Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's for Breakfast?

According to a survey sponsored by Kellogg’s, only about 34% of Americans eat breakfast, but 54% feel it is important. Many believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it may help determine your dietary needs throughout the day. It also helps to jumpstart your body and your metabolism. I most always eat breakfast, and while I wholeheartedly agree that it is the most important meal of the day, eating JUST ANY KIND OF BREAKFAST will not do. Six donuts is not a sufficient breakfast and will spike your blood glucose level high. A couple of pop tarts is not a sufficient breakfast. A sausage egg and biscuit with hash browns and a 24 ounce juice may be a filling breakfast, but not necessarily a healthy one (high in fat and calories).

When my mother was working full-time (she is retired now), I often asked my mom what she ate for breakfast and 95.23% of the time she responded: “Coffee.” This most definitely is not a sufficient breakfast. What is a sufficient breakfast? Well, it DOES NOT have to be low in calories, as many may prefer and recommend that your heaviest meal be breakfast. But for me, too many calories in the morning makes me sluggish throughout the day. So what are examples of a sufficient breakfast for most?

1. 1 slice of  whole wheat toast with jelly, 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, and a bowl of fruit (about 200-275 calories)

2. 1 cup of oatmeal with raisins, apples, and a little sugar, and 2 pieces of turkey bacon (about 300-380 calories)

3. Any protein or weight loss shake that is 250-300 calories

4. Any high fiber cereal (4 or more grams of fiber per serving), skim or low fat milk, a bowl of fruit, and an egg and an egg white (300-400 calories)

5. 6-8oz of lowfat yogurt, handful of granola, bowl of fruit, and 2 pieces of turkey bacon (about 250-300 calories)

As you see, I like to keep my breakfast at close to 300 calories. I usually make lunch my heaviest meal, and then dinner is my lightest meal (most days). Many may need more food than this for breakfast. That is fine. But make sure you eat more of the right things. Fruit, yogurt, turkey bacon, shakes and smoothies, low-fat milk, whole grain bread, oatmeal, eggs, high fiber cereals and pancakes, as well as mostly egg white omelets (with low fat cheese and a variety of vegetables) are all sufficient foods that can be eaten for a good breakfast. I hope this helps you think about incorporating breakfast into your daily routine…until next time…

 Jenelle N. Robinson


Kellogg’s. Retrieved May 31, 2012 from

Thursday, May 24, 2012

15 tips for Healthy Living…Physically and Spiritually…

1. Pork is not your friend.  He might be an associate, but don’t let him come in your house every day.  He doesn’t mean you a lot of good.  And truthfully, you don’t mean him a lot of good, the way you dress him up.

2. Tea does not have to contain two cups of sugar for it to be sweet.  Don’t let it sweeten you (“sugar diabetes”), you sweeten it.

3. Fried potatoes don’t constitute a vegetable of significant nutrition value. (They sure taste     good though!)

4. When is the last time you had a BM (bowel movement)?  If it has been days, or even weeks, something might not be quite right, or at the least, you definitely have bad breath.

5. Give up meat for a day once a week. The cows, pigs and chickens will thank you.

6. Eat with your mouth and its connected system and not with your eyes.  Your eyes always have the potential to deceive you.

7. Exercise is not your enemy.  Stop being mean to it and looking at it funny.  It is actually very friendly and wants to help you.

8. Delayed manifestations can come as a result of your own disobedience, procrastination and inconsistency. You can’t expect to see a better body (physical or spiritual) when you don’t follow the principles. So stop getting upset when you don’t get results.

9. Your health is a result of what you believe. To change your health, you must change what you believe. But note this: Temptation always comes to challenge your belief system. Stay solid on what you believe and you will always overcome temptations.

10. You have a choice of what you can put into your body. What you eat is your choice. What you listen to is your choice. But remember this: what goes in must come out.

11. Feelings only have power when you allow them to. Self-control, self-discipline, and self-denial help train you to rise above your feelings and still make the right choices.

12. Food was never intended to offset a mood or fill a void. That is what medication does for many. The wrong food has become an overly abused medicine for many.

13. Your eating habits will always affect other people’s lives.  Whether directly or indirectly. When you make bad eating choices, physically or spiritually, it affects other people.  How?  Because you pass on to others what has been given to you, whether through your mouth (knowledge), or with your hands (buying or cooking food). Even if you believe your food choices don’t affect others, when your health deteriorates as a consequence of bad dietary choices, you will inevitable involve others who may have to take care of you. Your choices always will affect someone else.

14. Smile, be kind, and willing to learn from other people.  This one thing has the potential to change the health of your entire city and state.

15. Discover your purpose.  To do this, you must discover God and His Son Jesus Christ.  He holds the key to living, and thus, the key to living healthy.

Until Next Time….

Jenelle N. Robinson

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eve's Apple...A glimpse at my program...WITH GREAT PICS!!!

