Ricotta, Berry, and Goat Cheese Bread

It’s summertime which means berries are in season! And remember, when a fruit or vegetable is in season it means it will be at its peak freshness for tons of delicious, juicy flavor plus it’s cheaper. I found ricotta and goat cheese were also on sale so I came up with an easy & quick sweet treat using what I had on hand at home as well.

Makes: 2 pieces of bread

Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • Plate
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Measuring cup


  • 2 slices multigrain toast
  • 4 Tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup total of berries of your choosing (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
  • 2 teaspoons honey


1. Set 2 pieces of multigrain bread on a plate

2. Spread 4 Tablespoons of whole milk ricotta on the bread (2 Tablespoons for each piece of bread)

3. Place 1 cup of berries on top of ricotta (1/2 cup for each piece of bread)

4. Sprinkle on 2 Tablespoons goat cheese crumbles (1 Tablespoon for each piece of bread)

  • If you have a goat cheese log you can make your own crumbles

5. Drizzle 2 teaspoons honey over everything (1 teaspoon for each piece of bread)

6. Enjoy!

You can mix and match berries or use just your favorite one. This is a great breakfast option or a healthier dessert full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I did not toast the bread to make it quicker but if you prefer a warmer, crunchier version then go ahead!


*Nutrition for 2 pieces of ricotta, berry, and goat cheese bread using blackberries & raspberries:

  • Calories: 478
  • Total fat: 16 g
    • Saturated fat: 7 g
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 3 g
    • Monounsaturated fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 44 mg
  • Sodium: 407 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 70 g
    • Fiber 14 g
    • Sugar: 24 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Potassium: 306 mg
  • Vitamin A: 13%
  • Vitamin C: 51%
  • Calcium: 26%
  • Folate: 24%
  • Iron: 18%img_5952

You can sub part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese for less calories, fat, and cholesterol but more sodium.

You can also use half the amount of Truvia Nectar in place of honey for less calories, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Eat only 1 piece for half the calories if you want a snack instead of a meal.


10/7/14 – Publix Grocery Savings

Groceries 10-6-14


Original Price: $30.91                                I paid: $10.96

Barber Stuffed Chicken Breasts: $5.49 BOGO + two $1 off newspaper coupons

  • Originally: $10.98 for 2 boxes
  • I pay: $3.49 for 2 boxes
  • That’s only $0.87 for each stuffed chicken breast
  • All I need to do is add some veggies and I have a full meal for a very low price

Campbell’s Homestyle Soup: $2.49 BOGO + one $0.50 off 2 newspaper coupon

  • Originally: $2.49 for 1 can
  • I pay: $1 for 1 can
  • That’s only $0.50 for each serving
  • I keep these at work as a back up for when I don’t have leftovers for lunch or didn’t have time to make something. Each can is 2 servings so I heat up the whole can, eat half, put the rest in my work fridge and eat it the next day.
  • There are Healthy Request options lower in sodium and calories so it can easily fit into your diet.

Pompeian Olive Oil/Canola Oil Blend: on sale for 1/2 off + one $1 online printable coupon

  • Originally: $4.99
  • I pay: $1.50
  • Everyone needs oil, whether it’s for sauteeing, grilling, baking, etc. I always wait for the brand I have a coupon for to go on sale so I get the cheapest price but still a good quality brand name.


  • thekrazycouponlady.com

Nutrition at the Airport Terminal

People say it’s impossible to eat healthy while traveling, especially at the airport. Try to bring snacks from home as there may be limited healthy options and there will definitely be many temptations. Bring homemade trail mix, fresh fruit and vegetables already cut for easy eating, and cheese sticks. If you find yourself at the airport without your own healthy snacks, try these tips:

Concourse snack options:

  • Fiber
    • Look for snacks with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving in items like granola, pretzels, peanut butter crackers, peanuts, low-fat yogurt, and fruit
  • Saturated fat
    • Try to keep the saturated fat to 2 grams or less per serving
  • Sugar
    • Look for snacks with 8 grams or less of sugar

Concourse restaurant options:

