Category Archives: Kids and Nutrition

Start with Strawberry Toast

Strawberry Honey Goat Cheese Toast

Summertime is the best time to go big on adding more fresh produce to every meal. This is the season of farmer’s markets, pick your own farms, road side stands and super affordable prices in the supermarket produce section.

ALDI supermarkets, with more than 1600 stores in 35 states, serves more than 40 million customers each month- and I’m one of them! Are you? Well keep a look out for more ALDI markets because many new stores are sprouting up. I’m delighted to be working with ALDI this summer to tell more folks about their focus on fresh foods and lots of organically grown produce.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I get really excited to share the happy and healthy benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. Think of your plate as a showcase for good health by making sure you’re ‘painting’ at least half of your plates, bowls and platters with fruits and vegetables. Fruit bowls are fun, but I prefer adding nature’s fresh harvest to delicious recipes.  Here we go! This photo is from my recent appearance on NBC Charlotte Today. (Don’t worry I’ll get to that super creative andfun recipe for watermelon pizza you see on the table.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, let’s get back to the strawberry toast. Avocado toast may be all the rage with food bloggers today, but why not slice up summer’s berries and rather than topping your cereal bowl…top your toast!

I like toasting ALDI SimplyNature Knock Your Sprouts Off 7 Grain Bread and adding a spread of creamy honey flavored goat cheese. (ALDI Happy Farms Preferred Goat Cheese Log). Then layer on sliced strawberries and sprinkle with ALDI Southern Grove chopped pecans. It’s a crunchy, creamy and sweet way to start the day and the perfect summer breakfast for families on the go.

Here’s the recipe from the ALDI website which is like a living cookbook of delicious and nutritious ideas.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Toast.

SUMMER SAVORIES

Now on to sweet and savory entrees for lunch or dinner! Making grilled chicken again? Of course you are! But, let’s add a touch of the tropics and create a refreshing Pineapple Avocado Salsa.

Cooking tip: Pound raw chicken breasts to create an even thickness and they’ll cook more evenly and be even more tender and juicy. I like to place the meat between two plastic cutting sheets and pound with a kitchen gadget called a ‘meat pounder’ I think. (:  What a descriptive name! Does anyone know the real name?

Let’s get to that salsa! Buy a fresh pineapple- they’re really easy to cut up. Slice off the leafy top and root end, then slice the spiny edges of the sides. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise and you’ve got two easy pieces to work with.  For the salsa, dice two cups of the fresh pineapple, add one  cup of chopped cilantro, one cup of diced avocado, 1/2 cup of diced red onion, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped. Cooking Tip: remove the internal ribs and seeds of the jalapeño, that’s where the heat happens!

The pineapple salsa is not only delicious, it’s super nutritious adding vitamin C, potassium and fiber to every bite. I’m making this recipe for my Fourth of July cookout! Click here so you can print out the recipe for Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa.

Camp Cooking Healthy!

Get the kids into the kitchen this summer with recipes that could be part of your “Camp Stay at Home Craft Day!” Kids’ Health and Wellness is a priority for ALDI. In fact, over the next two years ALDI is investing more than $4 million dollars in Kids’ Health and Wellness Programs and has launched its own online grant applications program, ALDI Smart Kids. It gives local organizations the opportunity to request grants and gift cards that support youth programs focusing on education, physical activity, nutrition social skills and the arts.

Bet you never made a watermelon pizza!

Watermelon Pizza!

My favorite part? The grapes around the edge mimicking a ‘crust’! (Ingredients for the Pineapple salsa in the background)

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Ready, Set, Grill!

Grilled steak salad. Why NOT? add blueberries, grapefruit segments to the marvelous mix?

While grilled foods are a year round favorite and a world wide method for adding flavor to food through fire, summertime is the official time for grilling season. And folks are getting pretty creative! Grilling steaks? Why not mix things up and leave the usual steak sauce in the fridge ( it does say refrigerate after opening ya know) and take a tasty trip to South America where gauchos and all great food lovers enjoy a chimi-churri sauce with their fabulous steaks.

Chimi-churri sauce is a brilliant green colored blend of fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil with a touch of acid from lemons and vinegar.

 

 

 

The bright fresh flavors go beautifully with the beef, pork and even grilled chicken and fish!


