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Nutrition Tip of the Week

Nutrition Tip of the Week 2016

Below are the nutrition tips from 2016.

December 2016

Week of December 19

Fitness Through the Holidays!

Don't forget about your fitness this holiday season! Here are some ideas to help you fit more physical activity into your day. Even just 10 minutes of exercise can blast 100 calories!

  • Look for short periods of time (at least 10 minutes) during the day in which you can do some physical activity.
  • Do a 10 minute interval workout.
    • Alternate the following exercises for the first 30 seconds of each minute followed by 30 seconds of rest.
      • Pushups
      • Sit-up's
      • Planks
      • Burpees
      • Jumping jacks
      • Stairs
      • Walk/Run in Place
      • Lunges
      • Squats
      • Tricep dips
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot when at the store, mall or work.
  • Be active during lunchtime! If you bring your lunch to work, you may have time to take a brisk walk.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get your family to exercise with you. It's a fun way to spend some quality time together.
  • Keep a daily log; this can help you see where you can fit in more physical activity.

Week of December 12

Holiday Dip Ideas

Need some lower calorie/healthier dips to bring to your holiday party? Check these three out below!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dip

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (or crunchy!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Blend! Serve with sliced apples, celery!

Greek Yogurt Vegetable Dip

  • 18-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt (plain flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Mix and store in fridge. Serve with chopped veggies.
  2. Sprinkle some green onions on top to add some pop!

Holiday Cheese Ball (Kelly's favorite!)


  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cheese spread
  • 2 tablespoon green pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoon onion, diced
  • 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 -1 cup Grapenut nuggets


Mix all ingredients (except Grapenuts) and form into a ball. Roll cheese ball in Grapenuts. Chill before serving. Serve with whole grain crackers. (I like Kashi).


(1 tablespoon): 32 calories, 2 gram fat, 2 gram carbs, 1 gram fiber, 2
gram protein, 87 mg sodium. Recipe yields 32 tablespoons.

Kelly Devine Rickert

Week of December 5

Planning on bringing an app to your next holiday party? Try one of these six quick but healthy recipes! Let me know how they turn out!

  1. Brushetta - In a bowl combine, 1.5 cups soft sun-dried tomatoes or freshly diced tomatoes, 6 basil leaves chopped, 3 tsp. minced garlic, 1/8 cup olive oil and toss, sprinkle sea salt and cracked pepper. Spoon onto whole grain crackers (Triscuts, Kashi, whole wheat baguettes, etc.).
  2. Hummus and veggies/crackers - Check out this recipe for a fantastic tasting hummus or in a pinch? I recommend Cedar's Point Hummus, has zero additives and only 40 calories a serving. Pair with sliced peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc.
  3. Shrimp and dip. Full of protein. Check out this shrimp platter twist recipe!
  4. Green Chile and Goat Cheese Dip (This looks wonderful, haven't tried but plan to this season!) Check out recipe for more information!
  5. 5 Spice Pistachio Nuts -Ingredients:
    6 tablespoons orange juice
    6 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
    4 teaspoons kosher salt
    6 cups unsalted pistachios
    Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F. Whisk orange juice, five-spice powder and salt in a large bowl. Add pistachios; toss to coat. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
  6. Popcorn...with a twist! Pop 1/2 cup kernels in air popper (or for quick microwave options, place 1/4 cup kernels in a brown paper bag, fold down twice and place on popcorn setting. Repeat as many times as you need for desired amount of popcorn. Combine 4 tsp. white truffle oil, 2 tbsp. dried parsley, or basil, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Toss and coat popcorn!(Other oils to use: coconut oil, olive or canola oil, with other spice variations: Cajun seasonings, garlic, pepper, Mrs. Dash, you name it!)


Devine Nutrition

November 2016

Week of November 28

Did you overindulge during the Thanksgiving holiday? Below are various ways in which to burn 100 calories! Aim to burn at least 300 in a workout, five days week if you can!

