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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salt Overload

According to a new article put out by the Center for Disease Control on Tuesday, over 90% of Americans get too much sodium in their diets. And the surprising news is this: most of the salt we eat does not come from the salt shaker, it is hidden in our foods.

More than 40% of the salt we eat comes from 10 types of foods
✗ breads and rolls
✗ cold cuts and cured meats such as deli or packaged ham or turkey
✗ pizza
✗ fresh and processed poultry
✗ soups
✗ sandwiches such as cheeseburgers
✗ cheese
✗ pasta dishes
✗ meat mixed dishes such as meat loaf with tomato sauce
✗ snacks such as chips, pretzels, and popcorn

About 65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores, so look for lower sodium choices at the grocery store. About 25% comes from restaurants, and it can be hard for a person to tell how much sodium is in restaurant foods. Ask your server if there are low sodium options, or check the nutrition facts for favorite restaurants online.

So, what can you do? Read food labels for all foods, paying attention to how much sodium each food contains. A good rule of thumb is to limit sodium to less than 200 mg per food. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and eat at home as much as you can. And remember, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium and high in essential vitamins and minerals!

Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 mg per person per day on average could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs. Over 400,000 American deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure, and decreasing the amount of sodium we eat could save thousands of lives.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Four-cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

With the Super Bowl this weekend, you may be in the market for a new appetizer recipe. Well look no more because here is a great one for crowd-pleasing cheesy stuffed mushrooms.

The great thing about this appetizer is that it doesn't taste healthy, and it's full of vegetables! If you like mushrooms, you need to make this recipe! Even if you aren't making anything for a Super Bowl party, you can eat these for a light lunch. They are filling without making you stuffed.

Mushrooms have a lot of health benefits even if they aren't very colorful:

  • One cup of mushrooms has only 15 calories, no fat or cholesterol, and a very low amount of sodium.

  • Mushrooms can be used to replace meat in some dishes, or they can add bulk to meat dishes while adding beneficial nutrients with very few calories.

  • This versatile veggie is high in many vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, multiple B vitamins, potassium, copper, selenium, and phosphorus.

Four-cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 12 mushrooms

12 medium to large mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 TBSP The Delicious Dietitian Red Muscadine Wine Vinegar
½ tsp The Delicious Dietitian Southern All-Purpose Spice Blend
¼ cup reduced-sodium 2% cottage cheese
2 TBSP neufch√Ętel cream cheese (or reduced-fat cream cheese)
¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Clean mushrooms. Remove stems, scrape out gills, and set aside. Place mushrooms on foil-lined baking sheet, open side down. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheet, and dry mushrooms. Dry baking sheet.

Meanwhile, make the mushroom filling. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add bell pepper and onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in reserved mushroom stems and gills. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until mushrooms release their juices. Add in garlic and spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted. Add Red Muscadine Wine Vinegar and Southern All-Purpose Spice Blend to vegetables. Cook for 3 more minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl, and stir in cottage cheese, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Mix until well combined.

Stuff each mushroom with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable-cheese mixture. Place stuffed mushrooms on baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Top mushrooms with ½ tsp Parmesan cheese each, and bake for 2-4 more minutes.


Meme Inge is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, and has a private practice as a Regional Delicious Dietitian in New Orleans, LA. She holds a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from The University of Alabama and a Master of Science in clinical nutrition from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Follow her on Twitter @memeinge!