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This blog is purely informational and not meant to take the place of individual medical nutrition therapy (MNT). For serious medical conditions, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. 

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Q: I'm tired of salads. How else can I eat vegetables?

A: Whether chilled, roasted, grilled, sauteed, or souped, making half your meal vegetables is easier than you think. Here are a few quick and easy recipes that are great for a busy night or for easy entertaining.

Fill half your plate with a variety of non-starchy vegetables for the following benefits:

  • You'll get a hearty dose of disease-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds to help you stay healthy longer.

  • The fiber will stabilize your blood sugar, manage your cholesterol, and help you feel full longer to prevent cravings (and extra calories) between meals.

  • Add volume to your meal without adding calories.

  • By filling up on vegetables, you can better control portions of the higher calorie foods in your meal.

Prepare your vegetables with a little bit of healthy fat like olive oil, nuts or seeds for even more health benefits. Not only do healthy fats protect your heart, but they also help manage hunger and cravings.

The recipes below are a few easy ways to add a variety of vegetables and plant foods to your plate.

Trying to have more plant-based or vegetarian meals? Enjoy all three recipes together for a well balanced plate:

  • The cheese and beans provide protein.

  • The quinoa is a whole grain filled with fiber, high energy carbs, and a little extra protein.

  • The tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, garlic, lemon and herbs provide a hearty dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

  • The sunflower seeds and olive oil are healthy fats.

  • All for 597 calories, 25g protein, 45g net carbs, 18g fiber and only 6g saturated fat

cucumber, chickpea, mint and feta

Marinated cucumber with chickpeas, feta and mint


1 cucumber, diced small

1 can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp fresh mint (or to taste), minced

¼ cup low fat feta

2 Tbsp olive oil

Juice from 1 lemon

Lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine cucumber, chickpeas, mint, and feta or sunflower seeds into a bowl.

  2. Mix olive oil and lemon juice and pour over vegetables.

  3. Salt and pepper to taste. Grate lemon peel and add the zest to the salad.

  4. Toss and chill before serving.

Yields 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): With Feta - Calories: 174; Total Fat 8g; Saturated Fat 1g; Sodium 264 mg; Total Carb 21g; Dietary Fiber 7g; Protein 7g

kale and quinoa

Kale and quinoa with chickpeas and sunflower seeds


1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

1 bunch of kale, stems removed torn, cut into thin strips

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds

Lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute garlic, careful not to brown it.

  3. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 the lemon into the pan, then add the kale and cook until tender (kale will greatly reduce in volume). Save the lemon to zest later.

  4. Once the kale is tender, add the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds. Combine ingredients and take off the heat.

  5. Grate the lemon peel and add the zest, salt and pepper to the pan. Squeeze the remaining lemon over the mixture.

  6. Toss and serve warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Yields 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 314; Total Fat 13g; Saturated Fat 2g; Sodium 239mg; Total Carb 40g; Dietary Fiber 11g; Protein 13g

caprese salad, tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella

Caprese side salad with fresh mozzarella pearls


1 10 oz package grape tomatoes

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls (or use fresh mozzarella diced into bite-sized pieces)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice each grape tomato in half and add to serving bowl.

  2. Slice basil into very thin strips.

  3. Combine tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella in serving bowl.

  4. In small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar and honey, then add to the salad.

  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Toss and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Yields 8 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 109; Total Fat 8g; Saturated Fat 3; Sodium 122 mg; Total Carb 2; Dietary Fiber 0; Protein 5g

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