Ways to burn 100 calories:

  • 15 minutes of an aerobics class
  • Elliptical machine (arms and legs) for 12 minutes
  • Walking or running 1 mile
  • Biking for 20 minutes
  • Rake those leftover leaves from fall for 20 minutes
  • Life weights for 20-30 minutes
  • Playing tennis for 20 minutes
  • Play Wii boxing or tennis for 20 minutes
  • Swim laps for 12 minutes
  • Running Stairs for 6 minutes
  • Yoga for 20 minutes
  • Jump rope for 9 minutes
  • Dance class (or just dance!) for 9 minutes
  • Cleaning the house for 30 minutes

Week of November 21

Avoiding Weight Gain Around Finals!

Like most college kids, the time around finals can take a toll on the body. Not only are you burning the midnight oil, but often making poor diet choices along with ditching your workout routine. SO what CAN you do around finals time to keep things in check? Read below!

  • Head to the store and load up on some healthy snacks to keep your brain going as you write those last minute papers. Some examples would be:
    • Yogurt/Greek yogurt
    • String cheese sticks
    • Laughing Cow cheese
    • Hummus (Cedars!) with veggies or baked chips
    • Pretzels
    • Fruit
    • Protein bars (KIND, Kashi, Rx bars)
  • Seriously, don't skip your exercise. Moving will help you concentrate more, get better grades, sleep better and help maintain your weight. Schedule it in and stick to it!
  • Check out the Shannon Center exercise schedule and hours to be active!
  • Make a study schedule so you aren't pulling all nighters. Wake up in time to eat a good breakfast before finals so you can concentrate better. (And that doesn't mean drinking a Monster!)
  • Those high calorie coffee and energy drinks really take a toll on your energy levels, weight gain and concentration. Really try and limit them if you can.

Good luck and study hard!

Week of November 14

Low Fat Green Bean Casserole
Just in time for the holidays!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced into one-half inch pieces.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs


  • Heat oil on low heat in large skillet.
  • Gently cook onion slices for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are golden.
  • Remove onions from skillet and transfer to a plate.
  • Meanwhile, steam or boil green beans in for 5-6 minutes, then plunge in a bowl of cold water to keep the vibrant green color and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  • Add finely chopped onion, garlic to skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until they release their juices.
  • Sprinkle flour and thyme over vegetables.
  • Gradually stir in nonfat milk. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until sauce thickens.
  • Season with a tsp of salt if desired and some freshly ground black pepper.
  • Spread green beans in a 1 1/2 -- 2 quart casserole dish.
  • Pour mushroom sauce over green beans.
  • Top with onions and bread crumbs.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Serves: 6

Per serving: Calories 125, Calories from Fat 19, total Fat 2.2g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 92mg, Carbohydrate 20.9g, Fiber 4.2g, Protein 5.7g

Source: Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Week of November 7

Thanksgiving Makeover Ideas!

As we all know, the holiday season is fast approaching, which means lots of turkey and other festive favorites! You may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospects of high-fat foods in your future, but with a few ideas for making your Thanksgiving fare lighter, you might not feel so unprepared for the holidays after all.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Take out extra butter in recipes wherever possible. Try substituting chicken broth for butter in stuffing recipes or baste the turkey with broth instead of rubbing it in butter. You can also omit the butter in gravy recipes by using pan drippings after skimming off the fat; this process keeps the flavor without the fat.
  • Give cooking from scratch a try -- some homemade recipes may actually be lower in calories and fat, especially if you pay close attention to the ingredients you're putting in them.
  • Instead of traditional green bean casserole, give steamed green beans a chance. You can toss them with a little olive oil and/or lemon if you desire.
  • Substitute reduced-fat versions of dairy products for their full-fat counterparts, such as the sweetened condensed milk in pumpkin pie.
  • Instead of whipping up the typical sweet potato casserole with marshmallows galore, try roasting or mashing the sweet potatoes and adding a glaze of some sort.

And lastly, here are a few ideas for your own personal success during that day:

  • Make sure to eat a balanced breakfast; it can keep you from feeling ravenous and remind you that you don't have to stuff yourself later in the day just because the food is there.
  • Skip the skin on your turkey -- doing so reduces both calories and fat.
  • Try adding some exercise if you can, such as taking a walk after the big meal or getting in a workout before the festivities begin.
  • Most of all, don't beat yourself up or go overboard on restrictions -- enjoy the day and eat mindfully. You can do it!

