Airline Food the Healthy Way!

Healthy Airline Food

Are you making healthy choices when travelling by air?

Bring Healthy Snacks or Lunch to the Airport

There’s really no way around it these days – if you want to feel better, spend less, and enjoy traveling by air, then good nutrition belongs in your carry-on. Take a look at your flight times and pack up a simple breakfast/lunch/dinner or a few flexible snacks. I put a big emphasis on ‘simple’ because chances are a simple food bag will be a healthier food bag.

5 Tips for Carry-On Snacks or Lunch
Bring a nut butter sandwich to eat on a shorter plane ride
Bring a cheese sandwich for a short or longer plane ride
Bring some baby carrots or one-bite tomatoes, in a small container
Bring some nuts, raisins & dark chocolate chips for whenever
Bring an apple, orange, or banana in your pocket or backpack
 5 Tips for Free Airline Food
Ask for water from the drink cart, to stay hydrated
Ask for orange juice, tomato juice, or apple juice from the drink cart
Ask for nuts instead of a sugary cookie snack
Pre-order a special meal such as low fat or vegetarian on an international flight
Enjoy a light meal on an international flight (see above meal from Japanese airline, ANA)
 Take Good Nutrition on the Airline with You!
Traveling by air is so much better with good nutrition on-board. Stick with your daily routine of healthy choices, stashed into your carry-on, for a refreshing arrival. Then, continue with smart and nutritious meals and snacks at your destination. Everyday tips about good nutrition are a click away with my facebook page, searchable blogs and free report. Bon voyage!
What’s a healthy and easy snack you like to take on an airline trip?

Healthy Car Snacks for Vacation or Not

Nuts & Fruit

Nuts & fruit are 2 great car snacks.

Car Trips and Snacking
My friends usually laugh at me when I pull out a ‘pocket snack’ while on the road. Actually, I’m one of those people who carries a snack just about everywhere I go. Yes, maybe I’m driving 4 hours or 8, or maybe I’m just headed to the other side of town. When you pack up your car for vacation, or a much shorter drive, do you include healthy snacks?
Why Bring Along Healthy Car Snacks?
My 3 favorite reasons to be smart with snacking in the car boil down to adding a burst of physical & mental energy, saving money, and cashing in on an opportunity to eat a fruit and/or vegetable. This article may you as it did me. It describes potential snack options that make you feel good an hour after you eat them – a wise approach.
Car Snacks Short List
We all have our go-to snacks. Choosing the ones that fit your personal nutrition goals and deliver a burst of awesome flavor belong on your short list. Here are 5 examples of my short list of healthy car snacks for vacation or not:
  • Crackers & Cheese: String cheese travels well & the cracker adds a great crunch.
  • Dried Fruit: All dried fruit travels well. Try dried apples, peaches, cherries or raisins.
  • Yogurt: Stash yogurt cups into a small cooler with an ice pack to keep them chilled down.
  • Nuts: Bring a store-bought can of mixed or solo variety nuts to stay alert – not hungry –  while driving.
  • Water: Stash water into a cooler. Seltzer or club soda is sparkly and refreshing for a change.

Healthy Car Snacks & Meals to Get You Through the Week

Good nutrition is about practical ideas that work for you. Whether you’re looking for ideas about healthy car snacks or meals to get you through the week, take a look at my EStore of easy & affordable meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes. My goal is to give you a burst of energy and ideas that really make sense.

What will go into your car trip snack pack?

8 Great Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market this Summer!

Farmer's Market June beans

Fresh flavors are best from the local Farmer’s Market!

Visit a Farmer’s Market this Summer!

If you like taking kid-friendly outings, love the fresh air, and adore fresh and local foods, then the Farmer’s Market is a perfect destination this summer. There are many great reasons to visit a Farmer’s Market and here are just a few.

8 Great Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market this Summer!

  • Tasting wonderful flavors fresh from the farm
  • Supporting family farmers who work hard day-after-day to grow nutritious fruits, vegetables, and more
  • Protecting the environment by buying food that was grown nearby and was packaged & traveled less
  • Nourishing your family with minimally processed foods picked ripe
  • Discovering varieties that you cannot find at the grocery store – like heirloom tomatoes, figs, or watermelon radishes
  • Knowing where your food comes from by striking up a conversation with a farmer who grew it
  • Learning cooking tips and recipes from farmers who are passionate about their product(s) and how to prepare it
  • Connecting with your community, meeting friends, and getting a ‘taste’ of the country

What You’ll Find at the Farmer’s Market this Summer!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Farmer’s Markets are only about fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs – which, by the way, are spectacular. You might be surprised to find a whole lot more. Some farmers sell grass-fed beef, lamb, and/or chicken. Others sell chicken or quail eggs, or local honey. The Farmer’s Market in your town may be a place to buy local strawberry or peach jam, pickled local beets, or homemade bread. Also, it’s not uncommon to find handmade crafts and clothing, too. If you’re a gardener, then a visit to the Farmer’s Market may be your best place to buy locally-raised plants, shrubs, or cut sunflowers. The fun goes on and on.

Kids and Families Enjoy the Farmer’s Market this Summer!

Kids can have a great experience at the Farmer’s Market when they pick out a pint of blueberries to take home and make into blueberry pancakes. Or, coax them into picking out a colorful vegetable and then cook it for dinner. As summer rolls along, kids and adults can team up to buy delicious local foods for the backyard grill, the neighborhood pool potluck, or a picnic in the park.

Resources about the Farmer’s Market & More!

Local Harvest is a website where you can find out about the family farms and Farmer’s Markets in your town. Look at the top of the homepage for a way to search for something near you!

Market Basket Nutrition’s Facebook Page, Free Weeknight Menus, and EStore of Meal Planning and Recipe Books will get you involved with new ideas for promoting and practicing good nutrition each and every day. I’ll see you there!

 

Mediterranean Style Snacks!

Med hummus veg platter

A platter of hummus with colorful vegetables is a satisfying snack!

10 Mediterranean Style Snacks 

  1. Hummus with colorful vegetables makes a fun appetizer or anytime snack. Here is my easy recipe for homemade hummus.
  2. Sugar snap peas, raw out of the bag (washed, of course) are a sweet nibble.
  3. Yogurt layered with fruit is yummy for breakfast or dessert. Here is my easy recipe for a yogurt and fruit parfait.
  4. Whole grain crackers with goat cheese are full of flavor. Add a grape or slice of melon to the top for even more ‘wow.’
  5. Oat granola, nuts & low fat milk, piled high with fresh berries.
  6. Sandwich pinwheels with colorful vegetables. Here is my healthier lunch blog that’s all about sandwiches.
  7. Fruit & vegetable smoothies are tasty and filling. Here is my easy recipe for a green smoothie.
  8. Olives, feta cheese, and a slice of crusty bread.
  9. A square of 72% dark chocolate & handful of grapes.
  10. Half of a tuna salad sandwich with leafy green lettuce and tomatoes.

Mix in Mediterranean Style Snacks!

Snacks can be packed with good nutrition, or not. I encourage everyone to take the ‘high road’ with your snacks to enjoy fantastic flavors along with nutrient richness. Feel better and stay healthier by mixing in the above Mediterranean snacks. My Tasty EBooks are affordable and easy to use as a new tool for your healthier kitchen and life, too! Or join our healthy nutrition community on facebook, with tips & recipes every day.

How to Become a Vegetarian in 5 Easy Steps!

Vegetarian lunch

This vegetarian lunch is packed with good nutrition & filling!

How to Become a Vegetarian in 5 Easy Steps!

There’s a lot of talk these days about plant-based eating. Some of it has to do with being environmentally aware, some of it relates to keeping your heart in good shape, and some of it is basically ‘on trend.’ Becoming a vegetarian is actually different than eating in a plant-based kind of way. The vegetarian lifestyle means completely meatless and 365 days a year.

Become a Vegetarian in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Learn all you can. Vegetarian eating is not just taking meat/chicken/fish off your meal plate. It is planning for great flavors along with great nutrition and this takes some studying. For a jump start, call a local registered dietitian who can help you with the ins-and-outs of becoming a vegetarian and with how to put everything into an organized plan for you, personally.
  2. Taste new foods and try new combos. The easiest way to transform yourself into a vegetarian is to open your mind to new foods and different combinations. Step #1 is important because learning how to make vegetarian substitutions into your meals and snacks can be challenging. Plant-based protein foods such as soybeans, eggs, lentils, black beans, cheese and yogurt, nuts and seeds, are essentials. Also whole grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, farro and sorghum, supply high quality carbohydrates along with a small amount of protein.
  3. Write down your meal plans. Changing your nutrition to vegetarian-style goes more smoothly when you pre-plan. A one-week plan is simply your ‘road map’ to including proper nutrition meal-by-meal and day-by day. Push yourself to be creative at this step and think about fun combinations. For example:
  • Black bean burrito with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, salsa and cilantro plus a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert
  • Egg omelet filled with mushrooms, piece of whole grain toast or small bagel, steamed broccoli and fruit salad for dessert
  • Chili made with kidney & garbanzo beans – instead of beef – plus a large green salad topped with colorful veggies and nuts, and fruit for dessert.
  1. Celebrate Meatless Monday with family and friends. A great way to share your new vegetarian lifestyle with those you care about most is to have a party – potluck works well – where all the dishes are meatless. You can choose any day of the week that works or consider Meatless Monday, a national health campaign to help everyone eat nutritiously with more vegetables.
  1. Keep tabs on your energy level and overall health. When you make the shift to eating vegetarian, put a focus on how you feel. Eating adequate calories for your age, weight and height, along with a good night’s sleep, should give you a good energy level. If suddenly you feel tired and out-of-energy, then it’s smart to review your meals and snacks with a registered dietitian. It’s also important to get a doctor’s appointment 6-12 months after starting to eat vegetarian style. Ask for blood work that includes nutrients that may be inadequate when you switch to meatless. These include: iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D. If any of these essential nutrients is low, then a good quality multivitamin is typically recommended.

Know Your Best Resources

When you become a vegetarian, reliable resources are key to your success. Here are 3 to try:

What’s your favorite vegetarian recipe?

Trying New Foods & Recipe for Squid Stew!

 

Squid stew

Squid stew is fun to try!

Trying New Foods

Are you a food risk taker? Do you like trying something new? I’m going to put myself into the ‘yes’ column on these questions and I’m going to nudge you to do the same. Making the most of new food experiences, including what you eat, opens up new flavors, textures, and top-notch nutrition!

Trying New Seafood

Seafood in general has a lot going for it. Salmon and shrimp are the top 2 choices of seafood for Americans. Did you know? Think about how many times you’ve enjoyed these two favorites and how many times you’ve cooked them. Probably quite a few. Squid, on the other hand, may be a seafood choice that you’ve rarely cooked or never even considered. Squid is actually a powerful source of protein with 13 grams in an average, 3 ounce serving. Along with the protein, the same serving has minimal carbs, minimal fat, minimal sodium, and only about 80 calories, and the bonus is nearly 20% of the daily value of vitamin B12.

Recipe for Squid Stew

To make a new or, to some people, weird food like squid something you want to try, add it to foods and flavors you already like. The Squid Stew Recipe here combines many favorite Mediterranean ingredients and flavors with simple, frozen squid rings that add a seafood flair.

Serves 4-6

  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves Garlic, left whole
  • 1 or 1-1/2 pound Squid, fresh or frozen – I buy a bag of frozen squid rings at the grocery store
  • 1 cup White wine – Or, feel free to substitute broth
  • 1 can, 28 ounces Diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 Eggplant, skin on, diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup Frozen peas
  • Salt & Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Fresh basil, chopped (optional)
  1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chopped onions and saute lightly, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic cloves and saute 1 minute longer.
  3. Add squid and saute while stirring, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add wine (or broth), tomatoes, diced eggplant, frozen peas, salt, pepper, parsley and basil (optional).
  5. Stir everything together and cook at a simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes.

