Nutrition Articles
Finally a Diet Manual for Culture Change PDF Print Write e-mail

Finally a Diet Manual for Culture Change!

By Coreyann Poly, PhD, MEd, CDE, RDN

Culture change is an important movement in Elder care, working to transform the institutional approach of care delivery into one that is person-directed. It means working to create a home-like atmosphere where elders’ dignity is ensured and their preferences are honored. From a dining perspective, this means doing away with institutional tray service and portion control milk containers and, instead, providing a home-like dining service. Dining programs can range from small, social dining settings, to restaurant-style, course-provided meal service. It’s important to have various dining programs to meet the individual care needs of your elder community.

But what about diet? It’s no mystery that elders are at high risk for malnutrition. This doesn’t just include calories and protein depletion, but micronutrient deficiencies such as calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. In addition, elders are burdened with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, and hypertension. Elders come to reside in extended care settings not just to receive assistance with their ADLs (activities of daily living), but also for management of their medical conditions. There is considerable emphasis on allowing elders to choose whatever foods they want, and to not have diets anymore. So where does that leave their medical care?

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is an important part of any elders’ medical care. The thought “just give them more insulin” and forget about what they are eating, is not an approach to better care for elders. It lacks consideration for how our elders feel when their blood sugars spike. How about the elder that requires frequent visits to the hospital because the sodium in their meals is too high? Is that a better quality of life? Consider that medication reduction, not increased insulin shots, is also part of culture change. Meals that are incomplete in nutrients can lead to medical complications, a need for vitamin/ mineral supplementations, and a lack of well-being. These are all considerations for dietitians working with this population. Yes, embrace culture change – allow our residents choices, but don’t forget why they are there in the first place.

“Food is the heart of our home...and most often one of our life’s daily pleasures. When we enhance the dining experience of our elders, we nourish their souls, as well as their bodies. As caregivers committed to maximizing the quality of life and quality of care for the elders residing in our long term care facilities, we are called to best serve our elders’ nutritional needs while best serving their psychological and psychosocial needs. When we honor our elders’ preferences in dining, we honor their past and best serve their future.” (Bump, 2004-2005). So, how do we keep our elders off restricted diets; allow them to make whatever choice they want; and ensure they have complete nourishing meals that will maintain their health and well-being?


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The Acid Generation PDF Print Write e-mail

The Acid Generation

           by Coreyann Poly, PhD, MEd, RD

You have heard it before, “Eat more fruit and vegetables and reduce meat and cheese consumption” for better health. Not only are meats and cheeses higher in fat, but they are very acidic to the body, while a diet higher in fruit and vegetables is actually alkaline.

We are the “Acid Generation,” named as a result of the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid-producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline-producing foods like fresh fruit and vegetables.  Additionally, we eat acid-producing, processed foods like white flour and sugar. Why is this important?  Ideally, our body should stay on the alkaline side: at a pH between 7.35 and 7.45.  When we consume acid-produce producing foods without the proper balance of alkaline- producing foods there is an increased risk of chronic acidosis, which has been linked to inflammatory-related, chronic diseases such as hypertension, insulin resistance, and osteoporosis.

It is important to note that foods are classified based on the effect they have on the body after digestion, not on their own intrinsic acidity or alkalinity (or how they taste to us). A common misconception is that if a food tastes acidic, it has an acid-forming effect on the body, but that is often not the case. Citric fruits such as oranges and lemons are a good example. They are often considered "acidic," however, they are actually alkalizing because the minerals they leave behind after digestion helps decrease the acidity of the body. The diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. The proper balance between acidity and alkalinity is essential to good health.
Here is an example of a one day Menu of healthy 60/40 Balanced Acid/Alkaline Diet:

Breakfast: Scramble 2 eggs with tomatoes, peppers, onions, celery and spinach  w/Olive Oil

Snack: 1 apple, and a handful of walnuts.

Lunch: Toss 1/2 cup diced salmon with fresh broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Snack: Blend 1 banana with a handful of nuts, some kale and filtered water.

Dinner: Bake 4 oz. of chicken with sweet potatoes and serve with a fresh garden salad.

Keep School Kids Active! PDF Print Write e-mail

by Coreyann Poly, PhD, CDE, RD

September has arrived and the wheels on the school buses are going round and round! As we say goodbye to summer, we are often saying goodbye to our activity level; the walkers and joggers on the sidewalks and tracks, the kids playing ball outdoors, and those swimming in pools, lakes, and oceans. Exercise is an important part of taking care of our bodies, staying fit, and maintaining a normal body weight. What’s most troubling these days is the growing obesity problem in America with our youth. Kids are no longer playing outside during the school year like we did when we were children. Recess has disappeared. Combine this with more computer games and cable television, and it’s clear why the obesity crisis exists amongst our kids.

As you consider the upcoming school year, plan activities for you and your children. Set a strict limit on computer and television time. Keep your kids active and having fun. Encourage your local school system to increase gym and recess time. Healthy, active children learn better. For children who have late night sports schedules, plan ahead for good nutrition- pack meals from home instead of stopping at fast food restaurants.

We need to help our children stay fit and healthy, as well as encourage the school systems to do the same. For additional strategies to accomplish this common goal go to:

Food Allergies and How to Stay Symptom Free PDF Print Write e-mail

May 13-19 is Food Allergy Awareness Week


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