Charcoal vs. Gas Grills – What’s the difference?

Fire up the grill! Both charcoal and gas grills are great but there are a few distinct differences in how your grilled food will come out. There are both advantages and disadvantages of using charcoal and gas grills.

person in blue apron cooking on a charcoal grill

Charcoal Grills

Cooking over an open flame is the most basic, and probably the oldest, culinary technique. Charcoal grills provide a more distinct smoky flavor along with that amazing backyard aroma. It’s such a tease when you can smell someone in the neighborhood grilling. Scented wood chips or charcoal will add additional flavor.

Cons: However, charcoal can be a little messy and sometimes tricky to regulate the temperature.

Tips for setting up charcoal grills for different applications.

Gas Grills

Just turn on a switch and your gas grill is fired up and ready to go. Gas grills are able to easily regulate the temperature and often gas grills have different settings that you can easily regulate areas of the grill at different temperatures.

Cons: You won’t really get that smoky flavor, but you are able to cook various items on the grill at the same time.

cooked vegetables on a gas grill

Best Grilling Tools

Recipes you may enjoy

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6 Ways to Pack a More Eco-Friendly Lunch

Back to school or back to the office, many of us pack lunches for our busy days. If you are taking the step to packing yourself a healthful lunch, take it a step further with these 6 strategies to pack it in a more eco-friendly way.

Power Your Lunchbox

This post has been sponsored by Produce for Kids. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this website running!

Produce for Kids’ Power Your Lunchbox initiative is helping families with ideas, tips, recipes, and more to help you eat more nutritious and delicious lunches – at school or the office. Since launching in 2014, Power Your Lunchbox has provided more than 1.3 million meals to families in need through Feeding America thanks to their amazing partners.

Whether you are looking for make-ahead ideas, hot lunches, non-sandwich ideas, Produce for Kids has many recipe ideas to look through.

Rethink the way you pack your lunch to help reduce environmental impact every day, all school year long. Here are some ways to pack a more eco-friendly lunch.

Start with taking inventory

Each day your child might come home with an empty lunchbox, but do you know how much of your kid’s lunches actually ends up in the trash? Surprisingly a lot. Most statistics reported about school lunches are from the food served by the cafeteria, but even those who pack lunch, that food may end up in the trash.

Have a conversation with your children to bring home anything they don’t eat during lunch. Instead of tossing it, encourage them to bring home the half-eaten muffin or the pear with only a few bites taken out of it. This way you can understand how much your child is really eating, to help pack accordingly, to pack as leftovers the next day or an after school snack and strategize with the tips below to prevent food waste, which in turn can help you save money.

Skip individually wrapped foods

This not only can cut down on food waste but can help add a little more variety to your child’s lunchbox. Scoop out a portion of yogurt vs. packing the whole container. Children like variety so having a little bit of a few items vs. just a couple of larger packed items can also provide a more balanced lunch. Packing lunch for 2 kids? Split an orange and granola bar between two lunch boxes instead of packing a whole one of each for both.

plastic bento box lunch with mini muffins
Image via Produce for Kids

Utilize reusable sandwich bags and containers.

From bento boxes to stasher bags, and all the different kinds of plastic or glass containers in between there are plenty of ways to replace the single-use plastic baggies. For sandwiches, utilize stasher bags or Bees Wrap, reusable wrapper made from beeswax to allow you to get rid of the ziplock and saran wrap for good.

Pack a water bottle and beverages

Packing a reusable water bottle is a simple solution to reducing plastic waste. Reuseable water bottles come in all different sizes to fit into any lunchbox. Have separate bottles for juice, milk, or other beverages to pack.

Did their water bottle go to school with them but never made it home? Add a label with your child’s name and classroom teacher’s name so it will find its way home the next day.

bento box lunch with sandwich skewers

Make things “fast food”

School lunchtime may be 30 minutes in some schools, but a lot of that time is socializing and waiting at the door to get to recess. Change the term fast food into a new meaning by helping save time in the cafeteria. Peel the clementine or cut the sandwich into bite-size pieces. Be creative and use fun shaped cookie cutters to make different bite-size shapes. This can help with packing them the right portion size for them and see how much of each item tends to come home the most often.

Compost

Many schools have started a compost program at their schools to help teach students about avoiding food waste while giving back to the soil, plus providing a medium for many environmental and science-related topics for
discovery along with opportunities for student development.

Do you compost at home? Bring the peach pits or orange peels home to compost later.

Need some more lunchbox inspiration? Follow #PowerYourLunch for creative ideas.

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Other School Lunch Topics

Tips to Encourage Kids to Try New Foods

Kids Eat Right Month, celebrated each August, focuses on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles for kids and families.

small child reaching on the counter for a strawberry

This time last year I was just wrapping up my kids’ culinary camp which turned a few picky eaters into food explorers. While I do not have kids myself (just yet! .. well does a fur child count?) I love working with children introducing them to new foods and help them find joy in cooking.

I chatted with a few friends with young children about their strategies of ways to encourage their children with trying new foods.

small child eating zucchini noodles
(image via Stephanie Corbo)

Take your kids grocery shopping

Previously working as a retail dietitian, I would encourage this with parents and caregivers all the time. Just simply getting them involved in the process of grocery shopping and seeing there are so many different kinds of food available is a good start.

Emily Kyle, RDN, CLT, HCP, holistic health & wellness + cannabis educator of Emily Kyle Nutrition, turned the chore of grocery shopping with her son into “Friday Night Date Night”. They enjoy dinner & free live music in the cafe of Wegmans before going grocery shopping. She says this is helpful for so many reasons because, “We’re not hungry when we go shopping, it is later at night so the store is not busy when we do shop, and he gets to enjoy the experience and turn it from something stressful or rushed to something mindful and fun.”

Jessica Levinson, RD, culinary nutrition expert of jessicalevinson.com and mom of 7-year-old twin girls, admits when she takes her girls shopping, “it’s fun and sometimes infuriating.”

I get it .. sometimes you just want to get the chore of food shopping out of the way for the busy week ahead, but at other times encourage your kids to join you. Taking your kids shopping gives them an opportunity to see and learn about a wider variety of foods than just what comes home with you. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to spend time together, talk about healthy foods, where food comes from, and may even help motivate a picky eater to try something new.

Let them pick out their own items

Levinson and her girls work off her grocery list but also welcome them to pick out anything from the produce section that they want to try. She said, “In other parts of the store if they find items they want to try we will look them over together to read the labels, check out the ingredients, and determine if it’s a product that belongs in our house.” which is a great time for gentle nutrition education.

Sara Haas, RD, culinary dietitian of sarahaas.com heads to the produce department with her daughter. She says, “I always ask her about what produce she wants as well as snacks. She picks and we look at it together to decide if it’s something we need.”

Kyle also stops in the produce aisle as well and encourages her son to pick the “Produce Pick of the Week”. She notes, “This has enhanced his ability to identify and recognize a wide variety of produce, and encouraged him to be brave and try new things. We’ve tried everything from dragon fruit to papaya, bok choy, and rainbow carrots. It’s a fun reward for him and a good habit for me to instill in him.”

Diana Rice, RD of The Baby Steps Dietitian and lactation counselor, has fun seeing what items her kids gravitate toward in the produce department. Rice says it helps inspire her to even try something new. “When I’m on my own, I usually just pick up the same old produce items that are easy to prep and I know the whole family likes. My kids inspire me to try something new!”

Go on a scavenger hunt in the store

Use your grocery list or even a recipe to have your helpers find the items in the store. This keeps them busy but also helpful within the process. If hunting for ingredients for a recipe, have them help you make that recipe from all the ingredients they found.

mom with child dressed as a chef
(image via @emilykylenutrition)

Cook together

Having your children help you prepare family meals is one of the most effective ways to encourage them to try new foods and improve their overall diet quality, both now and later in life.

In March, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior published the results of a 10-year longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. The aim of the study, which tracked more than 1,100 participants, was to answer a simple question: Can knowing how to cook as a young person lead to healthier eating practices in adulthood? The researchers arrived at a compelling—if unsurprising—conclusion: It can. (source)

.. with ingredients, you may not even like yourself

What if there are certain foods as a parent or caregiver do you not like yourself?

Stephanie Corbo, a middle school teacher and mom of two (and one of my best friends!), encourages her children to try whatever they are interested in trying. She says, “If they want to try an ingredient or food, I would never stand in their way from exploring new flavors.”

Levinson notes that she personally does not enjoy bananas but doesn’t discourage her children from enjoying them. She says, “Just because I don’t care for something doesn’t mean my children shouldn’t be exposed to it and determine for themselves if they like it. Role modeling is so important when feeding kids, and showing them that I’ll cook something even if I don’t like is part of that modeling.”

