Spinach apple salad with dates in balsamic dressing

Spinach apple salad with dates in balsamic dressing

Whether you need a fancy salad for Thanksgiving or just something deliciously different this time of year, you’ll love this seasonal salad. It’s colorful, sweet and savory all at once.

I made this salad over the weekend for Homepage | Cancer Support Community in a live cooking demo. I’ve been doing demos for them for about 13 years and love the community.

All about that base:

Spinach makes a great base in this salad and provides beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin C to your diet. Arugula or kale could also be used if you’re out of spinach.

If you use kale as your base, be sure to “massage it” to wilt the texture a bit. The salad can be made a day or two ahead of time when using kale.

Get fruity:

I used honey crisp apples in my salad, but Granny Smith apples or even Barlett pears would go well. Apples or pears add soluble fiber to your salad; the type that lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. They also improve the color and texture of the salad.

Dates are technically not a “dried” fruit, but because of their wrinkly texture, people think they are. They paired nicely with the tart apples and tangy balsamic dressing. These Medjool dates were provided by https://www.naturaldelights.com. I’m a paid partner for the brand and stand by its quality. Medjool dates provide potassium and fiber and have a chewy, sweet texture.

Including some form of dried fruit will add a chewy texture to your salads in addition to more color. Raisins, dried cherries, chopped apricots or prunes would go well.

Get cheesy: 

I typically add a small amount of some type of cheese to my salads. This adds a little more dimension to the salad and savory cheese goes well with fruit. You can use blue cheese crumbles, feta cheese or shredded Parmesan. Or, keep the salad vegan and leave the cheese out!

Dress it up:

Making your own dressing is super simple and so much tastier than bottled dressing. I love the richness of balsamic vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would go well, too. This recipe makes 1/3 cup dressing, which is the perfect amount to dress your salad. Don’t drown your salad in dressing!

If you want to add a different twist, substitute ginger paste for Dijon mustard. This may make the dressing a little spicy and less tangy. A few red onion rings would add another layer of flavor to the salad if you have them on hand. Drizzle the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!


1 (10 oz) bag fresh spinach

2 honey crisp or another firm apple

1/3 cup chopped pecans

2 Medjool dates, chopped

2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

3 Tbsp. canola oil

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard


  1. Place the fresh spinach (or other greens) in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the chopped apples, dates, pecans and feta cheese.
  3. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard.
  4. Drizzle the dressing and toss to coat the salad right before serving.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 227 calories, 16.6 grams fat, 18.4 grams carbs, 3.3 grams protein, 4.4 grams fiber, 4.6 mg cholesterol, 97 mg sodium

#ad #paid #partnership #collaboration #sponsored #Medjooldates #dates #spinach #spinachsalad #naturaldelights #apples #cancerprevention #recipes @NDmedjooldates

Tasty Snack Review

Tasty Snack Review

In the world of bummer mail (bills, political candidate flyers and misspelled address labels), a box of new food samples is a welcome surprise in the middle of the week. Nothing makes a dietitian happier than receiving a gift pack of snack samples.

I received an assortment of delicious snacks from Bare Snacks, PopCorners Popped Corn Snacks, Off the Eaten Path and Stacy’s. In addition, the snacks were adorably packaged in a khaki picnic backpack complete with a wine bottle “side kick” pouch, plastic flutes and dinnerware. I thought this was a really original idea!

I’ve powered through the coconut and apple chips from Bare Snacks. Both are good sources of dietary fiber, with the coconut chips providing 5 grams per half cup serving and apple chips providing 4 grams in a 2/3 cup serving. The saturated fat content is a bit high with the coconut chips, but I think they’d make a great topping for yogurt or oatmeal given their crunchy texture.

The apple chips were sweet without additional added sugar. If you’re looking for something crunchy and sweet, these will fit the bill.

I also enjoyed the PopCorners Popped-Corn snacks. These are a great gluten-free option that’s much lower in fat than fried corn chips or tortilla chips. They weren’t outrageously high in sodium either, but missed the mark to be considered “low sodium” by about 40 mg per serving.

If you’re craving something a bit sweeter, their kettle corn chips have minimal added sugar and are low in sodium. Additionally, there’s just 4 ingredients in the chips. Their popped chips are never fried and don’t contain artificial flavors.

