Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

Wellness Wednesday!

As you’re getting ready to prepare for the big Turkey day next week, think about adding some herbs and spices to twist things up. Many herbs and spices, such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and clove, are said to help reduce inflammation. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor without adding extra sodium, and can really help bring your classic dish to the next level. Eat Up! #WellnessWednesday


Happy Posts, Thoughts of a Dietitian

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes comes in all shapes and sizes. And I can promise you, like all chronic diseases, it effects more than just the diabetic individual, it effects friends and family of that person too. It’s a constant struggle of wondering if your blood sugar is rising or dropping?, do you need a small snack or a large snack?, how much insulin do you need to take to cover this food?– and then waiting to see if all your calculations were right. I can tell you from personal experience, managing diabetes is seriously a full time job!!

Type 1 Diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease with no known cause or cure.

On the other hand, Type 2 Diabetes, previously adult-onset diabetes, is directly connected to your lifestyle. And considering there isn’t a cure for Type 2 Diabetes either, the best thing you can do is PREVENT IT! Take care of your body with proper diet and exercise. Take action to get yourself to a healthy weight. Don’t leave your health up to chance, be proactive and start making small changes today!

As we finish out the rest of November, make it your goal to become more aware. Be mindful of the daily struggles of someone who has diabetes or is caring for a loved one with diabetes. Be mindful of what YOU can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

And finally, join me in celebrating World Diabetes Day, today November 14th, and wear blue to show your support for all the diabetics you know in your life!

Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

GIY- GROW it yourself!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on growing an avocado from a pit (seed). I feel like avocados have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, and probably for good reasons. This wonderful FRUIT (yes, it’s another one of those things that’s really a fruit) is packed full of so much nutrition.

Did you know… avocados have more potassium than bananas! Potassium is important for healthy blood pressure, and preventing heart attacks, stroke, and kidney failure.

Did you know… avocados are high in the same monounsaturated fat as olive oil! Monounsaturated fats, specifically the oleic acid found in avocados, has been shown to reduce inflammation and have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.

Did you know… half of an avocado has 7 grams of fiber, which is 25% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. (We recommend 25-35g daily.) Most of the fiber is insoluble, which is so important for gut health.

So if you’re craving some guacamole or avocados on toast, let me tell you how to get started growing your own avocado plant.

You’ll need a pit, 3 tooth picks, and a jar. Clean and dry the avocado pit, then press 3 tooth picks into the seed (gently) in such a way that the seed can suspend in water. The blunt end needs to be in the water (roots) and then pointier end needs to face up (stem.) And yes, you want the blunt end soaking in water at all times.

Be patient. Root will begin to sprout in several weeks. It’s best to store the jar somewhere warm, but out of direct sunlight. Once you stem gets to be several inches long, plant in soil.

I have awhile to go before I get any fruit from my tree, but it’s such an awesome feeling to grow your own food!

Anyone else ever try growing an avocado tree? Let me know your tips and tricks below!

Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

Wellness Wednesday!

Ever notice how much a walnut looks like a brain? That’s because walnuts are one of the BEST foods for your brain because they are packed full of DHA, a type of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid. DHA has been shown to improve cognitive performance in adults, and can ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. Do the smart thing and add some walnuts to your diet this weekend. #WellnessWednesday



Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower 

I am always looking for new and creative ways to increase the amount of vegetables in my diet. Today’s recipe makes a great side that can replace mashed potatoes for those looking to lower their carbohydrate intake. 

To make mashed cauliflower you will need:

  • 1 head cauliflower 
  • 2 TBS milk
  • Manchego Cheese, about 1/3 cup grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Simply boil the cauliflower until fork tender. For me, this took about 10-12 minutes. Drain the florets, place in a food processor and blend with milk and cheese. THAT’S IT! 

I apologize for not having a “final” picture, but it looks just like mashed potatoes. We served ours with pork chops, and topped with gravy. 

