March means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it’s March Madness (basketball season). For others, it’s the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
For dietitian neRDs like me, it’s National Nutrition Month! For a full month, dietitians, students, NDTRs, interns and other foodies celebrate what we love most- FOOD and health.
To help celebrate this momentous month, I’m having a 20% off food pun swag sale. Use NNM at check out and take 20% off your order. I’ve got mugs, totes, onesies and tees to fit any budget (or size). Over 25 designs to pick- all puns came from my nutritious neRD brain.
My mission is to give back to hunger-related programs including La Soupe Cincinnati and Cooking for the Family – Cooking Class in CincinnatiSt. Francis Seraph Ministries (sfsministries.org) 25% of proceeds go to these programs to fight food insecurity.
These make great gifts for friends and colleagues or for contests and giveaways. Take a look and have a laugh! https://soundbitesnutrition.com/shop This Pho goetta ’bout it tote was inspired by pho and goetta- a German breakfast meat made of pin oats and pork!
One of the perks of being a “seasoned” dietitian is having food companies reach out to provide products for us to try. It’s a great way for us to “try before we buy” as well as have recommendations for the clients we see. While I’m seeing clients via Zoom and not in a typical office these days, it’s a bit harder to give them a free sample, but I can send coupons in the mail or provide recommendations on email or my blog, as I’m doing now.
Right around Christmas time, I received a box of Keto nut and seed and granola bars by Munk Pack. It’s a company out of Greenwich Connecticut with THE most adorable logo of a chipmunk. As a cat fan, I have a thing for small furry animals.
Beyond the cute packaging, the bars are very tasty and comply with a lower carb/keto diet if that’s what you’re looking for. I have several clients with pre-diabetes and diabetes that these bars would be perfect for. The carb count is 12 to 15 grams per bar, but once fiber and allulose (sweetener) is subtracted, most bars provide 2 to 3 grams of net carbs. Ironically, the bars also contain monk fruit extract as a sweetening agent. Holy cow, there’s a whole new marketing angle there!
From a calorie stand point- most of the bars run between 140 to 150 calories, which is great for a between meal snack or sweet treat after dinner. They are low in sodium with less than 100 mg per bar in most and provide between 3 to 6 grams of fiber and 5 to 6 grams protein per bar. The bars rely on allulose as a sweetener, which is and FDA approved, low-calorie sweetener. Read more here: What is allulose? Health benefits and possible risks (medicalnewstoday.com)
The saturated fat on a few of the bars (chocolate and coconut based) were a bit higher (10-15% of the Daily Value) than the nut and seed bars (such as pecan almond and pumpkin seed cinnamon almond) which provide 8 to 10% of the Daily Value. The bars are non-GMO and do not contain sugar alcohols, which can be poorly absorbed.
For those looking for a gluten-free option, this is a great option. Munk bars are also cholesterol-free, but again- watch the saturated fat content on some varieties.
The bars are available at Walmart Super Stores, Whole Foods, Amazon or the Munk Pack web site. You can find more information on the company here: Munk Pack | Keto Bars | Keto Snacks | Vegan Protein Cookies
Now that the weather is warming up (slightly), I’m in more of a mood for salad than soup. It’s still winter in Ohio, but I can pretend it’s spring. I recently received a lovely sample box of pears from USA pears and couldn’t wait until they got ripe enough to eat. They’re the pearfect treat for this food-loving dietitian.
Pears are not only beautiful (I have a collection of pear art and trinkets), they’re nutritious and delicious. A natural source of fiber, pears provide over 5 grams of dietary fiber in 1 medium piece of fruit. Adult men need roughly 38 grams of fiber daily while women should aim for at least 25 grams. Be good to your colon and eat that fiber!
In addition to fiber, pears are a source of phytochemicals- plant compounds that help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. They’re a versatile fruit that can be eaten by themselves or used in baked goods to reduce the amount of added sugar. Use 1/2 cup of pear puree for 1 cup of added sugar. You’ll need to adjust recipes a bit as pears and other fruit adds moisture to your recipes.