October 2016

Week of October 24

Happy Halloween Tips!

Halloween week is finally here! Between costume parties, trunk or treating it's important to prepare by making mindful choices and planning out some fun activities to take your mind off candy. Let's explore some other strategies to think about for the day, especially if you have any food-related events planned.

  • Don't forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and functioning at your best. Aim for 64-80 fluid ounces (around 8-10 cups) for the whole day.
  • Before the party or event, make sure to eat a snack high in protein and fiber before you leave so that you won't feel extra hungry. Try Greek yogurt with a few slivered almonds; a string cheese stick with some whole grain crackers or apple slices; hummus with veggie sticks or whole grain pita bread; or even a piece of fruit with a tablespoon of nut butter. Get creative!
  • At the party or other event, choose lower-calorie options if possible. Avoid fried, oily, and sugary foods and choose grilled, steamed, broth-based, etc., options if you can. Choose low-calorie beverages as well, like water and unsweetened or artificially sweetened tea; or limit your sweetened beverage to one cup only.
  • But, do feel free to pick one or two special treats to enjoy at the party. Choose carefully, and you won't derail your diet. Make sure to savor that treat like you mean it!
  • If you aren't going to a party or event and are just staying at home passing out candy, you can still follow the same strategies mentioned above and enjoy a treat or two at home.
  • Also if you're passing out candy, don't keep the candy bowl or bags in plain sight all day -- hide them in a place you won't be looking at constantly and take them out only when the trick or treaters start coming to your door.
  • If you're in between busy trick or treat times, find something else to do rather than staring at the candy. Try reading a book, listening to music, cleaning, or doing another project while you wait for the other costumed kids to arrive.
  • Planning ahead with these tips can help you enjoy the day even more.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Week of October 17

Happy Pasta Day!

Pasta has been getting a bad reputation the past few years ever since diet fads such as Atkins, paleo and gluten-free have swept the nation. But can pasta be healthy? Yes of course! Pasta (in correct portion) can be high in fiber and a great source of energy.

Pasta is a great week night menu option because it's cheap and quick! Two things I love for weeknight dinners! Below are some ways to whip up a quick, HEALTHY pasta meal!


  • Whole grain pasta. There are vegetable pastas now, as well as gluten-free options.
  • Jar of pasta sauce, aim to buy the one with the least amount of sugar or use sauce recipe below.
  • Veggie side, I often add broccoli to my pasta but adding a side salad or fresh green beans works too!
  • Go meatless for a cheaper meal, or add ground sirloin or turkey meat to sauce, or Jenny O Sweet Italian turkey sausage. I brown it the night before with some green peppers and onions for a quicker meal the next day after work!

One pot recipes are PERFECT for week night. Less clean up and they state delish. Here is one I found that my whole family enjoyed.

One Pan Lemon Chicken Pasta with Tomatoes
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)


  • 1 pound chicken breasts (can omit if wanted)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz (about 2 1/2 cups) small, dry pasta
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from one large or two small lemons
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you don't like spicy foods)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and stir, cooking until soft and nearly translucent.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add chicken and cook until just browned.
  5. Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice, water, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil and continue to stir often, uncovered, for about nine minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top, and cover for ten minutes or until cheese is melted and remaining liquid is absorbed.

Fresh Pasta Sauce:

  • 8 pounds tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In large saucepan, cook tomatoes and basil over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in medium skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Add onion mixture to tomato mixture and add salt and pepper. Let simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until thick.

Halve the recipe if you don't need as much or jar the leftovers!

Week of October 10

It's that time of year... Pumpkin Spice is everywhere!

But keep in mind... just because pumpkin is a vegetable, does not mean that product or food is necessarily healthy!


A grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks will net you:
380 calories, 14 grams fat and 52 grams of carbohydrate (50 grams of sugar!). NOT GOOD!

Here are some ways to lighten up your latte:

  • Opt for skim milk instead of 2% or whole
  • Skip the whip
  • Get a short (or at least a tall) instead of grande

With all those changes you are down to 130 calories and 0 grams of fat. (Still not something you should drink daily with all that sugar!)

