Here's the Dish

healthy ANDI licious

Warm Rosemary Olive Oil Bread May 23, 2012

Whole-Grain Rosemary Olive Oil Bread made with Organic Spelt Flour

Warm Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
with Organic Spelt Flour & Honey

Adapted from the recipe on the package of Arrowhead Mills Organic Spelt Flour.


-1 Package of Active Dry Yeast
-1 Cup Warm Water
-2 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary Leaves
-2 Tbsp. Honey
-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
-1 tsp. salt
-3 1/2 cups Arrowhead Mills Spelt Flour


Active Time: About 20 minutes
Total Time: About 1 hour and 45 minutes

While this recipe is easy to make, you will need to plan at least an hour and a half for it to rise and bake. No bread machine needed!

1) Combine warm water, yeast, honey, rosemary, and olive oil. Stir in salt and 1 1/2 cups Spelt Flour. Beat well for a few minutes until ingredients are well mixed.

2) Cover with a damp cloth (I used damp paper towels) and leave dough in a warm place for 30 minutes.

3) Add remaining flour, mix well, and knead by hand. Set aside again (I placed my dough at this point in a pie tie that I had coated with olive oil) in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

4) Bake for about 30 minutes until brown. Serve warm. Delicious with a little olive oil, butter, or coconut spread to add to each slice.

Tip: If you are cooking for one, slice half the loaf and place the sliced half in your freezer so you can use some later in the week (or even a later month). When you are ready for a slice of your homemade bread, take the slice from your freezer, microwave for 30 seconds, then toast in a toaster, toaster oven, or lightly oiled pan on the stove.


Savory Oatmeal April 30, 2012

Oats are really just another grain. Just as you wouldn't think twice about eating a savory sandwich with wheat bread, once you try savory oatmeal, you'll see that there are so many new breakfast possibilities!

Oats are really just another grain. Just as you wouldn't think twice about eating a savory sandwich with bread made from wheat (another grain) once you try savory oatmeal, you'll see that there are so many new breakfast possibilities!

Savory Oatmeal
with spinach & egg

Break free of your oatmeal rut! Sweet, fruity oatmeal dishes can be wonderful but there is world of other flavor possibilities that are just too good not to try. I got the idea to try this combination from an recipe in Women’s Health Magazine printed last fall by contributing editor and Nutrition Expert Keri Glassman, RD. (Love her!)

Here is my spin on the dish:


-1/2 cup plain oats
-1/4 cup water, milk, or unsweetened almond milk
-1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach (or other leafy green)
-2 spoonfuls of walnut or pecan pieces
-Dash of paprika and your favorite savory herbs & spices
-(Optional) A spoonful of Gorgonzola  or blue cheese or Daiya Dairy Free


1) Place oatmeal, frozen spinach, and water (or milk, almondmilk) in a microwave-safe ceramic bowl. You don’t need a lot of liquid because the frozen spinach will also give off moisture when cooked. Stir ingredients together and microwave on high for 2 minutes.

2) Carefully remove bowl (hot!) and combine remaining ingredients.

3) Top it off with one egg: scrambled, sunny-side up, or your favorite style.  If you are also including the egg, start your egg cooking first so it will be done when the oatmeal is done. I often just take about 2 tsp. peanut oil to coat a saucepan and cook an egg on the stove-top.


Mustard Dill Potatoes April 3, 2012

Brown spicy mustard, fresh dill, and roasted garlic add lots of flavor to this savory side dish.

Mustard Dill Potatoes
with garlic and olive oil

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45-60 minutes

4 side dish servings

-6 medium red potatoes (also called new potatoes) rinsed and quartered
-1 medium sweet potato rinsed and cut into large bite-sized slices
-2 tbsp olive oil
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup fresh dill leaves, rinsed (or 3 tbsp dried dill leaves)
-1/4 cup brown spicy mustard

Optional extras–not necessary to enjoy this dish but they add an extra boost of nutritional benefits– Add one or two of these extras to the dish if desired: dash of turmeric, dash of cayenne pepper, dash of ground black pepper, 1 tsp red wine vinegar.


1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse and cut potatoes into large bite-sized quarters. Peel and mince garlic. Toss 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/8 cup fresh dill leaves, minced garlic and potatoes in a bowl to mix.  Prepare baking tray by coating with 1 tbsp olive oil.

2) Add tossed mixture to tray and place in oven to roast at 375°F for 45-60 minutes until potatoes are slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, shaking tray or stirring ingredients with spatula ever 15-20 minutes.