Rice doesn’t currently have that issue as there isn’t many foods she personally dislikes, but notes if that does come up in the future, she said, “if they came to love something that’s not my favorite somehow, I would try to regularly incorporate it. It’s important to respect their preferences. I think it’s also important to demonstrate that it’s okay to not like a food. So just like they have foods they don’t prefer, I think they would enjoy knowing that something is ‘not mommy’s favorite’.” 

child's hand spreading peanut butter on whole wheat toast
(image via @dianakrice)

Let them choose

Keep them involved in the conversation. From experience in my kids cooking classes, I found the more they are involved in the choices, the more likely they were to enjoy it. Produce for Kids has really great resources to support these efforts.

With school starting the thought of packing lunches can be stressful, but if they have a chart to choose from, they get the choice of what they will have packed and as the parent or caregiver takes some of the stress away of figure out what to pack.

young girl eating whole wheat spaghetti
(image via @jlevinsonrd)

Keep introducing the same food in new ways

Levinson’s girls are very familiar with the concept that it takes 15-20 tries to make a real decision about a food. While Rice agrees to the 15-20 range she also notes it can take longer.

Need help keeping track of the new foods you are introducing? Utilize this Food Exposure Chart.

I personally like to introduce a new food in multiple ways. In one of my classes, we cooked cauliflower in five different ways. It was interesting to see how the taste and texture preferences between the children varied drastically, but at the end of the day, they were all enjoying cauliflower at least one way.

Corbo notes she is blessed to have two kids who are not picky eaters, eating everything from lobster to hot dogs. She notes, “I’ve found that if I make eating fun, they’re more willing to try new things. My husband makes all sorts of vehicle noises as he spirals the fork through the air, and the kids love it.”

As a recipe developer, Haas is always whipping up new recipes in the kitchen. Her daughter will try just about everything, which Haas thinks is awesome. She wants her to know as much about food as she can. And all aspects of it too!

Kyle explains to her son how much her own taste buds have changed throughout her lifetime, and provide examples, so he knows that his tastes will change over time too.


Every family is different and everyone’s tastes buds are different. Utilize these strategies and tweak them to work best for you and your family. Have fun cooking and trying new foods together!

The Best Foods to Eat Before Bed for a Better Night’s Sleep

Everyone could use more sleep. In fact, nearly half of American adults don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Sleep has a huge effect on our overall mental and physical health, as well as our digestion, metabolism, and weight, so it’s critical to make sure you’re fitting it in. Learn how certain foods can help with a better night’s sleep

glass of milk with almonds

Eat for better sleep

Luckily, there are a lot of natural sleep enhancers in food— tasty food! Melatonin, magnesium and potassium-heavy snacks help your body get back on a healthy sleep schedule by relaxing your muscles and mind enough to drift off. Here’s a guide to the foods to snack on, and to limit, before going to sleep to ensure you get the rest your body craves.

Eat for Better Sleep Infographic

There are a lot of tasty recipes that incorporate some of these foods. To fit in some sleep-inspired protein and whole grains, try my Turkey Burger or Squash & Wheat Berry Salad recipes. Both make healthy, filling dinners that also prep your body for a good night’s sleep.

Confetti Turkey Burger Recipe

If you’re like many others, however, you might need some more heavy-duty lifestyle updates to get better sleep. A healthier daily diet can eliminate nighttime disturbances such as indigestion or nausea, so it’s most important to maintain healthy eating throughout the entire day. Also consider, however, updating your bedroom: soft pillows and a mattress made of foam can help your muscles relax, allowing you to stay asleep for longer. Similarly, a cool bedroom temperature and breathable, cotton sheets can avoid sweaty nights and boost your overall sleep quality.

wooden bedside table with a floral arrangement and candle

With just a few changes to your diet, you can make a huge difference in your sleep routine and overall health. Whether it’s a new bedtime snack or a complete lifestyle overhaul, you should do whatever you can to get more sleep. The extra energy it brings could not only make you feel more ready for the day but could also inspire you to begin taking better care of yourself in all regards.

What other strategies do you implement in your daily routine for a better night’s sleep?

Cookbook Gift Guide

Give the gift of new recipe ideas for your foodie loving family members and friends. I am sharing some of my favorite cookbooks in my Cookbook Gift Guide. I am very excited to share so many cookbooks from my fellow dietitian colleagues that are not only packed with delicious recipes but also nutrition education.

For more foodie inspired gift ideas, head over to my shop page!

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks
Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Plenty More

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents. In this follow-up to his bestselling Plenty, he continues to explore the diverse realm of vegetarian food with a wholly original approach. Organized by cooking method, more than 150 dazzling recipes emphasize spices, seasonality, and bold flavors. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and luscious desserts, Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi’s a must-have for vegetarians and omnivores alike. This visually stunning collection will change the way you cook and eat vegetables

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

You Have It Made

Ellie KriegerNew York Times best-selling and multi-award-winning author, has written a cookbook devoted to the kind of recipes that her fans have been waiting for—make-ahead meals. For those who are always short on time when it comes to cooking, Ellie is here to help. Her recipes—which include breakfast bakes, soups, salads, casseroles, and more—can all be prepared ahead of time, making putting food on the table that much easier. Each recipe includes instructions for refrigerating and/or freezing as well as storing and reheating directions. With exciting dishes like the Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats in Jars and the Herbed Salmon Salad, you’ll be able to have meals ready days in advance. As with her other books, all of Ellie’s recipes are healthy and come complete with nutrition information. But that doesn’t mean they sound like diet food! Just look at the Creamy Tomato Soup, Chicken Enchilada Pie, and Smoky Smothered Pork Chops, to name a few. You Have It Made helps you turn your fridge and freezer into a treasure chest of satisfying, good-for-you meals.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Momofuku

Never before has there been a phenomenon like Momofuku. A once-unrecognizable word, it’s now synonymous with the award-winning restaurants of the same name in New York City (Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, Ko, Má Pêche, Fuku, Nishi, and Milk Bar), Toronto, and Sydney. Chef David Chang single-handedly revolutionized cooking in America and beyond with his use of bold Asian flavors and impeccable ingredients, his mastery of the humble ramen noodle, and his thorough devotion to pork.  

Chang relays with candor the tale of his unwitting rise to superstardom, which, though wracked with mishaps, happened at light speed. And the dishes shared in this book are coveted by all who’ve dined—or yearned to—at any Momofuku location (yes, the pork buns are here). This is a must-read for anyone who truly enjoys food!

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Mindful Glow Cookbook

In over 100 recipes, Abbey Sharp, of Abbey’s Kitchen,  shows us how she eats: healthy and nourishing meals that are packed with flavor like PB & J Protein Pancakes, Autumn Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Stuffed Hawaiian Burgers, Chicken, Sweet Potato and Curry Cauliflower, Chocolate Stout Veggie Chili, Chewy Crackle Almond Apple Cookies, and Ultimate Mini Sticky Toffee Puddings. Many of her recipes are plant-centric and free of dairy, gluten, and nuts. Others contain some protein-rich, lean beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy, so there are plenty of delicious recipes for everyone and every occasion. 
Featuring gorgeous photography throughout, The Mindful Glow Cookbook is perfect for anyone looking to fully nourish their body, satisfy food cravings, and enjoy every snack, meal, and decadent dessert in blissful enjoyment.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Thug Kitchen

Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.

This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.

Note Thug Kitchen freely drops the f-bomb, so gift wisely. 

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, written by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD and Serena Ball, MS, RD of Teaspoon of Spice, offers fresh, flavorful, and FAST recipes for lifelong health.

Bowls of pasta, abundant seafood, roasted vegetables, bread dipped into olive oil, and even a glass of wine―the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow because it’s also a lifestyle. The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook makes it easier than ever to get your fill of the Mediterranean diet and all of its health benefits with quick, satisfying recipes for health and longevity.

Table-ready in 30 minutes or less, these classic Mediterranean diet meals combine easy-to-find ingredients with quick prep and cook times, so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your food. From Breakfast Bruschetta to Baked Chicken Caprese to Chilled Dark Chocolate Fruit, The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook makes the Mediterranean diet a staple for everyday schedules.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Pescatarian Cookbook

The Pescatarian Cookbook, written by Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, of Streetsmart Nutrition, is the definitive kitchen companion to the pescatarian diet with fundamental information, recipes, and healthy meal plans.

Rich in fish and seafood, hearty vegetables, and wholesome grains―pescatarianism is a varied and balanced diet. The Pescatarian Cookbook is a complete reference to reap all benefits of this naturally nutritious diet with essential information, recipes, and healthy meal plans.

