Healthier Host

 If you are hosting Thanksgiving and want to have a healthier meal, here are some tips:
  1. Use smaller plates: Research shows people typically try to fill and clean their plates, regardless of size. 
  2. Leave bowls of food in kitchen and not on the table where it is easy to grab seconds and thirds and fourths.
  3. Serve only white meat turkey without the skin.
  4. Use a gravy separator to remove the gravy fat before serving.
  5. Make sweet potatoes instead of white mashed potatoes which typically has butter and sour cream or half & half.  Sweet potatoes are higher in vitamins and minerals.  Add a small amount of trans-fat free margarine and brown sugar. 
  6. Stuffing: Make your own using whole-wheat bread. There are many recipes online. 
  7. Green bean casserole: Use 98% fat free condensed mushroom soup, skim milk and make your own fried onions for the topping.  Chop onions, coat them in flour and cook on the stove with cooking spray.  Leave out the soy sauce to reduce sodium.
  8. Pumpkin pie: Make your own crust with graham crackers and trans-fat free margarine.  Use skim evaporated milk, egg beaters and fat free cool whip to replace high calorie alternatives. 

Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner....guilt-free!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  We are all excited for our favorite dishes which causes many of us to overeat at the holidays.  Here are a few tips so you can still enjoy all your favorites without the guilt and without adding a few pounds.
  • Drink plenty of calorie-free drinks such as water, sugar-free drinks or unsweetened tea.  This will help fill you up so you do not overeat.
  • Eat breakfast and lunch: coming to dinner hungry will cause you to eat fast and overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full! 
  • Watch portion sizes: enjoy your favorite foods but take smaller portions.  Try to fill 1/2 the plate with veggies, 1/4 with white turkey meat without the skin and 1/4 with starches such as potatoes or stuffing. 
  • Stick to one serving: if you still feel hungry, wait 10 minutes and then go back for seconds or skip seconds and save the calories for dessert instead.
  • Take a walk: Don't run a marathon but weather permitting take a short walk after dinner to help you feel less stuffed (and guilty).
More to come on calorie-saving tips if you are hosting Thanksgiving!

Apple Sauce Recipe

It's Fall and time for apples!  I'm reposting my apple sauce recipe because it's delicious and very easy to make.

One of my favorite Fall activities as a child was to go apple picking with my family. There aren’t many orchards where I live now but I still love finding a cider mill to indulge in cider and donuts (yes, dietitians eat donuts too!).

Here is a quick and easy applesauce recipe:
  • 4 apples peeled (if desired), cored and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) ground cinnamon
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook on high until water boils. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Stir occasionally and mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender for smoother applesauce.

Use a soft apple such as McIntosh and you can leave some of the apple skins on for extra fiber, vitamins and minerals. Just make sure to wash the skins well and buy organic if possible.  Enjoy!

Kitchen Staples

You're busy and looking for a quick meal to make after a long day at work.  I always have these staple foods in my kitchen in case I don't have anything else planned.

  1. Sealed meals - always nice to have for nights you don't want to cook!
  2. 2 jars of pasta sauce and whole wheat pasta
  3. Ground turkey meat - keep it in the freezer for quick tacos or spaghetti with whole wheat pasta
  4. Quinoa - great plain or with cranberries or veggies
  5. Canned salmon - salmon burgers can be a quick and tasty meal
  6. Cranberries - great on salads or with quinoa
  7. Salsa - add to eggs, tacos, soups or rice
  8. Packaged lunch meat - make a panini! Find brands without nitrates such as Applegate Farms
  9. Frozen veggies - just add a little water, cover with cling wrap and cook in the microwave for 3-5 minutes
  10. Frozen edamame - quick and healthy snack
  11. Instant oatmeal packets - fast breakfast or snack and great to travel with too!
  12. Brownie Mix - it's always important to be able to make a quick and delicious dessert!
What are some of your kitchen staples?

Quinoa with Spinach, Mushrooms and More!

This recipe is great because the quinoa provides a great protein source and you can use up any veggies you have.  It even tastes better the next day as leftovers!

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped 
  • 1 bag raw spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cheese (ex. parmesan, goat, feta)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional veggies: diced tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, corn, peppers, celery, etc
  1. Combine rinsed quinoa and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  
  2. Meanwhile, add olive oil to heated pan and saute veggies until soft.
  3. Add cooked vegetables to quinoa and top with cheese, salt and pepper.
This recipe is full of "umami" which means savoriness due to the mushrooms, parmesan cheese and tomatoes if added.  

Amazing Burger Recipe

Just in time for Labor Day!  Here is a healthier burger recipe the entire family will love!

Servings: 8 burgers


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef (such as Trader Joes Angus Ground Beef 96/4 or Ground Sirloin)
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, such as Stubbs Spicy BBQ Sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lawry's season salt and garlic powder 
  • Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl (add extra bread crumbs if it feels too wet and extra BBQ sauce if too dry) 
  • Use a burger patty maker and form 8 burgers
  • Grill on medium for 10-15 minutes, flipping only once
  • Add your favorite topping and enjoy!  

Quinoa with Pine Nuts, Basil and Cranberries Recipe

The last post on fresh herbs inspired me to plant some basil and see if it would grow! Sure enough with sun and water, I have loads of basil ready for great recipes.  Below is a quinoa recipe which is loaded with fiber and protein!

Quinoa with Cranberries, Pine Nuts and Basil
Serving: 4

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional:  parmesan or feta cheese, walnuts, chopped red onions
  1. Combine rinsed quinoa and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn down heat, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Mix cranberries, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper with cooked quinoa.
  3. Taste and add more ingredients if desired.  Throw in optional ingredients to spice it up!