3) When potatoes have reached desired crispness, carefully remove from oven and place in serving bowl. Combine 1/4 cup spicy mustard and remaining fresh dill. Stir well. Add more mustard or dill if desired.

Delicious when served hot or cold. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.


C-Blast Tangy Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie November 10, 2011

Save jars to bring your smoothies to-go! Just twist on the lid and tote to class/the office for an energizing snack.

Make it a good morning (or afternoon pick-me-up) with this Vitamin-C rich Tangy Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie.

A single kiwi provides more than 100% DV for Vitamin-C!



C-Blast Tangy Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie
with fresh kiwi, chilled strawberries, & banana

Amounts vary (add to taste). 2 servings.

1 Whole Kiwi
Handful Frozen Strawberries
1/2 Ripe Banana
3 tbsp organic Greek or European plain yogurt
1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk


1. Rinse kiwi. Slice kiwi in half and scoop out contents into blender. Discard skin.

2. Combine all other ingredients to taste. More liquid for a thinner drink, more frozen ingredients & less liquid for a thicker smoothie.

For a dairy-free version substitute yogurt with Amande dairy-free almond yogurt, or organic soy yogurt.

3. Blend until smooth. Serve freshly blended or keep chilled and store covered for up to 12 hours.

4. Chill out & enjoy!


Cinnamon Yogurt Scones September 28, 2011

An adaptation from a simple yogurt bread that I have been playing with, these “Yogurt Scones” make for a healthy alternative to the high-fat originals (scones are usually made with sour cream).

Cinnamon Yogurt Scones

Ingredients (measurements are approximate)
Yield 6 scones

-1 cup white whole wheat flour
-3/4 cup nonfat plain European or Greek Yogurt
-1/4 cup raisins (or a bit less)
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts
-2 tbsp ground flax seed
-1 tbsp baking soda
-1 pinch salt
-2/3  cup warm water


-Brown sugar

-Olive oil


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mix ingredients in large bowl (except for topping ingredients). Lightly grease pan with olive oil or use wax paper to line glass pan. Portion out 6-7 servings and place on pan. Make a thumbprint in the middle of each scone and sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon (about a pinch of each). Add just a drop or two of olive oil on the top of each scone. Bake for 20 minutes.

Nutrition Highlights

High in calcium (from yogurt), low in fat (nonfat yogurt used), and good source of whole grains (whole wheat flour).


Aguacate Relleno de Salmón August 17, 2011

Aguacate Relleno de Salmón
Salmon & Avocado Half with Salsa & Greek Yogurt

Inspired by one of my favorite summer dishes, Aguacate Relleno de Atún, I decided to give the same basic recipe a try with salmon instead. I used freshly baked wild caught salmon, chilled in the fridge for a few hours after baking.


-1/2 fresh, ripe avocado
-fresh salsa
– FAGE 0% Plain Greek yogurt


Prepare salmon as desired. Scoop out 1/2 of a ripe avocado. Top with salsa and fat-free plain Greek yogurt. (The Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to the mayo traditionally used in the tuna dish.)

Nutrition Info
Approximate values taken from These are estimated values and may vary.

Info for 1/2 avocado, 2 oz salmon, 2 tbsp salsa, 1 tbsp fat-free plain Greek yogurt.

Calories: 310, Fat: ~20g (only 2.5g  saturated), Sodium: 50mg, Sugar: 3g, Fiber: 7g, Vit C: 20%, Calcium: 6%.


Freshly Chilled Mango Frozen Yogurt August 5, 2011

Freshly Chilled Mango Frozen Yogurt made with Organic Lowfat Yogurt

Freshly Chilled Mango Frozen Yogurt
Topped with a spoonful of whipped cream & cinnamon

I recently found an absolutely delicious frozen yogurt that did a great job emphasizing its nutritional high points on the packaging. Only after eating far more than I should have did I take a look at the ingredients and find to my disappointment that it was full of high fructose corn syrup and other food-like substances that I would rather not be eating. From this came the motivation and inspiration to finally make my own!  I still hope to one day soon take it a step further to learn to make my own yogurt. If you have tips please share!


16oz Organic Lowfat Plain Yogurt (other flavors would work too)
1-2 14oz Packages of GOYA Mango Pulp (More = more intense flavor)
Splash of OJ
1 Banana
3 Very Ripe Plums
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Honey

(Toppings: Whipped Cream & Cinnamon)


Pre-freeze ice cream maker overnight (following instructions for your model). Combine ingredients in large bowl and blend using a hand blender. If you don’t have one just blend everything in a large blender. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and allow freezing process to take place.