Trying New Foods is Fun!

Variety is truly the ‘spice of life’ and this expression definitely applies to trying new foods. Push yourself. Cook with your friends or family. Have a party. All of these are great opportunities to stretch yourself and to eat nutritiously. Squid stew may become your new favorite recipe but how will you know if you never try it? Join me on facebook for daily tips about all kinds of foods, or get my free report called 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone.

What new seafood will you try?

 

 

 

Grow a Garden of Green!

Lettuce in garden

Grow a garden for fun, fresh air, and great flavor!

Grow a Garden of Green

Growing a small garden is so much fun. It can be in your yard or in a pot on your deck and always a sunny spot is best. Don’t worry about getting dirty. Don’t worry about getting wet. Don’t worry about getting the rows straight or every weed pulled out. Instead, think about how delicious your garden greens will taste when it’s time for dinner.

Garden Month

The spring is a perfect time to celebrate Garden Month and also a perfect time to plant. Here are 5 easy steps to get started:

  1. Go to the plant store or seed store.
  2. Pick out a few plants or seed packets.
  3. Plant your greens in the garden or terracotta pot.
  4. Keep an eye on your garden every few days – or every day – to enjoy the growing process.
  5. Get out your kitchen scissors and cut the greens you want for dinner.

 

Greens for Dinner

  1. Lettuce
  2. Kale
  3. Arugula
  4. Radicchio
  5. Spinach
  6. Dandelion greens
  7. Swiss chard

Green is Inspiring

Growing a garden of green is a fantastic way to get more in touch with good nutrition. Why? Because when you grow your own green vegetables, then you will appreciate their flavors even more. So, get your garden planted right away. Before you know it, you’ll be making a home-grown lettuce salad for lunch or sauteed greens for dinner. And they will taste better than you’ve ever had before. Join me on facebook or download my free menu planning report for ongoing tips, facts, recipes, and fun!

Which greens will you plant in your garden?

Nutrition Month is Ending So Now What?

Salad with Fresh Herbs

Salad becomes a meal with hearty toppings like grilled salmon, soybeans, olives, and chickpeas!

Does Nutrition Month Inspire You?

Do you feel inspired by Nutrition Month, by planning a super healthy breakfast, packing yourself a super healthy lunch, or cooking a super healthy dinner? As a dietitian, I take it seriously. I do my best to wish all my clients and group audiences a Happy Nutrition Month during March. Why? Because inspiration leads to passion, passion leads to positive eating habits, and eating more nutritious food is the ticket to a healthier and happier future.

 

Nutrition Month is Ending So Now What?

  1. Re-visit your personal health goals & commit to personal improvements. Remember the facts: Good nutrition plays a big role in the prevention of conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, and more — without prescription medicine.
  2. Try something new, nutritious and delicious. Taste how fresh herbs make a green salad pop and a pressed & grilled sandwich sing with flavor. Try cooking eggplant or butternut squash.
  3. Train yourself to read labels at the grocery store. Every trip, look at the ingredient and Nutrition Facts labels on 2 food packages. If you train yourself to read just 2 each trip, you’ll learn about healthier choices after a couple short months. You’ll gain amazing ‘grocery cart confidence’ in 6 months or a year.
  4. Challenge yourself to cook at home more often. Take a small step forward by  adding one more home-cooked meal to your week. Keep it simple and keep it full of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Maybe a hearty meal salad like the one described in the picture above will tempt you.
  5. Call a registered dietitian. If you are looking for someone to help you improve your personal nutrition step-by-step, then call on a registered dietitian. Always check with your health insurance company, too, because you might have benefits that cover the nutritional consultation. My services are described here.

Every Family Needs a Good Nutrition Leader!

So…be your family’s leader for good nutrition. Talk about healthy groceries and then shop for them. Plan healthy meals and then cook them. Create healthy snacks and then get the family to taste them. One of my clients summed it up perfectly when he told me he needed to wake up feeling excited about nutrition. Join me on Facebook or download my free menu report. Both of these will help you wake up feeling excited about nutrition!

How will you stay firmly focused on good nutrition after Nutrition Month ends?

 

Frozen Banana Pops in 3 Ways!

Frozen Banana Pops

Left to right: Breakfast pop, Chocolate confetti pop, Peanutty pop.

Frozen Banana Pops are the perfect solution to a kids’ party, family party, baby shower, or any special occasion. They’re fun, filling, nutritious and easy to make!

Frozen Banana Pops – in 3 Ways!

Makes 1 serving

What you will need:

Peanutty Banana

½ banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Breakfast Banana

½ banana

3 tablespoons vanilla greek yogurt

3 tablespoons granola

Chocolate Confetti Banana

½ banana

¼ cup dark chocolate morsels

¼ teaspoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Note: Skewers and Parchment paper are needed to make all 3 banana pops.

How to make:

1. Take ½ of a banana and place the skewer halfway into the banana.

2. Place the banana onto a small parchment paper-lined pan and freeze for 3 or more

hours.

 

3. For Breakfast Banana, spread greek yogurt onto frozen banana and sprinkle granola on

top.

4. For Chocolate Confetti Banana, pour chocolate chips onto a plate and put coconut oil on

top. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and then repeat until chocolate and coconut oil is

melted. Roll banana onto the melted chocolate and then sprinkle the rainbow sprinkles

onto the chocolate-covered banana. Allow chocolate to dry before freezing again.

5. For Peanutty Banana, spread peanut butter onto frozen banana and sprinkle walnuts on

top.

6. Freeze all banana pops for 3 more hours. When ready to serve, allow 10 minutes to thaw before

eating.

Making Healthy Food Fun!

A frozen banana pop on a stick is definitely fun food. If you are looking for nutrition, fun and tasty in the same bite then give these recipes a try. Join me on facebook every day for a variety of tips that make healthy food fun!

Nutrition Pros & Grocery Store Success – March 2016

 Happy Nutrition Month & Special Offer on Themed Grocery Store Tour Outline Packages!

Cindy’s Note

Happy Nutrition Month! 

Last summer, I asked all of you to tell me which option of grocery store tour outline you needed? By far, you said ‘Mediterranean-Style Nutrition’. I heard you and have added it to my Products for Pros! Also, in celebration of Nutrition Month 2016, I have updated all Themed Grocery Store Tour Outline Packages which now include these: Mediterranean-Style Nutrition; Every Day Healthy Choices; Busy Moms and Dads; and A Tight Budget.

In updating my Themed Grocery Store Tour Outline Packages, I realized these handy resources needed to be more Turn-Key so that all of you would benefit by conducting smooth tours from start-to-finish. So, I did this, too.

Finally, to tempt you to try out my updated, Turn-Key Themed Grocery Store Tour Outline Packages, I have a Special Offer for you throughout March. Your investment in one, or all 4 Products, will qualify you for a FREE Gift Resource for your nutrition education library. Please read on for all the details!

Something Special for Nutrition Month!

Would you like to….

  • Struggle no more with all the planning time and details of leading a great grocery store tour
  • Stress no more with all the ‘what ifs’ that can destroy your professional confidence
  • Panic no more because you’re trying something new 

Try this instead….as you Invest in your Future as a Nutrition Pro:

  • A Turn-Key Store Tour Outline Package that makes it easy to plan and stay organized
  • A Turn-Key Store Tour Outline Package that brings you amazing professional confidence 
  • A Turn-Key Store Tour Outline Package that becomes a ‘forever resource’ for you

NEW & Improved Products for 2016: 4 Themed Store Tour Outline Packages 

Every Grocery Store Tour Outline Package Now Includes More!

  • Tour Logistics & Step-by-Step Guide – to get you organized pre-tour
  • Themed Tour Outline of 2 Pages – to keep you organized as you walk through the store with client(s) with specific tour stops, product demos and sampling suggestions
  • Take-Home Nutrition Education Sheet – for your client, this on-theme tip/recipe sheet is a ready-to-go, professional finish to your tour…don’t forget to staple your business card to it!

Here’s Your Special FREE GIFT for Nutrition Month!

Turn-Key Mediterranean Style Nutrition Leader/Client Resource
With the purchase of any of my Products for Pros this month, I will email you a FREE Leader/Client Resource for your next Lunch ‘n Learn presentation called, ‘Mediterranean Style Nutrition.’ This is a Turn-Key Outline with bulleted discussion topics for your consumer audience – large or small, an easy, 7-ingredient Marinara Sauce Recipe and trustworthy resources about Mediterranean Style Nutrition. Use this resource in combination with the NEW ‘Mediterranean Style Nutrition’ themed Grocery Store Tour Outline Package for a powerful client nutrition education experience. The presentation will work beautifully as a way to recruit your grocery store tour group, too!

Here’s How to Qualify for Your FREE GIFT for Nutrition Month!

OR

Hint: The Bundle is your best deal as it represents a 25% discount from the total price of buying all 4 Tour Outline Packages

Ask Cindy a Question.

Cindy SilverCindy Silver
Cindy Silver, MS, RDN, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

About Cindy  Cindy Silver RD

Cindy Silver is a registered dietitian who spent 19 years working in the retail food industry, both on the corporate staff and as a consultant. She understands the ins-and-outs of working in a positive synergy with upper management as well as store employees. She offers individual coaching and consultation for Nutrition and Wellness professionals who wish to expand their business services into the grocery store venue with great success!

You can learn more about Cindy on her website – Market Basket Nutrition. To send Cindy an email, click here.

Healthy Heart Tips!

Heart Month Tips

Avocados taste great on a sandwich, salad or whirled into a smoothie!

Pick out the Healthy Heart Tips that Work for You!

Keeping your heart muscle in good shape is so smart. Here are 10 tips to move you in the direction of feeling well and thriving each and every day:

  1. Make your breakfast oatmeal with apple cider instead of water & top it with walnuts.
  2. When you eat out, go for menu buzzwords like steamed, garden fresh, grilled & poached.
  3. Keep laughing. It can actually decrease stress hormones & reduce artery inflammation.
  4. Use a lunch-size plate for dinner as a way to keep your portions in check.
  5. Try a large spinach salad for dinner with tuna or salmon, chick peas, carrots & tomatoes.
  6. Get to sleep. 8 hours per night can help you have lower blood pressure & blood sugar.
  7. Don’t skip breakfast. Instead, try a fruit-yogurt-flaxseed-oats parfait with hot tea.
  8. Exercise for fun. Kick a soccer ball with the kids/grandkids, jump rope, swim, hike.
  9. Carry a baggie of almonds & raisins in your pocket for healthy snacking.
  10. Add a cruciferous veggie, like cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussels Sprouts to your plate.

Commit to Healthy Heart Tips!

Reviewing and deciding to follow one or more of these healthy heart tips is a great way to round out February – Heart Month! Start with one tip, practice it all week long, and then feel the difference. After you master one tip, then start with one more. Be patient with yourself but, at the same time, push forward to better nutrition and well being. For a free menu report, click here. To join a nutrition-loving facebook community, click here. To browse tasty menu and recipe booklets, click here.

Which Healthy Heart Tip will you try first?

Best Deals at the Grocery Store

Grocery bag 'deals'

Do you buy any of these ‘deals’ at the grocery store?

Best Deals at the Grocery Store – A New Way of Thinking about It

If it were up to me, I’d ditch the word ‘deal’ when talking about saving money at the grocery store. Why? Because your personal health is priceless, that’s why. Getting top quality nutrition – within your budget –  is the real deal, the best deal at the grocery store.  For some handy background information, take a look at these 10 tips to guide your food choices to better physical and mental well being.