From Zucchini Pancakes with Smoked Salmon for breakfast to Grilled Swordfish with Chimichurri and Roasted Vegetables for dinner, this pescatarian cookbook offers perfectly portioned pescatarian plates for every meal. Complete with 3 weeks’ worth of meal plans―that include shopping lists and tips for meal prep―The Pescatarian Cookbook is your go-to reference to make the pescatarian diet a sustainable and satisfying lifestyle.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Taco! Taco! Taco!:

Make every day Taco Tuesday! Tacos are the perfect food–uniquely versatile and incredibly delicious! Taco! Taco! Taco!, written by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, features 100 taco recipes that are as easy to prepare as they are to love.

Who doesn’t like tacos? Simple to make, tacos can be prepared in many different ways, and provide the ideal platform for tons of nourishing foods. Taco! Taco! Taco! features 100 taco recipes, each providing delicious and fun ideas for your next meal. 

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook

The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook, written by Emily Kyle, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT, offers the fastest, everyday recipes to take control of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s symptoms for long-term relief.

When you’re dealing with symptom flare-ups, the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking. The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook offers quick recipe solutions to manage hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s symptoms, so that you can get in and out of the kitchen and back to your life.

From Crispy Baked Tempeh Fingers to Rub Roasted Pork Tenderloin, these no-fuss recipes combine quick and easy prep and cook times for table-ready meals in 30-minutes or less. Complete with a guide to setting up a thyroid-friendly kitchen, plus tons of tips and tricks to make home cooking easier, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook is an everyday solution to get long-term symptom relief.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club

Whether for weight loss, managing prediabetes or Type II diabetes, or a healthy, fit lifestyle, The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, written by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is filled with delicious, easy to make recipes containing 300 calories or less and packed with a minimum of 20 grams of protein. Power up your morning with protein! You’ll find recipes featuring dairy, protein powders, nuts, seeds, eggs and ancient grains including hot trends like overnight oats, smoothie bowls and mug cakes. Discover healthier versions of classics like pancakes and French toast. Many recipes are also vegetarian and gluten free. In a hurry in the morning? Don’t worry! Prepare your breakfast in the evening or on the weekend to save precious time during the morning rush while ensuring you begin the day with an energizing, protein-packed breakfast!

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The 28 Day DASH Diet Weight Loss Program

Achieve your weight loss goals with the comprehensive diet and exercise plan from The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program, co-authored by Andy De Santis, RD, MPH, and Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD.

The DASH diet offers a path to weight loss that is rooted in balanced eating, but it’s not the only key to your success. The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program offers a holistic diet and lifestyle plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals for long-term health.

The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program begins by tackling critical lifestyle components for good health with guidance for exercise routines, stress management, and a good night’s sleep. With a 28-day meal plan that includes trackers to monitor habits and exercise, this book kick-starts weight loss and sets you on a path of long-term health.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Whole Cooking and Nutrition

Enough of the dieting and deprivation! It’s time to embrace the joy of eating well with the intention that healthy foods are nourishing, sustaining and delicious. Whole Cooking and Nutrition, written by Katie Cavuto, MS, RD, RYT, shifts the conversation away from dieting to one of positive messages and gratifying intentions. The result is a book packed with information to help readers improve their relationship with food, turning a spotlight on 85 everyday foods that maximize flavor and boast rich nutrient density that will inspire you to live a healthy lifestyle! With more than 150 vibrant, flavorful recipes, this cookbook promotes a mindful, pleasurable approach to eating.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

Fertility Foods

A complete dietary program for women seeking a healthy pregnancy. Created by RDN certified experts, Liz Shaw, RD and Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, Fertility Foods provides you with powerful nutritional benefits and more than 100 recipes.

Struggling with infertility can be one of the most frustrating experiences for women looking to conceive. Rather than juggle multiple prescription medications all while scheduling an endless series of doctors’ visits, Fertility Foods helps you to seek better results—just by changing your diet!

As you prepare to enter one of the most significant times in your life, you owe it to yourself and your future children to make sure that your body has absolutely everything it needs, at the proper times and in the proper quantities. Fertility Foods is more than just a diet plan or cookbook, with over 100 nutritious, satisfying dishes to boost your fertility. It’s a companion, a constant support providing you with the information you need to ensure you receive proper nutrition before conception.

Beyond Cookbooks

Moving beyond your traditional cookbook filled with delicious recipes, I also really love these educational books, which are perfect for anyone who loves to cook. From food pairings to food science, these additional books will be a great gift for your foodie loving family members and friends.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Spice Companion

A stunning and definitive spice guide by the country’s most sought-after expert, with hundreds of fresh ideas and tips for using pantry spices, 102 never-before-published recipes for spice blends, gorgeous photography, and botanical illustrations.

Since founding his spice shop in 2006, Lior Lev Sercarz has become the go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world. The Spice Companion communicates his expertise in a way that will change how readers cook, inspiring them to try bold new flavor combinations and make custom spice blends. For each of the 102 curated spices, Lev Sercarz provides the history and origin, information on where to buy and how to store it, five traditional cuisine pairings, three quick suggestions for use (such as adding cardamom to flavor chicken broth), and a unique spice blend recipe to highlight it in the kitchen.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Food Lab

Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)―and use a foolproof method that works every time?

As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half-dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Throughout time people have chosen to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety of reasons from ethics to economy to personal and planetary well-being Experts now suggest a new reason for doing so maximizing flavor – which is too often masked by meat-based stocks or butter and cream The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is an essential guide to culinary creativity based on insights from dozens of leading American chefs representing plant-based whole foods including vegetables fruits grains legumes nuts and seeds the book provides an A-to-Z listing of hundreds of ingredients from acai to zucchini blossoms cross-referenced with the herbs spices and other seasonings that best enhance their flavor resulting in thousands of recommended pairings The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is the ideal reference for the way millions of people cook and eat today- vegetarians vegans and omnivores alike. This groundbreaking book will empower both home cooks and professional chefs to create more compassionate healthful and flavorful cuisine.

Cookbook Gift Guide: A roundup of culinary and nutrition cookbooks and culinary education books that any foodie family member or friend will love! Cookbooks recommendations hand selected from Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #cookbook #cooking #gift #giftguide #culinarynutrition #cookingtips #nutrition #healthycookbooks

52-Week Meal Planner

The 52-Week Meal Planner, created byhttps://jessicalevinson.com/ Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, is your complete companion to master meal planning with menus, grocery lists, recipe pages, and more.

A well-made meal planner guarantees that hectic schedules don’t get in the way of healthy meals. More effective than a pen and paper, the 52-Week Meal Planner provides the tools you need to map out exactly how you’re going to shop, cook, and eat, week after week.

This handy meal planner features one year’s worth of weekly templates to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. With grocery lists, price comparison sheets, and recipe pages, the 52-Week Meal Planner is an all-in-one guide to take control of what you eat and how much time and money you spend.

This post contains affiliate links, to find out more information, please read my disclosure statement.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming a Food Explorer

New research suggests that learning how to cook as a young person leads to better eating practices—and better health—later in life.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming Food Explorers by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd

In March, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior published the results of a 10-year longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. The aim of the study, which tracked more than 1,100 participants, was to answer a simple question: Can knowing how to cook as a young person lead to healthier eating practices in adulthood? The researchers arrived at a compelling—if unsurprising—conclusion: It can. (source)

August is dedicated to Kids Eat Right Month!

This summer I ran a kid’s culinary camp at the Willow School with Living Plate. It was an absolutely amazing experience for me as the instructor and for the kid’s gaining confidence in the kitchen.

I love working with kids, as I like to think I am a big kid myself. My biggest priority for our culinary camp was to create a positive and inviting environment.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming Food Explorers by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd

Each morning the first activity we did was called “Food Explorers” where we learned about our 5 senses and how they respond when we try new foods. Our group was very adventurous, so we took it up a notch and took away sight for when they were experiencing the feel and taste sections of the activity. Why? Because we eat with our eyes first and for kids, a sight of a new food can be very intimidating with the fear of the unknown and many kids tend to avoid the situation.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming Food Explorers by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd

Creating an inviting environment around food:

Creating a positive environment was key for this activity. Trying new foods can be intimidating and a very new experience for picky eaters. Every day with this activity there were ground rules, that everyone was allowed to experience this activity at their own pace, we weren’t allowed to “yuck” anyone else’s “yum” (because everyone will experience it a little differently!), and they were each given a spit cup to politely use if they didn’t enjoy the taste.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming Food Explorers by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd

It was a very eye-opening experience for all the participants. A few responses included:

My mom tried to get me to try this, but I thought I would like it. It’s delicious!

