January is the month of do overs, start overs, and New Year’s resolutions. For the 7th year in a row a diet you likely have not heard of topped the list at number one for Best Overall Diet by U.S. News & World Report. Continue reading
With so many choices and thousands of new products every year, walking into a grocery store is challenging. It’s difficult knowing how to shop smart. In this interview with one of my dietetic interns, Carolyn Moore*, we busted a few myths and talked common grocery store mistakes people make.
Here is the video transcribed. Continue reading
It’s time to update a post from a few years ago about my homemade trail mix. I’ve been making this for years and if you’re a client (or friend or family member) or if you have attended a talk I’ve given, you likely received a bag (or three) of Neily’s Rockin’ Health Trail Mix. I came up with the idea at the request of a client looking for a healthier afternoon snack, something other than plain nuts.
Red, white and blue – our nation’s colors. Two of those colors happen to be some of my favorite fruits! What’s better than strawberries and blueberries? Not much in my book. That’s why I take every opportunity to use them in one of my fave guilt-free desserts. Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping. Continue reading
One of the easiest ways to decrease sodium in the diet is cooking at home. People often think it’s difficult to do so and takes up too much time. Not so! In this third video recognizing High Blood Pressure Education Month, registered dietitian nutritionist, Cindy Kleckner demonstrates Penne Pasta with Zucchini Yogurt Sauce & Walnuts. It’s a perfect recipe that combines essentials of heart healthy cooking with 100% whole wheat pasta, low fat Greek yogurt, veggies and walnuts, an excellent source of plant-based omega 3s. (Recipe follows video)
Penne Pasta with Zucchini Yogurt Sauce and Walnuts
1 pound zucchini (about 3-4 medium zucchini)
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup plan Greek yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cut the zucchini into thick slices and place them in a saucepan with a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover the saucepan and steam for 5 minutes.
- Pulse the zucchini in a blender or food processor for 30-60 seconds with the garlic, olive oil, yogurt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta al dente as directed on the package, usually 8-10 minutes.
- Mix the pasta with the sauce from the blender and top with the walnuts and cheese.
Yield: 5 servings
Each serving: 215 calories 9g protein 9g fat 2g sat fat 50mg sodium 1g dietary fiber
May is almost here and it will be High Blood Pressure Education Month. I was thrilled to spend some time with culinary expert Cindy Kleckner, registered dietitian nutritionist, and co-author with Rosanne Rust of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies.
One in three people suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and can greatly benefit from reducing sodium in the diet. The average American consumes almost 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The recommendation is 1,500 mg and the upper limit is 2,300 mg per day.
Interestingly the majority of sodium does NOT come from added salt at the table or in cooking but from processed packaged foods and food consumed away from home in restaurants and fast food places.
Years ago I learned that fish is “nature’s fast food” because as you will see it IS fast. Watch as you see my good friend Cindy whip up a fabulous dish! Sea Scallops with Pistachio Sauce placed on top of Sweet Potato Mash. Recipes are below.
Seared Scallops with Pistachio Sauce
1½ pounds large sea scallops
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Dry the scallops well with paper towels, removing as much water as possible. Heat ½ Tbsp of the olive oil on high in a large nonstick skillet.
- Add half of the scallops and sauté without turning them until they’re well browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook until the sides are firm and the centers are opaque.
- Transfer the scallops to a plate and place a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering the plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops. Transfer to the plate.
- Add the chopped pistachios and butter to the skillet and cook until the butter in lightly browned. Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Each serving: 289 calories 41g Pro 12g fat 3g sat fat 98mg cholesterol 1g fiber 451mg sodium (sea scallops are naturally higher in sodium accounting for the majority of sodium in the recipe)
Sweet Potato Mash
4 medium sweet potatoes
Dash cinnamon, to taste
Dash ground cloves, to taste
Dash ground ginger, to taste
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce each sweet potato with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking and place directly on oven rack. Bake 45 minutes or until tender.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven and cut a slit in the top of each one. Scoop out the potatoes into a bowl using a large spoon. The potatoes will be hot, so you may prefer to allow them to sit for 5 minutes or use a oven mitt to hold the potato.
- Mash the potatoes with a fork to your desired consistency. A perfectly naked potato will mash almost instantly with a fork.
- Blend in a dash of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, to your desired taste.
Yield: 4 servings
Each serving: 112 calories 2g protein 0g fat 0g sat fat 72mg sodium 4g dietary fiber
Beans for low sodium cooking with Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cindy Kleckner
Cindy Kleckner, registered dietitian and co-author with Rosanne Rust of the Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies and I were talking about some of the benefits of these little powerhouses of nutrition.