Best Deals at the Grocery Store – Tips to Get You Organized

  • Plan grocery shopping into your week
  • Do your homework by checking the weekly feature foods at your favorite stores
  • Write down your shopping list after coming up with your weekly menus
  • Include the ingredients for meals you plan to cook on your list
  • Add sensible snack foods to your list, like yogurt, apples, and nuts
  • Make your trip to the grocery store and stick to your list
  • At home, put away your food and begin prepping your menu plan

Best Deals at the Grocery Store – Advice for Your Shopping Trip

  • Fruit is sweet, easy and versatile so don’t miss it. Fresh, canned, frozen all belong in your cart.
  • Vegetables are quick, crunchy when raw and colorful so go for it. Fresh, canned, frozen are all good options.
  • Whole grains are energy-foods. Whole wheat cereal, barley, oats, old-fashioned popcorn all taste great
  • Fish is super tasty for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try a new kind every week.
  • Eggs are delicious and so easy to cook. Try an egg burrito or simple omelet for dinner or weekend lunch.
  • Plain Yogurt is the start to a smoothie, layered parfait or pre-exercise snack.
  • Frozen foods are super tasty time-savers. Think fruit, vegetable, or soy burger for your freezer.

Best Deals at the Grocery Store  – Learning for You!

Learning about what to put in your grocery cart takes time. Join a learning-journey with resources like my facebook page, my blog, and my free report for ongoing newsletter. Connect with the kind of tips and advice that will help you feel better, cook at home more, and pass along inspiration to your family, children, grandchildren, and friends. Become a good nutrition leader today!

What are the best (nutrition) deals you shop for at the grocery store?

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Pros & Grocery Store Success – February 2016

It’s Heart Month ~ Are You Marketing Your Grocery Store Services?

Cindy’s Note

Cindy's PodcastIn late December 2015, I jumped on a great marketing opportunity by agreeing to do a recorded interview by Annette Hottenstein, MS, RD from The Food Sommelier. The title of the podcast was ‘What’s in Your Grocery Bag?’ After the fun interview, Annette sent me the electronic link to the edited podcast and I was able to post it to my website and social media. I’m now thinking of using this podcast to pitch myself to a local radio station or two. I’ll get back to you on that. My point is that marketing comes in many forms and creative twists, so stay alert and jump on opportunities that come your way.

Listen to ‘What’s in Your Grocery Bag?’ podcast here.

Extras

3 Marketing Tidbits for Your Grocery Store Services in February:

  1. Ask a local grocery store manager’s OK to post a Heart Month themed, eye-grabbing poster with your contact info.
  2. Post the poster from #1 at your public library, too.
  3. Send a local TV station, radio station and/or newspaper a brief press release about a Heart Savvy grocery cart and include your contact info.

Cindy SilverCindy Silver
Cindy Silver, MS, RDN, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

About Cindy  Cindy Silver RD

Cindy Silver is a registered dietitian who spent 19 years working in the retail food industry, both on the corporate staff and as a consultant. She understands the ins-and-outs of working in a positive synergy with upper management as well as store employees. She offers individual coaching and consultation for Nutrition and Wellness professionals who wish to expand their business services into the grocery store venue with great success!

You can learn more about Cindy on her website – Market Basket Nutrition. To send Cindy an email, click here.

Easy Mediterranean Style Meals!

Omelet, Mediterranean

This light & tasty meal is very Mediterranean!

Do You Need a Sensible Meal Solution?

  • Stressed about finding time to cook on a weeknight?
  • Concerned about eating well?
  • Confused about making a fresh start this month, and every month?
  • Worried about supporting your busy lifestyle and doing the right thing for your family?

Welcome to the challenges that just about everyone faces these days. We want more energy, stronger bodies, and better health. We want it fast and we want it easy. A sensible solution is hard to find when we are suspicious of media hype about the next new diet, bogged down trying to interpret labels at the grocery store and feeling unsure of our skills to plan and prepare nutritious meals in our own kitchen.

Mediterranean is a Sensible Solution!

Mediterranean Style is a way to cut through hype and concentrate on what matters on grocery store food labels. It’s an eating strategy that will help you feel comfortable about planning basic, easy meals to take the pressure off. It’s a way of life that feeds your body with energy, strength and whole health.

10 Quick & Easy Mediterranean Style Meals!

Here’s your starting point for success in the kitchen, Mediterranean Style. Make a grocery list from the meals below and then give it a try at home. Enjoy new flavors, combinations and textures. Fortunately, today we can find nearly all of these foods in our American grocery stores and farm markets. So, we can relax more at meal time.

Tip: Keep on hand for seasoning: McCormick’s Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder, Other Seasoning Grinders you like, Tabasco, Black Pepper Grinder, Jar of Basil Pesto, Fresh Lemons or Limes

Tip: If you are cooking for one, then notice the items marked with * come in a single-serving pack/pouch. If you are cooking for more than one, you may get a better price when you buy a larger container.

  1. Minute Rice 5-Grain or Brown/Wild Rice Cup* + Tuna/Salmon in a pouch* or Canned oysters/sardines + Dried Apricots
  2. Canned Chick Peas + Whole grain tortilla wrap with Sliced Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Red Onion, Arugula, Flavored Light Cream Cheese + Blueberries
  3. Omelet with Fresh Herbs + Whole grain crackers or Whole wheat pita bread + Yogurt* with berries and cinnamon (see photo above)
  4. Canned Lentil Soup* + Cheese sandwich with Leaf Lettuce and Tomato on whole grain bread/wrap + Kiwi fruit
  5. Canned Chicken* + Minute Rice 5-Grain or Brown/Wild Rice Cup* + Fresh spinach + Canned peaches or pears*
  6. Vegetarian Pizza, ready to heat, with Green Salad or Coleslaw + Orange
  7. Vegetarian Refried Beans spread on Corn Tortillas + Cheese* + Salsa + Grapes
  8. Hummus* with Raw Veggies to Dip* + Cherry tomatoes + Peanuts/Mixed Nuts/Any Nuts*
  9. Peanut or Almond Butter* with Banana + Oatmeal cup* + Vanilla Yogurt*
  10. Canned Kidney or Black Beans + Tomato sauce* + Chili seasoning mix + Avocado + Seasonal Melon

Cooking in the Mediterranean Style!

Mediterranean is one of the most delicious and healthful cuisines of the world. Cooking in the Mediterranean style is something everyone can learn to do. How? By signing up for a Mediterranean Style Nutrition Skills Boot Camp. You will feel better as you learn, taste, and enjoy.

Which quick and easy Mediterranean meal will you make? 

Parmesan & Cashew Crusted Salmon Recipe

Parm Pistachio Salmon

Ready for a snazzy salmon recipe?

Salmon for Dinner is a Favorite!

I know lots of people who adore salmon for dinner. I do, too. It’s easy to cook at home, it’s full of wonderful flavor, and you can find it quickly at your grocery store or seafood market. Cooking salmon really is easy, especially when you grill, broil, bake or saute it with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Delicious. Just for fun, why not get a little snazzy next time with your salmon? This Parmesan & Pistachio Crusted Salmon Recipe is for you!

Parmesan & Cashew Crusted Salmon – 2 servings

  • 2 Salmon filets, 4-6 ounces each
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried basil
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Cashew nuts, unsalted
  • Optional Garnishes: Fresh basil or parsley leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, coconut oil, olive oil, dried basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Parmesan cheese, and cashew nuts. Pulse until minced. You may need to stir the mixture a couple times between pulses to make sure all ingredients are blended.
  3. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray the foil with cooking oil spray.
  4. Place the salmon skin-side down onto the foil and press the mixture from step #2 onto the top of the salmon filets, dividing evenly. Cover the salmon loosely with another sheet of aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for another 5-6 minutes. The salmon is ready when it pulls away easily from its skin when served from the pan.

Salmon Opens the Door to More Fish for Dinner!

The new 2015 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans along with the American Heart Association recommends we put fish on the dinner table twice a week. Salmon makes a perfect choice for the first dinner. Sardines, tuna, flounder, tilapia or another will make your taste buds dance for the second dinner. Getting a handle on planning dinner starts with my FREE report that’s called, 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone. Or, take advantage of other resources on my website to improve what you eat and how you feel!

 

Sheet Pan Dinners Save Time and CleanUp!

Sheet pan dinner

Spice-rubbed lean pork chops with roasted potatoes & root vegetables taste great!

Sheet Pan Dinners Save Time & Fuss

Do you own a sheet pan? If you do, then say hello to Sheet Pan Dinners! With my motto of keeping it simple in the kitchen, this technique of making a quick and tasty dinner is hard to beat. Sheet pan dinners help you keep it simple because they’re:

  • Easy to plan
  • Easy to prep
  • Easy to cook
  • Easy to clean up

Examples of Sheet Pan Dinner Combinations

Take your choice of these options to save time when your hungry family asks, What’s for dinner?

  • Lean Meat: Lean pork loin chops + BBQ spice rub + root vegetables like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, turnips, beets
  • Poultry: Skinless chicken breast or thigh, or turkey tenderloin fillet + lemon pepper rub + Brussels sprouts, red onions and butternut squash chunks
  • Fish: Salmon fillet + teriyaki marinade or sauce + baby carrots, sweet onion and cabbage chunks
  • Vegetarian: All Vegetables! Chunks of sweet potatoes, parsnips, colorful sweet Bell peppers, onions, green beans, broccoli

How to Cook a Sheet Pan Dinner

  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees & get out your sheet pan
  • Cut up your vegetables, or buy them at the grocery store already cut up. Scatter them in a single layer on the sheet pan, leaving room on one end for your chicken/turkey, lean meat or fish. Spray them lightly with vegetable oil spray, then dust with salt and pepper. Roast on the sheet pan for 15 minutes.
  • Rub or add sauce to your poultry, lean meat or fish. Add this to the open-end of the sheet pan in a single layer, place pan into the oven again and lower heat to 350 degrees.
  • Check after 20 minutes and stay alert to the doneness of your poultry, lean meat or fish. The roasted vegetables will now be tender and cooked, too.

Remember: Always check for safely cooked temperatures of poultry, meat and fish.

What Else Cooks on a Sheet Pan?

Quick and easy cooking suits everyone’s busy lifestyle, right? Here is an adventurous twist on pizza and you cook it on a sheet pan. If you are looking for a fresh start with meal planning to feel great and stay healthy, then sign up for my FREE 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone. Good nutrition is your path to personal success!

What will you cook as a sheet pan dinner?

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Pros & Grocery Store Success – January 2016

It’s a New Year!
Will you Get Serious about Adding the Grocery Store to Your Services?

Happy New Year!

Cindy’s Note

Everyone’s talking about food – in the elementary school car pool line, in the gym, in the – GROCERY STORE! It would be a shame for you to miss out on the January opportunity to add grocery store education to your services. So, please take a look at my blog explaining how I can help you get the process started.

Extras

Grocery Store Tour Tidbits to Include on Your Tours during January:

  1. Citrus fruits are a ‘must-have’ so try navel oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines and even ugli fruit
  2. Nuts in-the-shell are left over from December holidays. Kids will have a good time cracking them with a nut cracker and tasting.
  3. Goat cheese is unique and makes a tasty spread on a whole grain cracker.

Cindy SilverCindy Silver
Cindy Silver, MS, RDN, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

About Cindy  Cindy Silver RD

Cindy Silver is a registered dietitian who has spent 19 years working in the retail food industry, both on the corporate staff and as a consultant. She understands the ins-and-outs of working in a positive synergy with upper management as well as store employees. She offers individual coaching and consultation for Nutrition and Wellness professionals who wish to expand their business services into the grocery store venue with great success!

