Grilled Street Corn Salad

Serves 6-8, Serving size 1/2 cup

  • 5 ears of corn in-husk
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup feta cheese 
  • ½ tsp Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat grill to high heat. Once heated, place ears of corn in the husk on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes, rotate to the other side and cook another 10 minutes. If the husk gets burned, not to worry. It will only give your corn more flavor on the inside. 
  2. After corn is done, place on a heat-safe plate and let cool. 
  3. While corn is cooling, slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise, and then into thirds. 
  4. Slice the avocados into bite-sized pieces and combine with the cherry tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Once corn is cool enough, cut the thick end of the corn off where the husk is (making sure to cut into the cob itself). You will then be able to squeeze the corn out, holding the top (hairy end) of the corn and slowly pushing the ear of corn out. 
  6. Once you have done that with all of your corn, slice the corn right off the cob and place into the mixing bowl.
  7. Slice your lime in half and squeeze the juice into your bowl. Add feta and cilantro.
  8. Mix well to combine and eat up! 
  9. Slice your lime in half and squeeze the juice into your mixing bowl. Add feta and cilantro.

Calories 145. Fat 7g, Protein 5g, Carbs 18g

KP’s Tip: This is a great starchy side to have with dinner. It works great with kabobs, since the grill will already be used for the corn!

TODDLER TIPS: How to encourage your littles to try new foods and eat more balanced

Let’s face it, when you’re trying to feed your toddler, it can be very challenging to say the least. It changes on a daily basis, and they’ll do anything NOT to try something new. So in this blog, I’ll provide some tips to help encourage your littles to try some new foods, and provide some fun recipes that will excite them and get them involved in the kitchen. 

PUREES FOR DAYS

Purees are one of the easiest things to not only make ahead and freeze, but to hide in a large variety of foods. From cauliflower, butternut squash, broccoli, and carrots, you can puree literally any vegetable to throw in different foods. A great example of this is butternut squash mac and cheese. Reflecting back to my childhood, mac and cheese was one of my favorite foods. If my mom hid pureed butternut squash in there, I never would have known the difference. It’s the same color, and gives it a nice creamy texture. You can also use puree cauliflower as an “alfredo sauce” for veggies or noodles to give them a nice, creamy texture. The key is taking the time to make the purees and having them in your freezer at the ready. It can be simple, but what the littles don’t know won’t hurt them! 

MIX-INS

I suggest this not only with toddlers, but adults as well. Mixing healthier foods in with our regularly consumed foods can help add veggies without sacrificing taste. An example of this is adding cauliflower rice to regular rice. Again, it’s the same color and they have a similar texture, but you’re still eating rice. Meatloaf is another way to hide some veggies. Throw in a mirepoix mix (carrots, celery and onion) to your meat mixture but make sure to finely mince the veggies in a food processor so you can’t even see that they’re in there! Try throwing really finely chopped spinach into eggs, as it wilts perfectly with eggs and doesn’t change the taste. If they ask what the green is, make it a positive addition (green to help your muscles grow, keep your body strong and give you energy). 

FUN SHAPES 

Ants on a log, apple donuts, fruit kabobs, and heart-shaped sandwiches are all great ways to put foods into fun shapes to encourage our kids to eat or even try foods. The more fun a food is, the more they’ll be willing to try it. See the recipes at the end of this post for ideas, but getting creative is key. The more you respond positively, so will your toddlers. 

EATING THE RAINBOW

Often when I see kids in my office I always use the rainbow approach. Sit down and show your kids the colors of the rainbow, have them even do a coloring activity of the rainbow and see if they can name just one fruit or vegetable from each color. The more involved they are and learn from you, the more eager they’ll be to try different colors. They often want to try each color rather than the actual food, but it’s a start and gets them excited to try something new. When they come up with the idea of the food they want to try, they’re much more likely to try it as well. 

IMMERSION BLENDERS ARE LIFE 

When making a simple dinner like spaghetti and meatballs, there are a ton of ways to sneak in those veggies without the kids realizing. With your sauce, add as many vegetables as you can that won’t only enhance flavor, but will puree very easily with an immersion blender. Throwing celery, onion, carrot, butternut squash, even cauliflower in a red sauce and blending it up so you don’t even see it is a great way to hide those veggies but also boost fiber. With your meatballs, you can do the same thing, like the above mentioned “hiding them in foods” post. Remember, using seasonings are always helpful to keep the flavors alive as well. 