Serve fresh & cold. Delicious when topped with a dash of whipped cream and cinnamon as shown.

Nutrition Perks

Low-fat, good source of healthy pro-biotic cultures, good source of vitamin A, excellent source of calcium.


Fit French Onion Soup June 18, 2011

Healthy French Onion Soup

Not-Quite-Classic French Onion Soup

This post has moved to my new website:


Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie May 9, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

Take advantage of rhubarb, a red-stalked relative of celery that serves as a delicious contrast to sweet and citrus flavors, this spring while fresh stalks are out in farmer’s markets and supermarket produce stands. Low in calories and sugar and high in nutrients, rhubarb is a great addition to a healthy spring diet.

I prefer the pure tangy taste that you get without adding sugar but if you like your smoothies a bit sweeter try adding a teaspoon of honey or some very ripe melon (like cantaloupe or honeydew).


1 ripe banana
1 stalk fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened non-fat yogurt

Extras (If you have them, these would also be great in this smoothie.)
melon (honeydew or cantaloupe)


Get-Your-Greens Sandwich April 30, 2011

Get-Your-Greens Sandwich

Loaded with spring mixed greens, this sandwich satisfies and gives you a boost of veggies.

2 slices toasted whole wheat bread
Spicy brown mustard (thin layer spread on each slice)
Hummus (any flavor spread on each slice)
Mixed greens
Goat cheese
Avocado slices

Pairs Well With
Tomato soup (half sandwich)
Pear slices
Red and yellow bell pepper slices
Berry smoothie


Kale Chips April 28, 2011

Fresh, crisp, kale chips

I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while but thanks to Josh Kapelman bringing it up as we brainstormed for the recent TCS Healthy Week cooking demo I finally got the push to try it!

We followed a simple recipe from using basically two ingredients: kale & olive oil. Everyone LOVED them.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, among others, this leafy green will give you a nutritional boost better than most supplements. It is listed as the top rated food on Whole Food’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index based on its high level of nutrients per calorie.

Make Your Own Kale Chips
Recipe from

-Fresh kale
-Olive oil (1-2 teaspoons)
-Salt and pepper (sprinkle)
– Sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 250° and begin preparing kale. Rinse and dry fresh kale leaves and tear into small pieces (do not include the thick stems). Spread over baking tray with about 1 teaspoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes or until chips have reached their desired crispness.  I like to sprinkle sesame seeds on top when they are just about done baking.


Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Curry January 19, 2011

Easy cauliflower chickpea curry

This spicy dish packs a powerful punch of flavor but is very easy and inexpensive to make. Make a large batch for some quick, tasty leftovers– the dish tasted even better after sitting in the fridge over night.

Try it at Home: Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Curry


– 1 head of  fresh cauliflower (about 1 lb)
– 1 can of reduced fat coconut milk
– 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed)
– 1 can of diced tomatoes or 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
– 2 tbsp curry powder
– 1 dash of ground black pepper
– 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Rinse cauliflower and cut into small florets. Heat large skillet at medium heat with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and add the cauliflower. After 2-3 minutes add drained, rinsed chickpeas and tomatoes and continue to stir skillet frequently. Continue to cook for about 4 minutes then add the coconut milk, curry powder, and black pepper. Stir well until fully blended then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and allow dish to simmer for about 15 minutes.


How to Like Brussels Sprouts January 14, 2011

The Secret to Liking Brussels Sprouts: Roast Them

Bland boiling and other lack-luster brussels sprouts recipes have earned them an infamous reputation from many children and adults alike. But the mini cabbage-like veggies can actually be delicious with one easy trick: roast them.

Try It At Home: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups fresh (or completely de-thawed frozen) brussels sprouts with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/4 tsp of sea salt.  Pour mixture onto baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, shaking tray (or moving sprouts with spatula) every 10 minutes to make sure that they are evenly browned. The brussels sprouts will be done when they are brown crisped on the outside.

Nutrition Highlight: Related to broccoli and cauliflower, brussels sprouts are very high in vitamin C and vitamin K.


Penne with Cumin, Cabbage, & Carrots January 10, 2011

Penne with Cumin Cabbage & Carrots

We found this recipe in a recent copy of The Dallas Morning News. All of the peeling, slicing, and shredding involved took a bit more time and effort than my family had expected but the final meal was one that everyone liked and there were plenty of leftovers to use for easy meals in the next couple of days.

