Farmer's Market Winter Salad | Washington, DC Dietitian

Winter is here, and sometimes that prevents us from going to our nearby Farmer’s Markets. However, the produce that is in season right now is perfect for a fresh, crunchy salad great for any occasion. Use what’s available to you and get inspired!

These are some vegetables that caught my eye during my last trip to the Farmer’s Market:

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Fresh Spinach, Purple carrots, Baby tomatoes, Golden beets.

This salad recipe is not only easy to make, but contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are important for your health!

Ingredients:

Spinach

Carrots

Tomatoes

Beets (+ 2 tablespoons lemon juice)

Toasted almonds

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Pepper

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Directions:

Place beets, skin still on, in medium-sized pot. Fill pot with water until beets are covered. Add in lemon juice. Place pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low and cook until beets are fork tender. Rinse beets with cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel off skin and chop.

Place spinach in a large bowl, and add all vegetables + the almonds. Give it a nice toss. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and squeeze in some lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper on top and give the salad one last mix! That’s it! It’s that simple.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Beets are actually a great source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium! These nutrients are essential for your brain function and immune system, and may even improve your stamina.

Feel free to mix in or replace any ingredient in the recipe! Some extra ingredients I like to add include:

Pomegranate seeds

Jicama

Bell peppers

Avocado

Corn

Enjoy and happy eating!

Recipe by Janette Bedoyan

Jalapeno Chicken and Brown Rice | Washington, DC Dietitian

I usually try to plan out and shop for dinner recipes, but some days are a "what's in the fridge?" type of day.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

This meal was a perfect example of that. Use what's on hand and get creative! We had leftover Jalapeno Chicken Sausage, brown rice, black beans and fresh spinach. Easy, simple to make, healthy and tasty! Win-win all around.

Jalapeno Chicken Sausage and Brown Rice Plate

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 links chicken sausage (I used Jalapeno but any flavor will do!)

2 cups brown rice, dry (I used TJ's microwaveable brown rice)

1 bag fresh spinach

1 can black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. For the TJ's steam in bag it was 2 minutes in the microwave. Allow more time for brown rice made on stove top.

2. Heat chicken sausage in microwave or on stove top for 2-3 minutes

3.  Grease cooking pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Add bag of fresh spinach to pan and cook until wilted

4. Drain black beans. Add to cooking pan until heated.

5. In large bowl add brown rice, chopped chicken sausage, spinach and black beans. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine ingredients. Serve by candlelight!

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Chicken sausage is a great option to spice up any meal, while being a healthier option than regular sausage. I recommend it in rice dishes, stir fries, in salads, soups and more. Try different flavors to see which you like best. Enjoy!

A Balancing Act | Washington DC Dietitian

There are many misconceptions about weight loss out there, mainly those that revolve around cutting out food groups and restricting food intake to reach your goals. But what if I told you that eating more instead of less could help with weight loss?

Many patients come in telling me about their typical meal plans. They skip breakfast, don't snack and eat a large lunch and dinner as their normal eating pattern. This, my friends, is also known as the Sumo Wrestler's diet. In order for sumo wrestlers to gain and maintain their weight (400-600 pounds), they skip breakfast, don't snack and eat an extra-large lunch and dinner. When we skip meals and snacks, our metabolism slows and we overeat later in the day, both which lead to weight gain. 

Therefore it is important to eat small amounts, frequently throughout the day. This helps your metabolism and keeps you satisfied to prevent overeating at meals. Try to aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, eating about every 3 hours. Not only does this keep your metabolism going, but it also keeps blood sugars stable to help prevent fatigue, headaches and cravings throughout the day.

Another important goal is to make sure that every meal and snack is a balance of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates give you energy while protein and fat keep you feeling full and satisfied to hold you over in between meals. If you eat only carbohydrates your blood sugar goes up, but if you pair it with protein it stays more stable. Aim for 3+ grams of protein per snack to keep you feeling satisfied. Eating only vegetables as snacks or eating "air foods" such as rice cakes will only leave you wanting more.

The point is to make everything that you eat count and be nutrient dense. Eating a balance at each meal and snack helps you stay satisfied, reduces cravings, increases energy, and prevents overeating later in the day.  Below are some examples to help clarify.

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal made with skim milk topped with fruit and a small serving of nuts.
  • 2 Eggs with vegetables and a sprinkle of cheese, slice of whole grain toast on the side.
  • Whole grain cereal with skim milk
  • Smoothie made with frozen fruit, skim milk, low-fat yogurt and flaxseed

Lunch and Dinner

  • Salad with vegetables, beans and low-fat dressing
  • Soup with vegetables and beans or lean meat
  • Turkey sandwich with vegetables, mustard on whole grain bread
  • Lean meat or meat substitute, vegetable and starch

Snacks

Aim for around 150-180 calories and 3+ grams of protein per snack to keep you satisfied between meals. Balanced options include:

  • Fruit and nuts
  • Fruit and low-fat cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low fat cheese and crackers
  • Low fat yogurt (yogurt is a carbohydrate and there is protein in it)
  • Granola bars such as Kashi Chewy Bars or Snackwell's Cereal Bars (both include 5-8g of protein)
  • Sliced turkey and bread

Eat frequently and keep a balance of nutrients for overall health and satisfaction throughout the day.

A Healthier 'Dilla | Washington DC Dietitian

I don't know about you, but usually the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook an elaborate dinner. As much as I enjoy cooking (love. it.), I like it better when I have time and don't feel rushed. My go to solutions for this are the following:

  • Prepare foods on Sunday to have for the week (smart choice)
  • Eat out with friends (fun choice)
  • Quesadillas! (perfection)

Quesadillas are my go-to meal because they are easy, fast and delicious. You can make them for yourself or for groups and I'd say they are always a crowd pleaser.

But I know what you might be thinking. Aren't quesadillas bad for you??

First off, I don't believe that there are any good or bad foods. But it can be true: quesadillas are basically cheese, some sort of protein and high fat toppings. Luckily, like most foods they can be healthified pretty easily! I'm not going to lie and say you won't notice the difference, but these dillas are still pretty darn good.

To healthify these bad boys I use the following:

  • Whole grain tortillas instead of regular flour tortillas. The calories are the same but the whole grains offer more fiber and nutrients.
  • Low fat Mexican cheese is subbed for regular cheese to reduce calories and saturated fat. Cheese is considered a protein and you will usually get a substantial amount from this dish, so I will usually omit any meat.
  • I add spinach to the dillas for nutrients, but any vegetables will do. I like spinach because it doesn't involve any prep and cooks quickly. (I wasn't lying about these being fast!)
  • Another way to healthify these is to use non-fat Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream as a topping. I grew up with sour cream (hi mom!) so they are essential to my quesadillas. Non-fat Greek yogurt tastes the same and adds a nutritious punch.

Super Easy Quesadilla

Serves 1

Total Time: 10 minutes (If not using chicken)

Ingredients

  • Fresh spinach
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (optional)
  • 2 Whole grain tortillas
  • Low fat Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Salsa

1. If you are using chicken, bake chicken breast in baking pan at 350 degrees for 35-40 min or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

2. Spray saute pan with Pam. Cook 1/2 bag of fresh spinach until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Put aside. 

3. Place 1 tortilla on same, freshly sprayed Saute pan. Top with Mexican cheese and spinach. Place second tortilla on top. Cook on medium heat.

4. Let the tortilla cook on each side for a few minutes until slightly browned.

5. Top with salsa, small amount of avocado and Greek yogurt.

6. Eat every last bit.