Category: Nutrition

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Author: Lee Hersh
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 60 mins.
Total Time: 1 hr. 10 mins.


1 cup quinoa
1 green pepper, diced
1.5 cup mushrooms, diced
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
2 cups Marinara Sauce
(any kind of spaghetti sauce will work!)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour (I used white whole wheat, but white or gluten-free will work, too!)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 large chicken breasts (or 6 medium chicken breasts)
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375ºF and spray a casserole dish with coconut oil cooking spray.
Prep veggies by dicing a whole green pepper and 1.5 cups of mushrooms. Finely dice ½ a yellow onion (~1/2 cup).
Place 1 cup of uncooked quinoa on the bottom of your casserole dish and then layer on veggies.
Add 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1 cup of chicken broth, and a table of minced garlic to the casserole dish and mix everything together. Set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, mix together flour, shredded parmesan, and garlic powder. Then, crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk.
Prep chicken breast by dipping into the egg and then into the parmesan mixture making sure everything is generously coated. Place chicken breast on top of quinoa mixture
Finally, sprinkle on the leftover parmesan mixture and even more cheese if you desire. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bake at 375º, uncovered for 20 minutes. Then, cover with tin foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked.

Nutrition Information/Serving
Calories: 353
Fat: 9
Carbohydrates: 32
Sugar: 9
Fiber: 3
Protein: 31

Original Recipe can be found at

Spice Up Your Life

By: Shauna Ayres MPH: Health Behavior candidate 2017

A common excuse for not eating enough vegetables is that people dislike the taste. I encourage you to have a little fun experimenting with your taste buds so you can find those perfect veggie-spice combinations just for you. An easy way to start using new spices is to buy a spice rack with a variety of spices included. They may not be the best spices, but they will get you started relatively cheaply, and then you can invest in higher quality spices once you know which ones you prefer. Plus, you can refill the little jars that come with the spice rack, and then you will always have a place to organize and store your spices. Below are a few suggested spice and veggie pairings, but more can be found at


Veggie Spice
Asparagus basil, curry, dill, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary and tarragon
Broccoli basil, chives, curry, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, red pepper flakes, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme
Brussel Sprouts caraway, garlic, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme
Carrots basil, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, mace, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme
Zucchini basil, chives, dill, marjoram, onions, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, coriander, pepper and thyme
Mushrooms garlic, thyme, ginger, cumin, curry, coriander, pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley
Peas garlic, thyme, ginger, cumin, curry, coriander, pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley
Tomatoes basil, cilantro, chives, dill, garlic, mint, curry, paprika, pepper, rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, fennel and tarragon


Below is a recipe to get you started.


North African Spiced Carrots

By: EatingWell Test Kitchen

Time: ~30 min.

Serving size: ½ cup

51 calories; 3 g fat(0 g sat); 2 g fiber; 7 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 14 mcg folate;0 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 10620 IU vitamin A; 9 mg vitamin C; 30 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 87 mg sodium; 186 mg potassium

Diabetic Apropriate, Gluten-Free, Heart Healthy, Low Added Sugars, Low-Calorie, Low Carbohydrate, Low Fat, Low Sodium


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 cups sliced carrots, (4 medium-large)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, paprika, cumin and coriander; cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add carrots, water, lemon juice and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until the carrots are just tender and the liquid is syrupy, 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.



Guide to Matching Herbs and Spices With the Right Veggies

Eggs Baked in Portobello Mushrooms

When I found this recipe, I was excited to try it out because it not only sounded delicious, but it was fast, cheap, and healthy. I also like it because it was versatile; you can create a unique personal stuffed mushroom each time. I added tomatoes, onions, and green peppers to mine, but there is no reason why you couldn’t add any veggie or spice that sounds good to you–get creative! I would also recommend adding sriracha as a condiment. One precaution is to find a large portobello mushroom that looks more like a bowl, rather than a flat plate, because the egg will run off.

Author: Vered DeLeeuw
Recipe type: Breakfast, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Primal/Paleo
Servings: 2
Time: ~30 minutes
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stem removed, wiped clean
  • Olive oil spray (make your own using a spray bottle)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
 Optional Ingredients
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  1. Preheat broiler, setting temperature to high. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Broil 5 minutes on each side, or until just tender.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven. Switch oven from broil to bake, setting temperature to 400 degrees F.
  4. Break an egg into each mushroom. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake 15 minutes, until egg whites are cooked.
  5. Sprinkle the eggs with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Garnish with parsley, and serve.