This fruit taste like candy. I would eat this for dessert.

 

As we continued to explore our 5 senses with the new foods it was a learning experience for all understanding that everyone enjoys certain foods more than others and that’s okay! Everyone’s taste buds are a little different.

As adults, we often let our own food preferences or our preconceived notions of what children will or will not prefer. I enjoyed letting everyone adding to the discussion about the foods and letting them fully explore these foods forming their own opinions. I strongly feel that letting them explore and make their own thoughts and ideas by continually exposing them to new foods without any pressure surrounding it.

Kids in the Kitchen: Becoming Food Explorers by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd

Want to join in the food explorer fun! Download this free worksheet to get started.


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[Download HERE]

Download this FREE Food Explorers worksheet by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @chefjulie_rd[Download HERE]

 

I will be adding more children culinary events to my calendar soon! Check back to my upcoming events page, so you don’t miss out!

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Where food and love meet in the kitchen @ChefJulie_RD

Want to find kid-friendly recipes to make with kids? Recipe ReDux members are whipping up fun recipes kids of all ages (and adults) will enjoy making.

Pineapple Beef Stir Fry

Beef stir fry in a white bowl with white rice

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. Thanks for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

Dietitians are celebrating all month long because March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “Go Further with Food”. This theme encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer while including a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.

Beef Up Nutrition Month - Understanding Beef Labeling + Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #sponsored by The Beef Checkoff

Previously working as a Supermarket RD, I quickly learned that a grocery store is a confusing place, especially in certain areas like the meat section.

It can be challenging grocery shopping for beef if you are unsure of the difference between flank steak and skirt steak. The different costs, categories, or even proper cooking techniques of various cuts of beef can throw off even a savvy home cook.

pineapple beef stir fry in a pan

At the supermarket meat case, each beef package label typically identifies the primal cut and the sub-primal cut name. It also includes the weight, price per pound, total price, sell-by date, and safe handling instructions. It may also include a grade, nutrition and preparation information, and the country of origin.

Understanding Beef Labeling + Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #sponsored by The Beef Checkoff #beef #stirfry #dinner #nutrition

It’s time to “Beef Up Nutrition Month” with decoding what the labels mean in the supermarket meat case.

BEEF QUALITY GRADING

The USDA divides beef into categories by different grades. Prime, Choice, and Select are the ones you will see at the grocery store.  The certain qualifications that determine the quality grade of beef are:

  • Distribution of marbling within the lean muscle at the 12th/13th rib
  • Age/maturity of the carcass
  • Color, texture, & firmness of the lean muscle

Prime-Grade Beef is the USDA’s highest designation. Coming from younger, well-fed cattle, this beef has more marbling with a firmer flesh. Prime-grade beef accounts for less than approximately five percent of the market in the United States, with the vast majority going to steakhouses and fancy hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for roasting, grilling, or broiling.


Choice-Grade Beef is of high quality and produced in highest quantity. Choice-grade beef has less marbling than Prime.  This is the standard option at supermarkets. Choice roast and steaks, especially from the rib and loin, will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful when roasted, grilled, or broiled. Less tender cuts are great for slow cooking.


Select-Grade Beef is slightly leaner than Prime and Choice because it has less marbling.  It can lack some tenderness, flavor, and juiciness as compared to the higher grades. Select grade beef often benefits from marinating prior to grilling or broiling. 1


Check out this easy to explore chart, outlining the various Grades of Beef.

NATURAL, GRASS-FED, ORGANIC – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Beyond just the quality grade, beef comes along with additional labels. Package labeling can be very confusing.

All cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass on pastures. But beef can be finished in a variety of ways, giving you choices when at the meat case in your local grocery store or at a restaurant.

“Natural” This label implies the beef has no artificial ingredients or colors added to it an is minimally processed. 2

“Naturally Raised” does have validity. As of 2009, the label ensures that the animals are free of antibiotics, never received growth-promoting hormones, never fed animal by-products, and may spend time at a feed yard. Naturally raised cattle may be either grain- or grass-finished.

“100% Organic Beef” means that the animals must be fed completely organic feed grains and have never received antibiotics and growth-promoting hormones. This is certified and inspected by the government. Organic beef cattle may be either grain- or grass-finished, as long as the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service certifies the feed is 100% organically grown and can be fed in a feed yard. 3

“Grass Finished” cattle spend their lives eating grass or foraging, but not always necessarily stay on a 100 percent grass-fed diet or finished on grass.  Some “grass-fed” cattle are still fed grain for their last few weeks to help fatten the cattle. Grass-fed cattle may or may not be given FDA-approved antibiotics to treat, prevent, or control disease and/or growth-promoting hormones. 2

Learn how to Decode the Label with this simple infographic.

Need help choosing lean beef or wondering what type of cooking method works best? Use the Beef. It’s what’s for dinner’s cooking guide.

WHY BEEF?

Beef provides you with 10 essential nutrients that support a heart-healthy lifestyle including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. The nutrients found in beef provide our bodies with the strength to thrive and grow throughout all the stages of life.

Beef is an excellent source of protein.

One 3-ounce cooked serving of beef provides approximately 50% of your Daily Value (25 grams) of this important nutrient—making it an excellent source! Protein helps maintain a healthy weight, as well as preserve and build muscle.

New research suggests it’s not only important to just get enough protein in at dinner or lunch but to spread it throughout your day for optimal health. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. 4,5

What is considered lean?

6 Look for the word “round” or “loin” in its name when choosing lean cuts of beef.

Lean cuts include top sirloin steak, tenderloin steak, strip steak (or top loin steak), or 95% lean ground beef.

Print
pineapple beef stir fry with white rice in a white bowl

Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner

Description

Whip up this simple and delicious stir-fry for dinner.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, 3 tablespoons juice reserved
  • 5 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb. flank steak, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 sweet pepper, sliced

Instructions

  1. Whisk the reserved 3 tbsp pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Place beef in a medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Add cornstarch to the remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the beef to the pan. Whisk any remaining marinade into the bowl of sauce. Cook the beef, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tsp oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, snap peas and sweet pepper to cook, stirring often, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Pour in the sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and pineapple and cook, until heated through.
  5. Serve over rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

Keywords: stir fry, beef, dinner

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References:
1. Inspection & Grading of Meat and Poultry: What Are the Differences?
2. Meat & Poultry Labeling Terms
3. Organic Labeling Standards
4. Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12:86-90
5. Mamerow MM, et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. J Nutr 2014;144:876-80
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety, and Inspection Service. Beef from Farm to Table. Available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c33b69fe-7041-4f50-9dd0-d098f11d1f13/Beef_from_Farm_to_Table.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
Grades of Beef
Decode the Label

What RD’s Do – Celebrating Registered Dietitian Day!

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! In honor of this special day during National Nutrition Month I’ve connected with Registered Dietitian’s in various areas of dietetic careers to share what they do and why they love being Registered Dietitians!
What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health
Are you thinking about becoming a Registered Dietitian? I shared my journey and the steps to becoming a Registered Dietitian in a three-part series. To learn more read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Never hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions! I am always happy to help!

The field of dietetics has drastically grown over the years. A job as a Registered Dietitian is not just limited to a clinical setting anymore. There are so many options to explore.
I’m excited to share these wonderful Registered Dietitians today to celebrate Registered Dietitian Day! I mean, we have our own holiday.. we are kind of a big deal.

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Julie Harrington, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I went a little different of a route than most dietetic students. I completed my Bachelor degree in Culinary Nutrition, Concentrations in Leadership Studies and Biology at Johnson & Wales University. I LOVED culinary school. Then I completed my dietetic internship at the College of Saint Elizabeth in NJ.

What is your job title? What do you do?

Sometimes I feel like I have an identity crisis when I answer this question. Like many entrepreneurial dietitians, I wear many hats!
I own my own business Julie Harrington Consulting LLC, as a Culinary Nutrition Consultant. I work with like-minded brands developing new recipes, creating recipe videos, freelance writing, and media/spokesperson work. My passion is educating about nutrition through food! My blog and social media feature nourishing recipes with creative culinary ideas to help everyone cook a little more in their kitchens.
I also work at Living Plate LLC, a nutrition education and counseling center, as their Culinary Nutrition Programs Coordinator. There I wear many hats too! I teach interactive hands-on cooking classes, give community and corporate wellness presentations, as well as providing nutrition counseling. I work a lot behind the scenes creating content and materials for Living Plate Pro, nutrition education programming that incorporates food experience to share with other RD’s.
I am also serving a two-year term on the executive committee for Nutrition Entrepreneurs DPG group as the newsletter editor.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

There is no typical day for me! I am at Living Plate Monday-Thursday, but my hours always vary due to different cooking classes, presentations, and events. A day could be spent creating new recipes, taking photos and creating videos. Or I can be parked at my computer writing articles, editing photos, etc. I love that my career takes me in so many directions. It’s something new every day!

