Thursday, December 13, 2012

Southern Veggie Dip

During the holidays it's easy to get bogged down with heavy appetizers and snacks.  Try this creamy, low calorie dip with a festive veggie tray to lighten up cocktail party snacks.  This yummy dip will soon become a favorite go-to recipe!

Southern Veggie Dip

  • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fat free buttermilk 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 tablespoon Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • small garlic clove, minced
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Serve with raw vegetables.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Pizza Lunch

Easy Pizza
During the holidays, it's easy to fall into the trap of grabbing a quick fast food lunch in the midst of trying to get everything done.  Add to that the cocktail parties, sweet treats, and festive holiday meals, and come January,you are stuck with extra holiday weight!  
A little preparation at lunch time can save you stress as well as calories.  This quick, easy lunch can help you stay within your calorie budget (your Christmas shopping budget is another story!)  Bonus: when you eat a good lunch, it can help keep you from overeating when that cocktail party comes around, you may be less likely to overindulge on calorie heavy appetizers.  
This can be made the night before and then heated in a microwave, or made on the spot in a toaster oven. 
  • 1 whole-wheat pita pocket
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend
  • 1 c. part skim shredded mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c. green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. tomato, diced
  • 1/4 c. onion, sliced

Add Italian Spice blend to tomato sauce. On a whole-wheat pita pocket, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce and top with shredded mozzarella. Top with feta, bell pepper, tomato, and onion. Bake in oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and edges are browned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Creole Shrimp Stew

As the weather cools down, we start craving the warmth of hearty soups and stews.  The Delicious Dietitian Creole Spice Blend adds a taste of the bayou on cool fall nights. This simple stew comes together quickly and makes a great weeknight meal when it's cold outside!

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced turkey smoked sausage (about 6 ounces) 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, No Sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can No Sodium Added diced tomatoes
  • 1  can (4 oz) diced green chilis  
  • 8 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp 
  • (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp The Delicious Dietitian Creole Spice Blend
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add olive oil to pan.  Add bell pepper, sausage, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until bell pepper is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, tomatoes, and chilis; bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp, beans and Creole spice blend; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lighten Up Thanksgiving Favorites

Did you know that the average calorie intake on Thanksgiving for Americans is about 4,500 calories!  That's two to three times what should be consumed in a day.  This Thanksgiving, a few small recipe tweaks can help save you and your family from extreme overload.  
  • If a recipe calls for cheese, use 2% or part skim cheese, and use half the amount called for in the recipe.  Your recipe won't suffer, but you will save about 100 calories per serving. 
  • Same thing goes for sugar, you can use half the amount called for in recipes.  
  • Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.  
  • Use low fat or fat free dairy products such as skim milk, low fat sour cream and cream cheese.
Look at the difference in calories, fat, and sodium in this lightened up version of crowd pleasing traditional green bean casserole.  

Traditional Green Bean Casserole
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cans green beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can French fried onions
black pepper to taste
Mix first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to glass baking dish and top with onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Makes 6 servings. Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrition Facts: 331 calories

23 grams of fat 1200 mg sodium 22 grams carb

Better Green Bean Casserole
1 can low sodium, low fat cream of mushroom soup (such as Campbell’s Healthy Request)
1/2 cup skim milk
4 cups fresh or frozen steamed green beans
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
Mix first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to glass baking dish and top with onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Makes 6 servings. Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrition Facts: 131 calories

3.5 grams of fat 258 mg sodium 15 grams carb 

By making just a few small changes, you save 100 calories, 20 grams of fat, almost 1,000 mg of sodium, and 7 grams of carbohydrate.  
If you make these changes to a few recipes, you can save yourself a significant number of calories over the course of the day.  

Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Southern Mushroom and Swiss Breakfast Casserole

The holidays are fast approaching, and for many people, the fun and festivities will mean out of town house guests.  Keep your company happy with this yummy twist on a breakfast casserole. Instead of the heavy sausage and cheddar cheese, the low fat swiss and a few slices of bacon add flavor without the calorie over load.   Many people make the mistake of "saving up" calories for a big meal, but a good breakfast is important to keep from over indulging later in the day.  This casserole provides a blend of carbohydrates and protein to help keep everyone full until the main course.  Best of all, it can be assembled the day before adn refrigerated.  Serve with a big bowl of fruit.  

Mushroom and Swiss Breakfast Casserole

12 ounces ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
2 tsp olive oil 
2 cups chopped onion
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms
Cooking spray 
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese 
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled 
3 cups 1% low-fat milk 
1 1/2 cups egg substitute
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Thyme sprigs (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Arrange bread in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until toasted. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil to a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates and vegetables are tender. Add onion mixture to bread; toss well to combine. Arrange half of bread mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of cheese and half of bacon; top with remaining bread mixture, cheese, and bacon.
  4. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through pepper), stirring with a whisk. Pour milk mixture over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Remove from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Bake strata, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mini Southern Twice Baked Potatoes

November is prime football season in the south, and no matter which team you cheer for, the tailgate is an essential part of the game.   The right tailgate snacks can help celebrate a win or soothe a painful loss.  But the wrong tailgate snacks (too many creamy dips, chips, hotdogs, etc) can leave you feeling sick to your stomach no matter how the game turns out.  Many of these snack foods lack nutritional value, but are loaded with calories.  That turns into a double whammy for your diet: you need to eat more to feel full, but take in WAY too many calories in the process!

This twist on calorie heavy loaded potato skins balances carbohydrate and protein from the Greek yogurt and cheese to help fill you up and keep you full.  This more substantial snack should help you avoid over-doing it on the empty calories.  You might want to double this recipe if you are serving a crowd!

Mini Twice Baked Potatoes

6 small red potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp skim milk
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp  The Delicious Dietitian Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
1/3 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese, plus 2 Tbsp
Chives for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat potatoes in 1 tsp olive oil and place on a jelly roll pan.  Bake about 35 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool slightly.

Slice potatoes in half, and spoon pulp into a mixing bowl, reserve skins.  Add milk, yogurt, olive oil, spice blend, and 1/3 cup cheese to potato mixture.  Spoon potato mixture into skins, sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with chives.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Healthy Halloween

Halloween is fun for kids and adults, but for some, the scariest part of Halloween comes after the trick-or-treating is over.  Here are some tips to make sure all that leftover Halloween candy doesn't wreck havoc on your healthy eating plans, and some tricks to make sure those treats are eaten in moderation for the whole family.  The most important aspect of dealing with that extra candy is managing how and when it gets eaten!

  • First things first.  To avoid arguments later, establish some rules for the candy that comes home before you go trick-or-treating. For instance, no candy in kids' rooms. 
  • Whether you are headed out to trick-or-treat or to a Halloween party, make sure everyone has eaten a healthy, filling meal before you go.  This will prevent kids from coming home hungry and then binging on candy.  It will also prevent too much snacking on candy along the way!
  • Allow for a few extra treats on Halloween.  
  • Store candy out of sight, like a kitchen cabinet. 
  • Limit candy to one or two small pieces a day, at an agreed upon time.  For example, with a snack after school, or as a dessert after dinner.  
  • Keeping control of the candy teaches kids moderation and self control, valuable skills for later in life! 
For adults who are worried about overdoing it on Halloween, many of the tips are the same.  
  • Allow yourself a few treats on Halloween.  Remember Halloween is only 1 day.  
  • Buy candy for trick-or-treaters at the last minute, so you aren't tempted to break into the bag early.  
  • Do NOT buy your favorite candy for trick-or-treaters! 
  •  Get any leftover candy out of the house: take it to share at work, give to neighborhood kids, etc.
Enjoy a safe and healthy Halloween!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Baked Ziti

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Baked Ziti

This is a great basic recipe for an easy weeknight meal the whole family will love.  A satisfying, creamy cheesy meal that is surprisingly low calorie-and a great way to get some extra vegetables into your diet!  The vegetables can be substituted for whatever you have on hand, mushrooms, green peppers, eggplant or spinach would all be great in this dish.  You can make this with the chicken, or leave it out for a hearty meatless option.   