Foods you can add pumpkin spice to for some added fall flavor! (Purchase a jar at your local store.)

Sprinkle in:

  • Muffins or cookies
  • Brummel and Brown butter (mix with seasoning and add to toasted whole grain toast)
  • Popcorn
  • Oatmeal with nuts and half apple
  • Butternut squash baked in oven
  • Greek yogurt
  • Into hot cider or hot chocolate!

(Hungry yet? I am!)

Enjoy this fall season, just with a little less calories!

Week of October 3

Happy Popcorn Month

Did you know corn/popcorn is a whole grain? Popcorn can be a great way to boost your intake of whole grains and fiber.

Some Corny Facts

  • Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That's 41 quarts per person.
  • Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 35 per cup.
  • Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri (Courtesy of
  • The healthiest way to eat popcorn is by popping it yourself. I do NOT recommend microwave popcorn, even the fat free variety due to the chemicals and palm oils that are used.

Here are 3 ways that won't take extra time to make homemade popcorn:

  • Use air popper, just throw those kernels in!
  • On the stove in a pot, add kernels with a few tablespoons of canola oil
  • or put desired amount of kernels in a brown paper lunch bag, spray with olive or canola oil from a mister and fold down bag a few times. Place the bag in the microwave and choose your popcorn setting on your microwave.

Now it's time for the toppings!

Here are some butter/oil suggestions for you along with a list of yummy toppings to sprinkle on!

  • Unsalted butter
  • Butter (from grass-fed cows)
  • Olive oil, Canola, avocado, or coconut oil

Try not to use spray margarine as they are loaded with chemicals.


Now time to get creative! You can mix and match any of these depending on your mood.

  • Sea salt* (I just really like the taste of it)
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic (who doesn't love garlic?)
  • Chili powder
  • Mrs. Dash seasonings
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasonings

Happy popping! The sky is the limit!

September 2016

Week of September 26

Skinny Tips for Crockpot Cooking!

Fall is here, which means crockpot time! But slow cooking doesn't have to have mean, hearty, high fat dishes. Here are some tips below to lighten up some of your favorite slow cooker recipes!

  • Try browning your meat before you put it into the crockpot. Browning the meat, especially ground meat, will help get rid of excess fat and grease and adds flavor to the dish you're making.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices in recipes rather than adding cream soups or other fatty ingredients.
  • Let the steam do it's thing -- steam actually makes the meat more tender and juicy, so be sure you don't lift the crockpot lid unless the recipe calls for you to do so.
  • You can cook vegetables in the crockpot too! Believe it or not, crockpots can actually turn out some pretty good-tasting vegetables! A great example is a vegetable and chickpea curry found in Cooking Light.
  • Check out some other healthy crockpot recipes for meats, soups, stews, sandwiches, and even breakfast, on Cooking Light's website.
  • Lastly, here's a healthy yet comforting vegetable and beef soup recipe for the upcoming cold season!

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili


  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • One (1) 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)
  • One (1) 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Two (2) 16 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
  • One (1) 15 oz. can of corn, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp. chili powder


  • Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high.
  • Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.
  • Top with cheese (2%), sour cream (fat free or light), and avocados

Week of September 19

Guess which nutrient is calorie free, salt free, sugar free and fat free? Water! It's the most important nutrient for your body! Why is water so great? Water helps to flush out excess toxins, maintains regularity, transports nutrients and oxygen, and best of all, increases energy and helps fight fatigue.

A study from Tufts University looked at the link between sugary drinks and the nutrition habits of over 900 adults. Results showed that those who drank the largest amounts of sugary drinks were at a higher risk of obesity and had a lower intake of fiber. What does this mean for you? Cut out the sugary, empty calories drinks! Take a look at some common offenders:

Beverage Total Calories Grams of Sugar:
Monster 16 oz. 200 cal, 54 g
Vanilla Frappuccino 420 cal, 70 g
Coke 20 oz. bottle 239 cal, 67 g
Medium Sweet Tea 184 cal, 45 g
16 oz. Lemonade 232 cal, 62 g

Many people head to the vending machine for a soda, or local coffee shop for a pick me up when they are tired. Caffeinated and sugary drinks will give you an initial boost of energy but will inevitably give you that crash a few hours later. Instead, water will help to keep you hydrated, leading to more consistent energy levels throughout the day.