Originally Published:

Farewell to summer (and food poisoning)

By: Courtney Luecking MPH, MS, RD Doctoral candidate: Nutrition

How will you bid summer farewell this Labor Day holiday? If your plans are like mine, they might include a backyard barbecue or festival. But one thing I don’t want my, or your, weekend to include is foodborne illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year 1 in 6 (or about 48 million) people gets sick from bacteria, viruses, or microbes in food. Older adults, pregnant women, and young children are the most vulnerable groups. Symptoms of food poisoning may include: fever, fatigue, or gastrointestinal side effects like cramping, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. While most people recover, about 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from severe complications.

Outdoor events in warm weather are the perfect breeding ground for those bacteria in food, but following these 4 Fight BAC!® practices can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  1. Clean. Wash hands and surfaces often.
    Wash your hands before and after handling food. If you won’t have access to soap and water, consider throwing a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag.
  1. Separate. Don’t cross-contaminate.
    Keep raw meat separate from fresh foods, like fruit and veggies, that you don’t need to cook. And don’t reuse that marinade or plate that stored the raw meat.
  1. Cook. Cook to the safe internal temperature.
    Food thermometers are the best way to tell whether a food is ‘done’. Use this temperature guide to help you grill to perfection.
  1. Chill. Refrigerate promptly.
    Keep cold foods cool. Bring an insulated cooler packed with ice and consider serving cold foods from a dish on ice.

Last but not least, don’t let hot or cold food sit out for more than two hours. The longer these foods are in the Temperature Danger Zone (40 – 140°F), the more those bacteria will grow.

And if in doubt, throw it out.



Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Danger Zone (

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States (

Fight BAC! Partnership for Food Safety Education ( Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures (

Your Guide to the Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

While traditionally consumers have avoided nuts and seeds due to their high caloric and fat content, a recent growth in awareness of their health benefits has raised consumer demand for these products. According to a recent report, the global nuts and seeds market is expected to grow annually by 1.7% for nuts and 10% for seeds for at least the next five years.

However, with so many different nuts and seeds to choose from, making the decision to incorporate these heart-healthy products into your diet can be overwhelming. To help you better navigate the grocery aisle next time you go shopping, here’s a breakdown of the health benefits of some of the most popular nuts and seeds:

Almonds- Almonds are calcium-rich, making them a good choice to ensure you’re getting enough of this bone-building mineral (good news almond-milk drinkers!). 

Cashews- With a high level of protein, these nuts are a great choice for those following a vegetarian diet. Additionally, they are a great source of minerals like iron and zinc.

Walnuts- Rich in omega-3, these nuts provide a heart-healthy addition to your diet and can help to to lower the bad cholesterol in your body.

Chia Seeds- Also high in omega-3s, research has found that that chia seeds may lower blood pressure and reduce an individual’s risk of heart problems.

Sunflower Seeds- Sunflower seeds contain the antioxidant vitamins E, and C, protein, and fiber.

Flax Seeds- High in protein and fiber (two tablespoons contain nearly five grams of fiber), flax seeds can help to reduce cholesterol and regulate bowels.

Remember, while nuts and seeds provide a variety of health benefits, it’s important to practice portion control when choosing them as a snack. Still high in fats and calories, more than a handful can ruin an appetite. Additionally, it’s important to eat nuts and seeds in their raw form and avoid eating them in trail mixes filled with extra salt, sugar-packed fruits, and chocolate.





More Education Needed to Support New GMO Law

Just last week, President Obama passed a bill that requires food companies to put a text label, a symbol, or an electronic code on product packages to indicate that they contain genetically modified ingredients, commonly referred to as GMOs. GMOs are simply defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. With more and more consumers demanding more transparency about the food products they buy, and an overwhelming 90% of Americans reporting a desire for mandatory labeling on foods with GMOs, this bill appears to be a win from the consumer side.

However, even though a large portion of consumers believe GMOs are unsafe, recent research has found that a majority of these people don’t really understand what GMOs are. Additionally, there’s conflicting evidence over the risk of consuming GMOs. Many health organizations refer to foods with these ingredients as generally safe, yet other organizations make the case that these ingredients pose a high risk to the consumer.

So, while these labels will provide consumers with information they deserve to know, without an actual understanding of what GMOs are, or a general consensus on their safety, how will they be able to make an informed purchase decision? With the majority of consumers believing GMOs are unsafe, it seems likely that these labels will cause them to abstain from purchasing these products. However, with 75 to 85 percent of foods containing genetically modified ingredients, these products can be pretty hard to avoid.

So overall, while a label can help aid the consumer in making better food choices, it’s clear in this situation that more education and understanding is needed to make this label a truly effective tool.





What You Need to Know About Superfoods

As the health craze continues among Americans, you’ve probably seen the term “superfood” more and more over the last few years.

So what exactly are superfoods and what benefits do they provide?

While there is no real definition or inclusion criteria for “superfoods,” they are often described as nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.