  • Healthier fare menus
    • Many restaurants are including healthier items on their menu
    • Look for grilled chicken breast, side salads, and low-fat dairy
  • Buy it and bring it
    • You can also buy food and bring it on the plane with you, no need to hurry up and devour it
  • Drinks
    • Make sure to stay hydrated to give your body a feeling of satiety and prevent overeating
    • Hydration will help you fight feelings of fatigue and can help your immune system run at its peak
  • Dietary restrictions
    • Vegans and vegetarians should look for restaurants with ethnic cuisine
    • Mexican restaurants often have bean burritos
    • Chinese restaurants often have vegetable stir fry with rice
    • Middle Eastern restaurants often have hummus and falafel

You can always research the airport ahead of time to find out what is available near your terminal.


Gibson, Mia. (2014, June 25). “Nutrition Know-How: Travel snacks are handy, healthy.” Retrieved from http://www.oaoa.com/people/food/nutrition_know_how/article_69e4b8d6-fbb4-11e3-a388-0017a43b2370.html

Semi-Homemade Burritos

I happened to have all the ingredients for some delicious burritos and decided to make some for dinner tonight. The recipe makes 8 which is perfect for 2 burritos each for a family of 4,  easy leftovers to take to work, or enough for a small get together with friends. It’s only me so I’ll be having a quick yet filling lunch for the next few days. Just reheat the meat, bean, and rice mixture, warm the tortilla, and combine with your favorite toppings. Easy, cheap, delicious, and, most importantly, nutritious.

Makes: 8 burritos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • Oven
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Colander
  • Measuring cup
  • Microwave with microwaveable plate or oven with cookie sheet & foil


  • 1 Old El Paso burrito kit (or similar brand) which includes tortillas, beans, rice, and seasoning
  • Oil (vegetable, olive, canola, any kind will do really)
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef or turkey)
  • 2 cups water
  • Toppings of your choice – I chose mango, avocado, grape tomatoes, and scallions. Other good choices would be cilantro, olives, salsa, guacamole, cheese, sour cream (or better yet, Greek yogurt), peppers, onions, or mushrooms.


  • Put saucepan on stove with medium heat, spread enough oil to cover half the pan and move pan to spread oil enough to coat pan thinly
  • Once pan is warm (but not hot or smoking, you can place hand near top of pan and feel warmth), place ground meat into pan

ground beef

  • Stir with spoon occasionally until fully cooked (no more pink is seen)

cooked before drained

  • Pour cooked meat into colander in the sink to drain (do not rinse), then pour drained meat back into saucepan

cooked meat

  • Add 2 cups of water along with beans, rice, and seasoning from kit into the meat and bring to a boil on high heat

water seasoning beans & rice stirred boil

  • Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low to simmer for 10 minutes


  • If you are heating the tortillas in the oven, preheat to 325°F, remove tortillas from package, wrap in foil, place on cookie sheet, and bake 10 minutes or until warm (if you are heating in the microwave skip this step)
  • During this time, prepare chosen toppings (peel & slice mang0, dice tomatoes, slice avocado, cut scallions, etc), make sure to stir meat mixture occasionally


  • If you are heating the tortillas in the microwave, during the last minute of simmering the meat, remove the stack of tortillas from the package, place on a microwaveable plate, and microwave for 45-60 seconds or until warm
  • Spoon 1/8 of meat filling onto 1 tortilla along with toppings and enjoy!

tortilla with toppings tortilla with meat and toppings finished burrito

  • Refrigerate any leftovers

Nutrition  for 1 burrito (using Old El Paso burrito kit tortilla, beans, rice, and seasoning and seasoned Jennie-O ground turkey meat):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total fat: 11.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 50 mg
  • Sodium: 870 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 31 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keep in mind what toppings you are adding. Cheese & sour cream will add protein along with saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Note that I used seasoned ground turkey meat which increased the sodium content considerably by 400 mg per pound of meat versus plain ground turkey.


