Dietitian's Dish

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Dietitians Dish – September 14, 2020

Fall for fruits and veggies!

Peak season for winter squash is now –early fall! They’ll be plentiful in stores and less costly than at other times of the year. They last a long time to reduce the chance of food waste. If you want to include more vegetables in your menu, one simple swap is to replace pasta with spaghetti squash. Passing up the pasta for spaghetti squash can save you over 125 calories per cup and 75% of the carbs! The fiber in spaghetti squash also helps with heart health and fullness.


  • Firm and free of cuts, punctures, or spots
  • Yellow in color and heavy for its size


  • Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.
  • Once cut, refrigerate (covered in plastic wrap) for up to 5 days.

There are lots of great ways use spaghetti squash –
as a simple replacement for pasta in a favorite dish or a in new flavorful recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Herbs

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Herbs


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsps. Olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (low-sodium or no salt added)
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese


  • Pierce a few holes in the squash with a large knife. Place in the microwave on high for 7-10 minutes until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes, then halve lengthwise or crosswise. Scoop out seeds and fibers and discard.
  • Use a fork to scrape out the squash flesh. It will naturally separate into noodle-like strands.
  • While waiting for the squash to cool, sauté minced garlic in the olive oil until it’s softened and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano to the garlic and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Spoon the garlic-tomato mixture on top of squash strands. Top with grated Parmesan and serve.

Recipe and photo source:


September 12, 2020
September 12, 2020

Swap-portunity Saturday?
Have you struggled to make changes and sticking to them. Could working on your wellness goals be as simple as finding a better-for-you swap to make each Saturday? And imagine if you carry it forward throughout the week or month to create a new habit! Some ingredient swaps may seem like they’re a trend or bandwagon type of change, and sometimes that is why we don’t stick with them. The next “latest and greatest” diet trend comes along to push the last one to the wayside.

If you’re trying to make lasting changes, focus on small swaps as a starting point. Going for a change to your grains? Here are some ideas:

  • Transition to brown rice by mixing half white and half brown at first to get used to any differences in flavor or texture. Then make the full switch to brown rice.
  • Transition to whole grain pasta by mixing regular and whole grain pasta. This one isn’t quite as simple because they sometimes cook up at different rates.
  • Swap quinoa or riced cauliflower for rice in any stir fry or bowl meals.

Here are a few other ideas for swaps that you might not notice. Often, you’ll find that the swapped item offers and enhanced flavor or texture to the item.

  • Swap plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
  • Use applesauce in place of oil in some types of baked goods.
  • Mash up avocado and then use it in place of mayonnaise.
  • Swap any brand of plant-based meat alternative (burger, sausage, ground meat, etc.) for ground beef.
  • Blend diced, cooked mushrooms for half the ground meat in a recipe.
  • Choose roasted chickpeas or popcorn in place of chips for a snack.
  • For the kiddos… try Perdue® Chicken Plus to add some extra veggies for picky eaters.
  • There are many ways to make small swaps that have big impact. And, if you repeat them often it’ll start a new habit that can offer significant nutritional benefits. Use the Email a Dietitian form if you need some other ideas for simple swaps you can make any day.


September 10, 2020
September 10, 2020

Don’t forget… it’s Thankful Thursday!
2020 has dealt its fair share of blows to our world, but it’s not time to give up! Health facilities across the country are still dealing with coronavirus and difficult patient care situations. Teachers are back to virtual learning, in-person instruction (and worrying about safety while maintaining some semblance of “calming normalcy” in a classroom that is anything but normal), or a hybrid version. While both groups have trained for their respective professions, neither have trained for this extreme version. These are challenging times for all, so my request is for each of us to remain thankful and show that you are grateful for those around us serving our society.

All essential workers, law enforcement, emergency responders, and teachers need to be appreciated for their efforts to keep our communities moving in the right direction. We need to use our words to give thanks and show small acts of kindness to support those going above the call to keep society in motion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Be the change you want to see! With so much negativity happening in our world, we need to find ways to counter it. I truly believe that random acts of kindness put good karma into the universe and being the type of person you want others to be has to have a positive impact at some point. Don’t forget to instill these principles in children also. They’re the next generation who will control the success of our world!


September 8, 2020
September 8, 2020

Taco Tuesday
Whether you go traditional or experiment a bit, tacos are a great option for mixing things up and boosting your plant-based eating. Swap in beans instead of meat for a protein source. Beans can be a complete protein source when paired with corn. Vary your choice of tortilla (flour or corn) and choose between hard or soft shell options. Add some extra veggie servings with what you use to fill the taco or by swapping for a lettuce wrap. If you’ve got the time and like to experiment, you can make cauliflower tortillas to save some carbohydrates.

And, whether you’re going meatless or not, you can choose lean cuts of beef, pork, or chicken, or ground versions – just be sure to choose those labeled “lean” or minimum of 90%. A fish taco is another great way to include one of your 2 recommended servings per week of fish or seafood for their Omega-3 fat benefits. Who knew a taco could boost your brain and heart just by filling it with seafood!


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Dietitians Dish – September 7, 2020

Roast away your meal fatigue!

Now that fall is upon us, you’re likely to be looking for heartier meal ideas that will nourish and satisfy, without a ton of labor. Beef roasts can be a healthy addition to the dinner table if you choose a lean cut, trimmed of excess fat. Any cut of beef with “Round” in the name is very muscular so needs to be roasted or braised to make it tender. The “Eye” is a center cut, which typically has little visible fat. Lean beef can be part of a heart healthy diet, providing good sources of protein, iron, and zinc. It contains 10 essential nutrients, which are necessary to stay strong and healthy in all life stages. While a shift to plant-based eating is trending, beef still has a valuable place in a healthy diet.

So, if you’re looking for a weekend meal idea, or have time during the week while working from home to start a slow-roasted dinner in the oven, then a beef roast is a great option. The lean, eye round roast becomes very tender if oven roasted or pot roasted slowly at lower temperatures. You can search for recipes at

Since this roast contains 6-8 servings, you can also search for ideas to make use of any leftovers. Cook once to eat twice (or more) is my way of cooking!

Italian Beef Roast & Vegetables

Italian Beef Roast & Vegetables



  • 1 beef Eye of Round Roast (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced (1/2-inch)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved


  • Heat oven to 325°F. Combine salt, 1/2 tsp. basil, oregano and pepper; press onto beef roast. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1-1/4 hours for medium rare doneness.
  • Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F. Transfer to board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.)
  • Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Combine vegetable ingredients, except tomatoes, in large bowl; toss. Place in pan. Roast in 425°F oven 15 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes; toss. Carve roast. Serve with vegetables. Season with salt.

Recipe and Photo courtesy of the Beef Check-off and