Tired of Salads? Try This!

Salads can be very boring.  In fact sometimes I find that I stop eating them because they’re not appealing.  I know it’s surprising to hear that from a dietitian!  Well the other night, my husband requested salad and I came up with a winning combination that left both our taste buds and tummies satisfied!

In the Mix:

  • Arugula
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheat berries

I dressed my salad after I took the photograph.  I used a little bit of Annie’s Goddess dressing thinned out with balsamic vinegar.  I absolutely love this salad dressing but be careful because it’s quite calorically dense at 120 calories per serving.  A little goes a long way!

Have you ever had wheat berries before?   I bought hard red winter wheat berries from my local supermarket (Fairway) and simmered them in water for about 1 hour until they had the right chewiness texture to them.  They are so delicious!

Wheat Berries Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked):

150 calories, 1 gram fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber and 6 grams protein

What’s your favorite salad combination?  Have you ever had wheat berries before?


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A Staple In My Kitchen: Hummus

I think a lot people are curious as to what is inside a dietitian’s fridge.  I like buy a variety of foods to keep things interesting, however, there are definitely staples that I almost always have.

Today’s highlight is: Hummus!


Hummus is a spread that is made of chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.  There can be variations of hummus with additions of roasted red peppers, spicy peppers, extra garlic or lemon juice, and many more.

Why do I love hummus?

  • The flavor is amazing
  • It’s made from healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It’s filling due to protein (chickpeas), fiber (chickpeas) and healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It is incredibly universal

Here are my favorite ways to enjoy hummus:

  • As a spread on a sandwich (if you substitute hummus for mayo you will 60-80 calories per tablespoon!)
  • As a dip for vegetables, crackers or pita
  • As a salad dressing (thin with vinegar)

My favorite kind is Sabra…but do note that it has more calories and fat than the others.  That’s why it tastes so yummy!  It has about 80 calories per serving verse the 40-50 calories that most brands have.

Nutrition Tidbit:

  • Even though hummus is a health food you can definitely overdo it!
  • Each container has 8 servings, which adds up to 320-640 calories for the whole thing!
  • Portion out a proper serving on a plate and then dip away.

What’s your favorite type of hummus?

Another Simple Healthy Dinner

As you can tell one of my main priorities right now is putting a healthy dinner on the table.  Since time is hard to come by simple is the key!

Baked salmon with roasted asparagus and kombucha squash.

The prep time was 15 minutes!  For this dinner, once everything is prepped you just let the oven do the rest.  The result: a healthy and delicious dinner on the table.

Here’s the prep:

Kombucha Squash: The cutting of the squash took the most prep time out of all.  Make sure to be careful, cutting hard squash can be dangerous!  I sliced the squash and tossed it with some spices (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, pepper, a dash of sugar and olive oil).

Roasted Asparagus: I washed the asparagus, trimmed off the tough ends and placed the asparagus on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.  Tossed with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Salmon: One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is to top it off with a little Soy Vay.  You can easily make your own similar marinade, but again when I’m crunched for time using some help from the store is the way to go!

As you can see I lined all my baking dishes with aluminum foil to allow for easy clean-up.  I know it’s not that environmentally friendly but the last thing I want to do at night is scrub baking dishes, they are a real pain to clean!

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  The squash takes about 40 minutes total.  So I put the squash in first.  After 20 minutes, I flipped the squash and then added the salmon and asparagus to the oven.  The greatest part about oven dinners is that you can do other things while the oven is doing the work.  In no time dinner was ready.

I try to make salmon one time a week since it’s so healthy.  It’s also very easy to cook.

What’s your favorite way to prepare salmon?  Have you ever tried Kombucha Squash?  More about salmon and kombucha to come!


Super Simple & Healthy Dinner

These days I’m looking for dinners that I can make in very little time and with few ingredients.  I usually want to spend no more than 15 minutes prepping dinner.  One of my favorite proteins to cook with is chicken sausage – it’s fully seasoned, very flavorful, healthy and easy to cook with!  This past week I made a simple saute of chicken sausage with peppers and onions.  I served it with an ear of corn and some roasted broccoli.

This dinner came together in a matter of minutes.

