June 17, 2024

Roasted Autumn Vegetables by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Eggplant and butternut squash are in season and they happen to be two of our favorite vegetables. We couldn’t resist combining these two colorful veggies in a healthy recipe. Topping off this delectable and easy dish are goat cheese and basil.  Goat cheese adds a creamy texture while the basil offers a slight peppery taste. Together, eggplant and squash provide fiber, vitamins (A, B, C), and potassium. Color your plate and serve these vegetables as a meal by itself or top the roasted eggplant and butternut squash with a savory piece of grilled filet or chicken.

•    2 lbs butternut squash, chopped
•    2 large eggplants, chopped
•    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
•    sea salt to taste
•    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
•    2 tablespoons basil, chopped
•    2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

1. Set 1 oven to 350 and another to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line 2 separate baking sheets with foil.
3. Layer one with squash and the other with eggplant.
4. Drizzle both with extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with sea salt.
5. Sprinkle the squash with cinnamon.
6. Bake eggplant at 350 degress for 30 minutes.
7. Bake squash at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
8. Combine vegetables; top with goat cheese and basil. Serve warm.

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 www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Artichoke Dip by Shirley Plant

Artichoke Dip

1 can ( 398ml) artichoke hearts in water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
Handful fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Daiya Mozzarella Cheese Shreds

Drain and rinse artichokes. Put all ingredients except cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Put mixture in an oven proof dish and sprinkle cheese on top. Place under the broiler for a few minutes to melt cheese and warm up the dip. Serve with vegetables or (gluten- free) crackers.

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

Spinach Salmon Bake by Helen Agresti R.D.

Spinach Salmon Bake

One dish and that’s it!  This heart healthy salmon bake contains an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids and cancer fighting antioxidants.  Omega-3′s are less likely to be stored as fat due to their many important functions throughout our body.  They’re also known to ease joint pain, improve cognitive function, and decrease belly fat.  Spinach, well-known for it’s high iron content is loaded with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K.  The green leafy powerhouse and colorful fingerling potatoes combine to add a generous amount of heart healthy fiber.

•    1 lb fingerling potatoes, washed and quartered
•    2-3 salmon filets, skinned
•    3 c baby spinach, washed
•    extra virgin olive oil
•    1/2 lemon, juiced
•    1 teaspoon rosemary, crushed
•    sea salt, to taste
•    balsamic glaze, to taste
•    orange ginger seasoning, to taste, *a little goes a long way.


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat baking pan with no stick cooking spray.

2. Place potatoes on bottom of pan. Lightly coat with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt. Bake alone for 20 minutes.

3.  Remove potatoes from oven and turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

4.  Place spinach on top of potatoes.  Toss spinach with olive oil and sea salt.   Place salmon over spinach.  Top with lemon juice and orange ginger seasoning.

5.  Bake for 40 min or until internal temperature of salmon is 140 degrees.

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 www.pronutritionconsulting.com


Squash: A Superfood? By Lori Rosenthal

Fall has arrived and with it came a slew of delicious, seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy. One that should definitely not be missed is winter squash.

Winter squash comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, each with a unique flavor profile and texture. When selecting winter squash, opt for those that feel heavy for their size and have a hard, undamaged rind.

The most popular types are butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash:

Acorn Squash: Acorn shape, dark green skin with hints of orange or yellow and pale yellow-orange flesh. It has a sweet, nutty flavor.

Butternut Squash: Pear shape with beige/tan skin and sweet, orange flesh.

Spaghetti Squash: Long, oval shape with yellow skin and flesh. When cooked and removed from the skin with a fork, it forms spaghetti-like strands, making it a healthy alternative to pasta.

Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, packing half of our recommended daily dose in just one cup. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A, getting its yellow-orange pigment from carotenoids, which include beta-carotene (may reduce risk of macular degeneration.) The darker orange the squash, the more carotenoids it contains. Both vitamin A and C are antioxidants, compounds which protect our cells from damage caused by free-radicals, reducing risk of cancer and heart disease. Winter squash is a good source of dietary fiber, containing approximately 6 grams per cup. Fiber not only keeps us feeling full for longer, but also improves gut motility, promotes blood sugar control, has a cholesterol lowering effect and protects us from various forms of cancer.

Winter squash is not only packed with health promoting nutrients; it’s also easy to cook, delicious and very versatile. When preparing squash, steaming is one of the fastest and healthiest cooking method. All it takes is four simple steps: halve, de-seed, peel and cube. Squash can also be baked, broiled, roasted, sauteed, boiled or microwaved. When microwaving a whole squash, be sure to puncture the skin in several places with a fork or knife to prevent it from exploding.

This is one of my favorite winter squash recipes. It is tasty, simple to prepare and freezes well. Serve it with a dollop of low fat, plain yogurt for protein and added flavor.

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup

1 butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove peeled, minced garlic
3 slices fresh, peeled ginger
1-14 oz can or box of low sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups apple cider

1. Peel squash with a vegetable peeler (from stem to root) and cut lengthwise with a heavy knife. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon, cut lengthwise again and then into chunks.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic.
3. Once they have softened (~5 min), add ginger, squash, vegetable broth and cider. Cover and cook over a medium flame for approximately 20 minutes or until the squash is very soft.
4. Remove from heat, uncover and let cool.
5. Puree in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Adjust the thickness with additional cider if desired.

Lori Rosenthal, MS, RD, CDN
Bariatric Dietitian
Twitter: LoRoRD

Balanced Breakfast by Heather Mangieri, RD

5 Balanced Breakfast Picks by Heather Mangieri, RD

Though you probably didn’t hear it here first, it’s worth repeating; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And although so many of you know this, you’re still coming up with cop-outs that stop you from eating this morning meal.

Studies show that breakfast eaters have better concentration, attention span and memory which means better overall work performance. Plus, it’s been shown that those people that skip their am fuel are 75% more likely to be overweight than regular breakfast eaters.

The best bang for your breakfast buck is a balance of protein, healthy fats and slow digesting carbohydrates that contain fiber. That’s easier said than done for breakfast-skippers. If you’re ready to commit, start small. A wedge of cheese and a piece of fruit is a good start, and you can build from there over time. Once your internal hunger clock has been reset and you crave food in the morning, you can build a better breakfast.

Here are a few ideas:

1.) Veggie omelet- Sauté a variety of vegetables in a pan with a little olive oil.  Once they are soft, transfer the veggie mixture to the inside of your omelet along with the 2 Tbsp feta cheese.  Balance it out with a side of berries and a slice of whole grain toast.

2.) Breakfast Wrap- Fill a whole wheat tortilla with black beans, 1/3 c whole grain rice and 2 Tbsp avocado and 2 Tbsp Salsa. Balance it out with a side of fruit.

3.) Greek yogurt- Mix some slivered almond and berries (or dried fruit) into 4 ounces of Greek yogurt. Balance it out with some low-fat granola or a whole wheat mini-bagel.

4.) Breakfast Sandwich- Layer 1 fried egg, 1 slice ham, 2 tomato slices, and 1 Tbsp hummus between a whole wheat English muffin. Serve with ½ banana.

5.) Hot Cereal- Make a meal of out your basic bowl of oatmeal by swirling in a mix of walnuts, dried prunes and cinnamon. Balance it out with ¼ cup cottage cheese for some added protein.

Heather Mangieri is a national media spokesperson, registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition CheckUp in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit nutritioncheckup.com. You can follow Heather on Twitter @nutritioncheck and join her facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/NutritionCheckUp