Healthy Game Day Food Swaps

With football season in full swing, I thought for today’s post I would offer you some healthy food swaps to incorporate into your next game day party! Don’t think for one minute that by making a few healthier versions of your favorite snacks that you’ll be sacrificing flavor. These ideas are still very delicious and can be a great addition to the next time you’re cheering on your favorite team!

  • Homemade Dips. Rather than purchasing pre-made vegetable, spinach, or artichoke dips, why not make your own! By making your own dips, you’re able to have more control of the ingredient list, thus eliminating added fillers and preservatives that are often times found in pre-made, packaged foods to preserve shelf life.
    • Simply swap nonfat Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise or sour cream that the recipe typically calls for, and you’ve already got yourself a delicious protein packed version of your favorite dips without sacrificing flavor.
    • Making healthier versions of artichoke or spinach dips is another great way to consume additional veggies throughout the day. Both spinach and artichokes are nutrient powerhouses containing an excellent amount of dietary fiber as well as vitamins A, K, and C (I touch upon the health benefits of several different vitamins and minerals throughout previous blog posts, so feel free to check them out! 🙂 ).
  • Oven baked buffalo chicken wings. We know that consuming too many fried foods on a regular basis can be detrimental to our health, so instead of ordering wings for your next party, bake your own at home by purchasing a bag of frozen all natural chicken wings and seasoning yourself! There are many simple recipes for baking your own wings at home, which I will link to our Pinterest page. Baking your own wings will help limit additional unhealthy fats from the oils in which the wings are fried.
  • Cauliflower buffalo bites. These are very simple to make and a great way to sneak in extra vegetables for the day. As I stated in my last post, cauliflower has a very neutral taste, thus making it very versatile in cooking. Simply wash and dry a head of cauliflower, break apart into florets and coat with a drizzle of olive oil, hot sauce, or whatever spices you enjoy and roast in the oven until desired crispiness! Not only will you have a crowd-pleasing side dish to munch on during the game, but you’ll also be serving a dish packed with healthful nutrients like vitamins A and K and minerals calcium and phosphorous!
  • Homemade guacamole. Avocado, the main ingredient in guacamole, is known to contain a variety of healthful nutrients like potassium and vitamins K, C, and E, in addition to being a great source of monounsaturated fat, which may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and decrease risk for heart disease. When eaten in a moderate amount, avocados can help your body properly absorb the nutrients from other nutritious foods eaten with avocado, due to its high healthy fat content. If you have the ingredients: lime juice, cilantro, garlic, diced tomato, onion, salt, pepper, then you’ve got yourself everything you need to make your own guacamole!
  • Homemade chips. To pair with your homemade dips, you can even make your own chips by baking fresh pita or whole grain tortilla wraps. Simply slice into triangles, brush your ‘chips’ with a little olive oil sprinkle with a little sea salt, and bake at 350 degrees until desired crunchiness!
  • Make-your-own tacos/taco salad. This can be another easy and healthy idea to have at your football party! Simply set out your typical taco ingredients, and let your guests do the work! 🙂 Taco filling ideas to have available include cooked ground beef or turkey, shredded lettuce, salsa, chopped onion, fresh chopped tomatoes, and shredded cheese. This is another place where you can swap plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and where you can use your homemade chips and guacamole!
  • Muffin-tin crab cakes. Finally for all those Baltimore Ravens and MD crab cake fans, this easy muffin-tin crab cakes recipe is for you and a must at your next football party!

I hope you enjoyed these ideas and will incorporate a few of them into your next football party!

Go Team!



American Heart Association. (2015, September). An avocado a day may keep bad cholesterol at bay. Heart Insight Magazine. Retrieved from:

WebMD. (2004). A little fat helps the vegetables go down. Retrieved from:

*As always, please discuss any questions or concerns with your medical physician regarding your health, as the information I provide is based on my own research and experiences and should not replace any medical advice.

