May 28, 2024

Trick your Kids into Healthy Eating by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Trick your kids into Eating Healthy

It’s Halloween Time!  This marks the beginning of the holiday season when we often find ourselves celebrating weeks prior to the arrival of each holiday.

Begin the season of candy, pies, and cookies with healthy goals set in place.  By committing to a healthier lifestyle now, you can save yourself from ever seeing the scale get to that not so pleasant number at the end of December. Candy is always going to be on the store shelves.  Before buying any candy, try waiting a few days or at least a week before Halloween and school parties.  You may not get the best sale price but you will be saving yourself a lot of guilt and calories.

A healthier option to buying candy and treats is to make them yourself with the help of your kids.  Camouflaging fruit with fun kid-friendly toppings is an easy way to trick your kids into eating healthier this Halloween.  Easy treats such as berries drizzled with chocolate, apple slices dipped in yogurt and granola, and chocolate bananas on a stick are nutritious and delicious.  It doesn’t have to be trick or treat this year. Try doing both, and enjoy a healthier holiday season.

Chocolate Banana on a Stick:
1 banana
2 craft sticks
chocolate melting discs
granola, coconut or sprinkles

Cut the banana in half. Insert a craft stick into the flat end. Melt chocolate in double boiler.  Roll banana halves in melted chocolate. Then roll them in granola, coconut or sprinkles. Put into freezer for at least 1hour.  Enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Helen is the founder of Professional Nutrition Consulting and The 24_7 Dietitian app. She’s a mom of 5, contributor for the Huffington Post, triathlete, and chocolate lover. Helen is passionate about educating families on how to cook healthy meals and snacks at home. You can now receive Helen’s Personal Nutrition Coaching thru her 24_7 dietitian app-available on iOS and android. Go to for more info.

Black Bean Dip by Samantha Lynch MS RD

Oil Free Black Bean Dip
Makes 2 cups

•    2 cups cooked black beans or 15oz can black beans (rinsed)
•    1/2 cup low sodium vegetables broth
•    1/4 cup almond milk
•    1/2 tsp cumin
•    1/2 tsp chili powder
•    1 large garlic clove minced

•    Put all the ingredients in a blender, vitamin or food processor.
•    Blend until smooth.

This dip should last a couple weeks in the fridge or could even be frozen.

Recipe courtesy of Samantha Lynch MS RD. Samantha Lynch is a registered dietician who caters to everyone from athletes and celebrities to students and stay-at-home moms. Based in Manhattan, she holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. After graduating in 2009, she started her own nutrition counseling practice to fulfill her dream of helping people live longer, happier and more energetic lives.

Healthy Baked Potato Soup by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Healthy Baked Potato Soup

This recipe is easy, healthy, and doesn’t contain any heavy cream.  I enjoy the challenge of taking a calorie dense recipe and making it deliciously nutritious!  Potato skins add fiber and plenty of nutrients.  Enjoy the warming and comforting powers of this healthy baked potato soup.



5 lbs russet potatoes, diced not peeled
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, chopped
64 oz low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz  1/3 less fat cream cheese
3 (6 oz) low-fat plain greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar


Combine first 4 ingredients in a slow cooker, cook on low for 8hrs or on high for 4hrs.  Add cream cheese, yogurt, bacon bits, salt, and pepper.  Blend well with a handheld blender.  Serve warm, sprinkled with cheese and chives.

This recipe will most likely leave you with plenty leftover.  For future meals, you may want to add chicken or shrimp with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or corn.

Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to


Healthy Treat by Lisa McClellan

Do you ever get a craving for something sweet, but don’t want to down a carton of ice cream?

In my never ending search for sweets that are not dense with empty calories, I made a batch of these Frozen Banana Bites, a healthy desert, if eaten in moderation. I always try to add something wholesome to my delicacies. My thought is, if you’re going to indulge, at least eat something not completely void of nutrients.

Frozen Banana Bites Recipe

What You Will Need
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of 70% Dark Chocolate Chips
1 T. of Milk or Milk alternative
1 T. Coconut oil
1 T. Flax Meal
1 T. Chia Seeds
1 T. Protein Powder (optional)
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

How to Make
Take a ripe banana and cut into 1/4 inch slices, set aside. Pour chocolate chips into a medium sized microwave safe dish, add milk, coconut oil, flax meal, chia seeds and protein powder. Microwave on low for 50 seconds (time may vary). Remove from oven and stir until all ingredients are smooth and creamy. Nuts can be bought pre-chopped or pulsed in a food processor. Place nuts in a dish.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip sliced bananas into melted chocolate, covering both sides, then transfer to the nut mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the completed banana on the baking sheet. Repeat until no more banana slices remain. Place baking dish in the freezer for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Snacking can be healthy and delicious!

