May 24, 2024

Zucchini Nachos by Helen Agresti, R.D.

One of the most exciting aspects of my job is learning from my clients. One of them recently inspired me to try zucchini nachos. This was definitely an “aha moment” at the office. I thought, what an incredibly nutritious nacho idea–brilliant!
It took me a few tries to get the zucchini crispy enough to come close to resembling chips. Zucchini contains a good bit of water. Allowing the slices to dry out before grilling is key. Don’t get discouraged if your zucchini turns out too tender. Those batches make an incredibly delicious side dish the entire family will love.

(serves 4-6)
•    3 zucchini, cleaned and dried
•    sea salt, to taste
•    ground pepper, to taste
•    taco seasoning, to taste
•    shredded cheddar, to taste
•    ¾ c black beans, rinsed and dried
•    ¾ c corn, cooked
•    ½ c green onion
•    ¾ c vine ripe tomato, diced
•    1 dollop sour cream

1. Slice zucchini to no more than ¼ inch in thickness.
2. Place slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Lightly sprinkle both sides of zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat grill to medium-high. Spray lightly with olive oil. Grill zucchini until tender and crisp on each side, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Just before the slices are ready to be removed from the grill, sprinkle with taco seasoning and shredded cheddar.
5. Place the zucchini slices on a platter and layer with beans, corn, green onion, tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.


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.

Grilled Fruit Kabobs by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Grilled fruit kabobs are a great way to get kids cooking in the kitchen.  Our kids love being creative with fruit.  These kabobs make the simplest dish look like a gourmet meal.  The heat from the grill enhances the sweet flavors of the fruit.  This makes grilled fruit kabobs the perfect accompaniment for a savory piece of chicken or fish-not to mention a very nutritious one too.


•    1 c strawberries, sliced
•    3 kiwi, sliced
•    1 c mango, chopped
•    6-8 skewers
•    balsamic glaze, to taste

1. Soak skewers in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Heat grill on low-medium heat.
3. Pick 3 or 4 of your favorite fruits.  Slice into bite size pieces.
4. Thread 3 pieces of each fruit onto each skewer in any order you prefer.
5. Spray a piece of foil with no-stick cooking spray. Place the skewers onto foil and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side.

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. 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 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


Need a new dinner recipe?

Need a new, healthy, EASY, go-to dinner recipe? Give this healthy, simple Curry Chicken recipe a try.


Curry Chicken



1 lb organic boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp curry powder
¾ cup carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 cup chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk ( from a can)

Ready to eat in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Heat oil in an oven proof pot. Brown chicken on all sides.

Step 2: Add in onions, garlic, curry, carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add in chicken stock, bring to a boil then let simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Add in coconut milk, salt pepper, peas. Let simmer for 15 minutes and serve!

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe by Shirley Plant

Looking for a quick, healthy dinner the whole family will love, especially if dealing with food allergies? Try my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe, it is sure to please even those picky eaters!


Sweet and Sour Chicken

Free of dairy products, wheat, yeast, corn, sugar, eggs, soy, nuts, and gluten.

2 pieces boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
olive oil

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste

In a frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom of pan, cook chicken over low to medium heat, stirring frequently for approximately 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.  Saute onions for a few minutes in pan with a little more oil or some water. Add in celery, carrots and peppers and water and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add in the chicken pieces. In a separate bowl mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken and vegetables and let simmer for a few minutes so sauce will thicken. Serve over rice and with a side salad or steamed vegetables.

Recipe by 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. Contact Shirley for assistance with menu planning and for healthy recipes everyone loves! Follow her on Twitter @sherrecipes.

Healthy Holiday Appetizer by Lisa McClellan

Hosting a dinner? Attending a party? Don’t panic! Here’s a simple, healthy and delicious go-to recipe, sure to please all the party guests. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Dip Holiday Appetizer


What You Will Need

3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. of fresh lime juice (About a lime and a half)
1 t. Cumin
1 t. fresh ground pepper
1 t. salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 olive oil
1/4 feta cheese (optional, for garnish)

How to Make

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place peeled and diced sweet potatoes in the water, reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes and then drain. While the potatoes are cooking drain and rinse the pinto beans. Put the beans in a food processor, add olive oil, water, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Slowly, add drained sweet potatoes… pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy. It should be thick enough to scoop with a chip but if too thick add more water until it’s the right consistency.