For this blog, I am excited to inform you that I am officially Dr. Robinson!!! Woohoo!!! Not because I graduated last Friday, but because it’s on my transcript. Lol. Anyway, several have asked me, “What did you have to do to get your doctorate? My answer is usually short and to the point, “I completed coursework, wrote a proposal, completed a nutrition education intervention, and wrote and defended a dissertation.” Sound easy? Not so. Nonetheless, since I have had so many inquiries into what I did in order to write my dissertation, I decided I would give you a brief glimpse of what I did for my nutrition education intervention. In order to finish writing my dissertation, I completed a “faith-based” nutrition education program. This program was designed to promote healthy dietary behaviors among African American women. It was called Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education Program. Eve (from Genesis in the Bible) was the focal character of all the sessions. Throughout the 8-week program (1 class each week), comparisons were made between Eve and how women make eating decisions. In addition to using Eve as the “star” of the program, to further include the “faith-base,” the program utilized a church as the venue where all the class sessions were held, along with prayer and scripture that were given at most every session.

Class sessions included:


2.      Hiding Your Shape. This session contained information on body image and the pros and cons of dieting. It relied mainly on group discussion.

3.      Educate Yourself before You Buy Food. This session contained information on how to analyze and interpret information on food within the grocery store. Participants were to look for labels that were high in fiber, low in sodium, low in calories, and low in fat.

4.      When at all possible, cook! This session contained information on healthier ways to cook along with a fruit smoothie demonstration.

5.      Overeating Out! This session contained information on how to analyze menus at the restaurant and how to practice healthier eating when eating out. Participants had to come up with healthy menus based on retaurant. Below is an example.

6.      Eat, Eat, Eat! This session contained information on basic principles to live by when eating food in efforts to not just diet, but live a healthier lifestyle.

7.      Burn Calories! This session contained information on exercise and gave simple exercises to do when at home with little time to exercise. A local beautician (THANKS BRANDI!) also discussed hair and exercise.

8.      Commit to a lifestyle change—not a diet. This was a conclusive session which was a culmination of what was learned in all sessions, where participants presented bulletin board presentations and commercials. At the end of the session, participants received free massages, hairdos, and makeovers.

Methods used in each session included lecture, group discussion, role-play, and hands-on activities using local restaurant menus, cookbooks, and food labels. Program objectives were to increase low-fat eating behaviors and decrease negative dietary behaviors. The program was implemented with over 40 African American women at a church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Data was collected from pre and post surveys and determined that at eight weeks, participants significantly DECREASED negative dietary behaviors that included emotional eating, snacking on sweets, haphazard planning, and meal skipping, and INCREASED low-fat eating behaviors like eating lean meats, and eating fruits and vegetables. These results indicate Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education Program was successful in improving dietary behaviors during the program. A focus group with eight of the participants was completed after the program and also indicated that the faith-base was an important component in improving dietary behaviors. More specifically, using the church, scriptures, prayer, and Eve as the focus were supportive in helping the women to modify dietary behaviors. Hopefully, the research I completed can be built upon and used to help women in general overcome eating issues.

Well, I hope this has answered some questions....until next time…

 -Jenelle N. Robinson

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Organic or Not?

As a health professional specializing in the area of nutrition, I often get asked the question, is it better to eat organic? This is usually an easy and difficult question for me to answer. There are several things to consider when thinking about whether or not to eat organic.

What does it mean for a food to be organic?

For a food to be considered organic, it must be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, artificial flavors and additives. Usually, it is a “whole food” in which nothing has been added or taken away from the food (though not always applicable).

The USDA actually has a National Organic Program where certain food products are approved for labeling “organic.” Products are “certified” organic if they have 95% or more organic content. There are voluntary labels for products like meat, poultry and eggs. Several egg and chicken products are labeled “free-range” or “cage-free.” “Free-range means the flock was provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. Cage-free means the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle. Other meat products may include labeling of “natural.” Meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs (”

Though there are many claims that organic is best, there are not many “significant research studies” that support this claim. My personal opinion is that there are not a lot of studies on this because it would take a lot of money to complete these studies, and if organic was shown to be associated with better health outcomes, many manufacturers would be put out of business. Politics always plays a role.

Nonetheless, here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to eat organic:

1.       The less processing the better. Though there have not been a lot of “significant studies” that have deemed artificial flavors, and certain processing of foods as terribly unhealthy, I believe the more natural the better. I could say that all your fresh fruits and vegetables are the most natural, but I have read a few stories of how certain artificial vitamins/minerals are pumped into some fruits and vegetables. So we don’t always know what we are getting, even when it is fresh. But if it has an organic label associated with it, it may be better for you. (Now, that is not based on scientific proof, but simply my personal opinion.)

2.       The closer you are to the product, probably the better. So many foods are shipped from other countries and mature on trucks. This is why manufacturers use certain artificial methods to make sure the product looks good when it gets on the shelf in your local grocery store. So it would be great if you could buy from a local farmer’s market, or grow your own fruits and vegetables in your own garden.

3.       Do you have the money to eat organic? Organic food costs more. Though we may know several benefits of eating organic, if you can’t afford it, it will be hard for you to adopt this lifestyle. If you can’t afford it, don’t use this as an excuse as to why you can’t eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are still in order. Even with a little processing, they still have less fat and calories than most other foods.

Until next time…

 -Jenelle N. Robinson

 Hunter, B. (2006). A Whole Foods Primer: A Comprehensive, Instructive, and Enlightening Guide to the World of Whole Foods. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Stanfield, P., Hui, Y. (2010). Nutrition and Diet Therapy: Self-Instructional Approaches, 5th Edition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.