Are you consuming enough water? How much water is enough? You can start with the minimum of 8- 8 oz. (1 cup) glasses of pure water per day. However, another way to gauge how much fluid to consume, is to take your body weight and divide by 2, which equals how many ounces of water you should drink per day.

Not a fan of water? Start slowly so your body can get used to the extra fluid you are consuming. I recommend trading one caffeinated or sweetened beverage and replacing with 20 oz. of cold water every day until you are mostly consuming water. (NOT the bottled water kind! Did you know that 25% of bottled water comes from the same place your tap water comes from?)

  • Try using a BPA free water bottle to reuse throughout the day or an insulated cup like the Aqua Tally cups that I use. It keeps my water ice cold all day AND helps you count how many glasses you drink! If you are in the mood for something besides water, jazz it up a bit.
  • Try infused water. Add sliced lemon, strawberries, orange, or cucumber, etc into a water pitcher, fill with ice and water and leave in fridge overnight. Pour into your water bottle for some added flavor throughout the day.
  • Try unsweetened ice tea with a slice of lemon to give you a different flavor without adding any sugar calories.

Drink Up!

Week of September 12

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Although this common saying may not be entirely true, it is true that apples are healthy for you!

Fun apple facts:

  • Apples really pack a Vitamin C punch. The antioxidant power of that apple is equal to more than 1,500 milligrams of Vitamin C.
  • Apples also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol. Since apples are high in fiber, they help to feel that full sensation in your stomach.
  • Fruit consumption has also been linked to cancer prevention and lower weights.
  • There are about 2,500 known varieties of apples grown in the United States alone! (Who knew?!?)
  • Apples are best stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Ways to add some apples into your diet:

  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Chopped apple in green salads or fruit salads.
  • My Favorite! Bake apples with cinnamon, a small amount of brown sugar and a sprinkle of oats (Heat in oven for 20-30 min at 350 degrees).
  • Cooked apples with vegetables such as carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes can make vegetables a bit sweeter.

Where can you find apples?
Apples go out of season by early winter, so pick some today!
Check out some pick your own farms in Northern Indiana.

Want to learn more about nutrition?

Check out our 8 week Nutrition and Weight Loss class starting at Saint Xavier University on Wednesday, September 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Week of September 5

Looking for something to add to your BBQ menu? Check out these healthy recipes below!

Serve with lean ground turkey burgers (season with salt, pepper and garlic) and add a whole grain bun.

Black Bean and Couscous Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Great to pair with grilled chicken or even by itself for a quick meal!

Parmesan Roasted Corn on the Cob


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, light
  • 5 ears corn, husk and silk removed
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on each ear of corn. Sprinkle the corn with the Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper. Wrap each ear with aluminum foil and place on the grill.
  3. Grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels begin to brown, about 10 minutes.


August 2016

Week of August 29

5 Realistic Health Tips from One Mom to Another

There ARE days when really there is not enough time to go for a run or to the gym. So as I begin my quest to drop a few pounds while juggling my super awesome schedule, I jotted down some ways I can move more while watching my diet as well.

  1. You still have to exercise! Look at your schedule and at least schedule 2 exercise sessions per week. (Schedule more if you have the time!). (I find 2 is very manageable.)
    Make workout dates with friends or run buddies. Sign up for that class or register for the next Run to Pub. At least it's written down now and in your schedule.
  2. Even small bits of activity squeezed in throughout the day add up! Make a goal in that Fitbit and month after month make sure your activity level is going UP! Compete in a challenge. Go for walk breaks on the stairs. Take a lap around the building after that meeting. Just try and get up and move more. Especially on those days when hitting the gym is not going to happen. Download the 7 minute workout app and get going!
  3. Combine a day with no exercise with poor eating choices and you have a recipe to GAIN and not lose. The more you plan your dinners in advance, the more you are able to skip the drive thru and stick to your game plan. Some lighter options on your low-output days could be a good salad, cup of soup and some whole grain crackers, or homemade pizza.
  4. Skip the alcohol. Well, at least cut back. AS much as I would LOVE to unwind every night with a glass of my favorite craft brew after the kids are in bed, unfortunately those calories ADD UP! I found that if I want to be successful losing a few, I also have to cut back on even some of my favorites.
  5. Get some sleep. No matter what, if you are putting everyone else first, trying to work out, plan meals, organize, do everything moms do... you got to get some sleep. Without sleep, stress hormones surge, your urge to grab every carb in site goes up and your energy levels go down, leading to skipped workouts and bad mojo. Aim to get at least 7 hours a night if you can. (That has been my main resolution in 2016. Hasn't been greatest over the summer but I am refocusing on getting to bed early now that the kids are back in school!)