Easy and Creative Ways to Add Vegetables to Your Diet

It is common knowledge that we need to eat vegetables daily to help ensure that we are consuming a healthy, nutritious diet with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet because of their high nutrient and vitamin profile.  Therefore, eating vegetables help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases while also ensuring we’re fueling our bodies with adequate vitamins and minerals which all have different positive benefits for the body. However, I know for some, it can be difficult to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and in fact, the overall population tends to fall short in meeting what is recommended to consume on a daily basis.

Recommendations on the number of servings of vegetables and fruits you should aim to consume per day varies based on your total caloric consumption (i.e. age, gender, weight, activity level), but as a general rule of thumb, the USDA advises filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. For today’s post, I’m going to focus specifically on vegetables and how you can easily and creatively incorporate more into your diet!

  • Vegetable noodles. A great alternative to eating spaghetti/pasta is using a spiralizer to make zucchini or squash noodles! They taste very similar to actual noodles; just simply swapping out half of your serving with zucchini noodles will help to increase your vegetable consumption, and you won’t hardly even notice! Zucchini can even be thinly sliced to make an easy zucchini lasagna. It may sound daunting and time consuming, but there are plenty of easy recipes (see our Pinterest page for ideas!) out there. 🙂
  • Add veggies to tomato sauce. Serving pasta or spaghetti? You can easily add cooked spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, etc. into your tomato sauce. It’s an easy way to add in an extra serving with minimal effort! Another alternative to regular spaghetti is spaghetti squash! It’s filled with nutrients like beta carotene and fiber.  See our Pinterest page for how to cook spaghetti squash and easy recipes!
  • “Mashed potatoes and rice.” Cauliflower is extremely versatile and can be mashed/blended to replicate mashed potatoes! Cauliflower has a very neutral taste, similar to potatoes, so with a few simple seasoning additions like sea salt, pepper and a little butter, you have yourself a creative vegetable serving added to your day! Again, as I stated before, even just swapping in half the mashed cauliflower with your mashed potatoes is an easy way to sneak in a vegetable serving.
    • Cauliflower can also be made into rice. Using a food processor, process a head of cauliflower until it turns into the consistency of rice. Sautéing it in a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper can serve as a tasty alternative to your typical rice dish. Trader Joe’s also sells cauliflower rice in their freezer section if you’d rather purchase it instead. 🙂
  • Spinach. Spinach can be added to smoothies. Even though it will turn the smoothie green, it’s tasteless but will give you that additional veggie serving for the day! Add spinach (or other veggies of course!) to omelets as well, as a simple way to increase your vegetable consumption.
  • Pile on the veggies. Add extra vegetables to your sandwiches or wraps like shredded carrots, sliced beets, tomato slices, cucumbers, onion, spinach, peppers etc.! There are many options for the type of vegetables you can add, and it will add a nice flavor addition to your meal.
    • Making or ordering pizza? Add on extra vegetables! You can even puree the more starchy vegetables like carrots or butternut squash, and use it as a sauce on your pizza crust or as a spread on your sandwich or wrap.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! There are many ways to add vegetables into your diet.   With a little creativity (but little extra effort), you’ll find yourself eating more vegetables and enjoying them in no time!



USDA. (2015). My plate. Retrieved from:

USDA & HHS. (2010). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. Retrieved from:

Overnight Oats

Today, I wanted to piggyback off my “Hectic to Healthy: How to Jump Start Your Day in a Healthy Way” post and provide you with a few simple yet delicious Overnight Oats options!

This is an excellent way to ensure that you’re eating a nutritious breakfast that can be prepped in just a few short minutes the night before! Using Old Fashioned Oats where the only ingredient is 100% whole grain rolled oats will not only benefit your health but your wallet as well! For example, a 42oz canister of Quaker old-fashioned rolled oats will typically cost you roughly $3.99 with about 30 servings per canister (buying store-brand such as Market Pantry at Target or Giant brand will save you even more and it’s the same ingredient list!). A box of Quaker flavored oatmeal packets 8ct will typically cost you anywhere from $2.50 to $4.99. So, as you can see, you will get more meals for less money out of purchasing simply rolled oats, compared to single serving packets. Also, by purchasing plain oats, you’re eliminating the added sugars and fillers found in oatmeal-flavored packets, and your options are endless with the different flavor combinations and add-ins you can make!