If you bought the burrito kit BOGO with coupons and the ground turkey meat BOGO with coupons like I did:

  • 1 burrito without toppings is only $0.20 for a burrito
  • I bought the mango from Target for $1.29 and used it for all 8 burritos
  • I bought avocados from Target from $1 each and used 2 for all 8 burritos
  • I bought scallions from the farmers market for $0.75 for 2 bunches and used about 1/4 of a bunch
  • I bought grape tomatoes from Sam’s Club for $5.48 for about 100 grape tomatoes and used 20 for all 8 burritos

Do the math and that’s about $0.87 for each burrito.

Comparing Whole Grain Flours

I found this information in my Martha Stewart Living magazine and thought it really helped explained the flavors and textures of different grains that you could use for baking. I supplemented the information with a post I found online.

Keep your grains fresh by storing them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Note that refined grains have been milled and stripped of the bran and the germ which decreases their fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral content. Refined grains are often enriched, meaning certain B vitamins that were removed in the milling process are added back to the flour made from the refined grain.

When shopping for whole grains, read the ingredient list. The first ingredient should say “whole grain wheat” or list a whole grain like quinoa. Words like “stone ground”, “multi-grain”, “100% wheat” or “seven grain” don’t necessarily mean that the product is a whole grain food. Color does not indicate that a food is a whole grain. Many time molasses or other coloring agents are added to foods to make them look healthy.

Wheat Flours

Wheat contains gluten needed to give rise to bakes sweets. All purpose flour (APF) can be combined with whole wheat to prevent a dense crumb. If only whole wheat flour is used it provides a more toothsome texture & assertive flavor. All whole wheat is milled with bran, endosperm, and germ.

  • Whole Wheat
    • Grind: medium
    • Comes from: hard red or white wheat berries
    • Taste: earthiness with raw-sugar overtones, tannic near-bitterness (tannins also found in red wines & coffee), white is milder than red
    • Bake: pleasantly chewy bread, cookies, brownies, and sticky buns
  • Whole Wheat Pastry
    • Grind: fine
    • Comes from: soft red or white wheat berries which are lower in gluten
    • Taste: same as regular whole wheat
    • Bake: tender crusts, cakes, biscuits, and pancakes
  • Graham
    • Grind: coarse
    • Comes from: hard red wheat berries
    • Taste: rustic, with faint honey notes
    • Bake: nubby, crisp crackers and crusts
    • Caution: requires more liquids in batters & doughs before baking
  • Spelt
    • Grind: fine to coarse
    • Comes from: ancient wheat predecessor
    • Taste: sweet & mild, similar to toasted walnuts
    • Bake: anything white flour can do with a very soft & delicate crumb, substitute 1:1 for APF
    • Caution: readily absorbs liquid so proportions of liquid may have to increase and batters may need time to absorb liquids before baking

Hearty Grains

  • Barley
    • Grind: fine
    • Comes from: hulled barley with the inner bran still intact
    • Taste: caramelized nuttiness similar to browned butter with a tang like that in pale ale, most commonly associated with a malty flavor
    • Bake: smooth & buttery cookies, cakes, quick breads, and crusts
    • Caution: has only small amounts of gluten & for structure require the addition of all-purpose or another wheat flour, higher proportions may cause baked goods not to rise & to crumble
  • Rye
    • Milled with germ, bran, and endosperm then sifted. Lighter varieties have more germ & bran sifted out than darker ryes like those used for pumpernickel
    • Taste: echoes of malted milk with the depth of cooked sugar, lighter varieties are sweeter, darker are stronger flavored, most commonly associated with a malty flavor
    • Bake: tender breads & crusts, cookies, crunchy crackers, crisp-outside & tender-inside biscuits, scones, waffles, and pancakes
    • Caution: has only small amounts of gluten & for structure require the addition of APF or another wheat flour, higher proportions may result in a gummy, dense crumb
  • Oat
    • Grind: fine to coarse
    • Comes from: whole oats
    • Taste: milky with a mild sweetness
    • Bake: tender & chewy muffins, cookies, scones, biscuits, pancakes, and waffles
    • Caution: when combined with other grains or white flour it retains moisture & can result in wet gumminess if used in high proportions
  • Buckwheat
    • Nutrition: good source of zinc, copper and manganese and high in soluble fiber
    • Gluten free
    • Grind: fine to coarse
    • Comes from: fruit seeds related to sorrel & rhubarb with darker flours containing more of the whole kernel
    • Taste: nutty, with mineral quality of mushrooms & dry red wine
    • Bake: smooth & chewy, low-rising griddle favorites like pancakes, crepes, blini, and waffles when mixed with wheat flour

Ancient Grains

Century-old options that are not all technically grains but function as such when combined with wheat or other grains.