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love connecting with people and sharing my passion for cooking to help them create a healthier relationship with food. The hands-on cooking classes are my absolute favorite to teach because I can just see clients confidence building and I can help them break barriers to help them continue to reach their health goals through the food they are eating.
Through my consulting business, I have met some awesome colleagues that I’ve had the pleasure to work and collaborate with.

What is your favorite food?

Ask me this question tomorrow and I will probably give you a different answer. Right now, I cannot go a day without citrus. I’ve been loving cara cara oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, and sumo mandarins. Also, my meal prep has been including quiches weekly. There are just so many combinations you can create!

Connect with Julie:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics along with my combined MS-DI program at the University of Rhode Island.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I’m currently a Health & Wellness Specialist at KIND Snacks and previously was a Registered Dietitian/Outpatient Oncology Nutrition Coordinator at Northern Westchester Hospital. While working in the hospital, in addition to providing medical nutrition therapy, I spent a lot of time understanding how my patients eat and make food decisions. Much of that process stemmed from their understanding of food labels, individual lifestyles, and perceptions of healthful foods and nutrients. This provided a clearer line of sight into ways I can introduce wholesome, simple food and snack options to improve their overall diet quality. One brand that always rose to the top of my list, that I ate and purchased myself, was KIND Snacks. I had always envisioned transitioning to work within a food company where I could help encourage positive change to a broader audience and one that already prioritized health and nutrition, which led to my interest in working with KIND. I reached out to introduce myself, share my love for the brand and seek opportunities and shortly after was grateful to become their first in-house dietitian!

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

There is no typical day at the KIND office which allows my days to be very versatile and rewarding! My work focuses on supporting our new product and nutrition education initiatives and I’ve worked closely on past projects like KIND’s efforts to redefine healthy on the policy front. I also engage with registered dietitians within our Nutrition Collective, which is our external network of nutrition professionals. I also provide strategic nutrition counsel to our internal Marketing and Product Innovation teams and help develop nutrition and health-focused messaging related to our snacks.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love connecting and engaging with like-minded professionals in the field through our Nutrition Collective. I also enjoy serving as a nutrition media spokesperson to educate our community about KIND’s health initiatives, position on specific nutrition-related topics and the introduction of new products within our portfolio.

What is your favorite food?

I grew up in an Italian household so I love my carbs…pasta, olive bread, whole grains like farro – I love them all!

Connect with Steph:

Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Kelly R. Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my BS in nutrition with a minor in exercise physiology at the University of Connecticut and my dietetic internship and MS in Nutrition with a concentration in exercise physiology at the University at Buffalo.

What is your job title? What do you do?

While I was the first dietitian to work with the University at Buffalo athletes after passing the RD exam and while completing my Masters, my first job out of grad school was as a full-time professor at Bucks County Community College outside of Philadelphia. I still teach there, though this is my first year, not full time as my business has expanded. I struggle to give myself just one job title! If it had to be one, it’s the owner of Kelly Jones Nutrition, LLC, but I would describe myself as a speaker and consultant in the area of sports nutrition.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

Every day is different which is what I love about what I do! In the fall and spring, I have a lot of seminars to plan for and provide to sports teams during non-traditional hours in the evenings and on Saturday mornings. During the week, some days I am doing a corporate wellness or community seminar before heading to wellness meetings at a large athletic club, where I created and maintain nutrition and medical fitness programming. Other days, I am reading research studies so that I can write and update sports nutrition continuing education articles or consulting on nutrition communications content for USA Swimming or a couple of food companies I work with. More recently I’ve been spending a lot of time prepping catering menus and educational materials for the Philadelphia Phillies organization. I also do virtual counseling with athletes and created, along with Heather Caplan, run an online nutrition course for active women.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The variety and quantity of people I am able to reach through the variety of services I provide. It’s so exciting to me knowing that media segments, articles an just the nutrition messaging I consult on reaches mass amounts of people so they are provided with valid nutrition information. I also love being able to educate active females on ditching diets and properly fueling their bodies.

What is your favorite food?

Hard question for a foodie! I would have to say my buckwheat oat pancakes right now, but the buffalo cauliflower at Front Street Cafe in Philadelphia is something I’ll really crave on occasion!

Connect with Kelly:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Kim Hoban, RD, CDN, CPT

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my BS in Dietetics at SUNY Oneonta and Dietetic Internship at Northwell Health in Long Island, NY.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I am the Director of Wellness at CulinArt Group, a dining services provider, where I oversee the development and management of all wellness and sustainability programs.  I’m also the owner of KH Nutrition Services, a private nutrition counseling and consulting practice business. I work both one-on-one and in groups to provide coaching in the areas of intuitive eating and sports nutrition.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

I work in a corporate setting where no two days are alike! I oversee a team of regional Registered Dietitians and some days might be spent drafting or editing a nutrition newsletter, working to develop a lesson plan for a lunch-and-learn or providing nutritional analysis on some of our latest culinary creations. I love collaborating with our chefs to create delicious, well-balanced meals for our guests. After my corporate workday ends, several nights a week I also meet virtually with clients, write or develop recipes for my blog.

What is your favorite part of your job?

As an RD who loves food and teaches an intuitive eating approach, I love helping people ditch diets and rediscover a happy, balanced way to eat and move their bodies.

What is your favorite food?

These days, pregnancy has me craving all types of cereal. Life cereal and peanut butter Puffins have been my favorites lately!

Connect with Kim:

Website | Twitter | Instagram

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle with my MS in nutrition/dietetics. It is such a great program – a rigorous didactic program that focuses on a whole food approach to nutrition. I got to take extra classes about supplements, whole food cooking, eating disorders and gardening. I did my internship at the Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital in Chicago. That was also a fantastic program – very clinical and fast-paced. I learned so much.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I’m a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and I also run my blog at Champagne Nutrition. I spend a lot of time researching, writing and developing nutrition talks. I specialize in talking about alcohol and how it can fit into a healthy diet, vegetarianism, oncology nutrition and social media.
I work full time for a very cool company called Arivale in Seattle. We’re a scientific wellness company and I get to combine analyzing my client’s blood labs and genetics to help them make changes that lead to healthier lives.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

I’m on the phone with reporters or blogging early in the mornings and on the weekends. I love this work so it’s really a joy to put in the extra hours. During the weekdays, you can find me at Arivale on the phone talking to my clients, leading my team, and working on all the projects that come up in a start-up. It’s fun! I do spend a lot of time at my computer so in my free time I cook a lot developing my recipes and I do as much yoga as I can to stretch out.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love knowing the truth about the science of nutrition and then using behavior change with my clients to help them make changes they can stick to long-term. I also love that I get to write about nutrition so much – that combines two of my life’s passions.

What is your favorite food?

I’m a big pizza person. I’m a vegetarian so I’ll add pineapple, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, tomato, basil, bell peppers – all the veggies!

Connect with Ginger:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Maggie Michalczyk, RDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my undergrad in dietetics at Michigan State University and completed my dietetic internship through the Aramark distance dietetic program in Chicago.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I’m a Chicago-based, dietitian, recipe developer, and nutrition communications consultant! I used to work in corporate America and took a break to strengthen my nutrition counseling skills and focus on creating recipes with various foods and drinks on behalf of different brands.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

My typical day varies! On some days I see clients in person and virtually, which means I’m on the computer for most of the day. Other days I’m in the kitchen making recipes and taking pictures, oh and not to mention cleaning up the big mess I just made! I enjoy the flexibility but at the same time I’ve got to say setting a routine for certain days helps keep the productivity up!

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is helping someone achieve their nutrition goals and making a recipe that makes what seemed like a typical boring vegetable into something fun people will want to make in their own kitchens!

What is your favorite food?

Anything pumpkin related, but especially pumpkin ravioli!

Connect with Maggie:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Jenna Amos, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my didactic coursework at Boston University and then my dietetic internship at VCU Health in Richmond, VA.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I am currently the Nutrition Communication Lead at siggi’s diary.  My job is multifaceted but generally speaking, I assist the marketing team with a focus on all nutrition communications.  As part of this, I work with the RD community to create content that best meets their needs and supports their work through our ambassador programs and our siggi’s sessions online education portal.  Previously, I was a retail RD for ShopRite.  That role gave me a great foundation in the food industry and marketing, which helped guide me to my current job!

