Nutrition Blog

Welcome to my Nutrition Blog!

Laura Frese, MMS, PA-C, RD received her bachelor’s degree in science nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University in St. Louis. She then finished her physician assistant studies and master’s degree in medical science at Northwestern University in Chicago.

She is a certified physician assistant and registered dietitian who is trained to provide low risk obstetric and gynecological services including prenatal care, pap smears, contraceptive counseling, and STD prevention and treatment.

Laura is uniquely trained to help teach, mentor, and advise women on nutrition and overall health. We are excited to have Laura head up a program where our patients will get more than just the general, “one-size-fits-all” nutritional counseling. For prenatal nutrition, general health, or weight loss, she is an excellent guide for counseling of effective nutritional and lifestyle habits that will assist patients throughout their lives.

She is an active member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The Holiday Season is here!

I have a turkey in my freezer, white lights and stockings hanging in my living room, and am starting to dream up my Christmas wish list — this can all only mean one thing:  the holiday season is here!

Did you know the average American gains one to two pounds each holiday season? This doesn’t sound like much – but the more startling statistic is that these couple of pounds tend to stick around, meaning after 5 years, you’re carrying an additional 10 pounds you hadn’t been previously.

Let’s all make it a goal this year to avoid the extra holiday gain, starting with Thanksgiving! I promise it is possible, with just a few simple strategies:

  1.  Do not skip meals. Too many of us now think of Thanksgiving as a day to eat until we are more stuffed than the turkey – but this is usually not that enjoyable, and it certainly isn’t healthy. Try treating Thanksgiving Day and other holiday meals as any other day – just with more fun seasonal foods! When you think of Thanksgiving Dinner as just “dinner,” one of three healthy meals in your day, it can really help overeating.  Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Including high-fiber foods (like fresh fruits and oatmeal) and protein (like Greek yogurt or eggs) will make a satisfying, healthy meal that will help keep you full. Then when you approach the Thanksgiving buffet later, you won’t be ravenous – and will be in the right mindset to make healthy choices.
  2.  Use a smaller plate. Many studies have concluded that people tend to underestimate their portion sizes when eating off larger plates or bowls. To help keep your serving sizes in check, choose a smaller plate, such as a salad plate, if it’s available.
  3.  Keep MyPlate in mind. Remember the “MyPlate” method I had sent out several months ago? Half the plate is fruits and veggies, 1/4 is protein and 1/4 is carbohydrate. Aim to keep this same breakdown going on Thanksgiving Day. And start by eating the veggie side first. Research shows that eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall.
  4.  Stay mindful. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Research has proven that when people eat slowly, truly taste their food, and pause between bites, they tend to eat less. This is typically because we realize we are satisfied before that point of “so stuffed I need to unbutton the pants” hits. Before going back for seconds, wait for 10 minutes as your food settles to see if you really are still hungry. If you’re feeling full or even satisfied, focus on enjoying the company of those around you — another wonderful part of Thanksgiving is time spent with those we love! You can always take some leftovers home to enjoy another day.
  5.  Remember – turkey and potatoes are available every day of the year.  A common thought process on Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so we have to go all in. Try counteracting those thoughts by reminding yourself that you can get turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, and other common holiday dishes literally any other day of the year. Pick and choose which of the indulgent items you really want on your plate. If Grandma’s homemade stuffing really is a once-a-year item, then enjoy every bite — but maybe skip the store-bought dinner roll or candied yams that you don’t really love all that much (for example).
  6.  Stay active. You’ll likely feel less guilty and less miserable after a Thanksgiving feast if you’ve kept up with your physical activity routine throughout the season. Sign up for a Turkey Trot in your neighborhood, or get your family involved together to go for a walk or start up a game of flag football.
  7.  Remember the “reason for the season.” The reason for Thanksgiving is right in the word itself — a time to be thankful, and a time to give. Challenge your family to take attention away from the giant feast, and make Thanksgiving about something more. Spend time sharing gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life, or find a local charity that you can volunteer or donate to.

Get Moving!

First tip is that people need to just move, get out walk, run, bike, or roller blade.   The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that

adults engage in 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes 5 times a week, of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, to help improve overall health

and fitness and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Also recommended, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise getting your heart rate up to 60 to

90% of maximum heart rate, such as running, biking, stair master, elliptical or HIIT (high intensity interval training).

To learn more about Paul and his training services, please visit:







Guest Blogger – Paul Roberts, CPT-CES-WES,
National Academy of Sports Medicine, certified personal trainer.

Fueling your fitness

When it comes to fueling your fitness, you’ve probably heard a lot of conflicting tips. Should you exercise on an empty stomach, or have a snack before? Is protein or carb better for pre- and post-workout snacks? Does eating after the gym undo everything you just did during your workout?

To help set the record straight, I’ve pulled some tips and tricks from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics website, to give you the dietitian’s point of view on proper fuel for your fitness goals.

We will cover the following topics on my blog:

Is it best to work out on an empty stomach?

Are sports drinks and energy gels helpful for maximizing workouts?

What are good snacks to eat before or after a workout?

Will increasing my protein intake help make my muscles grow? 

If I exercise regularly, that means I can eat whatever I want and stay the same weight -right?

Is it best to work out on an empty stomach?

Since our bodies need fuel to function, it’s important not to exercise on a completely empty stomach. If you’re asking your body to run, jump, swim or lift weights, having a snack or light meal before exercise will help improve your exercise performance by giving you the energy your cells need to keep pushing. It will also help keep your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after you exercise as well!


Are sports drinks and energy gels helpful for maximizing workouts?