Do you like cauliflower? Cauliflower has been gaining popularity with the new cauliflower rice craze– have you tried it yet? Let me know your favorite way to prepare cauliflower! 

Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

Wellness Wednesday!

Research tells us most American’s consume 20 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which translates into 65 pounds of sugar consumed per person per year! (Yikes!) Expects recommend woman limit sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons per day, and men to 9 teaspoons daily. As we move into the holiday season be mindful of how quickly the added sugar can add up, and turn into unwanted pounds. #WellnessWednesdaygarlic


Butternut Squash Soup

It’s a rainy Saturday and after completing a few errands this morning I am happily hunkered down inside for the remainder of the day. Aside from catching up on sleep and doing some more cleaning, I also made some warm, delicious butternut squash soup to enjoy on this dreary day.

Best part? 5 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need.

  • 3 cups butternut squash, precut from the grocery store
  • 1/2 yellow onion (about 1/3 cup diced)
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 3 TBS milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash and onions in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables onto a cookie sheet, and roast for 40-45 minutes. The longer you roast your vegetables the more flavor they will have. Toss occassionally to help evenly brown the squash.
  2. In a blender, combine cooked squash, onions, chicken stock and milk. Blend until creamy.
  3. Transfer to a sauce pot and heat as needed on the stove top. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Top with sour cream (ingredient #6!!) if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

This is a great dish to serve for the upcoming holidays too. Did you know you can keep it warm in a crock-pot if you’ll be having guests over throughout the day?

Stay Healthy! Enjoy!

Hints & Tips, Recipes

Smoothies, have it your way

The main reason I love making smoothies is because they are so easy to customize to your flavor preferences and health needs.

Did you know you can add veggies to your smoothie for added fiber and nutrients? Today I added frozen sweet potato, for a little sweetness and added vitamin A. Another one of my favorites is fresh spinach which packs a punch with iron.

Did you know you can add chia seeds to your smoothie for address protein? A single tablespoon of chia seeds adds 3 grams of protein to your drink, plus 5 grams of fiber! Win-win!

Looking for more protein? Try Greek yogurt or peanut butter which are two of my other favorites. Ground flax seeds, similar to chia seeds, also add a dose of protein and fiber to your drink.

Stay away from commercial smoothies which are usually pure sugar and juice. When making smoothies at home make sure your drink contains fiber and protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, and prevent ugly blood sugar spikes. 

Let me know what other foods you add to your smoothie in the comment below! 

Hints & Tips, Recipes

Quick and Easy Crockpot Meal: Salsa Chicken

I’m not sure if anyone else’s family is like mine, but I know my family is never too creative when it comes to naming things. For example, our cats name is ‘Whiskers’ (she has whiskers), the downstairs bathroom is the ‘blue bathroom’ (it’s painted blue) and this chicken recipe is called ‘salsa chicken’ (it’s made with salsa and chicken.)

But let me tell you about this salsa chicken I speak of because it’s seriously the easiest thing ever. It’s TWO ingredients. Chicken thighs (skinless and boneless) and canned salsa. 

Go ahead and clean however much chicken you typically need to feed your family. Place chicken into the slow cooker, dump your favorite jar salad on top and mix around. Any salsa will work here- mild, spicey, sweet, you name it! 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The chicken will shred apart when it’s done and it’s so delicious on tacos! It also worked great on top of a salad or by itself. Make sure to serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and lettuce. Not only does the salsa gives the chicken moisture, it also gives it a TON of flavor. And it’s so easy!

Tonight my family had our chicken tacos on these chia seed taco shells! I’ve never tried them before, but I have to say the taco shells were very fresh and crunchy so I would definitely purchase again.

Also including the nutrition info for the shells below. I am not familiar with typical calories and fiber in normal corn tortilla so I cannot comment on how these compare.

Make sure to add this recipe to your week night menu. It’s great for families of any size, can be customized to meet your familiy’s spice preference, and most of all only requires 2 ingredients! Serve with a quick salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a very healthy meal. Enjoy!