We recommend cooking and eating from home most often, and this can easily be made ahead of time and heated just before dinner time for those busy afternoons and evenings when you just don't feel like cooking!  Simply assemble the dish and freeze or refrigerate without cooking it in the oven.  Before serving, thaw (if frozen) and bake as directed.  

4 ounces uncooked whole wheat ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 Tbsp The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Fresh  Uncooked Chicken 3- 4 breast
2 Tbsp of The Delicious Dietitian White Muscadine Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Tbsp of The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and spice blend.

*Chicken (Omit if preparing vegetarian)

Combine vinegar, oil and spice blend together.
Place chicken in a plastic bag and pour marinade over meat until evenly covered.
Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
Saute chicken in pan for about 12 minutes, flipping half way through cooking.
Slice chicken and add to dish

4. Combine ricotta, remaining spice blend, and egg whites. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Whether you are celebrating the beginning of college football season and tailgating or celebrating Labor Day, this yummy appetizer will be sure to please!  To save time, you can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  


2 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 packages reduced-fat cream cheese

1 cup 2% cheese
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup apple wine vinegar
1 tbsp Creole spice blend
1⁄2 chopped small white onion 

1 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350. Whisk together olive oil, apple vinegar, Creole spice blend, onion and brown sugar. In a medium bowl mix together shredded chicken and oil and vinegar. Next, spread the cream cheese on the bottom of an 8x10 baking dish. Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the cream cheese. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Serve with Reduced fat Wheat Thins or Triscuits. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School Breakfast

We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it seems to become an afterthought in the busy morning routine.  Make sure your family gets off to the right start this school year.  This quick and easy breakfast provides plenty of protein to keep your student full and complex carbohydrates for energy.  Best of all, this breakfast can be prepared in under 10 minutes; serve with a glass of low fat milk, and your little scholar will be good to go until lunchtime!

Egg in a Hole

  • 2  slices  whole-wheat bread
  • 1/2   tablespoon  butter, softened
  • 2  large eggs 
  • kosher salt and pepper                                                   
  • Non-fat cooking spray
  • 1  cup berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries)
  • 1  cup Greek yogurt

2 Servings

  • Directions
  • Spread the top of each slice of bread with ¼ tablespoon each of the butter. Using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut a 2½- to 3-inch hole in the center of each slice of bread, reserving the cutout pieces.

  • Spray a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet with cooking spray,  over medium heat. Place the bread and the cutouts, buttered-side up, in the skillet. Crack 1 egg into each hole. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until the underside of the bread is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the egg to desired doneness, 1 to 2 minutes for a runny yolk.

  • Divide the berries and yogurt between two bowls. Serve with the eggs.

Recipe Adapted from

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Citrus Fish Tacos

These fish tacos are a great way to incorporate fish into an easy weeknight dinner.  Fish is an excellent option for quick meals--it cooks quickly and is a relatively low calorie way to get in some valuable protein.  Use a white, flakey fish for this recipe: snapper or tilapia work great!  

For the fish: 

1 lime, juice and zest (about 2 Tbsp juice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp The Delicious Dietitian Seafood Spice Blend
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Pepper to taste

For the slaw: 

1 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup The Delicious Dietitian White Muscadine Vinegar
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1 Tbsp Splenda or honey

6 inch flour or corn tortillas
Avocado (optional)

Cut the fish into strips. Combine the fish with the lime zest and juice, garlic, oil and spice blend, in a medium bowl. Marinate 20 minutes. This can be done a day ahead, covered and refrigerated.
  • Combine the cabbage, red and green onion in a glass or plastic bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, Splenda/honey and oil. Add to the cabbage mixture and toss until well dressed. If using within a couple of hours let it sit at room temperature, if making this ahead, refrigerate until ready to use.  This slaw is delicious fresh, but letting it sit for a day allows the flavors to really develop!
Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

Heat tortillas on grill or grill pan until warm.  

