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Summer Reading for RDs
Whether via vacation or staycation, now is the time to catch up on peer-written books.
By Sophia Condic, MS, RDN

Summer is the time of year where we can read the books that have been piling up on our bedside table. Whether we’re at our favorite vacation spot or on our own comfy couch, RDs can use some of their summer reading time to read books written by their peers.

Numerous books written by RDs are rich in evidence-based research and MNT guidelines, while many others are cookbooks focusing on mouth-watering recipes. Some of the books by RDs released in 2021 and 2022 discuss recommendations of therapeutic, plant-based, and heart-healthy diets. Along with delicious recipes, they also include sections on nutrition education as well as shopping lists, meal plans, and pantry lists, which can be used as educational materials for clients.

Adding more books to the “to-read” pile sounds intimidating, but reading some of them during the summer can be a great opportunity to grow personally and professionally as an RD.

Want to Learn More About Therapeutic Diets?
One of the most common therapeutic diets is the renal diet. Although each stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has different recommendations, Emily Campbell, RD, CDE, MScFN, wrote the Renal Diet Cookbook for Caregivers: Recipes, Tips, and Meal Plans to Manage Kidney Disease Together to assist those who care for loved ones with CKD. Besides explaining CKD, she communicates which nutrients need to be increased or decreased at each stage. Campbell’s meal plans and shopping lists give caregivers the confidence to provide for their loved ones outside of dialysis. Recipes such as Breakfast Pizza, Chickpea Noodle Soup, and Ginger Beef are renal-friendly meals that everyone can enjoy.

Another well-known therapeutic diet, the cancer diet, is unique in that every patient is different. In her book Cancer Diet for the Newly Diagnosed: An Integrative Guide and Cookbook for Treatment and Recovery, Tamar Rothenberg, MS, RDN, explores why nutrition is important during treatment. Those who have cancer should gravitate toward foods that are rich in antioxidants. Additionally, knowing how to adjust to unintentional weight loss and taste changes, especially through her recipes, such as Sweet Potato Toast, Hot and Sour Soup, and Roasted Whitefish, makes treatment more manageable.

The renal and cancer diets have been around for a while; however, a new diet focuses on brain health. Although more research is needed, Laura Ali, MS, RDN, LDN, discusses in her cookbook MIND Diet for Two: 65 Perfectly Portioned Recipes to Boost Your Brain Health how the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet strives to reduce neurodegenerative decline. This diet combines the DASH and Mediterranean diets and emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, and healthful fats. Along with providing pantry lists, Ali includes recipes such as Shakshuka, Tilapia Fish Tacos, and Apple Acorn Squash to help with cognitive health.

Today’s Trend: Focusing on Plants
One of the hottest trends in nutrition is eating plants, and Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CSOWM, author of The Plant-Forward Solution: Reboot Your Diet, Lose Weight & Build Lifelong Health by Eating More Plants & Less Meat, aims to prove that plants should come first in the diet. Through her mission of eating less meat and more plants, Martin discusses how myths such as avoiding soy and not getting enough protein can easily be debunked. Furthermore, recipes in her 28-Day Reset, such as Superseed Overnight Oats, Rainbow Soba Salad, and “Meaty” Bolognese, can be made with a few simple ingredients.

Other RDs, such as Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, author of The Complete Healthy Eating Cookbook: Fuss-Free Recipes and Flexible Meal Plans for Healthier Living, intend to stress the importance of plants and animal-based foods in the diet. Her tips for healthful eating, which include eating whole foods, balancing the plate, and being mindful of portion sizes, are helpful when cooking balanced meals. In addition, O’Connor’s meal plans, which feature recipes such as Veggie Meatloaf, Fiesta Chicken Macro Bowls, and Apple Flapjacks, are available for those who want to lose weight, cook easy meals, or create meals for families.

While Martin and O’Connor focus on plant and animal proteins, there are others who use only plant-based proteins. Rhyan Geiger, RD, author of Vegan Slow Cooking for Two: 85 Healthy Recipes to Enjoy Together, proves that meals such as Tikka Masala, Vegan Lasagna, and Veggie Fajitas, can be vegan, delicious, and full of nutrients. Those made in a slow cooker have an advantage in that they don’t require a lot of preparation. Furthermore, some of her suggestions, such as creating a grocery list and taking inventory of what one already has on hand, are helpful slow cooker tips for a family of any size.

Always Keep That Heart Healthy
One of the most popular kitchen gadgets is the air fryer, and the DASH Diet Air Fryer Cookbook: 75 Easy Recipes for a Healthier Lifestyle by Christina Lombardi, MS, RD, FMNS, explains how using an air fryer can help support a heart-healthy lifestyle. Along with providing tips on how to use one, Lombardi answers the most asked questions and provides suggestions for using it beside frying. Additionally, many of her 75 recipes, such as Eggplant Bites with Marinara, Pineapple-Chicken Skewers, and Brownie Bites, are delicious additions to any meal.

The air fryer can produce appetizing heart-healthy meals, but we can’t forget the Instant Pot. The Heart-Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook: 75 Fast and Flavorful Recipes by O’Connor talks about which foods can help reduce the risk of high cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. Her book also features graphics on medication interactions, the plate method, and shopping tips. Some of her most creative recipes include her Savory Tamale Pie, Pulled Pork Stew, and Harvest Fruit Crisp, all of which can be made quickly thanks to the Instant Pot.

While kitchen gadgets make life easier, Heart-Healthy Meal Prep: 6 Weekly Plans for Low-Sodium, High-Flavor Grab-and-Go Meals by Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, concentrates on meal prep to achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle. To create meals that promote heart health, she emphasizes which nutrients to focus on and which ones to avoid. Furthermore, Andrews provides six weekly meal plans filled with delicious recipes, such as Mocha Java Smoothies, Caesar Tuna Salad, and Beef Shish Kebabs with Brown Rice, to encourage meal planning throughout the week. These meal plans also include shopping lists for each week.

Get Ready to Read
Any of these cookbooks are great additions to a summer reading list. Although that pile of books on the bedside table may be growing, the information in them is invaluable. Those cookbooks published in 2021 and 2022 highlight current MNT recommendations that can help RDs learn more about the profession. They also offer resources, such as shopping and pantry lists, and meal plans, which can be used as educational materials. But most importantly, these cookbooks are filled with delicious recipes that can be perfect for clients and loved ones.

— Sophia Condic, MS, RDN, can be reached at linkedin.com/in/sophia-condic-ms-rdn.