We used whole wheat penne and fresh veggies. The only change we made to the recipe was to use Italian Asiago shredded cheese instead of Taggelio or fontina cheese (which I could not find at the store).

Scroll down to the third recipe on The Dallas Morning News website here to try this dish at home.


Lunch: Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi January 5, 2011

Whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi with peas and fresh red cabbage, topped with marinara sauce and a pinch of Italian Asiago and fresh sage

Sweet and Savory

For lunch today I tried to put together a new combination of flavors with an emphasis on including vegetable variety: whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi (found in the pasta aisle), frozen peas, fresh red cabbage, Italian shredded asiago, marinara sauce, and fresh sage.

The ingredients paired very well together and the lunch was very simple and quick to prepare. While I waited for the water to boil, I rinsed and cut the cabbage and sage, and assembled the remaining ingredients. When the water boiled, I put in the gnocchi and peas and allowed these to cook for about 3 minutes. I strained the water from the cooked ingredients and mixed in the cabbage and marinara sauce. After 30 seconds in the microwave the sauce was hot and ready to top with a pinch of asiago and fresh sage.


Hearty Vegetarian Chili January 4, 2011


Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Cold winter days are not match for this warming dish. This chili is flavorful and very filling boosts your daily veggie and fiber intake. Everyone in my family loved the dish when my sister followed this recipe (from for dinner. We used 3 tablespoons of chili powder instead of the 6 in the recipe to make a mild chili instead of a spicy one.


Aguacate relleno de atun December 30, 2010

Aguacate relleno de atun: This is a simplified version of a favorite Mexican dish with one scooped out fresh avocado half, and chunk light canned tuna mixed with pineapple salsa.

This recipe uses a homemade low-sodium, low-fat version of tuna salad from this delicious Mexican dish by mixing canned light tuna (in water) with salsa without adding any mayo, salt, or cheese. The creamy avocado flavor with the savory taste of the tuna and salsa makes for an incredibly satisfying flavor. Nutrition bonus: this dish is a good source of potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate.

Try it at Home: Aguacate Relleno de Atún

1. Slice and remove skin from one ripe but firm avocado. remove the pit and use the hollowed out center as a bowl for tuna/salsa mix.

2.Brush avocado with a splash of lemon or lime juice  (to keep avocado fresh longer- you just need a few drops)

3. Combine 1-2 tbsp chunk light tuna with 1 tbsp salsa of your choice. (I used Newman’s Own All Natural Chunky Pineapple Salsa).

4. Top with a spring of fresh cilantro.

Dish works well as a snack or appetizer or pairs nicely with a salad or tortilla soup for a delicious meal. You can use both avocado halves to make 2 servings or save the other half of the avocado to use the next day in the fridge or for later use in the freezer.

Serving Size: 1 stuffed avocado half. Nutrition Info (approximate values will vary with exact portions used) Calories per serving: 220 kcal. Fat: 15 g (2g saturated, 13g unsaturated). Sodium: 187 mg. Potassium: 587 mg.


Satisfying Soup December 28, 2010

Satisfying Soup: Hot vegetable soup with multigrain tortilla chips topped with low-fat cheddar

Featured: Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Vegetable Soup topped with multigrain tortilla chips and low-fat cheddar blend. Canned soup can be good to keep on hand for when you don’t have much time to go grocery shopping but many soups try to compensate for the lack-luster canned taste with enormous amounts of sodium. Look for low-sodium or no salt added versions and add your own toppings to amp up the flavor. I found this combo to be particularly delicious as a mid-afternoon snack and helped me stay on track with my goal to eat more vegetables. One cup of soup plus toppings delivered 70% of the DV for vitamin A, 20% of the DV for vitamin C, and lots of satisfying flavor for only 175 calories. I saved the rest of the soup for later (the can comes with two cups) but loved it so much that I couldn’t wait until the next day and ate the rest that evening.


Rosemary Roasted Chicken December 27, 2010

Rosemary Roasted Chicken: Fresh whole chicken stuffed with lemon and parsley and topped with olive oil, rosemary and lemon grass.

Try it at Home: Roast Your Own Chicken

Preheat oven to 425°F (I used a convection roast setting). Line an oven tray with tinfoil and roll a piece of foil to use as a circular base for the chicken. Fill a small bowl with olive oil,  3-4 cloves chopped, crushed fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary leaves, juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon, a dash of pepper, and a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley. Stuff the inside of the chicken with a bunch of fresh parsley and the remaining half of the lemon after you have squeezed the juice into the olive oil mixture and on the chicken. Using a basting brush (or your clean hands if you don’t have a brush) evenly spread the olive oil mixture onto the chicken and underneath the skin.