You can learn more about Cindy on her website – Market Basket Nutrition. To send Cindy an email, click here.

Easy, Creamy Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash soup

This soup is rich, creamy, filling and packed with tasty nutrition!

Soup is Healthy Comfort Food

In the winter, or anytime, homemade soup is hard to beat. For decades now, I’ve been a lover of soup and have spent many happy hours in my kitchen making soup. Of course, I’ve also spent many meals enjoying soup’s amazing flavors. Comfort food is different for everyone and, for me, homemade soup is easily #1. Read my tips for getting organized in your kitchen to make homemade soup. You can do this!

 

Easy, Creamy Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup

Remember:  Ingredients and amounts in a recipe are what go onto your grocery shopping list!

Makes 4-6 bowls of soup

  • 1 large Butternut squash, about 6 x 7 inches long and 3-4 inches wide
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 Onion, large, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups Vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • To taste Salt & Pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons Nutmeg, ground (learn how to grate it yourself here)
  1. Carefully cut butternut squash in half, top to bottom. Scoop out seeds (these can also be roasted, by the way.) Place squash on a sheet pan, cut surface up. Brush the cut surface with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Roast (bake) in oven at 425 degrees for 40 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. While squash is roasting, add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Toss in chopped onions and stir while they cook, soften and become golden colored, about 6-8 min. Add garlic to same pot and continue to stir-cook with onions, about 2 more minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth and water to onions-garlic in the soup pot and reduce heat to medium. Cover pan with a lid and allow to simmer (very slow boil) for 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. Scoop cooled butternut squash out of its skin and add it to the soup pot.
  5. Very carefully, using either an immersion blender or regular blender jar, puree soup in batches and then return it to the soup pot.
  6. Return soup pot to the stove and simmer again, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If texture is too thick, then add 1/2 cup more water.
  7. Season soup with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and readjust seasoning.

Put Soup on Your Table

This Easy, Creamy Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup is a super starting point for a hearty meal at home. To balance out your soup meal, add a side salad with spinach/1% cottage cheese/tomatoes/cucumbers/vinaigrette dressing. Or add a quick and easy slice of pizza with lots of vegetables on top. Meal planning is step #1 for less stress, more nutrition, and a happier family dinner experience. So, get started today with my FREE 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone.

How does homemade soup rate on your comfort food favorites list?

 

Mediterranean Style Nutrition!

Eggplants

The eggplant is a vegetable with tasty Mediterranean flavor!

Mediterranean Style Nutrition and the Science Behind It

I used to think that foods from the Mediterranean were exotic, hard to find and difficult to cook. Then, I started a personal challenge to learn more, cook more and really get to know these delicious and nutritious foods. Boy, was I wrong! Mediterranean style foods are sensible, everyday foods, they are easy to find and they cook up easily. Their health promoting qualities are amazing as you can read in this science-based article. But, best of all, they taste heavenly!

12 Mediterranean Style Foods for Your Kitchen

To prepare Mediterranean style foods, you may need to re-stock your pantry, fridge and freezer. A well-stocked kitchen is the first step to success with everyday meals and snacks, after all. Here are 12 starter foods to begin transitioning to a Mediterranean style kitchen:

  1. Lemons
  2. Leafy Greens like spinach and kale
  3. Fresh Herbs like basil, parsley and mint
  4. Garlic
  5. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. Pasta
  8. Lentils
  9. Beans and Chickpeas
  10. Walnuts
  11. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
  12. Yogurt

Mediterranean Style Nutrition Learning

The best way to adopt a new, healthy lifestyle path is to immerse yourself in learning and then to practice what you learn. Market Basket Nutrition’s education team is proud to offer its one-of-a-kind, small learning group program called, Mediterranean Style Nutrition Skills Boot Camp, in Winston-Salem, NC. The benefits for you and your family include the enjoyment of delicious, homemade meals at home, flavors that pop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, new foods to taste with joy, and better future health. What’s not to like about that?! My 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone are free and my Tasty Series e-books will provide you with tools for your healthier meals, too!

Which Mediterranean foods appeal to you most?

What’s in Your Grocery Bag for the New Year?

Grocery Bag

Will your grocery bag energize you as we start a New Year?

What’s in Your Grocery Bag for the New Year?

This is a question I like to ask when I offer fun nutrition programs to people around my community. After a pause, I usually hear confident answers like fruits and vegetables! OK, that’s a great start for everyone’s grocery bag. But, don’t stop there. Take some time to think about how your bag reflects balance, variety and moderation. These are smart things to ponder, too. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds. It all adds up to a top-notch grocery bag for energizing your personal nutrition!

What’s in My Grocery Bag for the New Year?

Often I’m asked what’s in my grocery bag? What a cool question for me – especially since my specialty is grocery store nutrition! In fact, in a blog from just last month, I covered some great grocery bag choices for December and throughout the winter. Also, recently I was interviewed for a podcast by a registered dietitian colleague named Annette. What fun to chat with her for about 3/4 hour about holiday foods, ways to get more nutrition for less cash at the grocery store, my tips for maintaining healthy body weight, and my food hero. You can listen to my ‘What’s In Your Grocery Bag?’ podcast here. Then, let me know how you liked it, please!

What’s in Your Grocery Bag Tips!

There are literally thousands and thousands of foods for sale in the grocery store. So, what are the tasty and healthy choices? My advice is to keep it simple with your grocery list, try a new fruit or vegetable once a week, and sign up for my FREE Tasty Menus for Busy Families download to get some meal planning help. I also offer daily Facebook tips and weekly blog that will bring you closer and closer to the delicious and nutritious grocery bag you are looking for in the New Year!

Are you ready to write a re-freshed grocery list for the New Year?

A New Year’s Nudge & 7 Options

Grocery store & sweet peppers

Make the grocery store your friend in the New Year!

What’s Your New Year’s Nudge?

Every New Year is a nudge for making ourselves better. For some, it is better at playing the piano; for some it is better at saving money; for some, it is better at managing personal nutrition or trying a new exercise. I’ve decided to get better at yoga in the New Year because it will keep me flexible and strong. Even though I’m a beginning yogi, I am determined to get better at it, step by step, day by day.

There are so many ways to launch yourself to ‘better-ness’ one step at a time in the New Year. Here are 7 options to think over — and perhaps you’ll find the determination in yourself to begin  practicing one right now!

7 Options for the New Year

  1. Eat a piece of fruit everyday at breakfast.
  2. Drink a big glass of water before and after you exercise.
  3. Spend 15-30 minutes writing down a weekly meal plan before you write a shopping list.
  4. Set aside more time for your grocery shopping trip and think about every choice.
  5. Make dinner a more balanced meal that includes plenty of green vegetables.
  6. Talk with your kids about why it’s important to eat colorful, healthy foods.
  7. Try a new, colorful fruit or vegetable – with the entire family – once a week.

Thank You & Happy New Year!

My clients are an ongoing inspiration to me. They are determined to improve their personal nutrition as a way to prevent health issues and feel better every day. To all of you – many thanks for trusting me as your registered dietitian! To all of you – Happy New Year! May the nudge of the New Year give you even more resolve so that you reach your ultimate goals! Start with one step, such as receiving my free 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families.

Which option will nudge you this New Year?

 

7 Favorite Holiday Foods For Your Grocery Cart!

Holiday grocery basket

These holiday foods are real favorites – can you see the turkey’s hat?

Holiday grocery carts come in all varieties. If you look into mine, though, you will see pretty much what’s in the picture at the left. Here are 7 foods I adore at this time of the year and why I think they belong in your grocery cart, too.

7 Favorite Holiday Foods for Your Grocery Cart

Fresh Pomegranates: These amazing fruits are only available in American grocery stores from November through January. They add a festive pop to your holiday salad or grain dish, or eat a generous handful on top of your plain yogurt along with crunchy granola. Really yum.

Fresh Citrus: Tangerines, clementines, navel oranges, grapefruit, juice oranges. Whatever your favorite is, now is the season and flavors are at their absolute best. As a bonus, all that vitamin C helps keep you healthy in the winter.

Fresh Cranberries: Like the pomegranate, fresh cranberries are only available in a limited season. Buy enough to add to your muffin or quick bread batter, and make a nice batch of fresh cranberry sauce. Then, buy an extra bag and toss it in your freezer for spring or summer.

Spiced Apple Cider: This tasty beverage is great whether you sip it cold or hot. The spiced kind is ready to go as is, or you can buy cider without the spices and add your own as it warms up on the stove. Makes the whole house smell soooo good!

In-the-shell Nuts: These are easy to find through November and December and are a blast to bring out at your holiday party – with nut crackers. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts are all included. Crunchy, fun & filling.

Brussels Sprouts: These green nuggets are becoming very popular, especially as a roasted vegetable. Wash, cut them in half if large, scatter on a flat oven pan in a single layer. Spray lightly with canola oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and then roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. They are heaven.

Whole Turkey: The king of Thanksgiving fortunately makes another appearance in the grocery store in late December and prices are reasonable for most budgets. My taste buds dance when I eat turkey and I’m all about creative leftovers, post-holiday. Homemade turkey soup, for example, is to die for.

Cindy & Holiday Grocery cart

Wishing you a peaceful and fun holiday!

Make Your Grocery Cart Work for You

What you put into your grocery cart can go hand-in-hand with a nutritious and delicious lifestyle. Please invite me along your journey to choosing healthy foods for your cart and your meal table. A great starting point is to download my ‘Tasty Menus for Busy Families’ report – it’s free!

 

A Beautiful Holiday Party!

St. Lucia table

A traditional Swedish St. Lucia celebration table.

Going to holiday parties is always fun. A beautiful holiday party is my favorite, though, because it makes memories for a lifetime.  How wonderful it was to be invited to a St. Lucia Celebration party by my new friends, Susana and Tord, on December 13th. Susana and Tord moved from Sweden – via Turkey – to North Carolina about 6 months ago to be closer to their son and his family. Now, they are re-doing a house in the woods as their forever home.

Look at this You Tube video of a true Swedish celebration of St. Lucia, and listen to the music. Susana and Tord’s party had a fun procession with costumes and candles, too. The actors and actresses were their granddaughter, grandson, son, daughter-in-law and themselves. They even sang the St. Lucia traditional songs for us – a beautiful memory!

The food at this beautiful holiday party was traditional for a St. Lucia celebration. We sipped on warm glogg, a spiced red wine with some raisins and almonds spooned in. We tasted a beautiful assortment of traditional pastries with our glogg such as ginger cookies, almond cups with cloud berry jam & whipped cream, toffee cookies, coconut macaroons, saffron buns, and more. You can see the glogg pot along with the pastries in my picture. And, don’t miss all the candles!

Holidays are for memories. Thank you, Susana and Tord, for sharing Sweden’s St. Lucia celebration of Light with me. I’ll never forget it.

What December holiday traditions are your favorites?

 

A Great Little Corn Muffin!

Corn muffin

This non-too-sweet corn muffin is full of flavor & moisture!

A Great Little Corn Muffin is Really Versatile & Yum!

Here in North Carolina, cornbread is a real favorite. I’m not a born-Southerner, though, so usually decide to make muffins instead. These are not too sweet and will fit into all kinds of tasty occasions like — breakfast with honey or jam, lunch with a bowl of steamy chili or homemade soup, snack-time with a simple smoothie, or dinner with an easy omelet or fritatta. Or, make these muffins for brunch with lean sausage, fruit salad and tea/coffee.