Immersion blenders are easy to clean, don’t take up too much space and keep dirty dishes minimized since you can blend it up right in the pot that the food is in. You can also add parsnips to mashed potatoes, butternut squash to sweet potatoes, or even cauliflower to an alfredo sauce. Use your imagination! 

TRY EVERYTHING MANY TIMES OVER

They key to truly seeing if we like or don’t like a food is to not only try it multiple times, but also try it in different ways. When I was a kid, I hated brussel sprouts and now they’re one of my favorite veggies. I discovered that getting the shredded version and roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper was the most delicious way to make them! I could eat them like that every night if I had to. My point is that it’s not always about the food itself, but the ways in which you cook it. Your little may not like broccoli cooked, but may love it raw with ranch, so try it in it’s different forms. 

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Always remember how your attitude is towards certain foods. Let’s say you hate spinach. If you constantly talk about how gross spinach is or how it’s something you just need to eat to be healthy, you’re not setting the best example for your little one. When they see you not having a positive attitude towards trying new things, they won’t either. The more fun, exciting, and new you make trying a new food, the more your toddler will want to play along too! 

NOW FOR SOME INSPO…

See below for some great recipes that you can make with your little ones and also some great ways to sneak more nutrition into foods as well! 

HONEY MUSTARD HUMMUS 

Honey Mustard Hummus Recipe

This is a hit with kids and if they like honey mustard flavored things, they’ll love this hummus. It takes about 5 minutes to throw together and pair with a side of carrots, celery, or pretzels. Check out the recipe here.

APPLE DONUTS 

This is such a fun snack to make with your kids!! It’s so simple and who doesn’t love sprinkles? Simply cut your apple in thin slices, cut out the core with the tip of a spoon, top with your favorite greek yogurt, sprinkles, and devour!! 

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP “NICE” CREAM 

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Frozen bananas whipped into a puree go a long way for a healthier sweet treat. Simply add chocolate chips, cinnamon, almond milk, and you can even try to add different extracts to change up the flavor. Get your kids to pick out the toppings and switch it up every time. Check out a great recipe here.

ICE POPS

Just like ice cream, popsicles are a great frozen treat in the summer. Skip out on all the high fructose corn syrup and get the kids to make their own! Another strategy to get them to try their own creations. The possibilities are endless, but check out a great recipe here and the ice pop molds on my favorite things list under “Kid Stuff” from amazon here

PALEO PANCAKES 

These pancakes are SO good and so versatile. Ingredients are simple and you can add things like frozen berries, chocolate chips, fruited greek yogurt, you name it!

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Spray and heat pan over medium heat and pour mixture into pan. Flip when edges are firm and flip until golden brown. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! 


Top 10 Meal Prep Foods at Costco

Before I was a believer, I always thought Costco was all hype; until I started to drink the kool aide myself. I can now say that I love everything “Costco” and go grocery shopping there EVERY WEEK. Granted, there are only 2 of us in the house, but I still manage to get almost ALL foods I need from Costco, and it keeps my meal prep simple and food waste down. Check out some of my favorite items I have on hand to keep my week consistent and stay on track. 

