Today @ MAND – May 2020

May 8th, 2020

We Missed You in April

March, April and May might be starting to blur together as dietitians and nutritionists take the front line with other healthcare workers to fight COVID-19. We hope everyone has remained safe and healthy during this time and has found sources of hope. Thank you for all you are doing!

Supporting Your Neighbor

By Sierra Parker, RD, LDN, CNSC

Everyone has seen an empty grocery shelf during this COVID-19 pandemic. At first it was thought to be due to purely hoarding and the new craze for sourdough breads. However now more than ever we are seeing the hidden health disparities, food deserts, food system issues, and hunger that had always been an issue in the United States. As dietitians these things impacts our field more than any other profession. Our patients and clients rely on our guidance and expertise to eat well and stay healthy. Thus, we have the obligation to identify food insecurity and act. However, with that state still in a semi-lockdown and shelves still empty, how can we help?

Step back. Food deserts per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are broadly defined by access to affordable and healthy food options. This definition considers distance to a store- 1/2 mile for urban areas and up to 20 miles for rural areas- as well as vehicle accessibility. Unfortunately, these definitions fail to account for the actual type of store, income, race, age and many other factors that affect Americans today. The 2015 data from the USDA flagged 30 percent of residents in Massachusetts as living in a food desert based on low income and low access, measured at 1/2 mile for urban areas and 10 miles for rural areas [1]. This data set did not identify the types of food or stores people could access, so we could suspect some people have access to a Whole Foods but cannot afford to shop or others have access to only a bodega that is a one mile walk away. Inner City in Focus also conducted a study in 2015 that reviewed food affordability versus food accessibility. They found that of the 240 grocery stores in Boston only 0.04 per 1,000 population were available to residents in Roxbury versus 0.11 in Back Bay. Not only that but the cost of a gallon milk cost $0.50 more in Roxbury than Back Bay despite an income gap of $58,000 [2]. In addition, since it is unclear what food is available in a food desert, it is not surprising that food deserts are known to increase the risks of cardiovascular events and other health issues [3]. And all of this was five years ago.

Today, things are changing too quickly with Coronavirus to even know how many of our neighbors are without food, let alone healthy options. The unemployment data as of March 2020 in the state of Massachusetts was 2.9 percent and this doesn’t consider that food costs 18 percent more than the national average [4,5]. With restaurants closed, grocery stores empty and food insecurity a rising issue, dietitians can be a source of hope. This can be by done by spreading information about food resources, supporting local restaurants and farmers, and even volunteering. Take some time this spring to share the joys of nutrition!

Food Resources to Spread:

Direct People to Boston COVID-19 Food Resources

Food for Free- rescuing food and feeding the community

Support Boston Restaurant Workers

10 Ways to Support Local Food Right Now

Eat Healthy with Deliveries from Local Farmers

Volunteer, Support and Refer Clients to Community Servings

Volunteer and Refer Clients to ETHOS

Greater Boston Food Bank

Deliver Food to Families Through the Fresh Box Program

Support About Fresh- getting food to those that need it most


[1] United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). Food Access Research Atlas Data [Data File]. Retrieved from:

[2] “Food Availability versus Food Affordability.” Inner City in Focus. (2015). Accessed 5/8/2020. Retrieved from:

[3] Kelli, H., Kim, J., Tahhan, A., Liu, C., Ko, Y., et al. (2019). “Living in Food Deserts and Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease.” Journal of the American Heart Association, 8(4).     

[4] Department of Unemployment Assistance, Economic Research Department. (2020). Labor Force and Unemployment [Data File]. Accessed 5/8/2020. Retrieved from:

[5] Drennan, C. (2019, May). New Data Shows Costs of Food Highest in Massachusetts Highest in United States. The Greater Boston Food Bank. Accessed 5/8/2020. Retrieved from:

Sierra Parker, RD, LDN, CNSC is a dietitian working at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center’s dialysis unit. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont and completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital where she started her career. She is the proud mother of a sourdough starter named Oobleck, a runner, photographer and an avid supporter of farm to table initiatives.

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – March 2020

March 18th, 2020

MA Dietitians Education Foundation T-Shirt Fundraiser Buy a shirt (or two!) to help fund scholarships for future nutrition professionals. Visit to get your t-shirt(s). Massachusetts Dietitians Education Foundation (MDEF) is in dire need of donations to its scholarship fund in order to continue providing yearly scholarships to worthy nutrition students and professionals looking to […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – February 2020

February 17th, 2020

Part One: Plant Pigment Power of Phytonutrients and Vascular Health By Jody Bergeron, MS, RN Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients (phyto=plant) are plant based compounds with certain biological actions that sustain human health.  There are literally thousands of theses non-nutritive compounds that can potentially reduce the risk of chronic conditions.   Phytonutrients stimulate enzymes that assist […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – January 2020

January 17th, 2020

What is Allulose? By Hailey Crean, MS, RD, CDE, CSOWM In my practice, I encourage an all-foods-fit approach to nutrition and that includes sugar. And yes, even when managing diabetes. But, while some sugar fits, studies show most of us are eating way too much of it. In fact, the CDC estimates that between 2005 […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – December 2019

December 16th, 2019

Q&A session with Dan Coello for a feature on the BU Sargent Programs in Nutrition By Caroline Kohler Q: What is the most surprising/interesting thing you’ve learned in the DI? A: That people make mistakes in healthcare, and sometimes they can be pretty bad mistakes. While now it seems like common sense that people would […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – November 2019

November 19th, 2019

MAND BLOG National School Lunch Week: What’s On Your Playlist? Celebrated Across the Nation By Shennie Quintanilla, MS, RDN School lunch is not what it used to be in yesteryears. Districts across the nation are cooking scratch-made tasty meals, enhancing culinary skills, reducing food waste, and supporting local agriculture. School districts are hiring more and […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – October 2019

October 17th, 2019

What exactly does a HAT Trick in Hockey have to do with Sepsis Therapy? By Jody Bergeron, RN, BSN, MS, CEN Hydrocortisone Ascorbic Acid and Thiamine Sepsis is a physiologic, biologic and biochemical chaotic state reflecting a dysregulated inflammatory response to infection. Sepsis exists on a continuum of severity, ranging from infection and bacteremia to […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – September 2019

September 19th, 2019

Dinners in a Dash: Healthy Meals in Less Than 30 Minutes  By Joan Salge Blake, EdD, MS, RDN, FAND September is #FamilyMealsMonth and as the saying goes, what’s old is new and this applies to the lure of dining out regularly.  According to the latest survey from the Hartman Group and the Food Marketing Institute, […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Today @ MAND – August 2019

August 19th, 2019

Advocacy Summit  Hello fellow MAND members! This is Christina Ypsilantis, your President-Elect. I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics “Advocacy Summit” in DC this past July. As President-Elect, one of my roles is to help out with the Public Policy Panel (PPP). Within my first few weeks as President-Elect, […]

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Today @ MAND – July 2019

July 22nd, 2019

What Public Policy Means to Me As the 2018-2019 MAND fiscal year ends and the 2019-2020 year begins, I wanted to thank the MAND colleagues I have been fortunate to serve as MAND’s Director of Public Policy. I offer a hearty thank you to the outgoing members of the Public Policy Panel (PPP) for your […]

Posted by: Maureen Kelly Gonsalves

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Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting

We are sorry to say that ANCE has been postponed until September. More details to follow.

Public Policy

Public Policy

Do You Want to Make a Difference for Your Profession and Your Community?  Visit our Public Policy Section.