Before I delve into the makings of overnight oats, I wanted to highlight a few of the benefits of 100% whole grain rolled oats and why it can make a great healthy option for breakfast!

  • Oats are a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. A typical ½ cup serving will contain about 4 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate, passes through your body slowly, which in turn helps keep you feeling full longer. Some benefits of including an adequate amount of fiber in your diet include lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol) and helping control blood sugar levels.
  • 100% whole grain rolled oats are rich in several minerals (did you read my previous post on the mineral, calcium? :)) including iron, zinc, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
  • With 5 grams of protein for ½ cup serving, 100% rolled old-fashioned oats are a good source of protein too! The protein content can be increased if made with milk instead of water as well.

So now that we have a better understanding of the health benefits of oats, it’s time for the fun part:

Overnight Oats

I hesitate to call these recipes since making overnight oats is SO SIMPLE with endless healthy options, so I will simply break down the steps and offer you a few healthy flavor enhancers and add-ins to try!

  • The general rule of thumb is to have a 1:1 ratio so 1 part rolled oats to 1 part liquid. For example, ½ cup of rolled oats to ½ cup of water or milk. If you like thicker oatmeal use less liquid and vice versa for thinner oats.
  • Once you add your oats and water/milk to a large cup, bowl, or mason jar, add fresh or frozen fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, banana slices, or apples. Fruit will increase the fiber content in addition to enhancing the vitamin and mineral amount as well!
  • Add healthy fats like nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, pecans), nut butters (i.e. almond, coconut), or seeds such as chia seeds or sunflower seeds. Adding healthy fats will help keep you feeling satiated longer after your meal and can help reduce your risk of bad cholesterol while also maintaining the functioning of your body’s cells.
  • If you want to add sweetness to your oats, some healthy options include natural flavor extracts such as vanilla, almond, or banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of honey or maple syrup, stevia, or no sugar added jam.
  • Other healthy add-ins can include greek yogurt which will add more protein and calcium to your breakfast while also increasing the volume and thickness of the oats or pumpkin puree which is packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene and Vitamin A!
  • Finally, give everything a good stir or add ingredients layer by layer starting with the oats, liquid, then add-ins and place in your refrigerator overnight!

Now, of course, if you have more time in the morning, you can opt to cook oats on the stove or in your microwave, but making overnight oats is an excellent breakfast option when crunched for time in the mornings or for when you simply don’t want to make breakfast!

Bon appétit!



Nutrition and healthy eating. (2012). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from:

Healthy benefits of Oatmeal. (2015). Dairy Council of California. Retrieved from:

Bone Health & Calcium Rich Foods

Today’s topic will focus on calcium and bone health! It can be intimating to hear about so many vitamins and minerals we’re suppose to consume within our diets. To keep it simple, eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods is the easiest way to ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.

So, today I wanted to touch upon one of the main minerals-calcium. There are two groups of essential minerals that your body needs to thrive: trace and major minerals. Trace minerals are those that the body requires in small quantities for normal function, such as zinc and iron, whereas major minerals are those that are required in large amounts. Despite the differences in the amounts we need, trace and major minerals are equally as vital for our bodies to function optimally. Calcium is classified as MAJOR, as it’s the most abundant mineral within the body.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that calcium is good for your bones. Not only is it good for your bones, but it is necessary for SO MANY other important functions within your body as well. Some of these functions include:

  • Muscle movement
  • Bone strength
  • Blood flow throughout the body
  • Hormone and enzyme release
  • Message delivery by nerves between the brain and all body parts

These processes that are constantly occurring throughout our body without us even knowing are incredibly important for our bodies to function healthily. Another fun fact about calcium is that almost all calcium is stored in our bones AND our teeth.