  • Amaranth
    • Originates: in Peru thousands of years ago
    • Nutrition:good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron
    • Complete protein – contains all the essential amino acids
    • Gluten free
    • Grind: fine and powdery
    • Comes from: seeds of a leafy plant
    • Taste: distinct, assertive grassiness, reminiscent of the scent of hay
    • Bake: dense & nearly sticky muffins, cookies, cakes, pancakes, and waffles
    • Caution: combine with other grains
  • Quinoa
    • Originates: Peru
    • Complete protein
    • Gluten free
    • Cooking: when cooked it is light & fluffy, can be used as a  base of many grain and vegetable salads, added to soups and stews or even eaten as a hot cereal.
    • Grind: fine
    • Comes from: seeds of a leafy plant
    • Taste: faintly grassy with hints of toasted sesame seeds
    • Bake: Moist & chewy cookies & muffins, cakes, and quick breads with a fine crumb
    • Caution: combine with other grains, rinse before using to remove soapy tasting saponins
  • Millet
    • Nutrition: loaded with antioxidants  & is a good source of magnesium
    • Gluten free
    • Cooking:  cooked millet can be added to soups, stews, breads or eaten as a breakfast cereal. You can pop millet like popcorn and eat it for a snack
    • Grind: powdery-fine
    • Comes from: ancient grains with entire germ intact
    • Taste: mild & sweet with subtle nuttieness
    • Bake: delicate cakes & cakey cookies
    • Caution: mix with wheat flour



Comparing Oils


These oils come from nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Some oils can better handle heat depending on their smoke point.

A higher smoke point means it will be good for frying or sauteing. Lower smoke points mean you want to use them as additions to dips or dressings for salads. If your oil starts to smoke it should be discarded because it has lost some of its nutritional value and will start to taste bitter.

Heat and light can be damaging to oils so store in a cool and dark place. If it develops an odor or bitter taste, discard it. Grapeseed and walnut oil are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and may turn rancid faster. For this reason they should be kept in the refrigerator to prolong their usability.

Plant oils are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). When PUFA- and MUFA-rich oils are used in place of saturated and trans fats such as butter and shortening it may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It does this by improving related risk factors such as total and LDL blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Plant oils also provide vitamin E which help build and maintain cells in the body.


  • Nutrition:
    • >70% MUFAs
  • Health Benefits:
    • May boost absorption of carotenoids (powerful antioxidants) and lower blood pressure.
  • Flavor:
    • Buttery and nutty
    • Delicate avocado taste
  • Cooking:
    • High smoke point (520°F) makes it ideal for sauteing and frying fish or chicken
    • Emerald green color makes it a pretty finishing oil for grilled vegetables
    • Perfect for dipping
    • Base for salad dressing
    • Holds an emulsion well
  • Pairings:
    • Citrus fruits
    • Tomatoes
    • Chardonnay
    • Champagne


  • Nutrition:
  • Flavor:
    • Light
  • Cooking:
    • Works well with sauteing and stir fry
    • Use to coat pans, pots and grills to prevent sticking
    • Replace solid fat such as butter or margarine when cooking or baking


  • Nutrition:
    • Saturated fat
    • Virgin oil is high in lauric acid
      • Medium chain fatty acid that may have a neutral or beneficial effect on cholesterol levels
  • Flavor:
    • Sweet
  • Cooking:
    • Often substituted for shortening or butter in vegan recipes
    • Used with vegetables, curry dishes, and fish for a tropical flavor


  • Nutrition:
    • High in PUFAs
    • Contains saturated fat
  • Flavor:
    • Mild
  • Cooking:
    • All purpose
    • Ideal for baking, sauteing, and stir-frying
    • Use for flavorful Southwestern soups, stews, or quesadillas


