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K-State Today

October 4, 2012

Sustainable nutrition pro writes entertaining guide to improve health

Submitted by Nancy Peterson

Folks who associate words like nutrition or diet with having to give up their favorite foods stand to benefit from a Kansas State University dietetics graduate’s approach to eating for health — and enjoying it.

“The goal is to strive for progress, rather than perfection,” said Anita M. Kobuszewski, a K-State graduate and a registered dietitian who is based in San Leandro, Calif.

“There’s no need to make food complicated,” said Kobuszewski, whose new book, “Food, Field to Fork,” delivers a practical guide to what she calls “growing sustainably, shopping wisely, cooking nutritiously and eating deliciously.”

Kobuszewski has an enthusiastic and sustainable approach to food, nutrition, gardening and health.

She was invited to return to the university’s Manhattan campus recently to speak with students and to update Kansas’ 105 K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents on preparing sustainable nutrition and health messages for varying audiences.

Word spread about her engaging style, resilient approach to life and sense of humor while also providing plenty of take-home, take-action messages for all.

“Both sessions were packed, with standing-room-only,” said Mary Meck Higgins, K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist who helped bring Kobuszewski back to campus.  

Kobuszewski, who grew up on a farm near Hanover, earned a degree in exercise science from Marymount College in Salina before earning a master’s degree in dietetics at K-State. She describes dietetics as a helping profession.

Her combined education seemed unique at the time, but has proven a foundation for a successful — and varied — career. She’s worked in traditional settings as a dietitian in the medical community, as a food, nutrition and health coach, and as the senior grocery store dietitian for West Coast supermarket chains Albertsons and Lucky.   

Her career also has included military service in the U.S. Navy with assignments on land and at sea.  

She’s advised Navy cooks on menu planning for personnel aboard ships, including aircraft carriers, which is similar to feeding small cities, she said. While serving as the dietitian aboard a hospital ship, she volunteered to serve as an air-traffic controller for its flight deck. As such, she once summoned the courage to wave off a helicopter carrying a top politician in order to give an aircraft carrying patients priority to land.

During her military career, Kobuszewski also developed the wellness program for a base that was ranked in the top four of all wellness programs in the United States — military and civilian. The Navy currently uses this prototype for its health promotion programs worldwide.

With a career history of translating nutrition and health messages into practical tips she has divided her book into short readable chapters. Topics are inclusive and simplify recommendations that can sometimes be confusing to consumers who want to choose eat healthy, save money on food and groceries, and make the most of time in the kitchen.

Examples include:

  • A quick guide to food — such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and whole grains — and their roles in health;
  • Bullet-point explanations about vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other nutrients and health-promoting components, such as antioxidants and what she terms “friendly fiber;”  
  • Suggestions in learning how to choose complementary foods that contribute to health;
  • How to garden and eat with the seasons with tips for selecting fresh produce;
  • Cooking how-to's, with suggestions for simplifying grocery shopping and meal preparation;
  • Family recipes such as K-State Game Day Pot Roast, Jumpin’ Jack Banana Pancakes and Sicilian Pasta Sauce and  
  • A resource section with contact information for food and health agencies.

Kobuszewski also includes information on sports nutrition, aging and disease prevention; the book is an easy read, and is well indexed for quick reference.

The goal is to know what you’re eating, enjoy what you’re eating and strive toward a sustainable eating plan that will contribute to health, she said.

“Moderation is key to eating for health,” said Kobuszewski, who noted: “Over time, little changes can make a big difference.”

Her book, “Food, Field to Fork, How to Grow Sustainably, Shop Wisely, Cook Nutritiously, and Eat Deliciously,” is available in paperback and electronic formats.

More information is available at www.foodfieldtofork.com.

To listen to an interview with Anita M. Kobuszewski, go to www.ksre.ksu.edu/news. Choose Streaming Archives, and click on the K-State Radio Network, “Sound Living,” and scroll down to “Food, Field to Fork” on 8-31-2012.