Tie the legs  together with baker’s twine or other oven-safe string (I used thread).  Place in the oven and set your timer for an hour. Temperatures may vary based on your oven settings and desired crispness. Check on the chicken frequently throughout the hour. It will be done when the internal temperature is about 180°F.


I learned an important lesson about roasting chicken last night: Don’t assume that the bird you buy will be ready to cook. Last week, I put my knowledge from the Tufts Culinary Cooking lesson with Dining Services Chef Toby to work and roasted two chickens for a dinner with my family and friends. Much to my delight, the chickens turned out beautifully and tasted even better. Last night, however, my effort to repeat the experience for my grandparents did not work out quite as easily as planned. The problem: the chicken had been frozen and was not fully de-thawed. Given that my first chickens had been ready to cook when I opened them, I made the rookie mistake of thinking that this was a standard. Last night however, just as I opened the package and got ready to start seasoning I realized that this bird was way too cold. Long story short, while the outside appeared cooked, when we sliced the chicken and were about to serve dinner we noticed that the inside was far from done and we had to return it to the oven and begin our dinner sans chicken.

Lesson Learned: Let the chicken de-thaw overnight in the fridge before attempting to cook. Don’t assume chickens in the fresh meat section were not previously frozen.


An Interesting Rating Tool December 8, 2010

After my nutrition controversy group finished our end-of-semester presentation on “Nutrient Profiling” methods, I find that my interest in the subject continues. Nutrient profiling systems, are food rating systems designed to compare foods based on their nutritional values to provide quick insight to shoppers looking to make healthy choices. There are dozens of nutrient profiling systems out there, some with substantially better methods of rating foods than others, but all imperfect… at least for now.


The Guiding Stars Online Food Finder allows you to compare foods instantly for their nutritional value

The system I focused on was the “Guiding Stars” system, implemented by Hannaford Supermarkets in 2007. Guiding Stars is now used by 1,300 grocery stores, two universities, and one public school. The system gives foods 0, 1, 2, or 3 star ratings based on how their nutritional contents measure up. 3-star products are considered the healthiest products within their categories.  Of course, what is healthiest is not always the same for every person. The star ratings are based on what would be best for the general population, most of whom could benefit from controlling or losing weight.  For those in the population who are on the low-end of the weight spectrum or who are underweight, I do not think these star ratings will necessarily benefit in several cases.  Most of the criteria used to evaluate the foods seem like good ones to me based on my studies of what constitutes a healthy diet. The one glaring problem that I have with the system is that it does not deduct points from non-caloric sweeteners. While these do not add calories to a food, the health consequences of heavy use of these artificial sweeteners are not entirely known and may be harmful. For diabetics, artificial sugars can be very useful but for others I do not see them as beneficial and may cause more problems than their worth.

With that being said, I do see the value in Guiding Stars as a general, user-friendly reference. Few of us have the time or energy to critically evaluate the labels of everything we eat, so a system that does the work for us has its appeal. Try comparing some of the foods you buy on the online Food Finder site. You may find that some foods you thought were healthy aren’t really as great as they seem and others that you thought weren’t so great are actually quite good for you!

Try it at home: Visit

Want to get the nutritional facts for the foods you eat at Tufts? Try Tufts Nutritional Analysis Program.


Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal December 7, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal

Breakfast: Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal

A warm seasonal breakfast, rich in spices, fiber, and sprinkled with chopped pecans for added crunch and protein.

Try it at Home

1. Cook oats. I cooked the oatmeal first (follow the instructions on the back of your oatmeal box as these may vary depending on what kind you have). Here I used quick oats, added 3/4 cup milk, stirred well and microwaved on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

2. Add 2-3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin. I used canned pumpkin. Stir well then top with a generous dash of cinnamon and a small dash of nutmeg. Top with chopped pecans.

3. Optional: Sprinkle some wheat germ on top for some added vitamin E or flaxseed for some heart- healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You can add a pinch of sugar as well but don’t add too much, the pumpkin will naturally give the oatmeal a slight sweetness.


Now in Season: Cranberries November 25, 2010

Fresh cranberries: most people would not eat fresh cranberries on their own (they have a naturally very tart flavor) but they can be delicious when thrown in smoothies, salads, breads, and in other tasty holiday dishes.

