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Jo-Anne M. Rizzotto, M.Ed, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.

Jo-Anne Rizzotto, MEd, RDN, LDN, CDCES, is Director of Educational Services at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator with over 25 years of clinical, research, management and industry experience and is a key member of the clinic leadership team. Jo-Anne is co-chair and an active member of the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators Exam Board. Jo-Anne has a proven track record of managing many facets of quality assurance and improvement with documented outcomes including advancing the use of technologies in the clinic for the management of diabetes. Jo-Anne establishes, directs and manages all aspects of diabetes education programs including overall direction, content, design, delivery, budgeting and staff management. She ensures all programs and staff delivering education meet the highest quality standards and do so with the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness. Jo-Anne participates in and has been the co-principle investigator in numerous clinical research studies. Jo-Anne chairs and participates in a variety of high level selection committees, clinical guideline committees, publication review committees and academic promotion committees. She also chairs the quality committee with the General Counsel at the Joslin in addition to the Clinic policy and procedure committee.

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I share information I receive from HealthyWomen with several of my friends, one of whom would like to gain weight. She has breast cancer and finished her last chemotherapy treatment one month ago. Do you have any helpful tips I can pass along to her regarding gaining weight in a healthy way?


Chemotherapy drugs can interfere with one's ability to eat. The type of chemotherapy drugs and how they are taken influences the type of side effects someone experiences. Weight loss is a common side effect.

Some helpful tips:

  • Eat small meals or snacks every one to two hours.
  • Avoid drinking liquids with meals to keep from feeling full early (unless needed for swallowing).
  • Drink fruit juices or low-fat milk in place of some of the water that you drink.
  • Cook foods with healthy oils, such as canola or olive oil, and don't be afraid to add a trans-fat-free margarine or regular salad dressing to your foods.
  • Add avocado and olives to your salads.
  • Ask your health care professional about medications to help relieve any side effects, such as nausea or pain.
  • Set a pretty table to create a pleasant eating environment.
  • Keep some high-protein, high-calorie snacks on hand.
    • Sprinkle seeds or nuts on desserts, such as fruit, pudding or custard, as well as on vegetables, salads and pasta. Spread natural peanut butter or nut butters on whole grain toast.
    • Make a trail mix with dried fruit and a variety of natural nuts-it's portable and handy when away from home.
    • Use fortified milk* (or evaporated milk) for cooking in place of water when making cereal or cream soups; also use it for mashed potatoes or puddings.
    • Make a smoothie: mix four ounces of fortified milk with a package of Carnation Instant Breakfast, fruit and four ounces of low-fat, Greek-style yogurt.

*Fortified milk can be consumed by itself or used in cooking to add protein and calories. Recipe: Blend one quart of low-fat milk and one cup of nonfat dry milk. Chill for at least six hours. It can also be made with buttermilk and dry buttermilk.

Some free, reputable resources:

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