Week of August 22

Looking for something to add to your BBQ menu? Check out these healthy recipes below!

Serve with lean ground turkey burgers (season with salt, pepper and garlic) and add a whole grain bun. Viola!

Black Bean and Couscous Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  • Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Great to pair with grilled chicken or even by itself for a quick meal!

Parmesan Roasted Corn on the Cob


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, light
  • 5 ears corn, husk and silk removed
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on each ear of corn. Sprinkle the corn with the Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap each ear with aluminum foil and place on the grill.
  3. Grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels begin to brown, about 10 minutes.


Week of August 15

Well, it's that time of year again...back to school time! The time where teachers are weeping and (most) parents (me) are rejoicing!

I'm sure most parents by now are deep in the trenches buying new school supplies, clothes, and shoes for the upcoming school year. (Insert sound of a cash register here), but don't forget about getting prepped and ready for school lunches as well!

Here are some great products, services, books and blogs I recommend to get to ready for the upcoming school year!

1. Not only do your kids need a lunchbox, think about purchasing some environment friendly lunch containers such as Bento Boxes, Easy Lunch boxes or products from Mighty Nest (see #2). These containers are super easy to clean, and you don't have to worry about running out of (non recycling friendly) plastic bags.

2. Mighty Nest is a GREAT company for many reasons. One, it sells fantastic environment friendly, BPA free products for your kids (lunch boxes, containers, washable sandwich bags, etc.), and donates some of their proceeds to a school of your choice! Win Win!

3. Blogs and newsletters to follow.

  • Devine Nutrition on the Run blog and newsletter.
  • Another great blog to follow as well is @LunchBox Dad. Great lunches ideas, giveaways and more!
  • Last but not least, Kids Eat Right (in initiative by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) is a great resource for parents, teachers and kids!

Need help getting on the right track? Back-to-school nutrition checkups are back once again!

A 45-minute home visit includes:

  • Help with school lunches
  • Quick and easy meal ideas
  • Your favorite meal makeovers
  • New product suggestions
  • Send me an email to schedule your in-home family session and pricing details!

Hope some of these resources can be of help to you this school year! Cheers to a healthy 2016-2017 school year!

Week of August 8

Now that everyone is winding down their summer vacations and getting ready for the start of the school year, it is time to get back into the swing of things. Here are some tips on how to de-bloat and lose some of those pesky vacation pounds.

Kelly's Post Vacation Plan

  1. Exercise every day! This is a must (especially for me) to help me sweat out some of that excess salt I am carrying around. (Most of the time people gain water weight on vacation from eating excess carbs and from the salt when eating out. And the alcohol!).
  2. Lots of water and no alcohol until you can shed some of that weight gain from vacation.
  3. Salad and lots of veggies every day! (Fruit too, I'm just a bigger fan of vegetables myself). Vegetables are filled with fiber and water helping to keep you full and satisfied.
  4. Plan and pack all your meals and snacks for work or day outings with the kids before school starts.
  5. No staying up late! Staying up late can cause weight gain and is a large contributor to the inability to shed pounds. Aim for 7-8 hours if possible.

By the end of even the first week, you will be feeling better, down a few post vacation pounds and have even more energy!