Place fish in center of tortilla, top with slaw and avocado.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Okra and Tomatoes

Nothing says summer like juicy, ripe tomatoes, especially when they are picked straight out of the garden.  For this yummy recipe that features two summertime standouts, visit your local farmer's market (or neighbor's garden, if you're lucky) for the freshest, most delicious okra and tomatoes.  

This dish is delicious with sautéed shrimp and grits, or as a colorful side to grilled chicken.  


  • 4 slices 40% less fat bacon, diced into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoons The Delicious Dietitian Tomato Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2.5 cups fresh okra, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 tablespoon The Delicious Dietitian Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
  • Fresh ground black pepper


Cook bacon slightly. Saute onion and garlic with bacon until tender. Add tomatoessugar, spice blend and pepper. Stir well and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed. Meanwhile wash okra and remove fuzz if using fresh and cut into pieces. Add the okra and simmer until okra is done, about 20 more minutes.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July Fourth Barbecue Sandwich

Celebrate Independence Day with a fantastic spin on a traditional barbecue sandwich.  This crowd pleaser is sure to leave guests asking for more!


  • 8 ounces boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup The Delicious Dietitian Apple Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons The Delicious Dietitian Apple Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • (1 1/2-ounce) whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • Preparation
  • 1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup vinegar to pan. Reduce heat to medium. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until pork is tender, stirring frequently.
  • 2. Combine olive oil and 2 teaspoons vinegar in a medium bowl. Add green and red cabbage; toss gently to coat.
  • 3.  Spread buns with canola oil blend mayo, top with pork and slaw.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Road Trip (snacking)!

On the road for a recent trip, I was reminded of the few and far between healthy choices for meals and snacks on the road.  To avoid calorie overload and multiple sugar bombs, a little planning ahead is crucial for eating well while traveling.

Snacking on the road can pass the time and keep passengers happy for the long haul, but convenience store foods often leave much to be desired nutritionally.  Instead of opting for gas station junk foods, pack some snacks that will curb hunger and prevent over-indulgence.

Snack bars (such as Kashi), apples, oranges, bananas, single servings of peanut butter with whole grain crackers, or trail mix are all great options to keep stocked in the car.  These snacks provide protein to help keep hungry passengers full until the next stop, and complex carbohydrates to prevent the dreaded sugar rush.  For longer trips, pack a small ice chest with string cheese, berries, hummus or Greek yogurt to add some variety to snacking.

Plan times to stop for meals ahead of time, so you are never going too long without eating something.  When we try to stretch it out "just a few more miles", by the time you finally stop, resolve is weak, and you may be tempted to grab a fatty, sugary, salty fast food meal. Plan ahead and try to find information about restaurants on your route where you can find healthy options If you must go the fast food route, maintain your portion control, choose a restaurant that offers sides other than fries, and order water or unsweetened tea to drink.  A better choice for long trips is to pack some sandwiches or wraps to tide you over until you reach your destination.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Slow Cooking

When families eat meals together, research shows that they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, and less likely to eat fried foods, soft drinks, and other high calorie foods. When younger kids eat frequent meals with their parents, they are less likely to become overweight.  With hectic work and school schedules and other activities, it can be tough to get a home cooked meal on the table in all of the commotion.

Instead of driving through and picking something up, plan ahead and prepare a delicious home cooked meal that will be ready when you get home--pull out your crockpot!  Toss a few ingredients in the pot in the morning, and come home to the smell of a delicious home cooked meal.  Simply add some steamed veggies (the SteamFresh bags are great) and you have a fantastic dinner.