Okay, so now that we know how many great things calcium does for our bodies, let’s discuss what foods contain calcium. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to stick to natural sources of calcium. I personally believe natural sources are ideal for calcium absorption, but calcium is also commonly consumed from foods that have been fortified with calcium as well such as some cereals or fruit juices.

Naturally Occurring Calcium Rich Foods

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese top the list as the best sources of calcium, but this doesn’t have to be your only source, especially for those who are lactose-intolerant. Surprisingly, vegetables such as leafy greens (i.e. kale, broccoli, turnips, bok choy, and cabbage) all contain a good source of calcium as well. Almonds (my personal favorite), fruits like oranges and figs (yum!), and legumes including white beans and black-eyed peas all include an adequate amount of calcium. Finally, canned seafood, in particular salmon and sardines, are an excellent source of calcium.

Do you any of these foods sound appealing to you?

Are they already apart of your diet?

Get creative in the kitchen and try incorporating some of these calcium rich foods into your diet today!

*As a reminder, I encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your health, as the information I provide should not replace any medical advice. I write based on my own personal research and experiences. 🙂


National Institutes of Health. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from:

WedMD, LLC. (2014). Super Foods for your Bones. Retrieved from:

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Today I wanted to focus on SHOPPING in particular, food shopping! One of my favorite things to do ☺. It can sometimes be a little overwhelming at the store with so many different options. We walk in and are bombarded with a plethora of choices which may either make us want to pull our hair out or simply just grab the first things we see without much thought to the process. The last thing we want to do is take the time to read the food labels to determine the most nutritious items because who has time for that, right? Well, with just a few simple tweaks to your weekly (or bi-weekly) shopping trip, your shopping trip can be enjoyable AND healthy.


I always have a list of things I need to get at the grocery store with me when I shop. Without one, I KNOW I’ll forget things that I need and will end up having to run back to the store. An easy way to keep track of things you need, is to create a list on your phone and add to it when you run out of something. That way you’re not scrambling around last minute trying to remember what you need or don’t need. You can even take it a step further and plan ahead your meals, so it’ll give you a better idea of exactly what you’ll need.

BONUS TIP: To save money, CLIP COUPONS! It takes just a few minutes to scan through your weekly Sunday ads and clip coupons of items you know you use. Some grocery stores will double the savings of your manufacture coupons too! Overtime, these few extra minutes can lead to A LOT of money saved. Don’t forget to check your grocery store’s weekly ad too. Typically the new weekly sales begin on Fridays.


Fresh wholesome foods are always located on the perimeter of the store. Here is where you are able to find fresh fruits, veggies, dairy, meat, and fish. The center isles are typically where the more processed foods that may contain additives and artificial ingredients are located. However, all food is energy (calories=energy) and moderation is key to having a healthy, balanced diet; so although some foods may be more processed than others, it shouldn’t be viewed as off-limits or ‘bad.’ This leads me to my next tip.


Here is where you will be able to determine an item’s serving size, caloric total, nutrient breakdown (i.e. fats, proteins, carbs) and the vitamins & minerals (i.e. vitamin A, C, calcium) of what you’re buying. A good ‘rule of thumb’ is to limit high sodium, cholesterol, sugar, saturated and trans-fat foods while looking for more fiber, vitamin (i.e. A, E,C), mineral (potassium, calcium, iron) rich foods. I will save ‘how to read a nutrition label’ for another post!

Some ideas in case you feel lost in regard to great protein, carb, and fats include but are not limited to:
-PROTEIN include: lean meats, skinned poultry, legumes, nuts, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs (and egg whites), seafood, tofu
-CARBOHYDRATES include: vegetables, fruits, oatmeal (i.e. rolled, steel cut, old fashioned, oat bran), potatoes (i.e red, white, sweet), 100% whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, beans, quinoa, rice
-FATS: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, peanut and almond butters, nuts and seeds, cheese


The shorter the list of ingredients the better. Limit the amount of food items you eat that contain ingredients in which you cannot pronounce. If we cannot recognize the ingredient, our bodies will not either.

Healthy eating does NOT have to be boring. Don’t be afraid to try different foods; variety is the spice of life!