Week of August 1

Salmon and Summer Veggies in a Foil

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 (5-6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 small zucchini (13 oz.) sliced into half moons
  • 2 shallots, 1 thinly sliced and 1 chopped (there are usually two in a whole shallot)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning and garlic mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four sheets of aluminum foil into 17-inch lengths. Toss veggies and seasonings together with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and divide among 4 sheets of foil, placing veggies in center of foil. Divide tomato mixture over salmon fillets. Wrap sides of foil inward then fold up ends to seal. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until salmon has cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Carefully open foil packets and serve warm.

July 2016

Week of July 25

Looking for a quick healthy breakfast idea? Check out two of my favorites below!

Morning Oats


  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 diced apple
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions: Place milk, apple, cinnamon and oats into a microwave safe container and microwave for 1 minute. Add walnuts.

Egg Flatbread Sandwiches


  • 1/8 cup finely chopped broccoli
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (or substitute any veggie you wish!)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Dried dill weed to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 multigrain Sandwich Thins


  1. Spray a nonstick 10 inch skillet with cooking spray.
  2. Heat over medium heat.
  3. Add broccoli, bell pepper and onions.
  4. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender.
  5. Beat egg whites, cheese, dill weed, salt and pepper together with fork.
  6. Pour into skillet over vegetables.
  7. As eggs start to set, lift the edges with a spatula, and allow the uncooked eggs to flow to bottom of skillet.
  8. Cook until eggs are set but still moist and place on sandwich thin.

Substitution: Top eggs with a handful of baby spinach, arugula leaves, or a few thinly sliced tomatoes.

Week of July 18

Now that the temps are heating are some tips for staying cool when exercising outside!

  1. Dress cool!
    You want to wear clothes that wick sweat, not absorb it.
  2. If possible, carry a water bottle with you or wear a hydration belt.
    The goal is to drink 4-8 oz. of water every 20 minutes.
  3. Try to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
    Set that alarm and get your workout in before work!
  4. Make sure you start your workout hydrated.
  5. If you feel dizzy, out of breathe more so than usual, stop and take a break.
    You don't want to end up with a trip to the ER. Listen to your body!

Try these healthy snacks to cool down post workout:

  • Frozen fruit
  • Homemade popsicles made from 100 percent fruit juice
  • A pitcher of ice cold water with fruit slices, cucumber or mint
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Cold salads, loaded with raw vegetables, black beans or chickpeas, low-fat cheese or heart-healthy fish like albacore tuna or salmon
  • Cold, crispy raw veggies

Follow the link to download the American Heart Association's Warm Weather Fitness Guide; (PDF).

Week of July 11

Health Summer Snacks

Snacking should be a vital part of your food intake throughout the day. Many people feel guilty allowing themselves to snack in between meals but snacking can help us in more than one way. First it stabilizes blood sugars throughout the day leading to more consistent (and even higher) energy levels. Second, it helps cut down your portion sizes at your meals because you are less hungry. But what makes a healthy snack?

You want a combination of healthy, high fiber carbohydrates, combined with some lean protein and a mix of healthy fats. Here are some great grab and go items during summer time.

  • Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of berries
  • Kashi or KIND bar
  • Cut up fresh veggies with 2 tbsp. Cedar's Point hummus
  • Whole grain or light crackers with a wedge of cheese
  • 15 grapes and 1 oz. low sodium turkey breast meat
  • Apple and 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 cup fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • 3 cups air popped popcorn with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and garlic powder
  • 1/2 grape tomatoes and string cheese stick

Week of July 4

Looking for something to add to your BBQ menu? Check out these healthy recipes below!

Black Bean and Couscous Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Great to pair with grilled chicken or even by itself for a quick meal!

Parmesan Roasted Corn on the Cob


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, light
  • 5 ears corn, husk and silk removed
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on each ear of corn. Sprinkle the corn with the Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap each ear with aluminum foil and place on the grill.
  3. Grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

June 2016

Week of June 27

What better way to celebrate being an American than firing up that grill this 4th of July? Here are some healthy veggie side dishes to add to your July 4th menu this holiday!

Quick tip: Use a grill basket, or place tinfoil down on grill so you lose less veggies and for a quicker clean up!

1. Asparagus -- a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants! After grilling, toss with lemon juice and some shaved Parmesan cheese.