  1. Hummus cups – These little individually packed hummus cups make snacks and lunches much easier. Coming in at 160 calories per cup, paired with carrots or celery make the perfect, satisfying snack. You could also incorporate it in lunches by spreading it on wraps and sandwiches. Want a little spice? You could add some sriracha or hot sauce to kick it up a notch!
  2. Salsa – Being a dietitian, I always stress how taco salads are so satisfying, yet so low calorie! Using salsa as your dressing dramatically cuts down on saturated fat and sugar intake compared to traditional salad dressings. Not into salads? Just have it as a snack! Having chips and salsa already portioned out into containers will keep your week simple yet still satisfying. 
  3. Salad kits – Prepping a salad takes a lot more work than it does to prep a sandwich or wrap. Costco has huge salad kits that will feed you at least 4 times during the week. What I’ll do is take the lettuce from the kits and divide into four containers, throw the salad mixings in snack baggies divided into four (so they don’t get soggy), and pick out a dressing. The beauty of this is you don’t need to buy all the ingredients individually, just pair with a protein and you’re done! Meal prep in less than 10 minutes! My favorite mix to use is the Greek salad kit with added chickpeas for protein (1/2 cup per salad). 
  4. Beans – Yes, the magical fruit. They’re loaded in fiber, protein, B vitamins, potassium, and the list goes on. The best part about getting them at Costco? You can get 6 cans in one shot and they’ll last you for weeks! As I mentioned earlier, adding beans to salads, dips, sandwiches and snacks is the easiest way to boost protein as well as kick up the fullness factor. No cooking is involved and your time is saved by using canned beans. Just be sure to rinse them before adding them, as it will wash off a lot of the sodium beans can have. 
  5. Frozen cauliflower pizza – This pizza is one of my favorites to ALWAYS have in my freezer. It has saved me from going out to eat countless times and I’m just as satisfied, maybe even more satisfied than if I were to go out and grab a pizza. Are they pricey? Yes, but you’re paying about $7 for each pizza which if you were to go out to eat, you’d be paying double that. It tastes delicious, is only 250 calories for a serving, and you can pick it up with your hands to eat it! #winning
  6. Bean and rice burritos/burrito bowls – These are another super satisfying, yet quick grab and go type food. They are frozen, so they can hang out in your freezer until you come across that one time where you don’t have a plan, you’re hangry, and you have nothing to eat in the house. I have eaten these so many times when I just don’t have time to sit down and eat and I need to make it quick. Not only are they delicious and super easy to throw together, they’re also vegetarian! 
  7. Eggs – If you asked me a few years ago if I thought hard-boiling 28 eggs was aggressive, I would’ve told you you’re right. What I’ve come to realize, is that 28 eggs can go fast when you’re using them either in a meal or as a snack between 2 people. These eggs are sold in a 28-pack, which is perfect for me because I know I’ll use them all! I cook them all in the oven to keep meal prep simple, and they come out tasting fresh, delicious, and easy to peel which is always a win. 
  8. Veggie Cakes – Are they processed? Yep! Does that stop me from buying them? Nope! These veggie cakes are a great way to add veggies to a protein to make your meal complete. We all have those nights where dinner isn’t prepared, and we don’t feel like cooking. These cakes come in handy especially for that! They’re loaded with veggies, provide some protein, and you can try to trick your kids into eating them too! Yes, it’d be better to make these on your own, but who always has time for that? 
  9. Quinoa – This bag just keeps on giving. I’ve gone through 2 of these in 2 years time. I would consider this a panty staple for sure. When you’re low on time or don’t have a starch to pair with meals, quinoa will always be there waiting when you have a 4 ½ lb bag in your cupboard. One of my tricks to adding more flavor? Cook it in a broth instead of water (bone broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth) and it’ll shock your tastebuds! 
  10. Rotisserie chicken – The meat that’s already cooked and tastes delicious before you even take it home. These can be great for a quick family dinner paired with some veggies or even a salad kit from Costco and you have a complete meal. Also, they’re only $5, I mean….do I need to say more? 

While I have listed my top 10 foods that I get, I have to say that Costco always surprises me. Since I made this list, I’ve also tried egg white frittatas (delish), chickpea snacks, raw nuts, beyond meat cauliflower pizza, almond milk, mashed cauliflower, and the list goes on. I can’t say enough great things about the healthy options I find here, it’s just a matter of looking around and seeing what’s new. That’s another thing I love about this big-box store; there’s always something new to try! So next time you have an hour to burn, stop by your local Costco, check out the food items and let me know if you find something new and delicious! 

Top 5 High-Calorie Culprits

We all have those moments where we eat great, nice and clean, step on the scale a day later and think “What? I didn’t lose anything?!”. Well, lucky for you, I’ve compiled a short list of things that could be tacking on more empty calories than you think. This is not to say that you can’t have these foods, but that you should just watch your portions on them and as always, talk to a dietitian for more help!

Salad dressings

I used to be the kid that ordered a salad without dressing, I was so grossed out by it. Knowing that now, I can’t believe this was something I’d do! I love dressing on my salad as much as the next person but it’s important to make a conscious decision to try and keep calories low without sacrificing taste. My favorite salad dressing is honey mustard, which for one serving (2 tbsp), it can add as much as 200 calories to my already 300-400 calorie salad! So what can I do to help keep calories low but still get that honey mustardy taste? I made my own dressing of course! Mixing plain greek yogurt with equal parts honey and mustard was my solution and it’s one that I love doing every week.  I get more protein, lower sugar, and can have more without it being even close to the same amount of calories.