For the chicken sausage with peppers and onions all I did was saute the onions in a little olive oil, once soft I added the bell peppers.  Then I added in the chicken sausages and cooked until heated through.

For the corn on the cob I simply husked the ear of corn, wrapped it in a damp paper towel and microwaved it for 3 minutes.  When corn is fresh you don’t need to add a thing, it’s so flavorful!

For the roasted broccoli, I just coated it with cooking spray, salt and pepper and roasted it in a 450 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

As you  can see – the only prep work was cutting onions, peppers and broccoli and husking the corn!  In 20 minutes I had a very nutritious meal that provided protein (chicken sausage) carbs (corn) and fat (olive oil) and lots of vitamins and minerals from all the vegetables (onions, peppers, broccoli and corn!).

Quick & Healthy Lunch

The baby is sleeping…so I can squeeze in a quick post.

I wanted to show you what I ate for lunch today, it took less than 5 minutes to prepare and it was delicious and healthy!

I made a turkey sandwich which consisted of:

On the side I had cole slaw that I made for dinner last night using this recipe – I highly recommend it!  I made a few changes – I omitted the onions and peppers (didn’t have any) and used less oil and sugar.  I also enjoyed an organic peach from my CSA.  Actually a lot of the food was from my CSA: romaine lettuce, cabbage and the peach!

I love this meal because it’s high in fiber (whole wheat bread, lettuce, peppers, cabbage, and the peach) and high in protein (turkey).  It’s full of color which means it contains a wide variety of nutrients and will keep me full do the combination of protein and fiber!  Add in deliciousness and it’s a winning combo!

If I can make a healthy lunch in minutes with a screaming baby in my arm – you can too!

Here’s a recent photo of us from the July 4th weekend:

Black Bean & Corn Salad

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and while I wish I could take credit for it, I can’t!  But Cooking Light can. It reminds me of the summer, something that it lately has felt like here in NYC!

I follow the recipe to a T and it can be found here.  Since it’s not corn season yet, I used no salt added canned corn, but it’s even better when you have fresh corn on the cob.

Last night I served this as a side dish to beef tacos.  Today I’m eating it on top of salad with guacamole and cheese for lunch.  I’m sure it would be delicious made into quesadillas as well!  I have a lot leftover so I’m sure I’ll be eating it in a few more variations as well!

Nutrition Tidbit: Black Beans

  • Black beans are a nutrition powerhouse.
  • They are full of fiber (1/2 cup = 8 grams).
  • They’re brimming with disease fighting antioxidants – yes beans have a lot, they’re not only in your fruits & veggies!
  • Black beans also contain folate (great during pregnancy!), manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1, phosphorus and iron.
  • The combination of fiber and protein gives you stable energy while preventing spikes in your blood sugar.
  • And they’re inexpensive!

Do you cook or eat black beans?  What is your favorite recipe?

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yesterday, I told you that I made mashed potatoes to go with my Roast Chicken Dinner.  Mashed potatoes, get a bad rap since they are usually loaded with butter and heavy cream.  Today I’m sharing with you a super simple recipe that yields an incredibly flavorful end product that is healthy to boot!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 8 red potatoes, washed and quartered (yukon gold work well too)
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To roast the garlic, slice off the top 1/4″ of the head to expose all of the garlic cloves.  Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until tender.
  3. While garlic is roasting in oven, prep your potatoes.  Cook potatoes either by microwaving or boiling.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, check after 10 minutes and continue cooking until fork-tender.
  4. Combine cooked potatoes, milk, salt and pepper in bowl.  Remove garlic from oven and squeeze all the cloves out and add to the potatoes.  With a potato masher or two forks start mashing to combine all ingredients.  If you want very smooth mashed potatoes use a hand blender.
  5. Serve!

I like the rustic feel of the potato skin in mashed potatoes.  If you do not like the skin, make sure to peel potatoes before boiling.  The nutrients are split between the flesh and the skin, therefore, if you remove the skin you will be removing a lot of the fiber, folate, iron and potassium.

Potatoes are part of the dirty dozen. Meaning that they contain high levels of pesticides.  If you have the monetary means and can access organic potatoes, I recommend doing so.