A Nutritionist Tells All
Barbara Baron is a healthy eating consultant and Family Meals Dietitian! As a Registered Dietitian Nutrionist (RDN), she works with people and healthcare providers and agencies who want more energy, time and money while juggling the demands of family, work and fun!
A mother of two, she has over 30 years of experience working in hospital, community, academic and agricultural settings bringing good tasting healthy foods to the table.
Her list of impressive credentials includes being an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) plus past delegate and president of NYSAND; advisory member of the Interagency Council on Osteoporosis of New Jersey; reviewer for Topics in Clinical Nutrition ( a professional nutrition publication); an active board member of the National Speakers Association’s NJ chapter; speaker/consultant for Mentoring in Medicine, sponsored program of the National Medical Association, and is past Vice President of Nutrition Affairs of the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council. This Fall, Barbara will also teach a Nutrition and Health course at Monmouth University.
However, beyond all of the titles and accolades, Barbara is passionate about what she does and genuinely wants to help others learn the fundamentals of better nutrition so they can apply the knowledge to their own lives. I am excited to share my interview with Barbara – despite already being a health nut, I learned so much!
Q: You have an extensive background – over 30 years of experience in food and nutrition! It is such an honor to interview you. Can you tell me what led you to pursue a career in Nutrition?
Barbara: Never underestimate the power of a passionate teacher. My seventh grade science teacher made science fun and sparked my interest in biology. From that day forward, I was hooked on learning all about how our amazing digestive system works. Think about it: we eat food and the body knows just how to break down that food into tiny essential nutrients to be absorbed and achieve health. I knew this was a great career fit for me because I get to share this knowledge to help people!
Q: How has this helped you/ your family in terms of leading healthy and balanced lifestyles with food?
Barbara: My studies combined with memories of great family meals led me to bring a family- friendly approach to eating. I, too, am a busy mom. For over 25 years I have juggled family with career and volunteering with my professional associations. My strategy to healthier eating is based on 3 principles.
These support your journey to be our own MVP. Let’s face it, you cannot help anyone unless you are in good health first, so …They are: #1) Eat food in “moderation” – or more simply, eat “right sized” portions, #2) Enjoy all food groups, choosing a “variety” of foods within each food group because no one food gives your body all the nutrients it needs. #3) “Plan” healthy, great tasting meals to fuel your body and soul. Don’t be alarmed. A good meal doesn’t have to take hours in the kitchen. Many memories are made over a meal, why not make them enjoyable?
Q: What is the most common misconception people have when it comes to Diet & Nutrition!
Barbara: We can get into trouble when we place the “halo effect” on one single food for healthy stronger bodies! I am sure you have seen many examples. “Eat [fill the blank with a food] and you will lose weight/ lower cholesterol/ lower your blood sugar/ increase memory! While many foods contain nutrients that provide great health benefits, never place all that power into one single food!
Q: How can this be fixed?
Barbara: Plan healthy meals and snacks using a variety of nutrient rich foods from at least 3 to 4 out of the 5 food groups per meal. This simple step is a gift for your body to best meet nutrient needs for optimum health! No one food gives you all the nutrition you need to stay healthy. More importantly, look at the variety of foods consumed in a day and over the course of a week!
Q: Can you tell us a little about all the FAD diets that are out there and why they are not working?
Barbara: More often than not, I see FAD diets as ‘Failed Attempts at Dieting” They lack that “sticky-ness” factor. Sure there is flashy marketing to get you to buy into the program, but remember if it sounds too good to be true it, it usually is! Many fad diets may work in the short term because they are low calories, but some also have you buy exotic and expensive foods while some fad diets eliminate key food groups all which make it harder to stick with it for the long-term. In the end, many people usually go back to old eating habits and for example regain the weight lost and more.
I see greater value when eating is in sync with a person’s their lifestyle. You are more likely to stick with healthy foods and lifestyle habits when choosing from foods you like to eat. Throughout my years in nutrition, the following widely used proverb always speaks volumes of wisdom-- “Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they will eat for a lifetime”! And this is why I coach groups and individuals to focus on gradual change in eating patterns that create habits they can literally “live” with!
Q: Please explain a little more about FODMAPS and how people can integrate this into their lives?
Barbara: FODMAPS are a specific class of carbohydrates that stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are poorly absorbed small short chain carbohydrates that result in the gastro-intestinal symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Studies and initial research done by Monash University in Australia showed that a diet low in FODMAPS improved these symptoms of bloating, lower abdominal pain, and alternating diarrhea with constipation. Keep in mind a low FODMAP diet is not for everyone. It is important to be properly diagnosed for IBS and the need for low FODMAP diet by a medical professional who specializes in gastro-intestinal disorders. Also because choosing foods low in FODMAPS is not an easy eating plan to follow, it is strongly advised to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist who also specializes in gastro-intestinal conditions.
[For more information, especially gluten free recipes modified for FODMAPS, look for “Gluten free hassle free” book and companion cookbook by Marlisa Brown MS RD CDE CDN]
Q: For those that are just starting to learn about Nutrition, why is a Dietitian so important? What are some of the benefits someone might gain by working with you rather than working on their own?
Barbara: Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but only A “Registered Dietitian(RD)” or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” (RDN) has completed training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This includes completion of a four-year degree in nutrition with a specially designed accredited nutrition curriculum, an extensive supervised program of practice at a health care facility (including 900 hours of supervised clinical practice) and passing a rigorous national exam. In addition, registered dietitian nutritionists must also keep up with their profession and maintain continuing education credits similar to physicians and registered nurses. Registered dietitian Nutritionist need to maintain 75 CEUS for each five-year period to maintain their professional competency.
The benefits of working with me, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, is I provide you with an up-to-date, evidence-based approach to personalize your health and nutrition plan.
I will be your coach and guide who will help you develop Specific measurable achievable goals to navigate eating-in, dining-out, shopping and/or food preparation to help pave the way to achieve your best health.
Q: How can people balance busy lives and nutrition? For parents of children, or single parents, how can they provide proper nutrition on limited time?
Barbara: Not one size fits all! This applies when buying pants, a dress, and yes, eating, too! Our budgets, taste preferences, level of physical activity plus demands of our jobs all differ, and so seek a personal touch from a qualified health professional, such as a RDN to set you up with tools to last a lifetime. Start now. Put my 3 principles of eating into practice. Learn more at www.barbarabaron.com/family-meals-mvp-guide/ or email me at Barbara@BarbaraBaron.com.
Q: Are the majority of your clients either men or women?
Barbara: It is important to take care of your own health before you can take care of others, especially moms! So I work mainly with women in all stages. Single moms, career moms, and women in health care who want more energy, time and are ready to nurture their own health, especially if they are taking care of children, aging parents or both.
Q: Do you have one or two recipes to share? Barbara: Sure my recent post, Pesto Chicken Over Tagliatelle Pasta. This dish savors the taste of summer, looks great on your plate and only 30 minutes to prepare on top of the stove! Check other recipes and blog posts under Tips and Tool on BarbaraBaron.com
Ahhh… now for the FUN question!
Q: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive), who would that be? I would love to meet Pope John Paul and have a conversation about solutions for world peace!
For more information or to contact Barbara:
Barbara R Baron, MS, RDN, CDN
"Be your own 'MVP' with Moderation,Variety & Planning!" TM
Family Meals Dietitian- Building a healthier you- One Meal at a Time! TM 908-670-7356 (M) eFAX# 732-862-1170