May 17, 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.

Food-Swaps for your Teen by Maggie Ayre

Improvements You Can Make to Your Teens Diet, Without them Noticing

Keep Your Teens Tastebuds Happy With These Tasty but Healthy Alternatives

It’s a struggle every parent faces when their children start at secondary school. On the one hand you want them to be more independent on the other you still want some control over the choices they make.

When it comes to healthy eating there are two main ways you can influence their choices:-

Be a top role model – keep serving plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and other unprocessed foods at family meal times. Be the epitome of good health and they’ll want to follow suit.

Keep going with the healthy eating advice - It may feel like it just bounces back at you but you’ll be surprised how much is absorbed and put into practice at a later date.

There are some healthy foods you can sneak in almost without being noticed. Try these delicious alternatives to your usual teen fare:-

1. Swap regular chips for sweet potato fries. Many teens tell me they’re even tastier than the real thing!

2. Buy a cool fold up water bottle. Guaranteed to get your teen drinking more of the good stuff.

3. Serve eggs for breakfast. Who doesn’t love a fry up? You can prepare scrambled eggs on toast (or better still oatcakes) in the same time it’ll take to make a bowl of cereal yet the protein in them is guaranteed to keep your teen full until lunchtime and away from the vending machine at morning break.

4. If your teen takes sandwiches for lunch why not swap bread for rye bread or oatcakes? A change is as good as a rest and it’ll wake up their taste buds. Once they’re used to this idea introduce 1 or 2 salads or soup in a flask every week.

5. Does your teen struggle to east their greens? Green veggies are full of goodness for teens. Search for new and exciting recipes on Google or simply mix with a white sauce for the less adventurous teen.

6. Leave homemade snacks out for after school nibbles. Even the sweetest cake will be healthier if it is homemade rather than shop bought. Better still cook with your teen. Homemade popcorn is delicious for all ages and ready in minutes.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

Encouraging Healthy Habits for Teenagers by Brett Klika

How to help teenagers exercise and eat well, without putting on the pressure of weight loss:

Getting kids of any age to exercise and eat well is a function of familiarity, exposure, and experience that transcend weight loss. If a child grows up in a household with a culture of wellness, it becomes a familiar way of life. If a child grows up in a household where exercise and eating well are seen as punishment for indulgences, this is exactly how they will view a healthy lifestyle: punishment. 

Expose children at a young age to fun physical activities that involve the entire family. Food works much the same way. Make sure kids see where real food comes from and how it is made. Grow a garden and cook with your kids if you are able. Physical activity and healthy eating then become a positive experience that will develop life-long behaviors

Focus on “now.” Telling kids of any age that food is fattening or unhealthy is not very effective. They do not have the cortical processing to base their current activity on future outcomes. They need to understand how things work in the now. By doing this, youngsters develop an awareness of what they are eating. It is independent of “fat” or “skinny.”  It becomes a decision of “do I want to eat a chemical that I have no idea what it is?” The younger they can begin the better. 

Creative positive experiences. Much of the above attitudes and behaviors are formed by the time kids are in their teens.  To continue to facilitate physical activity and healthy eating through the teenage years, continue to make these a positive experience. Find physical activities your children enjoy doing and facilitate those activities however possible. They don’t have to be sports!  Have healthy food around the house, go to high quality food sources for groceries, make restaurants a treat, and family dinners whenever possible. Teenagers are programmed to rebel as they go through the process of forming their own identity. Overall behavior is a collective of multiple decisions made throughout a day, week, month, year, etc. The more positive experiences you can create, the more favorable decisions they will make in regards to their health and wellness. Multiple favorable decisions form positive lifetime outcomes!         
Brett Klika
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