So that covers honey mustard, but what about all those other dressing out there? Try and look for greek yogurt-based salad dressings in your local grocer. They are often lower in sugar and much lower in calories by almost half! If you really aren’t into making your own dressing or really don’t want to stray away from your go-to dressing, always always always be sure to check the nutrition label in the back for serving size. You’ll typically find that serving sizes of salad dressings are 2 tbsp. Stick with that serving size and no more! Otherwise you can add hundreds of calories to a healthy meal without even realizing it.

Condiments

Oh yes, the ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise we all know and love. While these are always staples at your BBQ parties or 4th of July parties, they’re something that we’re adding to already high-calorie foods (hot dogs, burgers, pasta salads). So, what are some alternatives? Try and find a low sugar or no sugar added ketchup. The tomato-based staple can contain lots of extra sugar we don’t really need, so check your label and be sure there’s no more than 5g of added sugar. With mayo you can use greek yogurt instead. Just like the salad dressing, it will increase protein and decrease fat dramatically.

As for mustard, it’s already a low-calorie condiment, but will be higher in sodium. Fun fact: during a Spartan race I did one year, I saw a group of guys consuming mustard packets all throughout the course to stay hydrated because of the sodium content in them; GROSS! Sorry, but I’d rather do something else to stay hydrated. Relish is another condiment that’s very low in calories but adds tons of flavor to foods, so eat up!

Alcohol

We all know alcohol is calories and no one wants to hear that they should cut back or limit the amount of drinks they’re used to having. It’s more important to be aware of the ways in which alcohol can increase calories so drastically. Yes, hard liquor has sugar in it, but it’s the mixers you need to watch out for. It’s always better to use a seltzer/club soda as your mixer than sprite, coke, or any other high-calorie soda or juice for that matter. One vodka-tonic drink gets you 215 calories per drink, where a vodka-seltzer drink will only be around 75-100 calories. Be very conscious of tonic water. Many people think that because it’s “water” it’s got to be better than soda; FALSE. Tonic water is LOADED with sugar and only increases the chances you’ll be feeling your head pounding the next day. Ever had a gin and tonic hangover? Need I say more?

Butter

Butter; another great staple in our diet that only adds to the taste and deliciousness of foods. I am the first to go in on a good helping of bread and butter or loading up some cinnamon raisin toast with butter. Even though I love it, doesn’t mean I don’t watch how much of it I put on my foods. 1 tablespoon of butter can offer up about 100 calories. Butter is also high in saturated fat which increases our risk of heart disease, and boosts triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. So what to use instead of butter? Olive oil! I always put olive oil on my vegetables before I roast or steam them. It’s also better to spray pans with olive oil rather than a spray non-stick concoction. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat which offers up wonderful health benefits. Being an Omega-3 fat, it will decrease your risk for heart disease and HDL (good cholesterol), but will also lower triglyceride levels and LDL.

Cream and Sugar

The two most common foods we throw into our coffee. When I first started drinking coffee, I would load it with vanilla creamer and all the sugar I wanted until it was sweet enough. I can’t even imagine what it would taste like to me now. Limiting the sugar and creamer you put in your coffee can dramatically decrease your simple sugar intake first thing in the morning. If you add 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of creamer, you’re adding upwards of 10-15 grams of added sugar just in your cup of coffee! We’re only supposed to have a total of 26-34 grams in our ENTIRE day. So luckily for us there are plenty of great alternatives to make our coffee taste just as good. Try using coconut, oat milk, or almond milk creamer. Keep in mind, getting a flavored creamer can cut down on the need to add extra sugar. Also note that changing the flavor of your coffee takes some getting used to, so be patient and give it some time! It’s so important to limit added sugar intake to decrease risk of any co-morbidities.

Tropical Parfait

Serves 1 , Serving size 1 Parfait

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • ½ c fresh or canned pineapple chunks
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp chocolate or caramel syrup (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ and line a small baking sheet with tinfoil.
  2. Spread shredded coconut across the baking sheet.
  3. If you have a fresh pineapple, cut it up into chunks while the oven is preheating.
  4. Once oven is preheated, place coconut into oven, about 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Take out once coconut is browned.
  5. Assemble parfait with greek yogurt first, pineapple, chocolate or caramel syrup, and topped off with the coconut.
  6. Dig in and enjoy!

Calories 237 (with syrup). Fat 3g. Protein 19g.

KP’s Tip: Parfaits are a great option for breakfast, as yogurt offers protein and carbs. Adding fruit, granola, or whatever you prefer adds to the delicious taste of it. With its tropical taste and island-style vibe, your day will start on the bright side of things. Add some mandarin oranges, lime, or grapefruit for some more citrus bite. 