Here’s a recipe for Grilled Skirt Steak Sandwich with Chimi-Churi Sauce from the ALDI test kitchens. I am working with ALDI to get the word out on great food and good nutrition! #client

Grilled Chimichurri Steak Sandwich

Ingredients:
2 bunches parsley

7 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon Stonemill Iodized Salt

1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper

1½ teaspoons Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ cup Carlini Vegetable Oil

¾ cup water

2½ pounds Fresh USDA Choice Skirt Steak

6 Specially Selected Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls

¼ cup Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, melted

3 cups SimplyNature Organic Arugula

6 slices Happy Farms Preferred Deli Sliced Havarti Cheese

1 cup caramelized onions
Prep time:
12 minutes (plus 30 minutes to marinate)

Cook time:
23 minutes

Total time:
35 minutes (plus 30 minutes to marinate)

Directions:

Combine parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, oil and water in a blender until smooth to make a chimichurri sauce.
Reserve ½ cup of chimichurri sauce.
Pour remaining chimichurri sauce in a recloseable gallon sized bag. Add skirt steak and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Using a cast iron grill pan, grill skirt steak to desired temperature. Let meat rest for 10 minutes.
Split each ciabatta roll and brush with butter. Grill bread on the grill pan until toasted. Reserve.
In a medium bowl, toss arugula with reserved chimichurri sauce. Reserve.
Slice steak against the grain to desired width. Reserve.
To assemble the sandwiches, layer the steak on the bottom pieces of the ciabatta rolls, followed by 1 slice of Havarti and caramelized onions. Finish with arugula and top of ciabatta roll.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Leigh An, ALDI Test Kitchen

Disclosure: I’m happy to be working with ALDI so more folks know about their great quality foods at great prices.

Did you know ALDI is one of the fastest growing retailers in the US? Their simple approach to grocery shopping means you don’t need coupons or a club cards. Get to know ALDI. On Wednesday, you’ll see a “Weekly Fresh Meat Specials” with extra-low prices on the very best cuts of meat.


Wonder what’s in this ALDI truck I passed on the highway outside of Atlanta today?  Stay tuned to find out…in my next blog post. Easy No-Cook Summer Recipes. Here’s a hint….lots of fresh produce, beautiful breads and creative ideas for summer picnics. 

 

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Bone-gevity: Long Live Strong Bones

Build Bone Health by Banking Good Nutrition

Strong is the new pretty. (And my little piggy bank is pretty in pink)

Whether it’s spin classes to boost your cardio, yoga to strengthen you abs or working with weights to tone arms and legs….exercise does way more than burn up a bunch of calories.  It makes you look and feel good.

But did you know your bones benefit from work outs too? Yup, weight bearing exercises- like taking the stairs or playing a set of tennis-are super important for building bone health.

What you eat and drink can make or break your bone health, too. Bone is built and repaired with a terrific trio of nutrients including the mineral calcium, vitamin  D and protein. Dairy foods, including milk, yogurt, cheese,  cottage cheese and frozen yogurt are a fabulous package of all three of those needed nutrients.

How much is enough?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 3 servings of calcium rich foods every day for bone health.

Chocolate milk counts too!

The best sources of calcium are dairy foods, fortified breaks and cereal, canned salmon (with the bones), tofu and dark green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale and spinach. (By the way, you have to eat 10 cups of raw spinach to equal the calcium in cup of milk!)

An eight ounce glass of milk provides one -third of the vitamin D needed daily.

The Sunshine Vitamin (That’s why the pig is wearing sunglasses )

Our bodies can make vitamin D, but we need sun exposure on our skin. About 15 minutes a few times a week is advised.

Fascinating nutrition fact from history: Vitamin D was first added to milk in the 1930’s to help prevent bone weakening rickets in children. Then rickets became history!  Go Team Nutrition!

Bone Up on Bone Health

Today we worry about osteoporosis. If bones are starved of good nutrition, they become porous and brittle and that leads to fractures. The disease is called Osteoporosis and according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office an estimated 10 million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from this debilitating disease. But, osteoporosis can be prevented if we ‘bank’ enough nutrients in our bones during childhood, teen years and adulthood.

Delicious Dairy to Build Bone-gevity

Click on the name of the recipe to find what you need to make these delicious nutritious dishes! They’re all from the Southeast Dairy Association’s wonderful website! (Click here for more nutrition tips.) Here I am on the set of NBC Atlanta & Company for Mother’s Day and May as National Osteoporosis Awareness Month.

Blueberry Flax-Overnight Oats

Black Bean Mango Greek Yogurt Dip

Salmon Cakes with Lime-DIll Yogurt Sauce

So get in the kitchen and out in the sunlight to build stronger bones for life! #bonehealth #bonegevity #client

 

 

 

 

 

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CLEAN EATING: 3 Diet Resolutions to Skip!

morning

It’s time to stretch on the spandex, hit the gym with folks who look like they’ve never been there before ( or in a long time )- bless their hearts.

In fact, YES, bless their hearts because no matter what it take to get back on board with health and fitness enthusiasm- good for you!!!

congratulations

But, here are my Top 3 New Year’s Diet Traps to avoid:

 

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#3. If I buy the foods on the 2017 Trend List I’ll be so much healthier this year. 

jackfruitNo, jack fruit probably won’t change your health. But, it might affect how much change you have in your wallet. Often, these ‘super fruits’ are super expensive.