Another interesting snack was the hummus crisps by Off the Eaten Path. Lord knows I love that name! The rosemary and olive oil crisps are low in saturated fat and provide 4 grams of dietary fiber thanks to their chick pea and rice base. They also provide 2 grams of fiber per serving, which is better than nothing. Their black bean veggie crisps provide 4 grams of fiber per serving and have a rich, savory taste.

Stacy’s pita thins are always a welcome snack in my house. They’re savory and crunchy and go well with hummus or yogurt-based dips. I’ve also enjoyed them with a few hunks of good cheddar.

If you’re tired of the same old snacks or looking for something new, portable and healthy, I’d give these snacks a go! Thanks for the lovely surprise on my porch!

#samples #dietitian #productreview #noartificialcolor #snacking #snacks #snacktacular #poppedsnacks #offtheeatenpath #baresnacks #popcorners #poppedsnacks #stacys

@baresnacks @offtheeatenpathsnack @popcorners @stacys

Grape Oatmeal Cups from the Family Immunity Cookbook by Toby Amidor

Grape Oatmeal Cups from the Family Immunity Cookbook by Toby Amidor

I love when the recipe stars align and I have all the ingredients in my kitchen to whip up something new. And this was great timing as I’m always trying to get my teenage daughter to eat something (anything) for breakfast. I also get requests for “grab and go” types of items from clients.

These gluten-free, nut-free grape oatmeal cups from cookbook author and RD, Toby Amidor Nutrition  fit the bill. This recipe was taken with permission from her upcoming book The Family Immunity Cookbook- set to release at the end of October. Pre-order yours here: The Family Immunity Cookbook: 101 Easy Recipes to Boost Health: Amidor, Toby: 9780778806806: Amazon.com: Books

The beauty of this recipe is its simple ingredient combination as well as nutritional profile. Rolled oats are a whole grain that’s a good source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Sunflower seeds provide polyunsaturated fat, fiber and a bit of protein. Grapes are a source of pectin; a type of fiber that also helps reduce cholesterol.

Make them vegan

To make the recipe vegan or egg-free, you can substitute a flaxseed egg by whisking 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before adding to your favorite recipe. In this case, you’d need twice as much. Canola, avocado or olive oil could be used in place of butter in the recipe as well.

Family reviews

Not surprising, my teenage daughter liked the grape oatmeal cups because they weren’t overly sweet and had a chewy texture. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t care for them for the exact reasons. He prefers things a little sweeter and with a firmer texture.

I cut the recipe in half as there’s one less mouth to feed since my daughter left for college. The recipe made 9 muffins, but I could probably fill the muffin cups up a bit. A full recipe could yield a dozen and a half depending on high you fill the muffin cups. *

The recipe could be used for breakfast or a post-workout snack given its high complex carb content. Pair them with a glass of cold milk, hot coffee or your beverage of choice!

Below is the recipe and ingredients. Enjoy!

12-cup muffin pans lined with paper cups and coated with non-stick cooking spray. * (may need 2 pans)

3 cups gluten-free, large flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats               2 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds                                                          ¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp. baking powder                                                                              2 Tbsp. unalted butter, melted

1 tsp. ground cinnamon                                                                        1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups skim milk

1 ½ cups red or green seedless grapes, quartered

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, sunflower seeds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup, butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Fold in one cup of the grapes until evenly distributed.
  5. Using a ½ cup, scoop the batter into each of the 12 muffin cups. Tap the muffin pans a few times on the counter to release and air bubbles. Divide the remaining ½ cup grapes among the 12 cups.
  6. Bake until the edges of the oat cups are slightly browned and a tester inserted into one or two of the muffin cups comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before transferring the muffin cups to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Serves 6-9, 2 muffins each *

Food Pun Gifts! Summer21 Swag Sale

Food Pun Gifts! Summer21 Swag Sale

I’m scratching my head that it’s already August. How can this be? It feels like summer just started. Thyme for back to school shopping, including food pun swag! https://soundbitesnutrition.com/shop 

I’ve come up with a few new garden-themed items because my motto is “Eat more plants”. While I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I do prefer a plant-forward diet. I have a plant with every meal. We all should!