A Great Little Corn Muffin Recipe

  • 1 cup white (or white wheat) flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal, stone-ground
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 3/4-1 cup canned, cream style corn
  • 2/3 cup low fat or nonfat buttermilk
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything up.
  3. Cut cold butter into very small pieces and blend into the dry ingredients.
  4. Add egg (or egg whites) that you stir/fluff up with a fork, plus corn and buttermilk. Stir lightly just until all ingredients are mixed. Do not stir too much.
  5. Spray your muffin pan lightly with vegetable oil spray. Spoon batter into the muffin pan so that all 12 are more-or-less equal.
  6. Place muffins into the hot oven carefully and set your timer for 20 minutes. Because all ovens are slightly different, check muffins at 18 minutes by inserting a small, sharp knife into 1-2 muffins. If it comes out clean, then muffins are ready. If not, place muffins back into oven for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven & cool.

A Great Little Corn Muffin Makes Cooking FUN!

Muffins are a great starting point for cooking at home. With the healthiest of ingredients, your homemade muffins will make the store-bought kind seem dull and over-priced. Really. So, make a new habit of baking a 12-muffin recipe once a week, or twice a week. You will be so much happier with the results and the great nutrition. To help you get started, my Tasty Recipe Books are a tiny investment in excellent homemade flavors! For daily tips, join me on Facebook as well:)

What time of day will A Great Little Corn Muffin taste best to you?

 

 

Recipes with Memories ~ Baked Custard

Beulah 100 Bday

Beulah & Me on her 100th Birthday in 2010! Check out her colorful & goofy party hat!

Memory of Beulah

Beulah was my neighbor across the street. She was already in her 80’s when I moved to town and started getting to know her as a dear friend. She was a kind & caring woman which explains why she became lovingly known to my son as ‘Grandma Beulah.’  So far, Beulah is the only person I’ve known to live past 100 years old. She was a college professor in her earlier years and a huge sports’ fan. And, Beulah made awesome baked custard!

Beulah’s Baked Custard – 6 servings

This simple-to-make dessert consists of only 6 ingredients. That’s how they did it in the ‘old days’ and that’s how it is healthiest to do now!

Ingredients:

2 Fresh eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk, lowfat or nonfat works fine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch nutmeg, to sprinkle on top

Combine eggs, sugar, and salt. Bring milk to scalding (not quite boiling) in a small pan on the stove over medium heat. Cool it slightly. Pour milk over egg mixture and stir. Add vanilla and stir. Pour into custard cups or a glass casserole dish. Sprinkle top with nutmeg. Place custard dish(es) into a pan with water up to about 1/2 inch deep. Bake about 30 minutes at 325 degrees until the mixture does not stick to a knife inserted into the center.

Recipes with Memories

Learning to make a recipe from a dear friend or family member is something very special. Try collecting these recipes as a kind of memory book. To help you start learning to cook healthy recipes at home, I offer a series of Tasty EBooks that are available and affordable. Or, sign up for my free resource, 3 Weeknight Menus for Busy Families.

Will you please share a recipe memory?

 

Holidays with Flavor!

recipe book

Healthy recipe ingredients make flavorful recipes!

Smart Choices for Holidays with Flavor!

The fall & winter holidays are here and coping with all the food occasions can be  rough. Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy the season with tons of flavor & without going overboard on rich appetizers, desserts and…stuffing.

  • Thanksgiving Dinner Tip: Don’t come to the holiday table over-hungry. Have a light meal no more than 4 hours before the feast. It will prevent you from over-eating and regretting it. Really.
  • Christmas or Hannukah Dinner Tip: Try making a lighter version of traditional recipes. For example, substitute lower fat dairy products for sour cream and cream cheese, use less butter and try honey instead of refined sugar.
  • Holiday Party Tip: Get a grip on appetizers by taking a small plate, filling it once and then standing away from the food table to chat and laugh with friends and family.

Smart Ways to Stay Active Over the Holidays!

A sensible way to offset the extra calories that greet us at holiday time is with physical activity. Plus, staying active these next couple months can really help offset holiday stress, too. Here are 3 tips to help you get moving…and stay moving:

  • Take a fresh air walk before dinner
  • Take a walk around the shopping mall after dinner
  • Turn up the music and dance at home, anytime

A Plan for Holidays with Flavor!

Holiday flavors come from making a simple meal plan with simple & tasty ingredients. My free 3 weeknight menu plans will give you a start at everyday good nutrition. Then, put your holiday twist in place with meaningful recipes to match your spirit for the season.

What’s your tip for having healthy holiday meals with great flavor?

Healthify Your Dinner!

Pumpkin Mac

This delicious Pumpkin Mac and Cheese bowl-dinner will amaze you! The recipe is below.

This guest blog is by Kaylie Teague. To read Kaylie’s earlier blog, Healthify Your Breakfast, click here. To read Kaylie’s blog, Healthify Your Lunch, click here.

Healthify Your Dinner

Dinner is often difficult to plan or thrown together last minute after a long day at work or school. Here are some ways you can healthify your meal and become re-inspired for dinnertime!

Spaghetti and marinara sauce →spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and veggies

Side of mashed potatoes with butter →side of baked sweet potato with almond butter

Stir fry with white rice →stir fry with brown rice or quinoa

Lasagna with pasta noodles →lasagna with zucchini noodles

Side of French fries →side of baked sweet potato fries or kale chips

Fish ‘n Chips →grilled fish with baked potato

Side salad with iceberg lettuce and croutons →spinach salad with veggies and almonds

Delivery pepperoni pizza →veggie pizza with store-bought whole wheat crust

Mac and cheese →whole wheat pasta with low-fat cheese and pureed pumpkin

Fried chicken →baked breaded chicken

Here are some recipes to get you started!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1 ½ c whole wheat pasta

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

1/3 c milk of choice

Pinch of nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/3-1/2 c canned pumpkin

¼ c low fat cheddar cheese plus more for sprinkling

Cook pasta according to directions. In a separate saucepan, whisk together flour, butter, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin over medium-high heat until thick and slightly bubbly. Add ¼ c cheese and stir until mixed thoroughly.

Drain pasta from water once finished cooking. Pour pasta into pumpkin-cheese mixture and stir together. Sprinkle more cheese on when serving.

Kale Chips

Recipe from Oh She Glows

½ bunch kale leaves

½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp chili powder

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove kale leaves from the stems and tear leaves into rough pieces. Wash and dry thoroughly. Add kale leaves to a large bowl, massage oil in, and add seasonings. Toss to combine. Spread kale onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan, and then bake for another 12-15 minutes. Let the kale cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet and enjoy!

Kaylie Teague is a registered dietitian intern at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Her blog is skinnymuffinrecipes.com.

Trying New Foods has Benefits!

Watermelon radish

This watermelon radish is crunchy, spicy and beautiful.

Risks of Trying New Foods

If you think about it, trying a new food is not really a high-risk behavior like quite a few others. What will happen if you try a new food and you don’t like it? Well, you might experience a taste, smell and/or texture you don’t normally like. Or, you might have to spit it out. Or, you might have to swallow it anyway if you’re out to dinner. But, what if you try a new food and like it? This is when the benefits really kick in.

Benefits of Trying New Foods

♦Expanding Nutritional Variety – This is a biggie for everyone because every time you expand the foods you eat, you expand the positive nutrition your body gets. When the new food is a fruit, vegetable or grain, you are getting the benefits of natural phytochemicals from the plants that can improve your immune system along with adding important nutrition.

♦Setting a Good Example – For parents and grandparents, this is seriously a top benefit. Parents and grandparents who try new foods and have fun doing it will raise kids who try new foods and have fun doing it. Kids, after all, deserve to experience all imaginable flavors so that they will grow up to be mindful eaters who appreciate everything on their plate.

♦Cooking More – The kitchen can become your favorite room of the house when you get interested in trying new foods and cooking them. Research shows that eating at home means eating better quality nutrition. Period. If you see a new food at the grocery store or farmer’s market, be sure to check out how to cook it and then give it a go. These easy-to-follow videos will give you new meal ideas to use right away.

♦Discovering Flavors – We all enjoy different flavors and textures in food so trying new foods is an edible discovery. Radishes, like the one above, are super crunchy and spicy. Parsnips are tender and sweet when you roast them. Greek style yogurt is thick and creamy and wild rice is tender-crunchy and nutty. Life is definitely more fun with more flavors.

Taking a Risk to Reap the Benefits

It’s time to get over it and try new foods. Don’t hold your nose and don’t let the kids slip their taste to the dog. Just pop it in your mouth, chew and swallow. When you get into the habit of trying new foods then amazing things will happen. It’s all about enjoying the food that you eat and feeling great about how its nutrition strengthens your body. If you need resources that are easy-to-use and affordable, try these menu and recipe booklets. And, my free report is another great way to get going!

 

Halloween Mousse

Halloween mousse

This will be a big hit at your Halloween party!

This guest blog is by Kaylie Teague.

Have you decided what special treat you’re serving or enjoying this Halloween? Try this Halloween mousse. It’s made with silken tofu, which provides protein and phytochemicals (think antioxidants and anti-cancer!), dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate (hello, heart healthy!), as well as a festive topping of orange-tinted whipped cream and dark chocolate chips!

 

 

Halloween Mousse 

Makes 4 larger servings or 8 smaller servings

Ingredients you’ll need:

1 pound package silken tofu

1 teaspoon dark chocolate cocoa powder

1 ¼ cup dark chocolate chips + more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk of choice

½ – 1 cup light whipped cream (or homemade!)

2-3 drops orange food coloring or a combination of yellow and red food coloring

How to:

1. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring frequently, or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.

2. Combine the cocoa powder, tofu, vanilla, milk, and melted chocolate in a blender. Pour into a bowl.

3. Chill mousse in the bowl for about one hour in the fridge until thickened.

4. In a small bowl, combine the food coloring and whipped cream to make an orange whipped cream.

5. Once the mousse is chilled, spoon it into serving cups/glasses and top with orange whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Serve chilled.

Need more healthy Halloween suggestions and tips? Check out the Halloween Swaps blog here!

Kaylie Teague is a registered dietitian intern at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Her blog is skinnymuffinrecipes.com.

Halloween Swaps

Halloween Treats

Are your kids ready for a fun treat this Halloween?

This guest blog is by Kaylie Teague.

Halloween is notorious for splurging on candy, sweets, and treats. Here are some ideas to keep you feeling energized and healthy this Halloween.

If you’re going to a party, have a healthy snack before you go. If you crunch on an apple or enjoy some almonds on your way over, you’ll be less likely to overdo it on the food at the party.

Another tip for party-goers is to start and fill up with the healthy stuff on one plate and then come back to enjoy 1-2 tasty treats.

If you’re throwing a party, offer something healthy. People will appreciate the combination of savory and sweet. You can keep it Halloween-themed with clementines or oranges with jack-o-lantern faces drawn on with permanent marker, cheese sticks with ghost faces drawn on the plastic wrappers, or carrots that have finger creases and nails carved in!

Trick-or-Treat Bags:

While some kids might look at you like you’re crazy, some kids might welcome this! Try having some fresh whole fruit in a basket along with candy. Apples, pears, bananas, and clementines make great and grab-able treats!

For something that blends in a little better with fun-sized candy, try offering small boxes of raisins, squeezable applesauce packs, and small bags of nuts! Small granola bars or kids protein bars are other great options.

If you are set on giving out candies, have no fear! Here are some of the healthier candy options you can confidently pass out to kids in your neighborhood. In the snack size serving, all of these are under 100 calories and no more than 3 grams of fat: York Peppermint Patty, Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bar, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, and Snickers.

Kaylie Teague is a registered dietitian intern at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Her blog is skinnymuffinrecipes.com.