To be honest, there’s nothing special about the many sports drinks, gels, and energy supplements on the market. Replacing the fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during a sweaty workout is very important for your health, but doing so doesn’t require special products. Real food and water can provide the same benefits, when you’re making the right choices. (More below!)


What are good snacks to eat before or after a workout?

Before exercise, it’s helpful to have a light, carbohydrate-rich snack to give your body the quick energy it will need to fuel muscle activity for the 30-60 minutes ahead. If possible, aim to get 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates in about an hour before your workout. This can be as simple as a handful of dry cereal, a slice of toast, or a small smoothie.

After a workout, it’s important to reload your muscles and give your body the fluid and electrolytes it lost through sweating. Because we are now focusing on repairing, restoring and replenishing, it’s helpful to have both protein and carbohydrates together, ideally within 15 minutes to an hour after your workout. If you won’t be having a regular meal anytime soon, try a light snack such as: 8 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk; 1/4 cup of trail mix; 1/2 PB&J sandwich; handful of pretzels with 2 tbsp hummus.  Make sure you’re measuring out your portions so that your food truly is a replenishing snack, not a feast that undoes your workout.


Will increasing my protein intake help make my muscles grow? 

While protein is definitely an important part of a balanced diet, unfortunately eating extra protein will not magically result in more muscle mass. The only way to truly grow muscles is to put them to work! Carbohydrates are actually the best fuel for working muscles. Protein is important for muscle recovery, but having too much protein can be hard on your diet.  Having 3-4 ounces of protein per meal should adequately meet your needs.


If I exercise regularly, that means I can eat whatever I want and stay the same weight -right?

I wish! Unfortunately, this is wrong. It’s not that easy. Working out does not give you a free pass to forget about portion sizes and healthy eating guidelines we’ve been discussing all year. It’s easy to overestimate the number of calories you burn when working out, and most fitness equipment miscalculates calorie burn as well.

Athletes who are engaging in serious endurance training likely need to adjust their calorie intake to accommodate their workouts and focus hard on recovery nutrition. But for the rest of us, who exercise an hour or less each day, simply continuing to follow a healthy, balanced, portion-controlled diet is most important.


I hope this was helpful! To learn more, check out:

Fueling Your Workout – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Eating right on game day is your secret weapon for top-notch performance, whatever your sport. Get a nutrition game plan with these nutrition tips. Whether you’re a …

 August is Kids Eat Right month.

I know not all of us are mothers to young children, but even if you are a big sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a babysitter.. you still have an impact on the health and nutrition of children around you!

A recent study from Denmark found that when children have an elevated body mass index (BMI) during childhood, their risk of having strokes early in adulthood increases. This study is just one among many that show us that lifelong health really does begin in childhood.

The best thing we can do for the children in our lives is to be an example of healthy living. When we choose fresh fruits and vegetables, limit our junk food intake, keep an open mind for trying new things, and exercise regularly, we show our kids how to live a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

Getting kids involved in food shopping and meal preparation also helps engage them in healthy living. When kids have the opportunity to help build a meal, they are more likely to take ownership of it and be excited about trying the new dish. Make sure to pick tasks that are age-appropriate – whether that is measuring an ingredient, stirring, or chopping things for the older young adults.


If you are a mom with kids at home, here are a few great articles for this crazy busy back-to-school time. Read more for fun breakfast ideas and ways to make sure your kids stay active throughout the year ahead:

Best Breakfasts for Your School Crew

What is the best breakfast for kids this school year? It’s the breakfast they will eat, whether than means cereal, eggs or toast, or leftovers, a quesadilla or cheese … click on the list above to read more.

Back to School: Keep Exercise at the Front of the Class

As school returns to session and the days get shorter, it can be more challenging to ensure that your child is engaging in enough daily activity… click on the list above to read more.

For additional information visit:



Breakfast of Champions!

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times… “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” There is a lot of truth to that statement!

Breakfast boasts lots of benefits! It…

  • kick-starts your metabolism every morning so your body can be a calorie-burning machine all day.
  • gives you a boost of energy so you feel sharper and ready to take on the day.
  • helps nix the morning grumpiness and grogginess you might otherwise feel.
  • adds in important nutrients you might miss completely if you skipped the AM meal.
  • can help you lose weight and maintain that weight loss over the long-run.

Many nutritionists even believe that we should make breakfast not only the most important meal of our day, but the biggest meal too! The saying goes, “Eat like a queen at breakfast, a princess at lunch, and a peasant at dinner.” By eating our biggest meal in the morning, we give our bodies time to really use that fuel and burn those calories throughout the day…which we don’t do when we eat a big dinner at 7 p.m. and go to sleep a few hours later!


Even if you’re not ready to make breakfast your feast meal, try starting your day with SOMETHING in your stomach. A perfect breakfast combines fiber, protein and a little simple carbohydrate. This winning combo will give you a little quick energy (from the simple carb) that also has lasting power (from the protein + fiber) that will help power you through to lunchtime.


Here’s a few great ideas that are quick, easy, well-balanced and tasty too!

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread + 1 tbsp. peanut butter + 1/2 sliced banana
  • smoothie made with 4 oz. greek yogurt, 1 c. berries, 1 tbsp. flax seed
  • overnight oats made with 1/2 c. oatmeal, 1/2 c. yogurt, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/2 c. berries
  • 1 slice of sprouted grain bread + 1/4 mashed avocado + 1 poached egg
  • grab-n-go egg muffins (scramble raw eggs and bake in muffin tins with veggies and low-fat cheese)
  • breakfast burrito, made with whole grain tortilla, 1 scrambled egg, 2 tbsp. salsa, 1/4 c. chopped pepper, 1/4 avocado

And these websites have a lot more yummy ideas to try!


Happy breakfasting!


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