By Lisa McClellan. Follow Lisa via her blog

Spinach and Pear Soup by Shirley Plant

Spinach and Pear Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sushi rice or long grain white rice
1 medium onion, diced
4 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
3 large carrots, diced
2 pears, cored, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch spinach, washed and chopped
5 cups water
1 cup apple juice
a couple dashes toasted sesame oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, saute onions in olive oil for a few minutes. Add carrots and saute for another few minutes. Add in rice, cumin, pears, garlic and stir. Add in bay leaves, water, juice and simmer. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes or until rice is done. Remove bay leaves, add in more water or juice if the mixture is too thick ( liquid amount depends on the rice you’re using.) Add some toasted sesame oil. Blend with a hand blender, but only until soup is chunky. Enjoy!

Yields 8 cups

Shirley Plant- Nutritionist/ Dietary Consultant
Author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies, and those looking for healthy, tasty recipes. Need help with menu planning, contact Sheri for a consult and get back into healthy recipes everyone loves! Follow Sheri on twitter @sherrecipes and on Facebook- Finally Food I Can Eat

No-Bake Snack Bars by Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD

These no-bake bars are quick to prepare and make a great snack!

1 cup rice cereal (such as Rice-Krispies or equivalent)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats (whole or ground in food chopper)
1/3 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc)
¼ cup chopped dried fruit (your choice)
¼ cup chopped nuts (walnuts & almonds work great but use what you like)
¼ cup brown rice syrup (or honey or molasses)
1 Tbsp honey (save for the end)
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

To Prepare:
1. In a large bowl, combine the rice cereal, oats, flax, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts. Mix well. A large bowl is recommended because you will need extra room for when the other ingredients are combined later.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the syrup & brown sugar to a boil (stir constantly); remove from heat.  Stir in the nut butter and vanilla.
3. Pour the hot nut butter mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring well (mixture will be thick.) Use a piece of wax paper to press the mixture into an 11 x 9” pan (that has been sprayed with cooking spray.)
4. Let cool.
5. Drizzle the 1 Tbsp of honey over the top of the pressed, cooled mixture. Cut into 12 bars.
6. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes 12 bars. Each bar contains 140 calories, 6g Total Fat, 19g Total Carbohydrate, 4g Protein.

Heather Mangieri is a national media spokesperson, registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition CheckUp in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit You can follow Heather on Twitter @nutritioncheck and join her Facebook community.

One-Dish Wonders! By Helen Agresti, R.D.

This time of year brings shorter days and less time to prepare healthy meals at home.  Without proper planning, home cooking doesn’t always happen. I wish I could use the most common excuse of not having enough time in my day but let’s face it, there’s plenty of time in our day for something this important.  Especially on Sundays, there’s sufficient time to execute a game plan for the week ahead. There’s nights during the week that are filled with client meetings and kids activities which makes the idea of ordering out very enticing.  Convenience food is everywhere and it certainly contributes to the rising rates of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other health related disorders.

With that in the forefront of our minds, here are a few one-dish wonders that will satisfy you and your healthy family:

Healthy Baked Chicken Marsala


No-stick cooking spray
4 chicken breasts
1/4 c white cooking wine
1/4 c marsala cooking wine
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Spray casserole dish with no-stick.
3.  Pour half the white and marsala wine in the casserole dish.
4.  Sprinkle half the onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt on top of wine.
5.  Place chicken breast on top.
6.  Pour the remainder of the white and marsala wine over top of
7.  Sprinkle the remainder of the onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt on
8.  Bake 20-25 min. or until internal temp of chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

*If you have time, allow the chicken to marinate in a Ziploc bag with all the ingredients prior to baking.


Waist Slimming Quinoa Salad


3 cups Quinoa, cooked
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
1/2 c seedless cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
1/3 c cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Combine all ingredients. Serve warm or cold.


Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti and on the web

Fresh Herbs: Great for the Body! By Lori Rosenthal, MS, RD, CDN

Fresh Herbs: Great for the Body and the Taste Buds

Fresh herbs contribute mouth-watering flavor to dishes without adding salt. But their usefulness doesn’t stop in the kitchen. Since ancient times, herbal remedies have been used to treat all sorts of ailments. Herbs contain antioxidants, substances with disease fighting properties. Antioxidants protect our bodies from cell damage caused by free radicals, which contribute to heart disease and cancer. In addition, certain herbs may soothe muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and fight infections.

With so many potential benefits, why wouldn’t we want to incorporate them into our diet. Start by adding fresh herbs to your favorite recipes. From salads to entrees, adding fresh herbs can make an ordinary dish extraordinary. Experiment with fresh herbs in homemade marinades and rubs. Basic marinades are comprised of herbs, spices, condiments, oils and an acid such as citrus fruit juice, vinegar or wine. Rubs can either be wet or dry and are a great way to infuse meat, poultry or fish with flavor. Try various combos of fresh herbs. Create flavors that excite the taste buds, but don’t overpower the other ingredients. An added bonus, homemade marinades and rubs do not contain the high levels of sodium, sugar and preservatives found in packaged products.