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

My typical tasks vary greatly, especially depending on the time of year.  I project manage various initiatives, such as siggi’s sessions and retail RD demo kits.  During busy conference season, I spend a lot of my time prepping for conferences and then traveling to and attending the events.  However, I am always communicating with RDs to provide educational materials, demo kits or yogurt to support their work!  I get to meet and “e-meet” so many RDs and other health professionals all the time-it really gives me an appreciation for the work this community accomplishes.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love being able to support the RD community but also spread the word about a food and brand I really stand behind.  It is so fun to see the company grow and develop and since we are such a small company, to have a hand in all of that.

What is your favorite food?

Peanut butter (especially on siggi’s No Added Sugar Banana Cinnamon)!

Connect with Jenna and siggi’s:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I received my undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition from the University of Maine at Orono and completed my dietetic internship at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. I also earned my master’s degree at Boston University.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I am a Holistic Cannabis Practitioner and Culinary Nutritionist at Jannabis Wellness. I help people who suffer from pain, anxiety, insomnia, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and other debilitating conditions find relief using medical marijuana. I made this career change when my dad found relief from his pain using cannabis. I realized that the stigma surrounding marijuana and lack of education was preventing people from finding much-needed relief.
My career has taken me from cardiac rehab to nutrition software sales, to consulting dietitian for the US Senate Restaurants and Boston Harbor Hotel, to cookbook author, blogger, podcaster, recipe developer, and media spokesperson to business owner. All of these jobs prepared me to start my business as a holistic cannabis consultant.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

The nice thing about owning my own business is I can make my own schedule and do things that are important to me. My day may start with a yoga or TRX class at my local YMCA. When I return to my home office I dig in and respond to emails and social media posts. I may see a client or two, work on my website or a Powerpoint presentation for an upcoming talk, fulfill online orders for my Jannabis Wellness CBD products, plan my next cannabis education gathering that I host monthly for Ellementa, or do outreach/marketing for my business.
If I have an intern working with me we may do any of these things or do research on medical benefits of cannabis, create and test a recipe, or work on content for my website. Right now, I need to fit in some studying time for an online end of life doula class that I am taking through UVM. Never a dull moment!

What is your favorite part of your job?

The flexibility! I can make my own hours, and include time to be involved in my community and church, exercise, and walk my mini dachshund!

What is your favorite food?

Of course, I can’t pick just one! Avocados, dark chocolate, cheese, nuts, and red wine top the list. 

Connect with Janice:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Linkedin

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Lauren Cadillac, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my undergraduate work at Penn State University (studied Nutritional Sciences). After completing my BS, I entered into the Dietetic Internship program through The College of Saint Elizabeth (with some pretty sweet people 😉 )

What is your job title? What do you do?

I currently work in private practice part-time alongside a psychiatrist. I work with a lot of clients that suffer from anxiety, depression, ADD, and those who are looking to optimize their lives. We discuss those foods and behaviors that can contribute to and exacerbate symptoms. In addition, we cover foods that can help stabilize mood and blood sugar and improve energy and performance. Many of my clients have crazy busy schedules rarely make time for good nutrition. It’s my job to help them overcome obstacles and barriers to find ways to make health a priority but not a hassle. My approach with each client differs depending on his or her goals, lifestyle and situation. Some clients don’t have time to prepare food, so we work together to find healthy options at nearby restaurants or even use meal delivery services to guarantee they’ll have a wholesome meal accessible. I’m often using motivational interviewing to elicit behavior change and develop a healthier relationship with food.
My previous experience includes clinical dietetics, fitness training and personal involvement in the bodybuilding industry. Throughout my journey of nutrition approaches, in addition to overcoming personal struggles that surfaced through my experiences, I’ve adapted a more holistic, intuitive eating approach. Rather than giving diet plans with an end date, cutting out food groups or counting macros and calories, I focus on the underlying reasons we all want better health and weight loss. We want to feel good. Rather than deprivation and willpower, we focus on nutrition that feeds our body and spirit.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

I’m in a transition period between personal training and private practice dietetics so I tend to be all over the place. I have 8-10 training clients I train throughout the week. The other bulk of my time is spent at our office seeing patients or working remotely doing phone call/skype sessions.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Watching my clients improve. When they give me feedback like “I have more energy to play with my kids” or “I’ve been sleeping so much better” or “I’ve never felt so good” it is extremely rewarding. To be able to impact the health and quality of life of others is why I do what I do.

What is your favorite food?

Hmmmm I don’t know if I have one FAVORITE food. I love peanut butter, dark chocolate, and avocados , and kombucha – not really a food but 🙂

Connect with Lauren:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Kristina Todini, RDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I completed my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and my dietetic internship at the California Department of State Hospitals.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I wear many hats. By day I am on the national nutrition team for Bon Appetit Management Company, a large foodservice company with a focus on sustainability. By night I run the global food, recipe, and travel blog Fork in The Road and also do freelance food photography and writing.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

At my full-time job, I work from a home office but often travel to our accounts across the country to work with chefs to ensure menus have up-to-date and accurate nutrition and allergen information. With Fork in the Road, I am testing and photographing recipes, researching and writing blog content, and learning (by trial and error) about creating a content-based blog and business.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the variety of what I do, but the common thread is nutrition and food communications. I love communicating about delicious and healthy foods through writing, speaking, and creating visual content. I am very lucky to do this every day.

What is your favorite food?

That’s a very hard question to answer, but the food that makes me do a happy dance every time I know I’m going to eat it is pasta. Right now I’m a sucker for anything with bucatini or orecchiette.

Connect with Kristina:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Niki Demarco, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

I received my Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University and completed my dietetic internship at the College of Saint Elizabeth.

What is your job title? What do you do?

My current full-time job is working in private practice as a Registered Dietitian. I provide nutritional counseling/Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

A typical day in the office consists of meeting with clients 1-on-1 to guide them to better manage their health ailments and often to establish a more balanced and healthier relationship with food. During their hourlong visit, we discuss their goals and discuss recommendations for them to work on before our next visit together.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is helping clients discover new foods and new ways to make themselves feel better/live better by eating in a more nutritionally-balanced manner. When my clients realize they don’t have to follow any restrictive diets in order to have personal success, it feels great helping them realize they can maintain a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing the foods they love!

What is your favorite food?

A cheeseburger! In moderation, of course 😉

Connect with Nikki:

Website

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Stephanie McKercher, RDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

This is my second career—I studied legal studies and sociology as an undergrad. Once I figured out I wanted to be a dietitian, I went back to grad school at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I participated in the coordinated program, so my dietetic internship was included with the coursework.

What is your job title? What do you do?

I’m a recipe developer and registered dietitian in private practice. I write recipes and take photos for food brands and farmers. I also author a food blog called The Grateful Grazer. Owning my own recipe development business is a pretty big shift from my days as a clinical dietitian. (I started my RD career at an integrative cancer treatment center.) I’m continually amazed by all of the opportunities out there for us dietitians!

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

Every day is so different, which I love. I put the most energy into cooking, testing recipes, taking photos, and writing blog or social media posts. There’s also a lot of administrative work. (Not always my favorite but necessary to run a business!)

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love when I can spend the entire day in the kitchen. I get into this creative flow when I’m cooking and photographing. It doesn’t feel like work, and I feel so lucky to do what I do.

What is your favorite food?

There’s no way I can pick just one! I’m always seeking out seasonal fruits and veggies because I think they taste the best. I’m also a big fan of simple, comfort food dishes like pasta, curry, and tacos. And anything with avocado.

Connect with Steph:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Elisa Scafuto, RD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?

Undergrad: University of Delaware Dietetic Internship: College of Saint Elizabeth Current: Masters of Science in Nutrition College of Saint Elizabeth

What is your job title? What do you do?

Eurest Senior Wellness Coordinator at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey. I serve a dual role. I manage the day to day food service cafe (we call it a marketplace) operations while working with the food service team to serve up delicious, nutritious and fun features for employees. I also serve as the wellness nutrition professional onsite and meet with Horizon employees for individual counseling to discuss their personal wellness goals. I work alongside the onsite health coach and fitness professionals to execute wellness programming such as weight loss challenges. I implement wellness presentations and organize food samplings in the marketplace for employees to try new and nutritious foods.