KP’s Breakfast Sammy

Serves 1 , Serving size 1 Sandwich

  • 1 egg
  • 1 “sliced thin” pepper jack cheese slice
  • 2 slices canadian bacon
  • 1 “everything” bagel thin or sandwich thin
  • About 1 tsp butter
  • Cooking spray

1. Pan-fry your egg over medium heat. I have a one-egg pan that I use which works perfectly!

2. While your egg is frying, toast your bagel thin whole, don’t separate into two pieces.

3. On a separate plate, place 2 pieces of canadian and microwave for about 30 seconds to heat.

4. Once the egg is done, place aside but leave in the pan.

5. When bagel/sandwich thin is done toasting, place on a plate.

6. Add your slice of cheese to the bottom of the bagel while lightly buttering the other side.

7. Place egg on top of the cheese slice and then layer with turkey sausage (flat side down).

8. Top off your sandwich with the top part of your bagel and enjoy!

Calories 310. Fat 15g. Protein 21g.

KP’s Tip: If you want to make two at a time (which I usually end up doing), just make two separate eggs in one pan and toast your bagels at the same time since you only use one slot for one bagel.

Make Ahead Breakfast Burrito

Serves 8 , Serving size 1 Burrito

  • 1lb ground turkey sausage
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 32oz carton “Better’n Eggs” liquid eggs
  • 1 package Tumaro’s Garden Veggie “Low-In-Carb” Wraps
  • 1 bag low-fat shredded cheddar
  • Plastic Wrap
  1. Brown turkey sausage in skillet and drain excess fat. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, on medium-high heat, sautee peppers and onions with olive oil. Throw in all the spices and cook until the onion become translucent.
  3. Add liquid eggs (I only used about ¾ of the carton so you should have some left over). Use your best judgement for a vegetable to egg ratio. When eggs start to cook, add in the turkey sausage and cook altogether until eggs are cooked through.
  4. Set up your “wrapping station” for the burritos: A space for your pieces of plastic wrap to lie flat, and somewhere to put them once they’re wrapped

5.  Lay out your piece of plastic wrap and burrito shell. Spread cheese on the bottom of the wrap, and then your egg-sausage mixture. Wrap tightly and then roll into plastic wrap securely. Repeat this process with all of wraps and place into plastic bag.

6. Throw in the freezer and enjoy whenever you want!

Calories 223. Fat 10g. Protein 23g.

KP’s Tip: I had some turkey-sausage mixture left over so I just threw the leftovers into a container in the fridge and had it for breakfast the next day. For a little spice, use pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. They freezer wonderfully and reheat nicely too.

PB & J Protein Shake

Serves 1 , Serving size 1 Shake

  • 1 ¼ c frozen strawberries
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter powder
  • 1c vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Combine ingredients into blender.
  2. Blend starting at mid-speed and increase to high-speed for about 2-3 minutes until completely smooth.
  3. Pour into a fancy glass, and enjoy!

Calories 170. Fat 5g. Protein 10g.

KP’s Tip: You could also use grapes in place of the strawberries for all you grape jelly lovers out there!

Peach-Pineapple Protein Shake

Serves 1 , Serving size 1 Shake

  • 1 16-oz bag frozen peaches
  • 1 can sliced pineapples (in water or natural juice)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Using only half of the bag of frozen peaches and 5 slices of pineapple, place in blender.
  2. Add protein powder and almond milk.
  3. Start blending at medium speed, increasing speed after about 1 minute to make sure all chunks are blended.
  4. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Calories 210. Fat 2g. Protein 14g.

KP’s Tip: It may look like the carb content is high, but it’s all natural carbohydrate which your body needs for immediate energy!

Cromosa

Serves 1 , Serving size 1 Drink

  • 1 bottle of champagne
  • 1 bottle of Trop50 Orange juice
  • 1 bottle of Ocean Spray “Light” Cranberry and Raspberry Juice
  • Clementines
  1. Pour desired amount of champagne into glass, leaving some room for juice splash.
  2. Splash the orange juice, and then the cranberry juice (about ½ oz each) making sure not to overfill the glass.
  3. Garnish with a clementine slice and enjoy!

Calories 84. Fat 0g. Protein 0g.

KP’s Tip: I love this drink because it’s DELICIOUS, but it’s also friendly to your waist line. Less than 100 calories per drink is lower than almost any other mixed drink or beer.