Use fresh herbs when making dressings, dips and sauces as well. Pesto is one of my all time favorites. This is my personal pesto recipe, so feel free to adjust it to your taste. Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until it reaches a paste consistency. Freeze some in an ice cube tray for later use (freezes better without the parmesan). Pop out a cube, heat it up and add it to any dish for a quick, preservative free meal.

Basic Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 handful of pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan

This Italian salsa verde recipe was a staple in my house growing up. It pairs well with meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. Use it as a dipping sauce or condiment. I suggest trying it with salmon.

Salsa Verde
(Adapted from Bon Apetite)
1 1/2  cups chopped parsley
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped scallion tops (AKA: The green part)
1/4 cup drained and rinsed capers
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh sage

Whether home grown or store bought, fresh herbs are not to be missed. Start taking your dining experience to the next level today. Your taste buds and body will thank you.

Lori Rosenthal, MS, RD, CDN
Bariatric Dietitian
Department of Surgery
Montefiore Medical Center
Follow Lori on Twitter via @LoRoRD

On-The-Go Snacks by Rachael Roehmholdt

5 Convenient On-The-Go Snack Ideas

With a busy schedule, snacks are inevitably an important part of the day. What is chosen as a snack can easily make or break any healthy eater’s plans, which is why sticking to whole foods is your best option between meals.

Whether you regularly snack on the go or use them as an afternoon pick-me-up only when you need them, try one of these five healthy and convenient on-the-go snack ideas.

Nuts & Seeds

Choose from a variety of healthy nuts and seeds like cashews, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds to snack on for an energy boost that’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals. You can also get creative by mixing up a batch of your favorite nuts and seeds, portioning them out, and carrying them along with you in your car or your bag.

Baby Carrots (Or Other Veggies) With Hummus

When you’re looking for a crunch factor at snack time, choose carrots or other veggie sticks to dip in hummus. You’ll be loading up on fiber, which will help to keep your hunger level in check for a while.

Stuffed Dates

For a sweet snack during the day, stuff a few dates with your favorite nut butter and  sprinkle with cinnamon. These can be made in a big batch at the beginning of the week and portioned out to keep on hand all week long. Dates give your body an energy boost from the natural sugars and vitamins A and B.

Salted Edamame Pods

When you’re after a salty bite, choose convenient edamame pods sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt. These young soybeans are loaded with fiber, protein, and omega 3’s – a fantastic combination to satiate your stomach until your next meal!


Plain unsalted popcorn is a fantastic option on-the-go, as you can pop it up quickly in the microwave in a brown paper bag and bring it along with you. Another option is carrying unpopped popcorn and a paper bag with you until you’re ready for your snack, then pop it in the microwave once your snack pang hits. It’s another fiber-filled food, and it gets extra points for being a whole grain!

Snack foods don’t all have to come from the convenience store. Load up on healthy whole food options like these and you’ll be sure to keep your healthy eating on the right track!

Rachael Roehmholdt is a certified holistic health coach and founder of Be More Healthful. With a passion for good food and living a healthful and balanced life, she believes that small changes to our everyday lives can set us up for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Don’t Miss these Nutritional Benefits

Don’t Miss these Nutritional Benefits
Have you overlooked one of the most nutritious winter vegetables? This time of year is ideal to stock up! You’ll be saving money and saving your health. According to Dr. John La Puma, the carotenes found in pumpkin are converted to Vitamin A, which is essential for a strong and healthy immune system. One cup of pumpkin a day will get you to the recommended daily dose.

Dr. La Puma is twice a New York Times best-selling author, a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and professionally trained chef. He leads a national movement to help you get stronger, leaner and healthier with what you eat.

Dr. La Puma’s Pumpkin Soup
This pumpkin soup recipe from Dr. La Puma ( is so easy to make and delicious, you’ll want to freeze it to always have on hand.

3 lb pumpkin (such as Sugar Baby)
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, halved and roasted
3 garlic cloves, roasted
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F.
Cut the pumpkin in half and roast it for 45 minutes, face down.
Scoop out the seeds and set them aside.
Scoop out and place half the pumpkin flesh into a blender jar along with the roasted garlic, half the onion and half the chicken stock, with more if needed to blend. Blend to your desired consistency.  Pour into a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Repeat. Bring to a simmer, and season to taste. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired. ©  Chef Clinic, Inc.

The leading practicing physician voice for healthy food in health care, Dr La Puma is also an award-winning TV co-host for Lifetime TV’s “Health Corner” with Joan Lunden, host of “What’s Cooking With ChefMD?” and the PBS Special “Eat and Cook Healthy with Dr John La Puma!” Read his blog at and get his free monthly newsletter, or join his Facebook page at He has appeared on Dr Oz, Today, Good Morning America and NPR and has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA. Repeatedly named “One of America’s Top Physicians” by Consumers’ Research Council and called a “Secret Weapon” by The Wall Street Journal. He is based in Santa Barbara, California.