  • Nutrition:
    • Contains omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids
    • Often cited vegetarian alternative to fish oil
  • Cooking:
    • Has a low smoke point so not ideal for cooking
    • Drizzle over quinoa
    • Combine with herbs & vinegar to make a salad dressing


  • Health Benefits:
    • May help with eczema and osteoporosis.
  •  Nutrition:
    • Rich in PUFAs
    • High in vitamin E and omega-6
  • Flavor:
    • Neutral, lets other ingredients shine
  • Cooking:
    • Has a moderately high smoke point (425°F) making it great for sauteing and frying
    • Use in dressing and dips for vegetables
    • Great for baking
    • Pasta sauces, soups and salad dressings

Macadamia Nut

  • Health benefits:
    • Anti-inflammatory properties may help with memory and asthma.
  • Nutrition:
    • Has more oleic acid than olive oil.
  • Flavor:
    • Subtle macadamia taste adds flavor to dishes
  • Cooking:
    • Smoke point and suggested use: 400-450°F (medium-high heat)
    • Good for stir-frying and using in vinaigrettes.
    • Pan-fried fish
    • Nice in Asian dishes.


  • Nutrition:
    • High in MUFAs and polyphenols
  • Flavor:
    • Extra-virgin olive oil has less acid, fruitier flavor, and stronger aroma than pure or virgin olive oil
    • Light olive oil is often lighter in hue or flavor but not calories
  • Cooking:
    • Use in dressings and dips
    • Good for sauces and marinades
    • Use a heavier oil with larger flavors or assertive vegetables
    • Use a lighter oil on lighter meats like veal or fish or in pasta dishes
    • Bake cakes
    • Saute or fry vegetables & meat


  • Nutrition:
    • MUFAs
  • Flavor:
    • Deep flavor
  • Cooking:
    • High smoke point so it’s often used in deep frying
    • Great in stir fry
    • Used for ginger dressing

Pumpkin Seed

  • Health benefits:
    • Excellent source of heart-healthy essential fatty acids.
    • Studies suggest it eases symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
  •  Nutrition:
    • Contains linolenic acid although not as much as walnut oil
  • Flavor:
    • Rich & nutty, earthy
    • Deep color
  • Cooking:
    • Smoke point and suggested use: 250°F (low heat)
    • Best as a finishing oil for meats and vegetables.
    • Drizzle over squash soup
    • Tasty over grilled corn on the cob and excellent over asparagus.
    • Create a flavorful salad dressing
    • Pour over ice cream with roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Pairings:
    • Citrus
    • Maple syrup
    • Mustard
    • Corn
    • Winter squash
    • Certain vinegars

Rice Bran 

  • Health Benefits:
    • Studies suggest it lowers cholesterol and has potential as an anticancer agent.
  • Flavor:
    • Mild flavor lets other flavors stand out.
  • Cooking
    • Smoke point and suggested use of 490°F (high heat)
    • Great for high-heat sauteing and pan-frying.
    • Excellent for wok-cooking shrimp and vegetables.


  • Health benefits:
    • Helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check and lower blood-sugar levels.
  •  Nutrition:
    • Rich in MUFAs and PUFAs
  • Flavor:
    • Sweet & nutty
    • If toasted, more intense flavor & aroma
  • Cooking:
    • Smoke point and suggested use: 350°F (medium heat)
    • Typically used in Asian cuisines
    • Drizzle over Asian cabbage slaw with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds
    • In stir fry, use a combination of peanut & a dash of dark sesame oil for bolder flavor
    • Great for medium-heat sautéing, for baking and in marinades.
    • Delicious in a soy vinaigrette.
  • Pairings:
    • Ginger
    • Mustard
    • Rice wine vinegar


  • Nutrition:
    • High in PUFAs, specifically linoleic acid
    • There are high-oleic acid versions that make it significantly higher in MUFAs
  • Flavor:
    • Refined oil has a neutral flavor and color
  • Cooking:
    • Unrefined oil breaks down at high temperatures so use it for dressing or as a finishing oil
    • Refined oil has a higher smoke point making it ideal for baking, frying, or sauteing
    • Usually combined with more expensive specialty oils such as walnut and grapeseed oils in salad dressings