Here are a few ways to enjoy pears:
- “Pear” them with low-fat cottage cheese for a quick breakfast or snack.
- Top your breakfast oats with chopped pears.
- Slice or dice them and include in your salad.
- Try pears in a compote for meat or fish.
- Eat them with a side of nuts and blue cheese and pretend you’re in France.
Below is the recipe for my lunch!
Chicken and fresh pear salad with dried cherries and almonds
2 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or bagged kale salad
2-3 ounces cooked chicken or turkey
1 ripe D’Anjou or other fresh pear
1/4 cup almond slivers
1 Tbsp. dried cherries
1 tsp. blue cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Place the greens in a salad bowl.
- Add the chicken to the greens.
- Rinse, dry and cut the pears into chunks and add them to the salad
- Top with almond slivers, dried cherries and blue cheese crumbles.
- Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard to make a vinaigrette.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and eat!
Makes 1 pearfectly delicious lunch.
Truth be told, we don’t watch much sports here. My husband was never one of those guys that knew when the “big game” was on or could carry a conversation about football to save his life. I grew up with 3 sisters and a brother that ran track, but beyond catching a little bit of the Brown’s game on Sundays with my dad, we just didn’t watch much football. Sad but true.
But alas- here we are. The big game is on today! It’s Super Bowl Sunday! In a house where food trumps sports, I’ll have a souper bowl Sunday instead. This seems appropriate as it’s about 20 degrees in the Queen city today. Soup just feels right.
As you may have read my other posts, you know I despise food waste. I try to limit how much I cook, but we inevitably end up with leftovers. Recently, a friend passed on a 20 lb turkey she had frozen for Thanksgiving and didn’t use. Twenty pounds of turkey is A LOT for a family of four. We cooked it, ate what we could and froze the rest.
I made some potatoes along with it, but my girls must not have been in a potato mood. You never know with teenagers. I opted for boiled, seasoned potatoes over mashed and they weren’t buying them. More leftovers to use!
If you’ve got an Instant pot, this soup is a snap. You can use leftover chicken if you don’t have turkey on hand. Any vegetables will do, but I almost always start with mirepoix- onions, celery and carrots. Recipe below:
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 cup leftover turkey or chicken, cut into 1″ chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt/pepper to taste
- Set your Instant pot setting to sautee and cook the onions, carrots and celery for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the Italian seasoning to coat the vegetables.
- Change the setting to soup and add the turkey, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and chicken stock.
- Close the lid, set the pot to airtight and let the soup cook. Release the steam when done and serve.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Soup should be eaten within 3 days or frozen.
Makes 6 servings.
In search of something different to make, I sought my spice rack for inspiration. When the weather dips below 30 degrees, soup is always welcome in my house.
I made this vegan bean soup in my Instant Pot, but it can easily be made on the stove. The only spices I used were Cajun spice (Old Bay or other brand will do) and dried thyme. My daughter dislikes cooked carrots, so I left them out and used diced orange peppers instead for color.
You can add diced tomatoes to the soup, too- but I used tomato sauce instead since I was out of tomatoes. If you prefer more protein in your soup, try diced chicken or turkey, shrimp or turkey kielbasa. The soup was really delicious without meat. I add garlic later when I cook it to prevent it from browning too much.
This soup is a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber from the veggies and beans. If you’re concerned about sodium, use low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, or reduce it further by using water for broth. You won’t be disappointed.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, cleaned and chopped
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp. Cajun spice seasoning
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 clove garlic, mined
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini or other white bean (Navy, Great Northern), drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Place your Instant Pot on sautee mode and add the oil.
- Sautee the onions, celery and peppers for 3 minutes, then add the Cajun seasoning and thyme.
- Coat the vegetables in seasoning, then add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot to soup mode and add the beans, tomato sauce, and broth.
- Close the lid of the pot, lock the release valve and let the soup cook until the cycle is complete.
- Release the steam and eat!
Makes 6 servings.