Fish is a Good Fat Food!

Italian Cod

Italian Baked Cod is an easy meal to make! The flaky cod is hiding under the sauce.

Good Fat Foods!

Good fats are definitely worth paying attention to. First of all, their flavors are great. Second of all, they are simple foods without additives, and third, they can keep your heart and brain healthy in a big way. Good fats are what are technically called unsaturated fats and they come from plants or fish. You have lots of options in choosing good fat foods so this is good news.

Fish is a Good Fat Food!

Fish are a fun study nutritionally. Some are so lean that they burst with lots of protein and have almost no fat at all. Other fish are not so lean and they burst with good fat along with protein. If you look at the color of your fish, a darker color normally means the fish has more good fat in it. White colored fish has less good fat in it, so cooking and eating it along with good fat foods is a smart idea. Check my tips below.

Meal Ideas with Good Fat Foods!

Here are some tips on getting your good fat as you enjoy your fish meal. I have put the good fat foods in italics:

  • Saute lean flounder in olive oil
  • Broil lean tilapia with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of dill
  • Grill salmon with lemon juice
  • Cook cod in an Italian sauce with olives and olive oil (see picture above)
  • Try a nut-crusted fish fillet at a restaurant
  • Make tuna salad with mashed avocado instead of mayo
  • Try sardines canned in tomato sauce or oil

A Good Fat Action Plan!

Eating more good fats – to protect your heart and brain – is super smart. To get going, add good fats to your grocery shopping list every trip and keep them in plain view in your pantry. Then, use good fats in your meals and snacks every single day. Mediterranean meals are so delicious and they are rich in good fats. Begin mixing the Mediterranean lifestyle into your life now.

 

Banana Split with a Healthy Twist!

Healthier banana split

Can you imagine a tastier breakfast, snack or dessert?

Discovering a Healthier Banana Split

Take it from me, there is a twist on the traditional banana split that you need to try – immediately. When I needed to use up a ripe banana a few nights ago, I hit the jackpot of delicious, nutritious and fun. Isn’t it funny how impromptu can turn out so well?!

A Banana Split can be Breakfast, Snack or Dessert

For breakfast, this banana split with a healthy twist will do the job. Filling and good for your body, it will give you energy and focus all morning. For other options on healthier breakfast choices, here is my earlier blog called, Healthy Breakfast Recipes. And, you’ll want to check out Kaylie’s guest blog called, Healthify Your Breakfast, too.

For snack, this banana split with a healthy twist is amazing. If you have kids, get them involved making their own snack after you put out the ingredients. It’s so much fun and energizing for the afternoon. No growling tummies.

For dessert, this banana split with a healthy twist is unique. Healthier, yes, as well as full of flavors and textures.

Banana Split with a Healthy Twist Recipe

Serves 2, with 230 calories + 14 grams protein in each serving

Ingredients to assemble: 1 medium banana; 1 cup non fat or low fat cottage cheese; 1/2 cup diced canned fruit in 100% juice; 6 grapes cut in half; 1/4 cup oat granola, with or without nuts

How to: Peel the banana and cut in half. Cut each half in half, lengthwise, and put onto a small plate or bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup of cottage cheese into the middle of bananas on each plate. Top each with 1/4 cup diced fruit, 3 cut grapes and 2 tablespoons oat granola.

Be Open-Minded to Healthier Options

There is always a way to ‘twist’ a traditional recipe into something just as tasty, yet healthier. Challenge yourself to find the magic and make the ‘twist’ so that you and your family eat well and stay healthy. My e-books are full of meal plans and healthier recipes for you to own and use as a quick reference – and a reminder to make the ‘twist’ every day!

Will a banana split with a healthy twist fit into your recipe collection?

Salt Sense

Flavor without salt

How do you add flavor without salt?

Learning Salt Sense

What do you know about salt? Do you think about it before sprinkling salt onto your food? Sorting out salt information is just about as easy as reciting the alphabet backwards – fast. Most of us like the flavor of salt but we are more-or-less confused about how it might affect our health.

How can Salt Affect Health?

Too much salt can aggravate high blood pressure and put a sensitive person at higher risk for heart disease.

Too much salt can worsen diseases of the heart such as congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.

Too much salt can be a sign that someone is relying on processed/packaged foods that are not as nutritionally sound.

5 Tips to Eat Less Salt

  1. Read the label. Be on the watch for salty ingredients such as salt, sodium chloride and MSG or monosodium glutamate. These ingredients add salt to what you are eating.
  2. Manage the portion size. Pay attention to eating a medium portion of all foods since this will help you not to go overboard with salt.
  3. Cook with spices and herbs. Experiment with adding spices and herbs to whatever you cook. There are sweet spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as savory spices such as turmeric and cumin. Wash and chop up fresh herbs, or use dried, and then sprinkle them into a soup, stew or healthier casserole.
  4. Concentrate on naturally low salt foods. Grab a simple piece of fruit, a vegetable, or unsalted nuts. A homemade recipe is also a good idea since you can add a pinch of salt, if needed, rather than a bucket.
  5. Be mindful with restaurant meals. Stay alert when making restaurant choices since often they are salty. Drink plenty of water in a restaurant and take home half your meal for later as a strategy to manage salt.

Cooking at Home with Salt Sense

Spending time in your kitchen and making a recipe with less salty ingredients is a skill. Turning a skill into an everyday habit is what happens when you practice, practice, practice. So, jump in there, cook as much as you can and like my Facebook page for daily tips, tiny recipes and inspiration for cooking on a healthy note, at home!

Which of the 5 tips above will help your salt sense?

 

Celebrate National Whole Grains Month!

Whole grains

Clockwise: whole grain lasagne,whole wheat flour, brown basmati rice, steel cut oats, quinoa

This guest blog is by Danielle Cushing.

 

To celebrate National Whole Grain Month, let’s figure out whole grains, where to find them, and how to use them.

What is a whole grain?

In short, whole grains are more nutrient-rich than refined grains. Refined grains lose some of their minerals, B vitamins, and antioxidants during processing. Whole grains retain all of these and are also higher in fiber and high-quality protein. For more information about whole grains, check out the Whole Grains Council.

Where in the grocery store will I find whole grains?

1. Many of your whole grains will come from the bread aisle. Look for 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat breads, English muffins, tortillas, and pizza crust.

2. You will also find whole grains in the dry goods aisle. Brown rice and wild rice are excellent and inexpensive whole grain options. Here you will also find barley, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and buckwheat noodles.

3. Don’t forget the cereal! Bran flakes, Cheerios, and shredded wheat are excellent examples of widely available whole grain cereals. Rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and whole cornmeal are great choices for hot cereals, but beware of instant varieties, which often have a lot of added sugar or salt.

4. Popcorn makes a healthy whole grain snack. Look for options with less butter, sugar, or salt.

How can I add whole grains to family meals?

  •  Switch from sugary cereals to whole grain cereals and add fresh fruit for natural sweetness.
  •  Pack lunches with sandwiches or wraps made on 100% whole wheat bread or whole grain tortillas.
  •  Keep individual-size bags of popcorn or whole grain crackers at work for a midday snack.
  •  Prepare cold salads using brown or wild rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, whole grain pasta – the options are endless! I love this fall salad of Whole Grains with Cranberries, Squash, and Pecans.
  •  Add quinoa to stir-fry veggies and soups and other dishes. Try these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
  •  Bake with whole wheat flour (for sturdy baked goods, like pizza dough and bread) or whole wheat pasty flour (for lighter baked goods, like cookies and cakes). Apple-Oat Bread will be delicious this time of year.

Which whole grains will you try?

 

Danielle Cushing is a registered dietitian in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her blog is www.mybottomlessboyfriend.com.

Back to School with Healthier Eating in Focus

Tasty fuel for success in school

Healthy, fun, nourishing – what could be better?

Back to School is here. If you have children between the ages of 5-18 then you know what an important season it is.  My sister, Sue, is a private tutor in Pennsylvania, and in this blog we’ve decided to share some of our knowledge and experience regarding the connection between eating nutritiously and succeeding in school.

Eating healthfully increases the probability that your school aged son or daughter will stay alert in the classroom and remain strong mentally through a long busy day.  By eating simple fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy foods your school aged child can still be focused at homework time or an evening tutoring session.

Healthy foods at breakfast (and throughout the day) stay with you longer, and decrease the likelihood of losing focus because of a growling stomach.  Try these breakfast alternatives: cheese toast & melon; oat cereal with cut up apples and walnuts + yogurt; a scrambled egg wrap on a tortilla + grapes; a whole wheat toaster waffle with turkey sausage + canned peaches.

Supermarkets are stocked with nutritious/portable items that  can be carried in lunchboxes , backpacks, and even student’s pockets.  Nature also makes some of its foods portable.  Take advantage of the fact that bananas come in ‘nature’s wrapper’ and there are plenty of healthy ‘fast foods’ such as almonds, raisins or craisins, string cheese, vanilla Greek yogurt, oat/nut energy bars, and apples.

After school and/or before sports and other activities a half sandwich + cherry tomatoes, baggie of carrots with peanut butter to dip, baggie of cucumbers with hummus to dip, or 1% chocolate milk + whole grain crackers will provide your child with more energy to “survive” a demanding soccer or baseball practice .  Student athletes will tell you how import this is!

Family dinner can be prepared in advance and scheduled to allow for quality homework time for school aged students.  If necessary middle and high school students can serve themselves a bowlful of a leftover meal before beginning an evening activity.  Possible meals for family member to eat at different times of the afternoon/evening include chili con carne with whole grain crackers + applesauce for dessert; BBQ chicken made in a crock pot or baked in the oven + baked sweet potato fries + watermelon for dessert; thin crust pizza with vegetables & Mozzarella cheese + lettuce/carrots salad +  fruit salad for dessert.

Take the leap to healthier eating for your students in the family and for everyone. My website has a lot of handy information and inspiration. Healthier eating is a huge key to lifelong success!

How will you help your children put healthier eating in action?

Mix Up Your Meals in September!

Foil cooking

Foil cooking on the grill is fun & no clean up!

In September Let’s Celebrate:

  • Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month
  • Eat Chicken Month
  • National Mushroom Month
  • Whole Grains Month

With Meals Like These:

Entrée Salad: Spinach + Soy Beans (Edamame) + Dried Cranberries + Grilled Chicken + Cooked/Chilled Quinoa

Soup & Sandwich: Cup of Butternut Squash Soup & Whole Wheat Pita stuffed with Grilled or Sautéed Portabella Mushroom + Tomatoes + Sprouts + Cucumbers

Foil Packets on the Grill: Lightly spray a sheet of aluminum foil with oil, then add cut-up  broccoli, onion, zucchini or yellow squash. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper. Seal each packet and cook on the grill.

Kabobs: Thread a skewer with chicken cubes, fresh pineapple, green Bell peppers and mushrooms. Brush with a favorite sauce and grill, turning to cook evenly.

Picnic Finger foods: Cut-up cantaloupe, cut-up watermelon, celery sticks, one-bite tomatoes, tiny cheese sandwiches, chicken salad, popcorn (it’s a whole grain!), crunchy breadsticks & hummus, yogurt, nuts mixed with raisins, grapes.

 Fall is here — how will you mix up your meals?

 

Less Sugary Dessert Ideas!

Less sugary dessertsDo You Like Dessert?

There are very few people I know who don’t like dessert. And, quite often, sweet desserts are a huge issue for my clients. So, what’s the solution? We work together and discuss how to cut back on sugar, one strategy being less sugary dessert ideas. It’s not just my clients, though. On a personal note, my son adores sweets and so I’ve been on the watch for less sugary dessert ideas for years!