  • Nutrition:
    • Primarily PUFAs
    • Considerable MUFAs and saturated fat
  • Flavor:
    • Neutral
  • Cooking:
    • All purpose
    • Good heat tolerance so best used in baking and sauteing

Virgin coconut oil

  • Health Benefits:
    • May increase good-cholesterol levels.
    • Has antiviral and antibacterial benefits
    • May help fight Alzheimer’s.
  • Nutrition:
    • Lauric acid
  • Flavor:
    • Distinct coconut flavor:
    • Creamy and buttery
  • Cooking:
    • Smoke point and suggested use: 325°F (medium heat)
    • Great for baking
    • Nice when melted and used for light sautéing.
    • Add a spoonful to oatmeal
    • Great in banana bread and muffins.


  • Health benefits:
    • Rich in melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, levels of which diminish with age.
    • Aids in decreasing risk of heart disease
  •  Nutrition:
    • High concentration of α-linolenic acid which partially converts to omega-3s
  • Flavor:
    • Nutty
    • Savory
  • Cooking:
    • Smoke point and suggested use: 320°F (medium heat)
    • Doesn’t stand up to high heat
    • Best used as a dressing especially combined with bits of walnuts
    • Good as a flavor enhancer
    • Brush a thin coat on grilled fish and steaks just before serving
    • Good for drizzling over cooked vegetables
    • Finish summer soups like gazpacho.
    • Try in dessert recipes that will be enhanced by the nutty flavor
  • Pairings:
    • Chicken
    • Turkey
    • Red grapes
    • Fish
    • Steak


Reading the labels

Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed

  • The oil is extracted by a machine that presses and grinds the seeds or olives at a low temperature or uses a centrifuge
  • Helps retain more flavor
  • No chemicals used


  • After extraction, the oil is processed to remove impurities, including pesticides, and is bleached
  • Increases shelf life
  • Improves the taste and color


  • No further processing is done after extraction
  • Can’t be used for high-heat cooking such as fry
  • May spoil more quickly than refined varieties
  • Always choose organic when buying unrefined as pesticides are not removed


  • Lowest smoke point and best for dressings


  • Can be heated and used for cooking


  • Highest smoke point
  • Used for frying and roasting


  • Refers to flavor of the oil, not the calorie or fat content


  • Stewart, Martha. (2014, June 27). “Time for an Oil Change.” Retrieved from http://www.courier-journal.com/story/life/home-garden/2014/06/27/martha-stewart-time-oil-change/11448941/
  • Kuzemchak, Sally. “The healthiest new oils.” Shape. December 2015. 116

Food Trend – Home Delivered Snacks

Nibblr Box is a home delivery snack subscription service. Pay $6 and get 4 different snacks delivered to your home either weekly, every other week, or monthly. You don’t get to pick what snacks are sent but you rate what they give you and based on your feedback they get to know what you like. Snacks range from nuts, dried berries, chocolates, pretzels, cheese crisps, carmels, seeds, and more and include flavorings like chai, curry, and ginger. If you aren’t a picky eater this could be a fun way to try new foods.

Nourish has a line of snacks with no more than 200 calories per bag. Snacks include nuts, fruit, popcorn, chocolate, and more. First you taste 20 snack varieties in 1 month, rate your favorites, and enjoy customized monthly boxes. Monthly deliveries are 20 snack bags for $24.95-$39.95.

Graze is similar to Nibblr in that you don’t pick the snacks but as you taste them you can rate your preference for each one, trash, try, like, love. The box is $6.49 and delivers 4 snacks. Snacks range from popcorn, dips, bars, nuts, fruit, seeds, chocolate, kale, edamame, pretzels, and more. Flavors include chili lime, sriracha, sweet mustard, olive & rosemary, etc.

Nature Box is good for families. You get 5 full-size snack bags for $19.95 monthly in the Deluxe Package. Each snack bag is more than 1 serving. They contain no partially hydrogenated oil, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. This service allows you choose your snacks or get a surprise box of their newest items for each delivery.