Now in Season: Cranberries

A tart, potent berry, cranberries pack a lot of flavor and nutritional oomph into their brightly colored skins. These berries are naturally low in calories and sugars, and high in fiber, antioxidants (particularly vitamin C), and phytochemicals (including Proanthocyanidin).

Proanthocyanidin, a phytochemical that helps prevent bacteria from sticking to certain body surfaces, gives the cranberry its reputation for aid in prevention of urinary tract infections, tooth decay, and some food-borne illnesses.

Cranberry Juices: 100% Juice not Always What it Seems
100% cranberry juice, in the unsweetened version, is very tart but most of the cranberry juices on the market are sweetened with other fruit juices or sugar. OceanSpray, for example, offers a “100% Juice Cranberry”  with “no sugar added.” This juice is still sweet because the company blends in other, much sweeter juices to give the juice a more palatable flavor. If you love cranberry juice, this kind would definitely be a much better choice than the cranberry juice “cocktail” variety, which is laden with added sugars, (and in my opinion doesn’t taste very good). Even the natural juice blend, however is still very high in sugar. To cut down on your calorie and sugar intake, mix the juice with sparkling water to make a tasty juice spritzer.

Cranberry Dishes
Try to find cranberry dishes and drinks that take advantage of the cranberry’s tart tangy flavor instead of masking it with tons of sugar. I like to add a handful of fresh or frozen berries to fruit smoothies, and I love Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. Instead of adding lots of sugar to your dish, try pairing cranberries with naturally sweet fruits like baked apples or pears. Here’s one delicious recipe that tastes tangy and sweet without piling on the sugar: pear cranberry sauce.


Where to Find It: Brown Rice Sushi November 22, 2010

Alix with her Miso Soup

Tufts Culinary Society (TCS)  E-Board members went out for dinner at Snappy Sushi in Davis Square last night.  I love sushi so I would have been excited if we were going to any sushi restaurant but from a nutrition perspective I have to point out something that I especially love about Snappy Sushi: brown rice.

If you’ve ever tried to make your own sushi (Ben and I did last winter break) you will have probably developed an appreciation for how difficult it can be to make the rice look clean-lined and perfect the way it is served in a restaurant. White sushi rice is usually preferred for use because it is easier to work with and is the traditional rice used in sushi dishes.

Alexandra with her Tuna Tar Tar

Snappy Sushi brings you the best of both worlds, great tasting, beautiful sushi and the health benefits of brown rice (which is a whole grain).  I’ve had brown rice sushi to-go from Whole Foods before as well. I haven’t seen many other places serve it. If you know of more, please share them!

Tuna Tar Tar


Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie November 18, 2010

Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie

I have moved this recipe to my new website You can find the strawberry pumpkin smoothie recipe here. 


How to Decode a Food Label November 17, 2010

Know What’s in Your Food:
How to Decode a Food Label

Learn to interpret the numbers and words on the back of the package.

Can you guess what food is in this can based on the nutrition label?

Can you guess what’s in the can on the left? This food has many health highlights as it is high in fiber (6g), protein (6g), and iron (45% DV). Other perks: the food is fat-free, low in sugar (2g), and low in calories (110). The high fiber and protein content make this a filling/sustaining food for the serving size: 1/2 cup. There is only one apparent drawback: the food is also high in sodium.

Did you guess the food? The can shown is for black beans. Canned beans are wonderful foods to stock up on: they contribute a lot of great things to a meal or a snack and will help keep you full much longer than refined foods such as chips or cookies. As for the sodium, there are two things you can do to significantly reduce the amount of sodium you consume from canned beans: 1) Buy reduced sodium versions, 2) Rinse the beans before you eat them. Note that even if you do neither of these suggestions canned beans are still pantry (and definitely dorm room) worthy.

How do you compare similar packaged foods to decide which is healthiest?
Here are a few tips:

  • Serving Size: Make sure that you take the serving size into account any time you are eating packaged foods. Most bottled fruit juices and sports drinks, for example, have a serving size of 8 oz but the bottle often contains 2.5 servings. To avoid excessive sugar intake, try to stick to the actual serving size on these bottles and be aware that if you consume the whole thing you will need to multiply the nutrient values by how many servings are in the bottle. For snack foods, it can be helpful to put the amount that you think you should eat based on your caloric and nutrient needs on a plate and then  put the rest of the package out of reach.
  • Look for Low Sodium Options: The percentages for sodium are not based on the Adequate Intake value of 1500mg/day but rather on the Daily Value of 2400 mg/day. The  Upper Limit (the maximum amount considered within a healthy range) however is 2300 mg/day. What’s wrong with this picture? If we were to stay within 100% of the DV we would still be consuming 100mg more than recommended per day.
  • Look for foods low in saturated fat and try to avoid trans fats (present anytime you see “hydrogenated oils” in the ingredient list). Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats provide health benefits and should be included in the diet.
  • Include high fiber foods and look for “whole wheat” as one of the first ingredients in most of your bread products.
  • Choose foods that are good sources of the vitamins and minerals listed at the bottom of the label.
  • In general, 5% or less is “low” and 20% or more “high” for each given nutrient.