Makes enough to feed a crowd, but can also be covered and stored for up to a week in the fridge.

You could make this ahead of time, up to 7 days before an event. To reheat, just place it in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

Garnish with Feta Cheese (Optional)

Recipe by Lisa McClellan. For more recipes and healthy living tips follow her via

How to Make Hearty Meals Healthier! By Laura Maydak

Hearty, cold-weather meals should warm your belly without adding extra inches to it. 

Making simple ingredient substitutions will allow you to fill up without worrying about filling out.  Follow these ingredient swaps to make your hearty meals healthier:


Meatloaf or Meatballs
Replace ground beef with: ½ lean ground meat, ½ mushrooms (pulse mushrooms in a food processor)

Pasta Dishes
Replace white pasta with: Whole wheat pasta, spaghetti squash
(Low-cal Bonus: 1 cup provides only 42 calories, 10 gm carbs and 2 gm fiber)
Zucchini ribbons (sub for spaghetti or lasagna noodles)

Mashed Potatoes
Replace potatoes with: Cauliflower, Turnips

Creamy Soups, Sauces, and Casseroles
Replace heavy cream, condensed soup, or mayonnaise with: Evaporated skim milk, pureed vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash; choose depending on dish’s flavor), fat-free, plain Greek yogurt

Replace high-fat cheese with: Low-fat or fat-free cheese
(Note: Sharp cheeses have a stronger taste, so you can use less without losing flavor!)

Creamy Dips
Replace sour cream with: fat-free, plain Greek yogurt

Recipe Bonus: Skip dipping veggies in full-fat ranch dressing.  Instead, add ranch seasoning to fat-free, plain Greek yogurt (amount added depends on taste preferences).  Mix, and enjoy!

Chili and Stew
Replace ground beef with: beans (any variety)
(Note: If using canned, buy low-sodium.  Also, rinsing and draining will remove up to 40% of the sodium.)

Added Flavor
Replace salt with: fresh or dried herbs, spices, salt-free seasoning blends
(Healthy Bonus: Herbs and spices add a punch of flavor and healthy compounds, such as antioxidants!)

Remember: Experiment and have fun!
Remember, making ingredient swaps may not work perfectly the first time, but you will learn and adjust accordingly.  Involve friends and family, especially kids, in the cooking, and then enjoy the healthy, hearty meal together.

Laura Maydak has a B.S. in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently a graduate student in the school’s Coordinated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics program on her way to become a registered dietitian.  Aside from school, she is an avid runner, fitness enthusiast, and wanna-be chef.  Connect with Laura on twitter (@lmaydak) for motivation and tips to live your healthiest, happiest life – all given with a healthy dose of humor.

Fruit-Inspired Recipes by Kathy Smart

As warmer weather comes our way, more fresh fruit choices will appear in the grocery store. Try these easy and healthy recipes for the entire family.




Banana’s For Chocolate

- 2 large bananas
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup peanut butter- unsweetened
- Unsweetened coconut flakes

Cut bananas into chunks, melt chocolate and peanut butter in a saucepan- cover bananas with the chocolate coating-place on a plate with parchment paper and you can spoon additional melted chocolate if you desire- sprinkle with coconut or even chunk sea salt- freeze for 1 hour or until hard

I Scream for Raspberries

Freeze 1 cup of raspberries and 1 banana- puree in a blender and voila! If you find a little hard to blend just add a touch of coconut milk or almond milk to help the blades.

Kathy’s Parfait

-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
-1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries of your choice (I prefer blackberries or blueberries !)
-3-4 tablespoons of granola
-1 tsp of pure maple syrup.

in large glass or mug, layer yogurt, berries, granola then drizzle maple syrup ! Enjoy!

Recipes by Kathy Smart
North America’s Gluten Free Expert
National Health Activist 2012

High Fiber Black Bean Chili by Kathy Smart

High Fiber Black Bean Chili

Dark and tasty, black beans are 22% protein and are high in fiber.  Black beans make an excellent low fat protein source addition to any meal.  This recipe tastes summer like with the fresh cilantro and sweet corn.


½ large Spanish onion chopped fine
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 diced green pepper
1 15 oz can of drained black beans
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of chilli powder
1 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
1 can of V8 juice
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro

Sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in olive oil in medium soup pot over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Add beans, corn, broth, V8 juice, and spices and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cilantro and garnish and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve heated with whole-wheat bun or tortilla. Enjoy!