I also own an LLC, NewTritious You, in which I meet with patients for individual nutrition counseling to assist them with their wellness goals. I receive referrals from a wonderful primary care physician group.
Previous jobs: Clinical Inpatient Dietitian at Morristown Medical Center (Oncology and Cardiovascular ICU), Health Educator for OrthoClinical Diagnostics/Johnson and Johnson organization, Living Plate Nutrition and Education Counseling Center
Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

Every single day is different! One day I can be bagging delicious bakers kettle chips prior to starting our lunch rush in the cafe and the next day I am being interviewed as the Nutrition Professional for a Horizon BCBS website article.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love being recognized as a nutrition professional and knowing that our profession is up and coming and in such high demand.

What is your favorite food?

EVERYTHING 🙂 I could honestly eat pizza or pasta all day every day, but I absolutely love olives and hummus.

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Jenna Braddock, MSH, RD, CSSD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?
Undergrad at Florida State University (Go Noles!). Internship at Meredith College. Masters at the University of North Florida.
What is your job title? What do you do?
Currently, I wear many hats. I am faculty in the nutrition department at the University of North Florida where I teach Community Nutrition and Nutrition Education.
I also own my own business where I blog at MakeHealthyEasy.com, offer one on one counseling mostly in sports nutrition, freelance writer, TV media, and speak. I am also a performance coach at the Human Performance Institute.  My latest venture is the launching of Off-Season Athlete (offseasonathletes.com) a website and e-courses specifically geared to teen athletes and their parents. OSA provides science-based, approachable information for training, nutrition, mental toughness, and rest. It also works to give coaches the right information to share with their players.
Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.
My days are as varied as my roles. 2-3 days a week I work on campus at UNF – teaching, mentoring, prepping, grading, and doing community outreach. The other 2-3 days of the week I am splitting my time between my online business and counseling and mothering my sweet boys. I don’t have a lot of time in my days for working on my personal business right now, but I see it as chipping away at projects as opposed to massive productivity. Usually, I work from 6-7am and 1-3pm, with other random pockets of time as the day permits.
If I have a TV appearance, I am gone for several hours and have a sitter. I occasionally travel to work a job that will take me out of town for 2-3 days.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my jobs is empowering people in their healthy lifestyle. I love reaching people through any and all outlets – face to face, blogs, TV, social media, and more. Our world offers so many different ways to reach people and share messages in new ways. It’s awesome and challenging. I always feel pushed to learn new skills and up my game to help more people. At the end of the day I want people to enjoy food and feel great, whether it’s through an educational session, a picture, an article, a conversation or whatever.
What is your favorite food?
This is always changing, which makes it fun. But, I think my constant, favorite food of all time is chocolate chip cookies. Particularly, these chocolate chip cookies.
Connect with Jenna:

Healthy Made Easy
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Off Season Athlete
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Robin Plotkin, RDN

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?
Believe it or not, my first degree is in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I thought I wanted to work behind the scenes in campaigning. That quickly lost its shine and when I decided to become a registered dietitian, I went to Texas Women’s University in Denton, TX and completed my internship at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, now Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
What is your job title? What do you do?

Previous to becoming a business owner, I worked in a hospital and had the great benefit of working all jobs in the department including diet clerk, diet tech, clinical dietitian (for about 10 minutes!), kitchen supervisor, and special events/catering supervisor. After leaving the hospital, I became the first RDN hired at the North Texas Food Bank where I was the Nutrition Education Manager and also Events Coordinator.  Next, I headed to the land of retail grocery where I was the Sales Manager for HEB/Central Market. I started my culinary nutrition communications agency 16 years ago and haven’t looked back since!

My business has three main silos:

Communications: Marketing and PR strategy, relationship cultivation, and a strong focus on the customer experience are services that I provide routinely for my clients.  I also do quite a bit of standard spokesperson work (speaking, writing, content development,  social media, etc.). In 2016, I added RDN coaching to my menu of services and have loved seeing my clients excel in their own businesses. This brings me a tremendous sense of personal gratification.

Large and small scale event management and production for food, wine, health and wellness engagement: My team and I execute everything from one on one cooking demonstrations to four-day food and wine festivals. I’m also one of the co-founders of Blog Brulee, an invitation-only, experiential weekend shared among a small, intimate number of healthy food bloggers and RD bloggers.

Culinary Services: This includes recipe and cookbook development for brands, collaborating with chefs to change or improve menus and advising long-term and start-up companies on the importance of culinary nutrition, training, and nutrition analysis.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

Every day is different and that’s why I love it.

For example, this morning started off with a 2018 Planning call with my fellow Blog Brulee founders, followed by an email response to a reporter on deadline. I’m also prepping for a new coaching client and will spend the remainder of the day working on eight different day events for a client that will happen in the month of April.

I also sent out my weekly billing. (I maintain all of my own billing—I’m a big believer in seeing what goes in and what goes out of the business from a financial aspect). Oh, and I need to enter a few CEU’s into my Portfolio before May 31!

What is your favorite part of your job?
Quite frankly, it’s the relationships I’ve built over the years. I’m fortunate enough to say that many of my clients and partners have been with me for years and through our work together, they know I’m here for them and will work through any opportunity to ensure the best outcome for their business.
What is your favorite food?
Currently, my favorite food is Ginger Dressing from the Makoto company. I honestly crave it!  Not only does it help me eat more green lettuce salads,  it’s a perfect marinade or finishing sauce for vegetables. I’m currently marinating a pork loin in it for dinner tonight. It’s in the refrigerated produce section at my local store.
Connect with Robin:

Website | BlogTwitter | Instagram | Facebook

What RD's Do - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #career #dietitian #rd #nutrition #wellness #health Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD

Where did you complete your nutrition education and dietetic internship?
Southeast Missouri State University (BS) and University of Kansas Medical Center (DI and MS)
What is your job title? What do you do?

 I’m currently the owner of Street Smart Nutrition, where I work as a private practice dietitian. I help people rediscover joy in eating deeply nourishing meals without restriction or fear. This means I use intuitive eating, Health at Every Size (HAES), and a weight-neutral approach to support the clients I counsel. Currently, I focus on sports nutrition to support athletes of all ages as well as diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, and pre-diabetes). I also maintain the Street Smart Nutrition Blog, where I share simple, delicious recipes as well as information about intuitive eating, food, and culinary topics.

Describe a day in the life of your job as a Registered Dietitian.

Every day is something different! I usually see a handful of clients, then spend the rest of the time competing for freelancing or consulting projects, planning new courses or virtual services, or participating in community events. I also make appearances as a speaker for various corporate wellness and nutrition- or health-focused events, as well as being an active volunteer with the Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (KSAND) and the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (SCAN DPG). I occasionally work evenings and weekends, but that gives me the flexibility to come into the office late or plan a mid-week day off. While there is no such thing as a typical day, I really enjoy the lack of routine because there is always something that gives purpose to my day and leaves me feeling fulfilled and proud when I lock my office door each night.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Sharing my passion for food and nutrition and seeing my clients start to believe in themselves! It’s exciting to me when a client finds the courage to try a new food for the first time or tackle a recipe they didn’t think they could make. I also like celebrating their accomplishments and being their personal cheerleader as they push themselves out of their comfort zones. For many, they’ve spent years of their lives caught in the cycle of dieting and feeling discouraged or shameful about their body and food choices. They’re often confused by all the contradicting information they’ve heard before and feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. Watching them gain confidence and find happiness again is always something special to witness and makes me thankful to be able to support them in that journey.
What is your favorite food?
This is just about impossible to pick because there are so many things I love…but if I had to choose I think it might be Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!
Connect with Cara:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen

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6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment

As a dietitian and a chef, there are certain kitchen tools and gadgets that I can’t live without. I realized when teaching my cooking classes that there are certain essential tools to keep in the kitchen to create a healthier kitchen environment.
6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness
By having these tools in your kitchen, you are setting yourself for success and creating a healthier kitchen environment. Utilize these tools to create healthier recipes and help meal prep for a healthy week of delicious food!
6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

(Every day) knives:

Two essential knives to have readily available in your kitchen is a chef’s knife, also known as a utility knife and also a paring knife.
A chef’s knife (sometimes called a cook’s knife) is the most important knife to have in your kitchen. It has a wide blade between six and ten inches long and is used primarily for chopping, though it can be used for anything you want to do. The blade of a classic, French-style chef’s knife curves upward toward the tip. A Japanese-style Santoku knife can be used in place of a French-style chef’s knife; it’s usually shorter and has a “sheep’s foot” tip, meaning the top of the tip curves downward. European manufacturers of Santoku knives add a Granton or kullenschiff edge, a row of hollow-ground pockets that prevent food from sticking to the knife’s surface.
A paring knife looks like a miniature chef’s knife, with a blade ranging from two to four inches long. It’s good for delicate tasks where a larger blade would get in the way. Paring knives are ideal for peeling onions, coring tomatoes or trimming vegetables.
Tip: Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and along with the banging around that happens during a wash cycle, will take the sharp edge right off your knife. Always wash knives by hand in the sink with dish soap and water.