Here is my list of less sugary dessert ideas. If you doubt that what’s on my list will satisfy your sweet tooth then at least try it before you ditch it. I’m pretty sure you’ll take away a couple of new ideas to eat less sugar as well as to eat better nutrition.

Have Dessert – with these Less Sugary Dessert Ideas!

  • Nuts are an especially satisfying dessert. Try all kinds of nuts for great flavor, fiber and fun.
  • Fresh fruits are sweet and juicy as dessert. Try seasonal fruits as fresh, or canned or frozen & thawed.
  • Pumpkin pie is the least sugary pie dessert. My pumpkin pie recipe is deliciously crust-less and made in the blender, so it’s low in calories and easy, easy, easy.
  • Yogurt-Fruit parfaits are a special dessert treat. Get out a clear, fancy glass and be creative with my easy recipe.
  • Cookies made from scratch recipes can be less sugary. Find a recipe and then adjust it. For example, cut the sugar amount in half and the result will be fine.

Plan Healthier Meals with Sensible Dessert!

Feeling satisfied with a less sugary dessert is 90% practice. Give the above ideas a try and get some help with my eBooks that feature menus and recipes to help you plan and practice. You’ll feel better and feel better about your choices once practice becomes a new and improved habit!

Which less sugary dessert will you choose first?

Diets Don’t Work – Healthier Eating Does!

Healthy Grocery Basket

Start with a super healthy grocery basket!

Diet’s Don’t Work!

I’m sure you’ve heard this line before. But, do you believe it? Most of my clients who struggle with body weight issues are wishing for a clear-cut, easier solution to losing weight. And, I sincerely wish this for them, too. ‘Dieting’ as in depriving yourself is typically a not-so-great way to go. Eating meager calories, blended concoctions that are bland and expensive or, worse yet, skipping meals rarely helps anyone achieve their weight goal. Here is an interesting article about why diets don’t work, along with 2 solutions that can help the process along.

Healthier Eating Does!

More and more registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) I know and network with have a realistic way of approaching healthy weight loss with their clients. It’s called ‘Simple Swaps.’ What that means is to switch out one food or drink for a healthier one. Simple and yet it can be that clear-cut, easier solution to losing weight. Try these 7 as a starting point:

Swap out → Swap in

Cheese whiz … Cheese stick

Salad croutons … Pumpkin seeds

Sweetened coffee concoction … Coffee

Pasta with cream sauce … Pasta (or spaghetti squash) with tomato sauce

Ice cream (sundae) … Frozen banana

Eggs, pork sausage and biscuit … Eggs and whole wheat toast

Potato or pita chips out of the bag … Nuts scooped into a 1/4 cup measuring cup

Other Simple Swaps!

There are simple swaps in food and drink, and there are others that can help improve everyone’s quality of health and life. Check these 89 Simple Swaps in the categories of fitness, health and happiness. To get going with some lighter meals and recipes in your kitchen, my ebooks are an investment worth considering.

Which Simple Swap will you start with?

 

Healthify Your Lunch!

Greek kale salad

Greek Kale Salad makes a great lunch! Recipe below.

This guest blog is by Kaylie Chrismon. To read Kaylie’s earlier blog, Healthify Your Breakfast, click here.

 

A healthier lunch is easy when you swap this for that:

iceberg lettuce salad →spinach and mixed baby greens salad

ranch dressing →balsamic vinegar and olive oil

white wrap →lettuce wrap

creamy corn chowder →creamy potato soup

cheeseburger →turkey burger

chicken salad made with mayo →chicken salad made with greek yogurt

sandwich with mayonnaise →sandwich with hummus 

side of chips →side of pretzels or veggie chips

pasta salad →quinoa salad

soda →sparkling water or water with fresh fruit and mint leaves

Here are some recipes to get you started!

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Recipe from Pop Sugar

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached

¼ c nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 c diced celery

1/3 c diced apple

1/3 c halved grapes

¼ c slivered almonds

Dice chicken breasts and combine chicken with remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until use.

Greek Kale Salad

Adapted slightly from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

4 stems of kale, leaves ripped off and washed

1/8 tsp garlic pepper

1/8 tsp lemon pepper

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1/3 c kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced into thirds

1/3 c crumbled feta

1/4 c olives oil

1/4 c raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp dried thyme

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a medium sized bowl, massage 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic pepper, and lemon pepper into kale

leaves until they turn dark and softer. Add zucchini, kalamata olives, and feta into the bowl of

kale. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, ¼ c apple cider vinegar, thyme, and

oregano, and drizzle over salad.

How will you Healthify Your Lunch?

 

Kaylie Chrismon is a registered dietitian intern at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Her blog is skinnymuffinrecipes.com.

Bite Size Foods are Fun & Easy!

Mini muffins

Mini oat bran muffins are a perfect size for all appetites!

Bite Size is the Right Size!

When I was a kid, I loved bite size foods. Naturally, they were the same size as my hands and my appetite. Now that I’m an adult, my hands are larger but I still love bite size. Watch for trendy food options these days that are bite size, and take it from a nutritionist — the small portion is a big plus!

Bite Size Options!

Muffins: To make bite size, spoon out your extra batter in a mini muffin pan like I did and just fill the empty spaces with some water so the pan won’t burn. Or, up your output and use a recipe for 12 regular size muffins but get 18-24 out of the mini muffin pan. Here’s my awesome Pumpkin Muffin Recipe to try it out.

Meatloaf: Here’s a cool way to portion-out dinner meatloaf.  The recipe for Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce is written in a family-friendly way to get kids cooking with mom, dad or an older sibling. It freezes and reheats great as well.

Breakfast Eggs: This can be a huge time saver in the morning. Think of it – make several days of breakfast at once and then dine on a nutritious and filling morning meal by simply re-warming. This recipe for Egg Muffins has sausage, spinach and cheese in it so make it per the recipe, adjust to a vegetarian style or change up the green veggie.

Other Bite Size!

There are so many bite size foods that just come that way or require a tiny bit of preparation. Enjoy tasty and healthy snacks, desserts, bag lunches and picnic fixings you can create from these: grape tomatoes; grapes; baby carrots; nuts; Edamame aka soybeans; cheese cubes; pretzel ‘fish’; dark chocolate kisses; watermelon balls; hard boiled eggs; radishes; olives. The list goes on and on!

Make Bite Size the Right Size!

Measuring out portions of your foods can be boring and too much work. So, try adopting a bite size strategy. Learn from my tips above, make a recipe and get a grip on what it means to eat moderately for great enjoyment and great energy! My nutritional counseling services may be the spark you need to improve your personal nutrition and my menu planning/recipe ebooks may launch you to a healthier you!

What bite size food is your favorite?

Healthify Your Breakfast!

2 ingredient cookies

Try our 2-ingredient cookie as part of breakfast!

This is a guest blog by Kaylie Chrismon.

Have you ever wondered how healthy your breakfast is and what you can do to make it a better choice? Here are 10 suggestions for swaps and improvements:

  • Quick, prepackaged oatmeal →overnight oats
  • Sugary cereal →high fiber cereal
  • Flavored yogurt →plain yogurt with berries, nuts, and cinnamon
  • White bread with butter →whole wheat bread with almond butter or mashed avocado
  • Bagel with cream cheese →whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and banana slices
  • Grits with butter →cooked quinoa with local honey, fruit, and cinnamon
  • Bacon, sausage, and eggs →turkey bacon, turkey sausage, and 1 egg / 1 egg white scrambled eggs
  • French toast →whole wheat pancakes with fruit and nonfat yogurt
  • 3 egg omelet with sausage and cheese →1 egg / 2 egg white omelet with veggies and low-fat cheese
  • Breakfast pastry →2 ingredient cookies

Not sure where to start? Here are a few recipes to get you going!

Overnight Oats:

1/3 c old-fashioned oats

1/3 c nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 c milk of choice

Combine all in a microwave-safe container and refrigerate overnight. Heat for 60 seconds in the morning and top with fresh fruit and nut butter!

2-Ingredient Cookies:

1 ripe banana

¾ c oats

Optional: dark chocolate chips or dried fruit

Mash banana in a bowl and combine with oats. Mold mixture into cookie shapes and bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes.

Take the Challenge! When you healthify your breakfast then you are powering your body with fuel for better health.

Kaylie Chrismon is a registered dietitian intern at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina. Her blog is skinnymuffinrecipes.com.

Summer Dinners!

Stacked summer dinner

Try a stacked-up, summer dinner!

The Best Summer Dinners get you in-and-out of the kitchen!

In the summer, I’m a big believer in getting myself and my family fed and then moving on to other fun stuff like gardening, bicycling around the neighborhood or taking a dip in the pool. Getting in-and-out of the kitchen quickly is definitely my plan. This can be challenging, though, so here are 5 summer dinners ideas for you to try.

1.  Stacked-up Summer Dinner: This is fun to do and filling. Get out what you have on hand and stack it up! I like a stack like the one pictured here:  salad greens, leftover cooked chicken, tomatoes, salsa, plain yogurt and avocado.  Stack it up & add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

2. Grilled Cheese with Sliced Tomato + Fruit Salad: This is easy and fast. Try a whole grain bread and a flavorful cheese like Swiss or Provolone. Cut up your fruit salad or buy it already cut up at the grocery store.

3. Omelet with Mushrooms + Brown Rice + Fresh Local Peach: This is a light and savory dinner. Lightly saute the mushrooms first and then add your eggs to the pan. If it comes out more like scrambled eggs with mushrooms, no big deal. I like instant brown rice because it cooks in only 10 minutes.

4.  Tuna Salad + Cucumbers + Whole grain crackers + Cantaloupe: This is super easy and refreshing. Make the tuna salad with light mayo or simply drizzle it with olive oil. Slice cucumbers on the side and eat it with crackers.

5. Homemade Pizza + Watermelon: This is fun for sure. Try a pre-made, thin, grocery store crust to make it quick and easy. Toppings can be whatever you like, but don’t forget the veggies!

Make a Simple Summer Dinner from Your Kitchen!

One of the best ways to eat well this summer is to keep it simple and make it in your own kitchen. Yep, a cold sandwich, cold salad, or breakfast-for-dinner can all work when you want to make it a quick and healthy meal. Join me on Facebook for day-by-day tips. Inspiration and community are super important when you are making improvements in your personal nutrition!

What do you make for a nutritious summer dinner?

Eat Like Your Grandmother Did

Strawberries

Enjoy strawberries when they are in season!

Eat with the Season

My grandmothers both loved to eat whatever was ‘in season.’ One grandmother was a backyard gardener and she grew tasty vegetables as well as beautiful flowers. Along with my grandfather, she set up their yard as a neat kitchen garden. My other grandmother didn’t grow her own food, but she was particular about choosing what was freshest and fit the season. In May-June, both my grandmothers ate strawberries grown very locally. When we visited, we gobbled them up!

Cook with a Simple Recipe

My grandmothers learned to cook from their mothers. Many of the recipes they used were passed down through the family and most of them were simply delicious. One grandmother made Pennsylvania Dutch dishes that came from German roots and the other grandmother made typical American dishes with simple flavors and nutrition. We knew there would be a hearty meal ready whenever we visited. And, of course, it was homemade!

Put Vegetables on the Plate

My grandmothers knew that green vegetables were healthy and delicious. So, every dinner had green beans or broccoli or cabbage or spinach. Usually the green veggies were cooked but sometimes they were made into a raw salad. My Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother always had colorful chow-chow in the pantry from her local huckster, too – the mobile vegetable farmer who made house visits. Now, that was cool!