Try this Tex Mex Chicken for a dinner that is sure to please!  You can serve this as is or on whole wheat tortillas (like a fajita)

Tex-Mex chicken
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons Southwest spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • ½ purple onion, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1/2cup 2% cheddar cheese
Toss chicken with seasoning and flour in slow cooker. Stir in all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese; cover with lid. Cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).  Stir before serving. Top with shredded cheese.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Italian Green Beans and Kale

This yummy weeknight side dish combines several different flavors and textures of vegetables, making this a great recipe to introduce a new vegetable or please several picky eaters.   The Italian Blend, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese add tons of flavor for very few calories (omit or reduce the red pepper if you prefer less heat).   Enjoy this delicious side with grilled chicken or fish and brown rice for a quick and easy meal.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, one cup contains just 36 calories, and is an excellent source of calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6.  These vitamins, other antioxidants and minerals are essential for health, and may help prevent some cancers.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 pound button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan Directions

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, Italian Blend, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What are your kids drinking?

As the weather heats up and the kids go back to playing outside, it is important to keep them hydrated. But do you know what is in your family's favorite beverages? According to the Center for Disease Control, sugary beverages are the biggest contributor of empty calories and sugar in children's diets, and those sugary drinks have been linked to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease in both children and adults.

Sodas contribute vast amounts of calories and sugar to the American diet. The picture below shows just how much sugar is in a regular coke. In just a 12 oz can there are 39 grams of is recommended that children get no more than 12 grams of sugar per day!

While most people know that soft drinks are packed with sugar, many other beverages contain almost as much sugar, but are considered "healthy choices". Juice drinks, such as Hi-C, Sunny D, and Hawaiian Punch contain as little as 5% juice, and are high in calories and sugar. A Hi-C juice box contains 90 calories and 25 grams of sugar...more sugar per ounce than in a regular Coke.

Instead of juice drinks, opt for water, calorie free flavored water, or a splash of 100% juice added to a glass of water. Even 100% juice can add calories and extra sugar to your child's diet, so limit juice to no more than 6 oz/day.

What about sports drinks? Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade typically have about half as much sugar as a soda, however the portions are much larger, and people tend to drink more of these beverages than they would a soda. A 32 oz Gatorade has about 220 calories, all from sugar. For most kids, even those who play sports, plain water is sufficient for hydration. If your child is vigorously active for more than 60 minutes at a time (i.e. cross country running) then a low calorie sports drink may be a good choice to replenish electrolytes.

The bottom line? Low fat milk (at least 3 servings per day) and water are the best choices for your kids to build strong bodies while limiting excess sugar. Make sure that you have plenty of cold water on hand during the summer months to make sure your kids stay well hydrated.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coco Nuts

As the weather warms up many of us have thoughts of tropical vacations sitting under palm trees and sipping pina coladas. It's a relaxing image, but are those coconuts in the frozen cocktails doing us harm?

Coconuts have become a sort of nutrition trend recently, and all kinds of new products are popping up on grocery store shelves. With the slew of new products come health claims by manufacturers touting the health benefits of these products. Many of these products, however, are marketed as nutrition supplements, and don't require the same federal regulation applied to foods. So how do you know what you are getting?

Coconut Water is the liquid found in the center of a young coconut. Coconut water is very high in potassium, has some carbohydrate (sugar) and is low in sodium. It has been marketed in the U.S. as "nature's sports drink" and many celebrities have been spouting its health benefits. Some of these claims include the ability to control diabetes, fight viruses, speed metabolism, treat kidney stones, smooth your skin, stop dandruff, or prevent cancer. All of these claims are unsubstantiated.

The Verdict: Coconut water does provide hydration, however it does not provide the correct balance of electrolytes after a particularly strenuous workout. If you are a serious athlete, stick to a conventional source to replenish electrolytes. Unlike water, it does contain calories (65 calories/12 oz), so be mindful of the extra calories to maintain a healthy weight. If you like the taste, coconut water is fine, but don't expect any health miracles from drinking.

Coconut Milk is thicker and richer than coconut water, and is produced from pressing the meat of the coconut to obtain a liquid. It is used by those who are lactose intolerant, vegans, and in cooking. Traditional coconut milk — the kind that comes in a can — has 550 calories per cup and provides more than 250% of the daily recommended limit for saturated-fat intake, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Coconut milk has been marketed as a "fat burning" weight loss supplement.