Health Statistics:
Dairy Free
Vegetarian/ Vegan
Easy to Make
High Fiber
Gluten and Wheat free
No added refined sugars

This recipe is contributed by Kathy Smart. Kathy’s NEW Cookbook is now available via (30 new recipes and 20 more pages of info!)

Kathy Smart is a TV Host, Chef and Nutritionist of “Live The Smart Way” TV show~ North America’s first Gluten Free TV Cooking Show, Best Selling Author, North America’s Gluten Free Expert, Media Personality, Nutritionist, Chef and Personal Trainer, Recipient of “Eat Right Award” in the Health Leadership Award. For more information, go to Or follow Kathy via Twitter: Smart_Kitchen and Facebook: Live The Smart Way

Summer Salad Recipes by Kathy Smart

Baby Spinach and Strawberry Salad
(4 Servings)

1 teaspoon olive oil
4 tablespoons slivered almonds or pecans
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
4 cups of washed baby spinach
1 cup of sliced strawberries
4 tablespoons of crumbled goat feta cheese

Recipe Accolades:
Simple and Quick
Diabetic Friendly
Low Glycemic
Gluten and Wheat Free
No Added Refined Sugar
High in Iron

Toast slivered almonds with 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat until brown. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add vinegar and whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Divide baby spinach between 4 plates. Top each plate with sliced strawberries, and garnish with crumbled feta cheese and toasted almonds. Drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving. 

High Protein Quinoa Salad
(4 Servings)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 ½ cups of cold water
 ½ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons each of fresh lemon and lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon tabasco sauce
½ cup of kernelled corn
1 small red onion minced
1 small jalapeno minced or ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 red pepper finely diced
3 minced green scallions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of minced chives

Recipe Accolades:
Simple and Quick
Egg Free
Dairy Free
Gluten and Wheat Free
High Protein
High Fiber
No Added Refined Sugar
Vegan/ Vegetarian

Bring water to a boil and add ½ teaspoon sea salt and quinoa. Return mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and keep pot covered for 5 minutes.  Spread quinoa on a tray to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk lemon and lime juices with tabasco sauce and salt until well combined.  Add all vegetables and herbs, mixing thoroughly. Add cooked quinoa and toss until thoroughly combined. Adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper and fresh lime juice as desired.


Pesto Pasta Salad
(6 Servings)

6 cups of cooked brown rice pasta
3-4 cloves of garlic- crushed
1 teaspoon white vinegar
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion chopped fine
½ jar of small olives- sliced thin 3oz
¼ cup of pesto
1/2 cup of light feta cheese- crumbled*
1 bunch of parsley- chopped fine

Recipe Accolades:
Simple and Quick
Dairy Free
Diabetic Friendly
Egg Free
Gluten and Wheat Free
High in Fiber
Low Glycemic
No Added Refined Sugars
Vegetarian/ Vegan (if using tofu

Cook the pasta according to package directions, rinse pasta well.
While pasta is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. In a bowl, add crushed garlic, vinegar and slowly whisk in olive oil until mixture is emulsified. Add onions, olives and pesto, mixing until combined. Add hot pasta to the bowl and toss. While still warm add the feta cheese, and chopped parsley, tossing until well combined. Salad can be served warm, or can be chilled in refrigerator and served cold.

*Crumbled goat feta or crumbled firm tofu can be substituted for feta cheese if dairy intolerant/vegan.


Asparagus Salad
(6 Servings)

4 cups cooked asparagus, 1/2″ pieces
1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup crumbled light feta cheese
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Recipe Accolades:
Simple and Quick
Gluten and Wheat Free
No Added Refined Sugars
Diabetic Friendly

Steam asparagus until crisp tender. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.  Add cheese, onions and tomatoes. Add asparagus while still hot and toss with other salad ingredients. Allow to stand until warm, toss again and serve while asparagus is still warm.

Recipes contributed by Kathy Smart. TV Host, Chef and Nutritionist of “Live The Smart Way” TV show~ North America’s first Gluten Free TV Cooking Show, Best Selling Author, North America’s Gluten Free Expert, Media Personality, Nutritionist, Chef and Personal Trainer, Recipient of “Eat Right Award” in the Health Leadership Award. For more information, go to Or follow Kathy via Twitter: Smart_Kitchen and Facebook: Live The Smart Way