Learn a Lesson from Your Grandmother

When I counsel clients about improving their personal nutrition, I sometimes say, Eat like your grandmother did. What I mean is to eat with the season, cook with simple in mind, and put vegetables on the plate. For most of us, following these 3 simple tips will result in achieving better personal nutrition. If you are ready for a positive change in your nutrition, please join me for ongoing tips and  free menus. Bon appetit!

 

Easy Hummus!

How to Make Easy Hummus! Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Hummus ingredients

Simple ingredients are used to make hummus.

1. Gather your ingredients.

  • 1 can, 15-16 oz, Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 Fresh Lemon, juice only, about 1/4 cup
  • 1-2 cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Sesame Seeds, or 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste). I like the roasted sesame seeds, which I buy in an Asian market, for texture.
  • 1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped

Hummus in bowl

Easy hummus works as a meal-maker or snack.

2. Get out your food processor and add flat, bottom blade. Some heavy-duty blenders will work, too.

3. Drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans), saving liquid in can.

4. Add ingredients to food processor to blend flavors. Add chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to food processor along with lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt and sesame seeds or tahini. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides as needed.

5. Adjust thickness of hummus. Add about 2 -4 tablespoons of chickpea can liquid to thin down a thick hummus. Adjust to your preference.

6. Finish hummus. Remove hummus to a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Garnish with parsley.

How to Enjoy Easy Hummus!

  • On small pieces of warm pita bread
  • On a carrot, cucumber slice or celery stick
  • On your salad instead of dressing
  • Inside your omelet
  • Mixed with canned tuna and made into a sandwich or wrap

How to Bring Mediterranean-Inspired Foods into Your Kitchen!

There are hundreds of healthier foods that are part of the Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle and Easy Hummus is just the beginning. Here is a shopping list of Mediterranean-inspired foods for delicious eating and a healthy you. Get inspired for healthier eating with my free report — 3 Easy Menus for Busy Weeknights. Please join me for ongoing tips and recipes. Good nutrition is always worth it!

When will you try making your own Easy Hummus?

Shopping Cart Smarts!

Grocery cart

Slow down and think about every choice.

Ways to Shop for More Nutrition & Less ‘Fluff’

1. Never ever shop when you are hungry…because your choices will suffer. Here are 3 tips to help you over this hurdle.

2. Slow down and think about every choice. You’ll be amazed how this improves the quality of what’s in your cart.

3. Check items off your list as you think through how you will use them in your meal or snack. It’s a great way to reduce food waste.

4. Count up your fruits and vegetables – fresh, canned, dried, frozen. Do you have one of each for all days of the week?

5. Watch for discounts. Then, ask yourself if the on-sale item is something you need, want and can use in a light & healthy way. If not, keep on walking and shopping.

6. Do a check-out review. Re-look at what’s in your cart before you check out just in case you decide to put back a not-so-smart choice.

Resources to Shop for More Nutrition & Less ‘Fluff’

Becoming a light & healthy grocery shopper is a skill worth working on. Why? Because your next healthy meal or snack depends on it. Because your energy level and mental focus depends on it. Because your daily well being depends on it. Here’s my free report on Easy Weekday Meals for Busy Families. Here’s my affordable e-book, 15 Tasty Menus & Shopping Lists. With resources like these, your grocery cart smarts will skyrocket in no time!

What healthy grocery cart items are you choosing, week-after-week?

Easy Ways With Asparagus !

Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring treat!

What are your favorite green veggies?

When I ask my clients this question, most of them say ‘green beans’ or ‘broccoli.’ Then I show them a list of other green veggie options and asparagus is at the top of the list. Not that asparagus is the best green choice, but it starts with ‘A’ … If you want to branch out and try something new and seasonal this spring, let it be asparagus!

Nutrition advantages of asparagus!

For starters, the calories in asparagus are few. How few? Steamed plain, there are only 3 calories in one spear, or about 25 calories in 5 ounces. Beyond the calories, mild-flavored asparagus comes with a host of good nutrition including fiber, potassium and health-enhancing phytochemicals.

Easy ways with asparagus!

Raw Asparagus: Raw asparagus makes a great dipper, or super easy side for lunch or dinner. Simply wash in cool, running water and then cut off the tough stem-end of each asparagus spear, about 1 inch from the bottom.

Cooked Asparagus: Simmering asparagus begins with the washing and trimming step above. Next, heat a skillet of water, about 2 inches deep, to a simmer (a slow and gentle boil). Next, add the asparagus to the skillet and get ready to set your timer. Pencil-thin asparagus cooks very quickly and 30-60 seconds may be enough. Thicker asparagus may need 3-4 minutes to cook. Immediately after cooking, plunge the tender-crisp asparagus into a bowl of ice cubes + water to ‘shock’ them and stop the cooking process. This also helps preserve the beautiful, green color. Then, drain on paper towels and serve or cover and chill in the fridge.

Cooked & Flavored Asparagus: Try one of these delicious, easy flavors with your tender, spring asparagus:

  • Drizzle with a mixture of 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and a pinch of sugar. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  • Drizzle with a mixture of 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Garnish with freshly grated orange zest.
  • Drizzle with a mixture of 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon spicy mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Expand your green veggies this spring!

Green is a sign of spring, so invite asparagus to your dinner plate, cooked, or to your lunch salad, raw or cooked and chilled. It’s a great new green veggie to try. For everyday dinner menus for busy families, be sure to order my free report. Or like my nutrition-education facebook page for daily tips and assistance. Happy Spring!

 

The Easiest Dinner To Make!

Baked chicken

Baking a chicken in the oven is super easy!

The Easiest Dinner to Make

Are you in a time-crunch? Does it stress you out? Do you wish you could figure out how to put a healthy and satisfying dinner on your family’s table, day-after-day? With all the demands of a ‘normal’ day, here is an easy-to-the-table solution I hope you’ll try. Take a deep breath, nice and slow, and then get to this plan for the easiest dinner to make!

The Menu: Baked Whole Chicken with Rice or Peas, Baby Carrots & Cut up Cantaloupe

The Grocery Shopping List:

Tip: Look into your dry pantry and fridge before going to the grocery store. If you’ve already got any of the items on this list, then don’t buy them. Use what you already have!

List:

  • Whole chicken to bake at home, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dry herbs such as basil, oregano; 350 degrees; 1-1/4 hours (or buy an already-cooked Rotisserie Chicken to save time)
  • Minute Rice that cooks in 10 minutes, white or brown
  • Baby carrots in a small bag
  • Cantaloupe to peel and cut up at home (or buy the already cut-up cantaloupe to save time)

More Easy Meals to Make

Planning easy and healthy meals isn’t easy. But, it is possible with on-target resources. For starters, here is my free report called, ‘3 Tasty Meals for Busy Families’ — download yours today!

Mighty Muffins!

Oatbran muffin

This oat bran muffin is chewy and satisfying!

Muffin Madness!

I’m a huge muffin fan and that’s why I called this blog, Mighty Muffins. I can remember making dozens of batches of bran muffins when I was a teenager. I also went through a corn muffin making phase and a blueberry muffin phase. Lately, I seem to make mostly pumpkin, banana and oat bran muffins. If I don’t have a homemade muffin in the freezer, ready to warm up, I am not happy.

 Muffin Ingredients!

Mighty muffins to me are the ones with awesome, healthy ingredients. There are tons of options for adding great nutrition to muffins, like raisins, dried apricots, nuts, a mashed up banana, chopped fresh apple or ground flax seed. The oat bran muffin I made today (at the left) has added walnuts, mashed banana and chopped apple. The add-ins make it great!

Muffin Meal Solutions!

Mighty muffins are a perfect part of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here’s how:

Breakfast: Orange + Hard boiled egg + Homemade oat bran muffin + Coffee

Lunch: Vegetable or Bean Soup + Homemade pumpkin muffin + Fresh berries + Iced tea

Dinner: Broiled fish + Broccoli + Coleslaw + Homemade blueberry muffin + Water with lemon

Make it Homemade!

Making muffins is a fun way to get comfortable in the kitchen. Start with a healthy recipe, buy what you need and work through the process. If you are looking for some easy-to-use resources for your healthy kitchen, then here is a well-priced bundle of 4 e-books that include meal plans and recipes. You’ll even find a couple recipes for homemade muffins!

 

Eggs Make an Easy & Tasty Meal!

Egg & veggie fritatta

Egg fritatta is easy to make on a busy weeknight!

Eggs are Easy!

Eggs make an easy and tasty meal when you add a slice of whole grain toast and a colorful fruit salad. As a kid, I loved to decorate eggs and then find them in my Easter basket. I also loved to find them on my breakfast plate, scrambled, or in my French toast, or made into a deviled egg at a backyard picnic. It’s so easy and affordable with eggs, and most everyone I know has a dozen in their fridge at all times.

Eggs are Nutritious!

All year long, eggs are a mighty protein option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Their overall nutrition, at only 70 calories per egg, is equally impressive. Be sure to ‘click around’ this egg-cellent website with great information about eggs.

Egg Fritatta Recipe!

Ingredients: 6 fresh large eggs; 1/4 cup milk; 1 cup chopped veggies like onion, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms (or substitute 1/2 with cooked lean sausage); 1/3 cup shredded cheese; pinch salt; pinch pepper; herbs of choice.

How to: Preheat oven to 400; Whisk eggs with milk, salt, pepper and herbs; Spray pie pan with oil spray; Place mixed veggies into pie pan; Pour egg-milk on top; Place into oven for 10 minutes; Remove from oven carefully and sprinkle cheese on top; Place back into oven for 10-15 min. until eggs are set. Eat hot or chilled the next day.

Cooking with Eggs!

If your goal is to adopt a healthier eating plan, then eggs can get you started. A hard boiled egg for breakfast? Egg salad for lunch? Egg fritatta for supper? Get into the kitchen with your carton of eggs for home-cooked and nutritious meals the easy way! For other kitchen resources, check out my Tasty Booklets with easy menus, shopping lists and recipes. It’s all good!

Spring at the Store & 3 Easy Meals!

Spring Grocery Basket

What’s in your spring grocery basket?

Spring is Coming!

Spring cannot come too soon this year for most of us in the Eastern part of the US. There is much to look forward to: warmer weather; crocus and daffodil shoots poking up from the melting snow; birds singing and frolicking about; neighbors venturing out for a walk or run; and some fantastic, seasonal foods to take advantage of.

What’s Seasonal in the Spring?

Spring at the store means some great quality and great buys on foods like asparagus, Florida berries, spinach, kale, leaf lettuces, radishes, spring onions and garlic. The weekly grocery ad will give you that ‘heads up’ on what to put into your meal plan for the coming week – for variety and value. By setting aside 30-45 minutes on a slower day of your week for meal planning, you will benefit from an organized plan along with tasty and healthy meals of the season.

Spring Meals to Try!

Breakfast: Whole grain toaster waffle + vanilla yogurt + Florida blackberries + herb tea or coffee *Or use frozen mixed berries as a mix-in with the yogurt – yum!

Lunch: Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around canned tuna salad made with light mayo, chopped celery and minced spring onions + baby carrots + Florida strawberries + water

Dinner: Broiled Spicy Chicken thighs + roasted sweet potato chunks & spring radishes + steamed spring kale or spinach + yogurt/juice smoothie *Or if you prefer another option, here is a favorite recipe with chicken breasts.

Spring Habit Changes!

Taking a new look at your nutrition habits this spring is a smart idea. Shake off winter and spring forward by slowing down and practicing mindfulness as you plan, shop for and prepare your meals and snacks. What’s to gain? A new outlook on ‘healthy’ – that’s what! Join me for daily tips on facebook, a weekly blog with search, and a free report about cooking healthier meals at home. Happy almost Spring!