The Verdict: Saturated fats are the fats that increase cholesterol in the body, and research shows that saturated fats should be avoided. There is no evidence to support the claims for fat burning or increased metabolism after consuming coconut milk. Coconut milk should be used very sparingly.

Coconut Oil
is produced from the meat of mature coconuts. Coconut oil contains very high levels of saturated fat. Health claims for coconut oil include stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength.

The Verdict: Coconut oil should be avoided due to the high saturated fat content.

Overall, coconut may have its place in the diet in moderation, but offers no exceptional health benefits and the fat may be harmful in large quantities. So enjoy that pina colada, but don't go overboard on the coconut trend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring Fever

Spring brings us dozens of fresh and delicious produce options and tempts us to get outside and enjoy the weather before the heat and humidity become overwhelming. We are also reminded that bathing suit season is just around the corner!
This month also happens to be National Nutrition Month. Celebrate the changing of the seasons and National Nutrition Month by eating fresh, delicious spring fruits and vegetables and enjoying this beautiful weather while getting some exercise.
Look for strawberries, navel oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, lemons and limes. These fruits are fresh and in season now, and pack a punch of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Artichokes, sugar snap peas, asparagus, green onions, sweet peas, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and red potatoes are at their best in the spring and require little prep and cooking to make them taste great. Take advantage of Spring’s bounty and aim to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Make it a point to incorporate some exercise into your schedule most days of the week. Take advantage of the nice weather and daylight savings time to get in a nice walk or bike ride after work. Try to get at least 30-45 minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week.
Embrace spring and enjoy some of the best produce and weather the Gulf Coast has to offer! What better way to celebrate National Nutrition Month!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken and Almond Wild Rice

Here on the Gulf Coast, Mardis Gras festivities have been in full force for weeks. Between the parties, parades, Moonpies, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails, Carnival season can wreak havoc on your health! Now that Fat Tuesday has come and gone, here is a recipe to help you get back to your healthy eating habits! This makes a great easy dinner, or enjoy cold for a quick grab and go lunch.


1/4 cup The Delicious Dietitian White Muscadine wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp The Delicious Dietitian Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil

Remaining ingredients:
3 cups prepared brown rice
Cooking spray
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
Southern All Purpose Spice Blend
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons minced red onion


1. To prepare dressing, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Cover and chill.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with Southern All Purpose Spice Blend. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done. Cool; cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

4. Combine cooked rice, chicken, celery, carrots, cranberries, almonds, and red onion in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Your Heart!

Did you know that 1/3 of adults over the age of 20 have high blood pressure? That is more than 76,400,000 Americans.

Did you know that 1/3 of those killed by heart disease in 2008 were less than 65 years old?

The total direct and indirect cost (medical costs and lost productivitydue to mortality) of heart disease is estimated at $300 billion each year.

Heart disease is no longer a disease that affects the elderly, it is showing up in Americans at younger and younger ages. Focus on keeping your heart healthy TODAY to prevent cardiovascular disease in the future.

Follow the "simple 7" to get heart healthy and stay that way!
1. Lose weight. Extra body weight (especially fat around the middle) is a major risk factor for heart disease.
2. Get active. All it takes is 30 minutes a day of brisk walking to reap heart healthy benefits!
3. Eat better. Limit sodium, saturated fats (fat from animal products), trans fats, cholesterol, and added sugar. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
4. Keep blood sugar under control. If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar with the help of your doctor and a diet low in concentrated sweets.
5. Control blood pressure. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer. Limit sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day to help manage blood pressure.
6. Manage cholesterol. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Blockages in the arteries can lead to heart attack and stroke.
7. Stop smoking. The health benefits of putting down the cigarettes are too many to count! Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots.

If you need help getting started with a heart healthy lifestyle, contact a Registered Dietitian for expert tips and suggestions.