January is citrus season.

lemons

Eat more affordable in season delicious and nutritious oranges, grapefruit and add flavor to cooking with freshly squeezed lemon and lime.

#2. I’m going to cook more at home and avoid eating out. 

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Well, that depends what you’re cooking.

Restaurant meals can be very healthy and in fact, in May 2017 all restaurant chains ( with 20 or more outlets ) have to provide Nutrition Facts information on menu items so you can see what you’re getting into when you order the deep fried calamari or double fudge brownie cake. Or that the hamburger you really want has fewer calories and fat grams than the entree salad you thought you should order. (:

new-nutrition-facts

Back to cooking at home; good idea!

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Thank you Chef Josh Drage, Ranch at Rock Creek for best Meatloaf Ever!

Get everyone in the family to learn to add more vegetable to all meals, even meatloaf! This recipe from The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana is one of my all time favorites because the meatloaf includes big jewel like pieces of carrots, mushrooms, and leeks.

RECIPE FOR MONTANA MEATLOAF: Scroll down below! OK it’s written by a chef, so measurements are in weights. But the ratios work for smaller batches, too.

 

Learn to season with no calorie flavors such as salsas, vinegars, mustards, hot sauces, herbs and spices.

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Potato Salad from Peru is made with olive oil and lemon juice, not mayo.

The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon is great place to start building your healthy cooking skills.

slsds_cover(My recipe below for Shrimp and Grits-(see recipe posted below).. is just one of many easy and delicious weeknight meals in The Slim Down South Cookbook.)

shrimpgrits

peach-dishAlso, jump into a fabulous new healthy food trend- home delivered meal kits such as Peach Dish, based in Atlanta featuring southern grown foods but shipped locally and nationally.I’m working with Peach Dish as one of their registered dietitians to provide nutrition information and healthy cooking tips.

Now drumroll…..my favorite New Year’s Diet Trap to AVOID!!!

#1.  This year I vow to NEVER eat ice cream or French fries EVER again!

Hey, good luck with that. Chances are by Super Bowl Sunday you’ll be knee deep in nachos.

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So, rather than making huge promises that will be a huge burden to keep, make small, measurable changes. For instance, when I enjoy ice cream after dinner I’ll serve myself two small scoops in a bowl and top with fresh strawberries or blueberries. I honestly love French fries, so I’ll allow myself to enjoy them once a week- especially if they’re really good! Try mustard ( no calories ) with fries, as opposed to ketchup (lots of sugar).

And as always remember that The More You Know, The More You Can Eat!

Happy and Healthy New Year Friends! Carolyn O’Neil, MS RDN ( French fry lover, especially shhhhh dipped into Champagne.)

healthy-new-year

Shrimp and Grits from Southern Living’s The Slim Down South Cookbook, by Carolyn O’Neil, MS RDN

 

Makes 6 servings

Hands-On 25 min.

Total 30 min.

 

Parmesan Grits:

½ tsp. table salt

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

 

Creamy Shrimp Sauce:

1 lb. unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

⅛ tsp. table salt

Vegetable cooking spray

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1¼ cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth

½ cup chopped green onions

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. table salt

¼ tsp. hot sauce

2 cups firmly packed fresh baby spinach

 

1. Prepare Parmesan Grits: Bring ½ tsp. salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cheese and pepper. Keep warm.

2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and ⅛ tsp. salt. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth and next 5 ingredients; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted. Serve immediately over grits.

Serving size ½ cup grits and about ⅓ cup shrimp sauce CALORIES 235; FAT 6.1g (sat 1.9g, mono 2g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 19.1g; CARB 25.2g; FIBER 1.4g; CHOL 119mg; IRON 3.3mg; SODIUM 74

MONTANA MEATLOAF:

The Ranch at Rock Creek Meatloaf

Ingredients:
• 5# ground beef
• 1100g (2.5#) carrot
• 550g (1.25#) celery
• 550g (1.25#) onion
• 300g (10oz) shallot
• 500g (2 cups) ricotta
• 1 ¼ cup bread crumb
• 4 large eggs
• 20g (.75 oz) salt
• 5g (.2oz) black pepper
• 5g (.2oz) fresh thyme
• 5g (3 shakes of) Tabasco
Directions:
Sauté carrots, celery and onion until just softened.
Sauté the shallots separately and cook until sweet and almost caramelized.
Mix all ingredients in the stand mixer until just combined.
Cook off a test piece and check seasoning.
Split into two or three loaves making them long and slender, the same width all the way down.
Bake on sheets, leaving space between each loaf.
Bake at 325-350 degrees uncovered for 45 minutes.

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