“Snacks on demand.” Better Homes and Gardens. October 2014. 146.

Food Trend – Skyr Yogurt

Skyr yogurt is an Icelandic yogurt that has more protein per ounce than Greek yogurt, 20 vs 18 grams per serving. It’s ultra-thick and creamy made with milk from grass-fed cows. The plain yogurt is only 100 calories per serving. It also comes in flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, and vanilla. All are fat-free, low-cal, and low in sugar.

How to Survive … New Years Resolution – Healthy & Simple Weight Loss Tips for Lifestyle Changes

It seems the most common New Years Resolution is weight loss. You see the gyms pack up at the beginning of the year and people decide to start eating “right” which often means turning to fad diets. By the end of the year, no real changes have been made and sometimes weight has been gained. I believe in making lifestyle changes instead of “dieting”. If you change how you eat and lose weight then that’s great. But if you are unable to maintain that particular eating habit (I mean do you really think you’ll be able to live off of just juice the rest of your life and feel satisfied?) the moment you start eating like you used to you’re going to gain all the weight back, and often times more.

Let’s simplify the reason this happens. Say your body is used to getting 2500 calories a day. Suddenly you decide to try only drinking juices or cutting out all carbohydrates from your diet and limit your intake to 500-1000 calories per day. Of course you will lose some weight immediately as your body is using up its stores to maintain your energy. Now you’re at the weight you desire so you decide to go back to your old eating habits of 2500 calories a day. Guess what? You gain the weight back. In fact, your body thinks that you were going through a period of starvation and now you have access to food so it will hold on a little tighter to what you put in just in case there’s another period of starvation around the corner. This is why when people diet and then return to old habits they are more likely to not only gain the weight that was lost but even a little more.

So what should you do? Should you stop eating all sweets or carbs or fats forever? Let me ask you this, will you be satisfied if you never have those things ever again? Probably not. And chances are you will build up a huge craving and eventually binge on those “off limits” foods you created for yourself. Instead, make small healthy changes to the way you eat that you are able to maintain for life. Below is a list of simple, healthy weight loss tips. What I recommend is for you to pick 1 or 2 to try for a week. If after that week you find that you are easily able to follow those tips without even thinking about it, then add another. If you find that the tip you chose is too difficult, swap it for a different one. My goal is for you to make simple and healthy lifestyle changes, not go on a drastic diet that you will never be able to maintain. Will the weight fall off as quickly as if you were to follow a fad diet? No. But in the end will it stay off? You bet.

Many of these can be found at eatright.org from the AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).

  • Eat at least 3 meals per day.
    • This goes back to the starvation and holding on to food idea that I explained above. If you only eat 1 or 2 meals a day, your body is likely to hold on to what you do put in making it that much harder to lose the weight.
  • Pay attention to your body’s satiety cues.
    • Don’t eat until you are stuffed or sick from eating.
  • Wait 10 minutes after a meal or snack before going for more.
    • It takes your stomach some time to get the message to your brain that you’re full. If you eat too fast and go back for seconds too soon, your brain won’t have time to get that message.
  • Drink plenty of water.
    • You may be thirsty, not hungry. Drink water while you prepare meals. Drink a glass of water before you eat and during meals.
  • Swap out for lean meats, low-fat/non-fat cheese, skim/1% milk.
    • These are easy ways to continue to eat the same foods but just swapping for the lower fat options. Remember portion sizes though. Some studies show that people will eat more of lower fat items and take in more calories than they would have if they had the higher fat item. If you normally drink 1 cup full fat milk and swap for 1% that’s fine but don’t drink more.
  • Get plenty of fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
    • Fiber causes you to feel full so you won’t eat as much .