Knife sharpener:

FACT! I dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
Make it a habit to sharpen knives each week. A small handheld sharpener does the trick, but electric sharpeners are great too. I like to use the mini handheld knife sharpener at home that has a coarse and fine blade sharpener.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Microplane:

A microplane is also known as a zester. Adding a finely grated citrus zest is a great way to elevate flavor in any dish.  I also use my microplane for grating ginger, turmeric, garlic, dark chocolate, and hard cheeses.
Recipes to try using your microplane:
Crepes with a Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Filling
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Meat thermometer:

My personal pick for a meat thermometer is always an instant-read digital thermometer. An instant-read digital thermometer is the most accurate. Despite the name, the display usually takes anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds to give an accurate temperature reading, but it’s still quicker than analog. This is a basic all-purpose thermometer. You can use it for meat, baked goods, anything that requires an internal temperature reading. (If you use it for meat, just make sure to sanitize the thermometer to avoid cross-contamination.) Using a meat thermometer can help avoid overcooking, keeping recipes juicy and flavorful.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Salad spinner:

My salad spinner is used every time I meal prep. If your greens are cleaned, dry, and ready to use, you will be more likely to use them throughout the week. Salad spinners are versatile and can be used more than just for leafy greens. Use to wash and dry herbs, strain canned beans, rinse berries and hearty vegetables like broccoli.
Try a recipe that utilizes a salad spinner:
Squash and Wheat Berry Salad

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Glass containers with lids:

Make sure to have a variety of sizes (8 oz., 16 oz., and 32 oz.). These are essential for leftovers as well as storing pre-prepped foods. Glass containers are preferred to plastic – they are easier to clean, do not absorb food odors, and can be used to reheat leftovers.
Also, utilize mason jars. They are useful for overnight oats or making your own vinaigrette.

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Navigating the Frozen Aisle at the Grocery Store

Happy National Frozen Foods Day! Learn to navigate the frozen food aisle at the grocery store like a dietitian.
Navigating the Frozen Aisle at the Grocery Store
Did you know Frozen Foods Day has been celebrated all the way back from 1984? I’m sure majority of your grocery shopping trips make a pit stop to the frozen aisles for at least one item, if not more. The frozen aisle has definitely improved over the years.
I like to bring this question up in many of my nutrition group discussions – Which do you think is healthier: fresh or frozen? Many raise their hand for fresh and a few brave participants raise their hands for frozen, even if they don’t exactly know why. The answer is both are healthy! Frozen can be just as healthy as fresh thanks to American inventor Clarence Frank Birdseye II, who invented the process of flash freezing. Flash freezing of fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood preserve flavor, quality, and nutrients. Birdseye discovered the key was freezing the food quickly, locking in foods nutritional value. Flash freezing forms small ice crystals which prevent the cell walls from bursting. Large ice crystals turn the food to mush.

Previously working as a supermarket RD, I know how to navigate the aisles like a pro!
As like any section of the grocery store, the frozen aisle is broken into categories. Follow this dietitian’s guide to navigating the frozen food aisle.

Fruit

  • Check your ingredient list. Make sure it is just the fruit itself. Avoid added sugar.
    My Picks: Campoverdue Fruit & Veggie Blenders, Dole Fruit & Veggie Blends, Earthbound Farm Organic Smoothie Kickstarts, Dole Dippers (for a portion controlled sweet treat)
    Tip: Skip the syrup for topping your waffles or pancakes. Try using frozen fruit! Simply add frozen berries to a small pot over the stove top and let simmer. It will turn gooey and syrupy. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to thicken.

Vegetables

  • Opt for the plain varieties. Skip the vegetables with gravies, cheese sauces, and even those labeled as “lightly seasoned”. They may be light in taste but check the nutrition label for hidden excess sodium and fat.
  • Watch out for “par-fried” items. I’m looking at you frozen french fries. Par-fried means blanching or half-frying that involves partially frying the food but not browning it, so that it must be cooked again before serving. So even though you might bake them in the oven, they were still fried.
  • Look for new items like riced cauliflower and other riced vegetables. So far I’ve seen riced carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes too!
  • Cauliflower is popping up everywhere for a low-carb option. They are even making cauliflower tots to replace potatoes.
    My Picks: frozen cauliflower rice, Veggie fries, Dr. Praeger Veggie Tots, or ANY frozen plain veggies
    Tip: Give yourself a break prepping in the kitchen. Get a stir-fry going in minutes with pre-chopped onions, peppers, and carrots!

Grains

  • Look for the first word on the ingredient list to be the word “whole”, for frozen products like waffles.
  • Now ancient grains are even easier to get on the dinner table. No need to wait for them to cook in a pot. Warm up frozen whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
  • Do steel cut oats take to long to cook in the morning? Don’t worry there is frozen version that can heat up in seconds.
    My Picks: Van’s Whole Grain Waffles, Kashi Whole Grain Waffles, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Ezekiel bread, Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Waffles

Protein

  • Again, watch out for “par-fried” items.
  • Opt for protein, like chicken or fish, without a breadcrumb coating. Choose lean choices of meat.
  • Look for plant-based proteins like edamame. Now they even have frozen beans & lentils available!
    My Picks: Hip Chick Farms, Good Food Made Simple, Hanover Beans, Good Food Made Simple Southwestern Veggie Breakfast Bowl

Dairy

This is typically your ice cream section of the frozen department. There is a whole other refrigerated aisle dedicated to wholesome dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheeses – aka the dairy aisle.

  • Check your ingredient list. Look for real food ingredients.
  • Opt for yogurt-based items
    My Picks: As a dietitian, I always practice what I preach that everything in moderation. Now if you want that Ben and Jerry’s, go for it, being mindful of the portion sizes. There are so many new ice creams out there that I do have mixed feeling about. Some have sugar alcohols. For me personally, they bother my stomach, but it can be a good alternative for ice cream lovers who are looking to enjoy their ice cream a little more often than not. Halo Top, Nada Moo, Yasso, Enlightened, Ciao Bella Adonia Wild Blueberry Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars, are a few.

Frozen Meals

In general, look for meals that include one or more servings each of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, fish, or poultry. This combination will be higher in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber (which helps fill you up). Skip frozen dinners with cream sauces, gravies, or fried foods. And although dessert may look like a bonus, maybe have a piece of fresh fruit instead, for more fiber, nutrition, and fewer calories.
When comparing labels for frozen entrees, many eyes jump right down to the sodium, because come frozen meals can be sodium bombs. Look for a frozen entree < 600 milligrams.
It’s also important to pay attention to serving sizes. Although they may be lower in calories, smaller entrees may leave you hungry. But don’t be afraid to add a few extras to boost nutrition and satisfaction. Add a side salad or an extra bag of steamed veggies to up the nutritional value of the meal and add fiber, so it will fill you up and satisfy your hunger. Looking to bump up the protein? Add 1/2 cup of beans or a sprinkling of nuts to your meal. No additional cooking required!
My favorite trick: I place a big bed of baby spinach or zoodles on my plate then pour the piping hot Luvo frozen entree right on top straight from the microwave. It wilts the spinach or softens the zoodles and bulks up the meal with extra vegetables.
My Picks: Luvo, Grainful, Evol, Garden Lites, Kashi, Amy’s

Frozen Pizza
Check your serving size. Often those pizzas contain multiple servings. Again, bulk them up! Keep it simple so there is no additional cooking required. Add toppings like frozen grilled chicken strips and plenty of veggies. Also, look for pizzas that use whole grains in the crust.
My favorite trick: I pile my pizza high with extra veggies. (The more the merrier!) When there is about 5 minutes left until the pizza is done, I crack a few eggs right on top and finish cooking the pizza to add an extra veggie and protein punch. Plus, who doesn’t like a runny egg yolk?
MyPicks: Newman’s Own, Pea’s of Mind, American Flatbread, Kashi

Veggie Burgers
Check your ingredient list. Make sure there are actual vegetables in there! Don’t be fooled by packaging. Just because there is no animal protein in it, they can skimp on the veggies. Some veggie burgers contain fillers like rice and potatoes to bulk it up. Look for a veggie burger with plenty of vegetables on the ingredient list.
My Picks: Dr. Praeger, Hilary’s, Gardenburger

*Please note there are plenty more healthy options found in the frozen aisles of the grocery store. The ones listed are just a sampling. 
Want a more in-depth tour of the grocery store? I now offer grocery store tours in the north NJ area!
RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen