Alabama Dietitians Leading Out Loud



Happy June friends! I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods but it’s definitely hot down south in Alabama. I’ve been on hiatus with the blog recently updating graphics and layout. It’s been a busy summer with cooking demos, conferences, and other trips, but I thought I’d launch the new look sharing a wonderful montage video of the awesome RDNs in the state of Alabama! Back in March, our state association had the pleasure of enjoying Joan Horbiak, dietitian and media specialist. She made a great video showcasing a handful of our wonderful dietitians, and I am honored to be a part of the video! This month I was lucky enough to collaborate with Joan again for a culinary media training in New Orleans (upcoming post soon!!!).

Check it out!

My Health Reboot Portion Plates

Hello friends! My goodness it has been awhile since my last updates, and boy do I have a lot to catch up on!

This week our Alabama Obesity Task Force held its quarterly meeting in Clanton, AL. My colleague, Dr. Lauren Whitt, who directs the employee wellness efforts at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, shared a really cool product from MyHealthReboot.Com. This is a new company that Dr. Whitt has been involved with and just launched the page and their products a week or so ago. The first product they’ve launched is a children’s portion plate, based very similar to the Choose My Plate graphic. These neat little plates also come with a placemat and dry erase marker where kids and parents can color in and check off the food groups that are eaten throughout the day. What I love about the plate the most is the color schemes/designs that are currently available. Being a company based in Alabama, the company offers an elephant plate (The University of Alabama) and tiger plate (Auburn University) for the kiddos. They also offer a green apple plate that can appeal to all nutrition lovers.

Image My Health Reboot is also featuring a 2nd Helping program that will provide a plate to a child in poverty for every plate that is purchased on the website. I can’t wait to order one to check out in person and even consider for fun stocking stuffers this Christmas. If you end up trying this product with your child or clients, let me know what you think!

Alabama’s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities

Hi folks! As a way to get the word out about an exciting event happening in Alabama, I’m taking to my blog to share! Some of you may recall me mentioning my work on the Alabama Obesity Task Force. On October 29th we are hosting an exciting event with a number of all-star speakers across the state. Please see all of the event information below and share with any colleagues that this may be of interest to 🙂

Please join us for “Alabama’s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities” hosted by The Alabama Obesity Task Force and Alabama Action for Healthy Kids. This one day summit will discuss solutions for creating a healthier environment to live, learn, and play in our Alabama communities. Featured speakers include State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice, Stephenie B. Wallace, MD, Robert Murray, MD and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox just to name a few.


Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 29th and invite colleagues in your respective organizations. School professionals, community and government leaders, health care providers, health professionals and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend this exciting event. The summit will be held at the Pelham Civic Complex from 8am-4pm. Cost is only $10 per person. Register and pay $10 online to ensure a spot and lunch choice at Due to limited seating, you are strongly encouraged to register and pay online. For individuals that would like to pre-register for the event but plan to pay at the door, please call (205)348-0205 and leave your name, lunch choice, and email contact information. You may also email Registration will be accepted until one week prior to the event. For more information, please visit


Registration and payment will also be accepted at the door but seating may not be available.




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One Year Anniversary {Personal Post}

Once again it has been a hot minute since my last post. I’ve been away on a small getaway to Charleston which has left me with exhaustion but plenty of yummy things to share this week. However, today I wanted to post pictures from my recent one year anniversary shoot with my husband. Being the food and dessert lover that I am, I had to incorporate some cupcakes! It was hard to choose the handful that would go on my final disc. These pictures were done by JWoodbery Photography who can also be found on facebook.

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Alabama Obesity Task Force

Hi friends! I apologize it’s been a week or so since my last post; life has been happening (my mom graduated from college after being primarily in the workforce for the past 20 years- yay! and it was 80’s day at work yesterday— see corresponding pictures 🙂 )  which has provided so much to write about but not enough time to actually be able to write! But today, I’d like to finally share an update, which majorly includes my involvement with the Alabama Obesity Task Force.


So proud of my mom! Pictured from left to right: my dad, my mom, my little brother, me, and my husband (who is significantly taller than the rest of my family…might I add I’m wearing heels)

80's day at husband said I look like an extra from Saved by the Bell/I need to audition for Hot Sundae.
80’s day at work…my husband said I look like an extra from Saved by the Bell/I need to audition for Hot Sundae.

On an exciting note, this past Tuesday I was inducted as chair of the Alabama Obesity Task Force. This is something I’ve been involved with as a dietitian since 2010. After serving as a general member, I’ve spent the past 2 years as chair/co-chair of our Student Engagement committee which strives to utilize college students as a resource to support and execute programs and political bills that encourage a healthier lifestyle for Alabamamians. On Tuesday however, I was honored and humble to be inducted as overall chair for our task force to serve the 2013-2014 term.

Since being involved with this group, many of my family and colleagues have been asking what exactly the task force is and how it came about. The establishment of this entity pre-dates me but was formed as part of a grant application to the CDC for Alabama to get funding for obesity prevention efforts.  In terms of  the mission of the task force, it strives to provide goals and objectives at various social-ecological levels including:

  • Education and Awareness
  • Lifestyle and Behavioral Choices
  • Community-based Environmental Strategies
  • School and Website Improvements
  • Policy Development or Changes

This has been an exciting time to be part of the task force especially since our committees have recently cranked out a worksite wellness guide for businesses to use and in October we will be holding a health summit inviting the community and school officials to learn about ways to partner to reduce obesity which will also include updates on recent research linking the positive effects of eating and exercise on brain function in school children 🙂

Though we have over 200 members in the organization, my goals this year include increasing our membership and the types of entities that are represented. Many of those on our task force represent school systems, local YMCA’s, health insurance officials, pharmacists, nurses, state health officials, and dietitians such as myself. Below is a picture of me and Michael Jackson (great name!) during the meeting Tuesday as he passed the torch of chair to me after serving his 2012-2013 term.

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Okay, these are my updates for now- I promise I’ll be posting some new things soon! In the meantime however, please check out my good friend Cindy’s site, Newlywed Nutrition, where I guest posted this week on the topic of Confessions of a NOT SO Susie Homemaker 🙂  🙂sheena homemaker1

100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die

This week I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with my parents in my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama while off of work for spring break (trust me, I am fully aware of this luxury!). One thing that I always look forward to while in Fort Payne is having a barbecue salad from a restaurant called The Bar-B-Q Place. Growing up in the South and especially now living in a city such as Tuscaloosa, barbecue is not an uncommon find. However, the thing that makes The Bar-B-Q Place such a treat is a side dish called Jo Jo Potatoes that I always order alongside my salad (everything in moderation!). In fact, these little potatoes are so yummy, they have been listed as an item on the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.

ImageNow, I cannot claim these little potato slices are the healthiest option on the menu, but The Barbecue Place’s secret blend of spices and method of breading makes them a yummy but greasy treat. If you’re not preparing your potatoes via deep frying all the time, potatoes can actually be a wonderful staple to your diet! Though we often prepare our potatoes by deep frying them or adding copious amounts of butter, cheese, and bacon, potatoes in their more natural state by simple cooking methods (roasting with olive oil, boiling, grilling, etc.) can provide great nutrition! Potatoes are a rich source of carbohydrate to fuel our body and are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc!


Hopefully during the rest of my trip here I can maintain some balance to my diet, but I look forward to sharing more yummy finds along the way!

P.S. If you happen to be local to Alabama, particularly Fort Payne, and know the recipe that The Bar-B-Q Place uses, please share! It would definitely make for a great recipe redux 😉