Peppers, scallions, and tomatoes

  • Cut back on sugar.
    • Drink less soda and fruit juice if it isn’t 100% fruit juice
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
    • Alcohol not only has calories with little nutrition but it also lowers our inhibitions which could cause you to eat more that you normally would.
  • Keep food in the kitchen.
    • Serve yourself and then go to the dinner table to eat. Do not keep serving trays where they are easy to reach and tempting you to eat more.
  • Eat in a chosen place such as a dinner table.
    • Don’t eat in the car, bedroom, or in front of the TV. Doing so often results in overeating and not feeling satisfied because you weren’t paying attention to what you consumed.
  • Plan meals ahead of time.
    • This allows you choose healthier options that may take a little more prep than popping in a TV dinner.
  • Bake, broil, roast, or boil foods when preparing meals.
    • This helps cuts back on calories.
  • Use nonstick cooking sprays, wine, broth, or fruit juice instead of butter or oil when able
    • This also helps to cut back on calories.


  • Cook only what you need for one meal (don’t make leftovers).
    • This goes for people who are unable to limit their eating to just one portion if there is more available.
  • If you make leftovers, put them out of sight.
    • Portion out single servings into containers to make it easy to grab for lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Use smaller plates, bowls, glasses, and serving spoons.
    • If your plate is larger you will likely want to fill it. If your plate is smaller, you will think you are eating more and feel more satisfied.
  • Use the plate method.
    • Divide your plate in quarters, 1 portion for meat, 1 for starch (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread), 1 for fruit, 1 for nonstarchy vegetables (or cut out fruit & double up on veggies)

1 quarter fish, 1 quarter quinoa, 2 quarters Brussels sprouts with mushrooms

  • Put salad dressing on the side.
    • If you dip your food into the dressing you are likely to use less than if you pour the dressing directly onto the salad.
  • Eat slowly.
    • Studies have shown that people who eat slower consume less calories and feel less hungry an hour afterwards compared to those who eat fast. Take breaks from eating during meals, put your fork down between bites, cut your food one bite at a time, savor your food, chew thoroughly. Remember, it takes your stomach some time to get the message to your brain that you’re full.
  • Enjoy fruit for dessert 
    • Instead of cake, pie, ice cream, or other high-calorie, low-nutrition sweets

Delicious fresh berry medley

  • Plan ahead with snacks.
    • Make sure to have healthy options on hand such as nuts, string cheese, chopped fruit, and sliced veggies with low-calorie dips like hummus. Make an effort not to buy quick unhealthy options such as candy, cookies, and chips.

Tailgating and Food Safety

Tailgating is a necessity during this time of the year. Follow these tips and tricks to ensure you’re serving food that is safe to your friends and family.

Keep meat cool. Keep uncooked meat in the fridge or cooler up until it’s time for the grill. Make sure you thaw meat in the refrigerator or in a cold water bath in the sink (put the meat in a plastic zippered bag), never defrost on the counter. If you’re marinating the meat, make sure to keep it in the fridge and don’t use the marinade on cooked meats unless you boil it first.

Have separate coolers. Keep beverages and ready to eat foods such as fruit in a different cooler than one with raw meats. This helps to prevent cross-contamination with foods and drinks you plan to enjoy immediately.

Keep coolers cold. The best way to pack a cooler is to fill it 75% with food and drinks and then pour the ice to take up the rest of the space. When transporting the cooler, put it inside the car with AC, not in the hot trunk. Once you have reached your tailgating spot, keep the cooler in the shade with the lid closed.

Bring spare utensils and plates. Make sure the plate you used to bring the raw meat to the grill is not the same plate you use to serve the cooked burgers, chicken breasts, etc.  Same goes for the utensils you use to put the raw meat on the grill.

Don’t trust your eyes. Use a grill thermometer like this one. Make sure you put it in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bone and fat. Poultry should be cooked to 165°F.Ground meat should be cooked to 160°F. Steak, pork, and seafood should be cooked 145°F.

Two hours is the max. Don’t leave food sitting out any longer. If it’s 90°F or hotter outside, only leave food out for 1 hour. The food “Danger Zone” is between 40-140°F. The goal is to keep cold foods below 40°F and hot foods above 140°F.  This rule goes for all food including fruits and vegetables, not just meats and potato salads. A good trick is to set an alarm on your phone to help remind you when food needs to go back in the cooler. When the tailgate is over, only keep foods that weren’t out past the 1 or 2 hour mark (depending on the temperature outdoors).