For more information visit the FDA website.


Breakfast: Healthy French Toast November 16, 2010

This filling, tasty breakfast is both healthy and easy to make! It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare.

5 Minute French Toast

I have to thank Erin for teaching me how to make French toast this semester. Unless you are trying to watch your cholesterol intake, I don’t necessarily think that egg whites are better or “healthier” than regular eggs. Egg whites do have less calories, fat, and cholesterol, so if you are trying to limit these components, egg whites can be helpful but the yolk of an egg (along with the calories) is also packed with nutrients so for someone without cholesterol issues who leads an active lifestyle I think regular eggs are also a great choice. My sister Hilary would be the first one to tell you that I don’t normally like eggs (she’s always making wonderful healthy eggs and omelets for breakfast but for some reason I don’t like the egg smell) but I have found that there are a few ways that I enjoy them.

French Toast, thanks to a quick French Toast tutorial from my suite-mate Erin (who happens to have lived in France for most of her life), is now my new favorite way to use eggs. Basically, French toast is about as easy as it gets to make. You just add eggs and milk to a pan with a little bit of oil and add the bread. The toppings then are up to you and your taste preferences.

Here is the 5 Minute Healthy Tasty Version that I made for breakfast:

1) Heat small pan (just larger than a slice of bread) on stove top to medium to high heat with about 1 tsp olive oil.
2) Pour in just a very light coating of egg whites and skim milk, stir with spatula, and immediately immerse a piece of whole grain bread. Allow the bread to soak in a little bit over half of the liquid in the pan then flip over with spatula so the other side soaks in the rest.
4) Add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and a small drizzle of honey (less than 1 tsp) as you allow each side to cook until they reach the crispness you desire.
5) Transfer to plate and top with walnuts and a few raisins.

If you can’t drink or don’t like milk, almond milk works really well as a substitution.


Healthy Dessert 3: Sweet Cinnamon Turmeric Plantain November 15, 2010

Pan-Fried Sweet Cinnamon Turmeric Plantain

Pan-fried Sweet Cinnamon Turmeric Plantain: Add ~1tsp olive oil to pan and set at medium to high heat. Slice a fresh, ripe plantain and add slices to pan. Top with powdered cinnamon and turmeric and just a dash of brown sugar or honey. Go easy on the turmeric, which gives the dish the bright yellow color and is a strongly anti-inflammatory spice. The fresh ripe plantain actually started off with a mild yellow color with an almost peachy hue.

Learn more about plantain (which is similar but not the same as a banana) and how to use it in one of my all-time-favorite smoothies here.


100 Calorie Upgrade: Edamame November 14, 2010

Ready to Go: You can buy frozen edamame in the shell and microwave it for about 5 minutes. Add just a light sprinkle of salt and enjoy! 1/2 cup is only 120 calories.

Easy, Healthy Snack: Edamame

This post is a follow-up to Friday’s post about upgrading your 100 calorie snack. (If you haven’t read that post, read it here.) Like the hummus, carrot, and salsa combo featured before, edamame makes a tasty, satisfying snack, rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

A serving (1/2 cup) provides 120 calories, 10g protein, 5g fiber, and 15% of the DV for iron. Edamame is also an excellent source of folate, manganese and vitamin K.

This is another great example of a healthy, unprocessed, “convenience food.” You can buy frozen edamame at every grocery store I’ve seen, including in the form of a “steam fresh” bag that you place directly in the microwave for 5 minutes. (Even without a microwavable bag you can put them in a microwavable bowl, cover and cook for the same amount of time). You can make a large batch at once and stick your leftovers in the fridge to quickly reheat (30 seconds) in the microwave later.

Don’t go crazy with the salt. Just a little bit goes a long way to enhance the flavor so that the taste hits you when you suck the soybeans out of the pods.

