Nathan Slinkard MS, RD, LD

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Healthy Choices Made Easy
You may ask yourself: "How am I supposed to make healthy food choices when there are so many mixed messages about nutrition today?!?" How often do you hear words like detox, keto, paleo, and alkaline thrown around and wonder what works and what doesn’t? The truth is that experimenting with fad diets on your own can range from time-consuming and difficult to downright dangerous!

The best decision is to work with experienced health professionals. When it comes to making healthy food choices, registered dietitians (RDs) are the ultimate experts at providing trusted, evidenced-based advice. Meeting with a registered dietitian can be pretty expensive, but did you know that students can schedule FREE one-on-one visits with the campus RD? Email me at or call 501-733-6854 to set up a consultation or get support achieving your goals. I am in office year round and look forward to meeting you!


American Heart Month
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with Coronary Heart Disease being the most common type.

Heart disease is a "catch-all phrase for a variety of conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function" says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Many people understand the most common pathogenesis of a heart attack: a waxy, cholesterol plaque forms inside the coronary arteries over many years, the plaque bursts, a blood clot forms in response, and this clot blocks the flow of blood.

However, the underlying causes of this plaque formation (also known as atherogenesis) are complicated. Our understanding of how diet and lifestyle affect this process has evolved over the years.

The traditional ideas that saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and sodium are the main nutritional culprits for raising heart disease risks have been challenged in recent years. Inflammation, insulin resistance, physical inactivity, nutrient deficiencies, and perhaps even the microbiome also play key roles.

It is important to stay up to date on the latest information and to learn from licensed health professionals and quality research studies (especially randomized controlled trials).
The bottom line is that every person is unique and should follow a healthy lifestyle that is tailored to them.

Vietnamese Avocado Zoodle Salad Bowl
4 servings | 230 calories per serving | 10 g protein

3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 whole garlic cloves minced
1 each green onion finely chopped, about 2 Tbsp.
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
8 oz extra-firm tofu cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 oz prepared zucchini noodles
3 cups lettuce shredded
1 cup mung bean sprouts
3/4 cup carrots julienned
1 large ripe avocado halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 tsp fresh lime juice
cilantro leaves optional

1. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, garlic, green onion, red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil. In a shallow bowl combine tofu and 2 teaspoons of the soy mixture. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil over medium heat. Pat the tofu dry and cook until golden brown on each side. Remove from heat to a plate and set aside.
3. Add zucchini noodles to the same skillet. Cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently about 5 minutes until hot and softened. Let cool. Turn into a large shallow serving bowl. Add lettuce, sprouts, and carrots to bowl.
4. Top bowl with tofu and avocado. Add lime juice to soy mixture and drizzle over noodle bowl. Toss before serving.

Get the full nutrition facts for this recipe.

Discover more great recipes at

Heart Healthy Tips
There is no "one size fits all" eating pattern, and healthy eating should be flexible, varied, and fun. However, when it comes to eating for heart health, a good rule of thumb is to stick to nutrient-dense foods that have been minimally processed.

Incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle is also one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. Cardiorespiratory activities, in particular, (like jogging, swimming, and biking) have powerful benefits for the heart. This list includes lowering blood pressure, raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels, lowering triglycerides, reducing C-reactive protein (related to inflammation), improving blood sugars and insulin sensitivity, and increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut.

In addition to physical activity, consuming these nutrients is important for heart health:

Monounsaturated fat: 
- This heart healthy fat is abundant in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados and can improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.

Omega 3 fats:
- EPA and DHA omega 3's, which can be found in fatty fish, cod liver oil, and other animal products (to a lesser degree), reduce inflammation, and help prevent arterial plaque formation and blood clots from clumping together. Nuts, seeds and soybeans contain ALA of which a small percentage is converted to EPA and DHA.

Dietary fiber:
- Found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, fiber improves cholesterol, balances blood sugars, and feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

Bringing the Mediterranean Straight to Your Plate
Bringing the Mediterranean Straight to Your Plate

Key Ingredients and Flavors of the Mediterranean Diet

Fresh Produce: Vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, onions and carrots and fruits like apples, bananas, figs, dates, grapes, melons and more

Proteins: Beans and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, white beans, fava beans, green beans and peas with less focus on dairy, poultry and eggs

Healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats: Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, cashews; flax and sunflower seeds; olive oil; and omega-3-rich fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel

Whole Grains: In the form of bread, pasta, rice, couscous, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, millet, oats, and more

Learn more by reading the whole post on the Feed Your Potential 365 website.

About Healthy for Life 20 by 20
As part of our Healthy for Life® initiative, we are proud to be working with the American Heart Association to improve the health of Americans 20% by 2020 through healthy menu innovation, consumer and employee awareness & education and community based programs.

Visit to discover recipes, expert tips from chefs and dietitians, and more!

Nathan Slinkard MS, RD, LD
Have questions? Interested in a nutrition consultation?
Contact Nathan at or 501-733-6854