This is an adaptation of our discussion at the Cooper Nutrition & Health Expo in March during National Nutrition Month. (To see the video go to “In honor of Meatless Mondays, the benefits of beans.”) Continue reading
16oz whole wheat rigatoni, dry
Leftover from rotisserie chicken (3/4c white, 1/4c dk meat)*
2oz sugar snap peas
3/4 red onion
40 cherry or grape tomatoes
1c chopped carrots
1/3 c Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
2T balsamic vinegar
Cook pasta. Mix all ingredients. Chill before serving.
*Can leave out for vegan dish or substitute shrimp.
Nutrition information per serving:
Video: Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cindy Kleckner talks about the benefits of beans!
I’ve long been a fan of beans. Not much of a meat eater so it’s a great way for me to get my protein. I had the pleasure of chatting with Cooper Clinic registered dietitian Cindy Kleckner at the annual Cooper Nutrition Expo during National Nutrition Month about the benefits of beans. Cindy is co-author along with Rosanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies. It’s loaded with information and features 150 of Cindy’s sodium-friendly recipes. Here is one of my favorites using beans. I love hot artichoke dips but usually they’re loaded with lots of cheese making for a rather unhealthy, high calorie appetizer. Not Cindy’s version!
Hot Artichoke Bean Dip
(page 181, Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies)
- 1.5 cups reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- two 14-oz cans artichoke hearts, well rinsed and drained or four 4-oz jars of marinated artichoke hearts
- one 15.5oz can Great Northern beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1 can (or 2 jars) of artichoke hearts and beans in food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add the remaining artichokes, Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and garlic. Pulse until artichokes are coarsely chopped.
- Coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon the mixture into the dish and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Yields 24 servings
Per serving: 50 calories; 3g fat (1g sat fat); 5mg cholesterol; 80mg sodium; 5g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 2g protein
Serve with your favorite unsalted whole grain crackers, pita chips or bread cubes.
Cindy Kleckner, MS, RD, LD – co-author of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies – and I sat for a chat about her book, high blood pressure and sodium. (Scroll to the end if you prefer to see the interview on YouTube.)
|Neily||Tell me Cindy, what was it like when you were invited to co-author this book?|
|Cindy||It was really exciting. My co-author was Rosanne Rust, lives in Pennsylvania. She has written 3 other books. So when I had the opportunity, it was real fun for me to be able to exercise my creativity as a culinary expert along with my registered dietitian skills.|
|Neily||Definitely, that’s great! So let’s talk about hypertension. Hypertension being the fancy, medical term for high blood pressure. Who is at risk for developing hypertension?|
|Cindy||We have to look at age first. As you advance in age, you have more of a tendency to have high blood pressure: men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 50 are more at risk. Certain ethnic populations such as African-Americans, people who are obese are a great concern, people who smoke. All those things play into it: if you drink excessive alcohol, if you don’t manage your stress very well, those are the things that put as at most risk.|
|Neily||And what is it: one of 2 people over the age of 60 have high or develop blood pressure?|
|Cindy||Exactly! One in 3 Americans..that is about 76 million people right now. And it really puts as at risk for spending a lot of money in healthcare costs.|
|Neily||Definitely. So, the book talks about the DASH diet. Tell us what the DASH diet is about.|
|Cindy||DASH stands for ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ and the original study showed that people who incorporated fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, watched the type of fat they were eating, how much they were eating, if you incorporated more fat-free, low fat dairy products and substituted beans for some of your animal protein and also reduction of sodium and salt – those are the things that constitute the DASH diet that really help to prevent high blood pressure.|
|Neily||Great! So I imagine, those principles are probably things that you might have incorporated into the recipes: and there are a 150 recipes in the book?|
|Neily||Great. So tell me a little more about the recipes in the book. Am I going to have to be a culinary expert to make them?|
|Cindy||No. Not at all. In fact the goal is to get fresh food on the table fast. Smaller number of ingredients that are very flavorful to take away the salt you have to add, herbs and spices and all that and also, we try to appeal to all masses – so adults, children (there is a section on feeding kids) and also vegetarians. So it is very diverse.|
|Neily||Great. So if I buy this or somebody bought this book for say their mother or father, for example, then there is something for everybody to eat in the family.|
|Cindy||Exactly. It’s a good book for prevention, as I said, incorporating a lot of flavorful ingredients. I think everyone will love it.|
|Neily||Great. Excellent. Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies. Please tune into the next couple of videos because we are going to make a couple of recipes from here!|