Pairs deliciously with fresh orange slices. Also makes a great side dish for meal, especially if you are making a vegetarian entree because soy is an excellent source of protein.


How to Score Great Free Workout Music November 13, 2010

If your iTunes library is feeling a little bit lack-luster, you can’t stand to listen to the same workout playlist for the 97th time, but your occupation of student hasn’t left you with much extra cash for new music, rejoice. Here are a few ways to give your playlist a tune-up just in time to get fit for the holidays.

For me, a great workout playlist can make all the difference in the world for how far and fast I can run. Without music you might as well tell me to go swimming in the sand.

3 Great FREE (and 100% Legal) Ways to Score New Music

1. Free on iTunes

Every week, iTunes features 3-4 new free songs that you can download like any other purchase (but without a charge). Just click on your iTunes Store, click on “Music” in the top left hand corner of the page, then click on “Free on iTunes” in the right hand bar. New songs are released every Tuesday. I don’t always like all of the songs featured but I have definitely stumbled upon a few that I love (including one that I had been searching for months before it was released on iTunes only to happily discover its release and get it free!)

2. DJ Earworm

I tried to find the United States of Pop mashup that was on the radio around New Year’s on iTunes to use as a warm-up for my cardio class but was disappointed that it wasn’t listed at the time I first heard it on the radio. This summer I decided to search again because I heard that DJ Earworm had a website that you could download his songs from. I assumed that this would mean paying for the songs but was pleasantly surprised that all of the downloads are free! There seems to be a legal loophole for podcasts because they are generally only taking remixed fragments of songs and piecing them together without trying to sell or profit from them. I found the most recent United States of Pop as well as several other great workout songs on his website.

3. DJ Rob Resnick 

(Note 5/4/2012– looks like Rob is too busy with Timeflies to keep up with this site now! Skip to #4!)

Tufts very own DJ Rob Resnick (Tufts ’11) now known for Timeflies started out with these sets before the concert tours. Rob’s sets make for fantastic workout music. His Summer Set I is my absolute favorite playlist to jog with because he uses fun, upbeat songs that change fast enough that even the most music ADD listener won’t get bored. You can download many of his remixes and sets for free from his website.

4. SHAPE Magazine Free Workout Playlist Download (added to post 12/2011)

Score tracks made famous by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Rihanna with this SHAPE free exercise mix! Great up-tempo beat for cardio workouts.

If you know of other great (legal) free music sites, please share them in your comments to this post!


100 Calorie Upgrade: Hummus, Fresh Salsa, & Baby Carrots November 12, 2010

Hummus, Fresh Salsa, & Baby Carrots: Filling, packed with nutrition and flavor and, if you stick to the serving size shown here (2 tbsp hummus, 1 tbsp fresh salsa, 7-8 baby carrots), ~100 calories.

What’s in Your 100 Calorie Snack?

The wave of 100 calorie snack packs have seen enormous sales in recent years and, to their credit, may help a lot people stick to a moderate serving size for their favorite processed snacks. On the run, stuffed in a lunch box, or given out in large groups I can definitely see their value: foods we like, controlled portions, conveniently wrapped.

The problem is that I have yet to find a packaged 100 calorie pack that actually makes me feel less hungry. I feel like I am just putting a taste that I like in my mouth for a few minutes, then it’s gone, and I’m ready to find something else to eat. If you’re on the run you will probably be too distracted by other things to fixate on this feeling. If you’re sitting (near access to the rest of your food) working on a stressful homework assignment, however, fixation on anything happens readily.

When your 100 calorie snack becomes a mere appetizer to more snacking on processed foods, the 100 calorie pack’s purpose has lost its value. To fix this, try to make your dorm, your home, or your apartment, a place where your snacks are mostly fresh, unprocessed foods. A 100 calorie pack of cookies is useful if that’s your means of restricting your cookie intake, but should not be considered a “healthy” snack because it doesn’t provide you with anything that does something for you by packing nutrients, fiber, or satisfying flavor.

Here’s one healthy snack idea to get you started: 2 tbsp of your favorite hummus, 1-2 tbsp fresh salsa, and 7-8 baby carrots. The trick is to actually dish out the portions, put them on a plate, and then put all of the extra ingredients away. Keeping out a full container even of a great, healthy food like hummus, will make it tempting to eat more than a serving and consume excess calories. Instead, only have your prepared plate within your sight and have water or unsweetened tea with your snack to make it more filling without adding calories. (Note that adding diet soda, even if it is calorie-free, is not such a great idea for your health. Look for an upcoming post to learn more.)