Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chicken Waldorf Salad

This no-cook salad is perfect for a quick dinner on a hot night. Serve over your favorite greens or on whole grain bread or a wrap. Plan ahead and bake or grill extra chicken for a “planned-over”. Forget to plan ahead? Grab a chilled rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead.


Greek yogurt is used in the recipe to reduce fat and calories. It adds creamy texture and a tangy flavor with no added fat for a fraction of what real mayonnaise would provide. Lots of summer salads use liberal amount of real mayonnaise, which can really add up. Did you know that 1 Tbsp of mayo has 100 calories and 11 grams of fat? Often clients will tell me that they don’t like “light” or “low fat” mayo or Miracle Whip. We all have different taste buds, but I have found most like the canola or olive oil mayonnaise varieties better. They provide the healthy monounsaturated fats and about half of the fat and calories of regular mayo. Still not convinced? If you go with the real deal, less is best.


Chicken Waldorf Salad

Makes 6 servings (1 cup serving)



3 cups cooked chicken breast, chilled and diced

1 apple, diced

1 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup craisins

¼ cup 0% plain greek yogurt

2 Tbsp low fat mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

Pepper to taste



  1. Mix first five ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  3. Add mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture, flavor with salt and pepper.
  4. Chill for at least 15 minutes. Serve on salad greens or use as sandwich filling.


Nutrition Facts:

150 calories, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 12 g protein, 170 mg sodium

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Berry Yogurt Pops

Summer is here and nothing tastes better than a cold treat to cool off on a hot day. Creemes, soft serve, and ice cream are readily available, but are high in fat and calories making them a better choice for the occasional treat. These smoothie pops are healthy and taste great. Made from real fruit and fat free Greek yogurt they are something you can feel good about eating.


Greek yogurts come in a variety of flavors and can vary a lot in the amount of added sugar. Some are available in “light” which means an artificial sweetener is used- this can be helpful if you have diabetes or are following a low carb diet. Use the label to find the brand with the least amount of sugar. If you go with “plain” expect a tart flavor, but you can add your favorite sweetener as needed.


I bought a fancy popsicle mold last year on clearance and finally got to use it. Don’t have a mold? Paper cups with plain popsicle sticks work just as well! You can mix up the types of fruit and flavors of yogurt for many combinations. Experiment to find which one you like best!


Berry Yogurt Pops

Makes 8 pops



1.5 cups 0% vanilla greek yogurt (2 6oz containers)

1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries

1 banana



  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed. (You may need to add a few Tbsp of water to make it blend)
  2. Pour into popsicle mold or ½ cup of mixture into paper cups with popsicle stick.
  3. Place in freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours.


Nutrition Facts: 1 popsicle

40 calories, 0 g fat, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 3 g protein


 What awesome flavor creations can you come up with? 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cranberry Pumpkin Chia Granola

Granola has become ever-popular in the last decade. What was once considered food for “tree huggers” has now become mainstream. Granola can be a healthy food, but not are created equal. Making your own granola is super easy and is much less expensive than those sold in stores. 


Plus you get to personalize it to your tastes and nutritional needs. Need to watch your sugar intake? Try splenda brown sugar instead of maple syrup or honey. Need gluten free? Start with gluten-free oats. Hate cinnamon? Leave it out. The possibilities are endless. I never know exactly what I’m going to put in my granola, but typically have a good variety of nuts, seeds, some dried fruits, and either flax or chia. You can make it as simple or as complex as you wish.


Granola is a perfect topping for your favorite yogurt or can be enjoyed with milk or favorite milk alternative. Portions are key with granola because it is a higher calorie choice (1/4 cup is a serving vs. ¾ to 1 cup of most cereals). Trying to watch your weight or calories? Add a handful of granola to your favorite unsweetened whole grain cereal instead of having a whole bowl of it.


Cranberry, Pumpkin and Chia Granola

Makes 10 servings (1/4 cup serving)



2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)

2 Tbsp real maple syrup

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 Tbsp water

½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 Tbsp chia seeds

½ cup dried cranberries (or low sugar Craisins)



  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together except cranberries in a large bowl.
  3. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring one or two times during cooking.
  4. Remove from oven, add dried cranberries and allow to cool. When completely cooled place in plastic baggies or Ball canning jars.


Nutrition Facts: ¼ cup:

150 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 70 mg sodium


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Zucchini "Pizzas"

Warning: I am no way calling this a "substitute" for pizza. I am a pizza and flatbread lover so the comparison is hard to make, but it is a great quick side for dinner or a great snack. It's easy... slice up a large zucchini, top with your favorite sauce and cheese, and bake. Naturally this recipe is perfect for those following a low carb or gluten-free diet.

The flavors are pretty versatile depending on what cheese and toppings you put on them. Pictured below is a Mexican-inspired tofu dish, so I went with a mild tomato sauce and Mexican cheese (I would have used salsa but I ran out). If you are serving an Italian dish I would go with a garlic marinara or pesto with fresh get the point!

Prepping meals for lunches for the week saves me time and money. If you have a big family and won't have leftovers plan to make a double batch, they hold up well!

Zucchini "Pizzas"
Makes 4 servings

1 large zucchini
1 cup low sodium marinara sauce
1 cup shredded low fat Mexican cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and thinly slice (should get 4 slices per half).
3. Top with 2 Tbsp sauce and 2 Tbsp shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese melts and starts to brown.
4. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts: 2 pieces per serving
140 calories, 7 grams fat, 3 g saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 400 mg sodium

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

As many of you may know, I LOVE buffalo sauce. Yes I put it on eggs, sandwiches, salads and pretty much everything else in between. Sadly, I had never made a buffalo chicken pasta salad. Boy, was I missing out! This dish has a little bit of crunch (thanks to the carrots and celery) and is perfect for the summer. It will stand apart from the more tradition summer pasta salads at the dinner table or next summer picnic. The spiciness can be adjusted based on your taste preferences. Best of all it is quick and easy to make and can be made the day before. If you are super short on time you can use a rotisserie chicken instead of grilling or baking your own.  

Most pasta salads are laden with mayonnaise or dressings and can feel really heavy for a summer meal. I lightened this one up by using a small amount of light mayo and some olive oil, and relying mostly on buffalo sauce for the flavor. Sprinkling blue cheese crumbles on top gives it a lot of flavor without adding a heavy blue cheese dressing. Using whole wheat or high fiber white pasta gives this dish the fiber power to keep you feeling full. 

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
Makes 12 servings

1 pound whole wheat pasta (some favorites: elbows, penne, spirals)
½ cup Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup canola or light mayonnaise 
1 cup diced carrots 
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups cooked and diced chicken breast
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
Black pepper, to taste

  1. Cook pasta as directed. Drain and run under cold water. 
  2. Mix in a small bowl: the hot sauce, garlic and onion powder, olive oil, and light mayonnaise and set aside. 
  3. Combine the pasta, carrots, celery and chicken in a large bowl. Pour hot sauce mixture over the top and stir well. 
  4. Sprinkle blue cheese on top and chill for at least 20 minutes. Serve cold.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (~1 cup) 
260 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated), 31 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 17 g protein, 450 mg sodium