Friday, February 15, 2013

Nutrition classes inspire better food choices

Have you ever headed into a grocery store determined just to buy the staples? Perhaps you picked up a gallon of milk, eggs, bread and maybe some pasta. The problem was the pesky endcap displays you walked by advertising special prices on two-liter sodas and chocolate chip cookies. Did you reach for those items as well?

MGH dietician Deborah Krivitsky, MS, RD, LDN, covers the topic of avoiding impulse purchases in her regular “Supermarket Smarts” class at the MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center. She teaches a variety of nutrition classes that are offered to patients in the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center. Topics include diet and diabetes, portion sizes and labels, and the good, bad and ugly about fats. Krivitsky’s plate is full of useful information to help patients make better choices when choosing what foods to eat.

Larry Kimmelman, a cardiac rehab patient who has attended some of the classes, says he has learned a lot from Krivitsky about better eating habits. For example, when it comes to portion control, Krivitsky encourages patients to use side dishes – a perfect tip at home and when dining out at restaurants. “I love seafood pasta,” admits Kimmelman. So, Krivitsky taught him how to keep the foods he loves in his diet while also encouraging him to put the pasta on a side dish, to consume fewer carbohydrates. 

Kimmelman, a fast food franchisee operator, says the tips he has learned – such as eating smaller portions, incorporating more vegetables into his diet and choosing whole wheat over other types of grains – have enabled him to make healthier eating choices at both work and home. These decisions, along with exercise, also have helped him lose weight. 

“I have two grandsons in New York City,” says Kimmelman, “and when I see them now, their arms can actually reach around me.”

And Kimmelman, inspired by the classes, is not stopping at just educating himself on the topic of better nutrition. He recently connected Krivitsky with his company to be a part of a national conversation on nutrition and fast food menus. “I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the conversation about nutrition and menu options,” says Krivitsky. “I’m proud of our patients like Larry who are learning from the classes and are empowering others to make healthier choices.”

The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center is located at 25 New Chardon St. in Boston. Nutrition classes are held from 11 am to noon.

To learn more about the patient education classes and view the 2013 schedule visit:

To read Krivitsky’s thoughts about “Sugar and beverages: How much is too much?” visit

Read more articles from the 02/15/13 Hotline issue.

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