Dietitian's Dish

September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020

It’s Friday… let’s talk FRESH vs. FROZEN!
With many home gardens and local farm markets having a dwindling selection of produce with the change of season, it’s the right time to talk about FRESH vs. FROZEN foods. Many people think fresh and locally grown are the best. They offer whatever variety of produce is available given the area’s growing conditions and crops. But sometimes, that can be a limiting factor. Fresh foods are only as fresh as the time from when they were picked. Fresh foods are sometimes left to ripen or picked early, due to the time it takes to ship it to market. That can impact the quality and variety of nutrients in the foods we consume.

When people hear FROZEN, they think processed. Yes, the foods are cleaned, trimmed and packaged in the freezing process, but it does not mean they have a bunch of additives or preservatives. Freezing foods halts ripening and is a natural process for preserving. Since foods do not continue to ripen, their nutrients are kept intact. So, the vegetables you find in the freezer section may actually have MORE nutrients than those in the produce department which were trucked across the state or country.

Next time you head to the store, stock up on fresh and frozen items. With the nutritional value of frozen, and shelf-life that they remain edible, they can offer a quick and nutritious option that is easily incorporated into quick recipe ideas. Check out these ideas for breakfast, lunch or dinner featuring some frozen ingredients!


September 23, 2020
September 23, 2020

Wellness Wednesday is here!

Let’s do a gut check! There’s a lot of information available about use of probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health. But what’s the real deal about what they are and why they are helpful?

Probiotics are found in certain foods containing live bacteria (microorganisms) that help to clean out the gut for better health. If you’ve ever heard the terms gut “microbiota” or “flora”, it refers to the types and balance of bacteria in the gut. Initial studies have shown promise that probiotics help the body fight allergens, regulate weight, and protect the heart. But, those are just preliminary and more research is needed to validate and understand how these effects may occur. If you want to incorporate probiotic foods into your menu, choose fermented and aged foods. They are also available in supplement form.

Prebiotics are a type of soluble fiber that feed the probiotics (good bacteria). Consuming sources of probiotics and prebiotics together may enhance the effectiveness of the probiotics. Prebiotics can be found in foods and supplement form. For a list of foods, check out this article.


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Dietitians Dish – September 21, 2020

Egg-cellent meal ideas – for breakfast or dinner

If you’re looking for quick and easy dinner options – just add eggs! They are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein with many valuable micronutrients, including:

  • Selenium
  • Vitamins A, D, E, K, B6 and B12
  • Folate

  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper


Eggs are also rich in choline, which is good for the brain. Most people think eggs should be avoided because they’re high in cholesterol, but current research has shown that does not lead to heart disease in a majority of Americans. Saturated fat is actually the main culprit, not cholesterol. In fact, eating eggs regularly has been found to raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which protects the heart! Combining eggs with the monounsaturated fats in avocado and the potassium in potatoes offers a heart-protective meal for breakfast or dinner. Whatever time of day you choose, be sure to try this winning combination!

Avocado and Potato Hash with Eggs

Avocado and Potato Hash with Eggs


  • 1 lb. red or yellow potatoes
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 4 eggs


  • Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Dice potatoes when cool enough to handle
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, bell peppers, thyme, salt, and hot sauce. Cook for 5 minutes until onion and bell peppers are tender. Add in potatoes and ham, cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in avocado.
  • In a medium skillet, cook eggs over-easy or to desired doneness.
  • 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.
  • Serve eggs over avocado and potato hash.

Recipe and image courtesy of Avocados from Mexico.


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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.