Some of the more popular “superfoods” include:

  • Blueberries: rich in vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals, high intake of this superfood has been found to reduce the risk of certain heart conditions in young women.
  • Kale: packed with antioxidants, kale helps to fight cardiovascular disease, prevent several types of cancer, prevent pre-mature aging of the skin, and promote urinary health.
  • Sweet Potatoes: full of antioxidants and fiber, just one of these gives your body more than the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A.

However, like most other good-for-you foods, while superfoods can provide a lot of benefits, they aren’t a magic bullet. Because the term is most often used as a marketing tool, consumers often wrongly believe that eating these foods on top of a poor diet can provide the same benefits. Instead, superfoods should be incorporated into a heart-healthy diet full of other fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains.

Protein 101

Over the last ten years, high-protein diets have become a prominent trend in the health and fitness world. People are eating less carbs and more protein to aid with both weight loss and body building. But before you throw the bread out the door, it’s important to understand what protein is and how much you actually need.

What is protein?

Proteins are nutrients made up of small building blocks called amino acids. These amino acids are broken down and then made into new proteins your body needs to grow, repair, and function.

Our bodies are able to produce some of these amino acids, but there are nine, called essential amino acids, that we must obtain from the food we eat.

While protein comes from a variety of sources, it’s important to understand that not all proteins are the same. In general, there are two kinds:

  • Compete proteins- Found in animal sources like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, these proteins provide your body with all the essential amino acids
  • Incomplete proteins- Found in plant sources like nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, these proteins lack one or more essential amino acids.

If you’re a vegetarian, or eat a more plant-based diet, don’t fret! Combining complementary plant-based proteins, like rice and beans, can provide your body with the same benefits as a complete protein.

How much protein do I need?

Because our body does not store protein for future use like it does with carbohydrates and fat, constant protein intake is important. But how much is enough?

In the United States, the recommended daily allowance of protein is .36 grams per pound of body weight. On average, this is:

  • 46 grams per day on average for women
  • 56 grams per day on average for men

However, while this is a recommendation for an average adult, exactly how much protein you need depends on a variety of factors, including age, sex, health and physical activity. To calculate a more precise amount, use this calculator from the USDA.

Overall, it’s important to remember that while consuming protein is important to keep your body functioning, too much protein can be detrimental to your health. For a healthy diet and lifestyle, make sure to eat a balanced combination of proteins, carbs, and fats.



Quench Your Thirst in a Healthier Way This Summer

Summer is officially here! While that may mean more hours at the pool or beach, more family picnics, and more time outside in general, it’s important to remember that excessive heat exposure can lead to dehydration, which can lead to more serious health complications like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke.

In order to stay healthy all summer long, it’s important to not only stay hydrated, but to know how to hydrate yourself the right way. While it may be tempting to crack open that soda at your friend’s barbecue or enjoy that iced cold cocktail by the pool, these beverages will only dehydrate you more.

Here are some sugary beverage alternatives that will keep you healthy and hydrated this summer:

  1. Water. Water is the best way to give your body back the fluids lost from sweating in the heat. While experts recommend drinking 6-8 cups of water a day, this number should increase if you’re spending more time outside.
  2. Infused Water. If drinking plain water is hard for you, try infusing your water with fresh fruit to give it that extra flavor. Try this Blueberry Orange Water, this Strawberry Lime Cucumber Mint Water or create your own!
  3. Watermelon. This popular summer snack is 92% water, and its salt, calcium, and magnesium content make it ideal for rehydration.
  4. Smoothies. Smoothies can offer rehydration benefits IF you include the right ingredients. Try to fill yours will water filled fruits like strawberries, watermelon, or cucumbers, and fill with liquids like coconut water instead of milk. Try this Refreshing Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie.

Stay hydrated!

FDA Makes Big Changes to Nutrition Facts Label

Two weeks ago, the FDA finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged food products. While the iconic look of the twenty-year old label will stay the same, several changes were made to the information provided in order to help consumers make more informed decisions about the foods they eat.

Some of the major changes include:

  • Increasing the type size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” declaration. This change along with bolding the number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration will serve to better highlight this important information.
  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will now be included on the label. Because excessive sugar intake typically occurs from the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods that contain an abundance of added sugar (as opposed to natural sugar), this information will now be included on nutrition facts labels.
  • Serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. Because how much people eat has changed, and because package sizes affect how much people eat, serving sizes will be updated to be more realistic. For example, the serving size for ice-cream will change from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup, and both 12 and 20 oz soda bottles will equal one serving, since most people drink a whole bottle in one sitting.


Old label vs. New label

Manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply. For more information about all the changes made, visit the FDA website.