Most people think of eating more fruits and veggies, which is GREAT- please don’t stop that! But be sure to include whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds and fresh herbs in the mix. These have health benefits, too.

In honor of the lack of thyme in our lives, my husband and I created this latest tee design. We were literally just browsing and “killing time” in a store when this hit me. With Halloween coming up soon, how could we resist? You know we couldn’t. Here’s one of my favorite Halloween tees: Happy Guactober Unisex short sleeved T-Shirt | Sound Bites Nutrition

Now through Friday, Aug 6th, use code Summer21 for 21% off all food pun swag. What does that kind of discount look like? A typical food pun tee for $23.99 is now $18.95 (+tax and shipping). Still a bargain!

As always, part of proceeds go towards fighting food insecurity in Cincinnati. I’ve donated over $500 this year alone to various non-profits including Home Page – St. Francis Seraph MinistriesSt. Francis Seraph Ministries (sfsministries.org) and https://lasoupe.org

Check out over 35 food-inspired designs. There are a few others including our cicada themed tee and pandemic wear such as Quarantini and Don’t be shellfish. You’re sure to find gifts for all the foodies in your life.

Cherry season sale! Save on bada bing merch

Cherry season sale! Save on bada bing merch

Growing up, fruit was a seasonal thing. We ate apples in the fall, citrus fruit all winter and berries, melon and cherries in the summer. I would never dream of eating strawberries in February or oranges in July. Fruit is most nutritious, least expensive and best tasting when it’s in season.

These days, you can have just about ANY fruit you’d like any time of year- with the exception of a few fruits, including cherries. Cherries have a short growing season. The ones grown in the US blossom in April and are available in the summer months. They’re grown in nearby states like Michigan, which is considered a local product.

Cherries pack a nutritional punch being a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants such as polyphenols found in red grapes, blueberries and red wine. Cherries are known for anti-inflammatory properties, which may protects against arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

Cherries are versatile and can be eaten solo, added to salad, yogurt or made into delicious pie. The sky’s the limit!

Celebrate cherry season with me with some fun bada bing swag. Tell the world you’re a cherry fan!. Chews from totes, tees, mugs and onesies for little cherry fans. Sale ends Friday, July 16th at midnight.


The Complete Thyroid Cookbook- soon to be released!

The Complete Thyroid Cookbook- soon to be released!

As a registered dietitian, I’m very proud of the way I can help people. Dietitians are specifically trained to provide MNT (Medical Nutrition Therapy), which is a fancy way of saying, “there are certain diets that will benefit certain diseases”. Dietitians earn at minimum a 4-year degree, endure 1200 hours of supervised training and take a rigorous credentialing exam. We also have to have 75 hours of continuing education over 5 years.

Being able to counsel people with medical diagnosis separates us from health coaches, chiropractors or other non-licensed professionals. I like to say that RDs are the “Real Deal” when it comes to diet therapy.

This past year, I was offered a second opportunity to write a diet and disease related cookbook. My first cookbook focused on gout- a type of painful arthritis that’s more common in men, but is also linked with being overweight or obese. A diet that’s low in purines helps reduce the risk of gout attacks. Avoiding alcohol and excess sugar in your diet will also help. My book was well received and I was hopeful I’d get the chance to write again.

And, I did just that! My second cookbook is on managing thyroid disease. When people hear of thyroid disease, they often associate it with weight gain and hair loss, but there are other symptoms and concerns that can arise. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) may cause weight loss, arrhythmias and temperature dysregulation. Left untreated, it may cause heart damage.

The Complete Thyroid Cookbook contains diet restrictions that people may not be accustomed to, such as gluten-free and dairy free. It has 3 different elimination diet protocols. I provided research to support the advice of eliminating certain foods in order to improve symptoms and prevent complications of over- or under-active thyroid. This is Medical Nutrition Therapy and it’s not meant for those not dealing with thyroid disease.

  • Prepare to eat well―Find 85 affordable recipes for everything from dinner to sweets and snacks, with detailed meal plans for each diet.
  • No experience required―Even casual cooks will find everything they need for success with this thyroid cookbook full of clear instructions, shopping lists, and recipes that are quick to put together.

If you’re interested in the book for yourself, a friend or family member, you may pre-order it here: https://amzn.to/2RTsLU3

The book officially releases July 20. I hope you enjoy it!




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