health System.

March is National Nutrition Month. This a great time to think about healthy eating, and to also consider working with a registered dietitian to help you along your journey.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers 10 reasons why people seek the expert, science-based advice of a food and nutrition professional, a registered dietitian.

1. You have diabetes, cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure. A registered dietitian serves as an integral part of your health-care team by helping you safely change your eating plan without compromising taste or nutrition.

2. You are thinking of having or have had gastric bypass surgery. Since your stomach can only manage small servings, it’s a challenge to get the right amount of nutrients in your body. A registered dietitian will work with you and your physician to develop an eating plan for your new needs.

3. You have digestive problems. A registered dietitian will work with your physician to help fine-tune your diet, so you are not aggravating your condition with fried foods, too much caffeine or carbonation.

4. You’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. A registered dietitian can help make sure you get nutrients like folate, especially during the first three months of pregnancy, lowering your newborn’s risk for neural tube or spinal cord defects.

5. You need guidance and confidence for breastfeeding your baby. A registered dietitian can help make sure you’re getting enough iron, vitamin D, fluoride and B vitamins for you and your little one.

6. Your teenager has issues with food and eating healthfully. A registered dietitian can assist with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and overweight issues.

7. You need to gain or lose weight. A registered dietitian can suggest additional calorie sources for healthy weight gain or a reduced calorie eating plan plus regular physical activity for weight loss while allowing you to still eat all your favorite foods.

8. You’re caring for your aging parent. A registered dietitian can help with food or drug interaction, proper hydration, special diets for hypertension and changing taste buds for aging parents.

9. You want to eat smarter. A registered dietitian can help you sort through misinformation; learn how to read labels at the supermarket; discover that healthy cooking is inexpensive; learn how to eat out without ruining your eating plans; and learn how to resist workplace temptations.

10. You want to improve your performance in sports. A registered dietitian can help you set goals to achieve results whether you’re running a marathon, skiing or jogging with your dog.

Gundersen Health System has a great team of diverse registered dietitians specializing in a variety of areas. Call Nutrition Therapy at (608) 775-3447 to learn more!


Makes 12 servings


2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 package yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon oil


8 oz. can tomato sauce

½ teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano


3 oz. Canadian bacon

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup green pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped onion


Crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, water and oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 10 minutes. Spread dough into greased 10 x 15-inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 2 to 3 minutes.

Sauce and Toppings: Mix sauce with herbs and spread on crust. Arrange Canadian bacon on crust and sprinkle with ½ cup of each cheese. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Add remaining cheese over pizza. Bake at 425 degrees F for 18-20 minutes.

Nutrition analysis: Per serving: 178 calories, 7 g fat, 10 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 325 mg sodium.

Nancy Ernst is a Gundersen Health System registered dietitian.


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