2. Corn -- Always a staple in my house, add some corn on the cob to the grill this year! (I husk corn first then grill to get more flavor).

I use Brummel and Brown yogurt spread and then choose from herbs and other condiments to add some more flavor: garlic, pepper, cilantro, parmesan cheese, light mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt spread. The sky is the limit!

3. Mixed veggies -- Dice up your favorite vegetables, toss lightly in olive oil and throw in some garlic for flavor!

Choose any combo from the following: Tomatoes (deseeded), onions, red, green, yellow peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. I typically place some tin foil packets of these veggies where there is room left on the grill. Steam for 10-15 minutes.

4. Green Beans -- Toss lightly with olive oil and some salt and pepper, and grill for about 10 minutes in the grill basket.

5. Pineapple -- Throw some slices of pineapple on the grill to add to your grilled chicken sandwiches! (This is not a veggie but still packed with nutrients.)

Happy 4th of July! Have a safe and happy holiday with your family and friends!

Week of June 20

It's that time of year again. Families far and near are shuffling kids, moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grannies into the car for the illustrious family road trip vacation. But when your vacation -- and your family -- crams into one car, it's hard to find something portable that you can also feel good about giving your family.

Below are 5 tips to help stay healthy for this summer's road trip! They're fit for tots, teens and parents alike, and most importantly, they'll withstand 70 miles per hour, potty pit-stops, and backseat fights.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan!
    By planning your meals and scheduled stops, and bringing along healthy beverages and snacks, you will save time, money and a lot of excess fat and sugar calories! Sit down and make a plan on when you will stop for meals.
  2. Hydrate!
    First in that cooler needs to be water and 100% fruit juice boxes. This way, your family will stay hydrated during your road trip. Stay away from pop, sugary juice, tea, sports and energy drinks. Along with saving a lot of excess calories, you will save a lot of money avoiding gas stations and vending machines!
  3. Pack healthy snacks
    By packing healthy snacks, you can decrease the excess fries and chips and the "I'm hungry" whines in between meal stops! I recommend packing snacks into smaller snack bags so people can grab individual portions from the cooler. (Note: Eating in the car does increase the choking factor especially for very small kids. Be mindful of this when choosing what snacks to bring.)
    • Hummus and whole-wheat pitas (Now sold in little packs at the store!)
    • String cheese sticks
    • Fruit and Veggie Snack Packs, bag of apples
    • Sunflower seeds and nuts/trail mix
    • Animal crackers, pretzels, Goldfish, etc.
  4. Stop and eat meals
    Sometimes it may seem like it's easier to power through your drive by utilizing fast food restaurants and not stopping to eat but that may backfire. Take the time to stop and eat, stretch your legs and move around a bit before you continue on your trip. Add a side salad or a fruit to your meal instead of the usual fries and chips. If you want to go the fast food route, try and order sandwiches but supplement the meal with the snacks you have packed in the car. This is a HUGE cost saver on road trips!
  5. Exercise!
    Take the time on your potty breaks to move your legs a bit, especially if you have young kids in the car. If the tensions are getting high in the back seat, it may be time for some fresh air! Many rest stops have trails and playgrounds now. A great app to download is USA Rest stops which will help you find what rest areas are closest to you.

Now that you've got your summer road trip snack pack prepared, you're ready to head out on a road-bound vacation you can truly feel good about.

Week of June 13

Quick Summer Recipe and June Contest!

Spinach and Feta Pasta


  • 1 (8 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, packed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and cook until golden brown. Mix in tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes more, until tomatoes are heated through and spinach is wilted. Reduce heat to medium, stir in pasta and feta cheese, and cook until heated through.

Devine Nutrition and USA Pears June Contest! (runs all of June!)

This June, eat some fruits and veggies and win some prizes from Devine Nutrition and USA Pears!


Eat at least 5 fruit and/or veggie servings per day for 7 days in a row and be entered into the 5 A Day contest!

To enter to receive your tracking log and weekly recipe tips go to our 5 A Day Contest sign-up page.

Week of June 6

Grilled Corn on the Cob!

What says summer like a fresh piece of grilled corn on the cob? Instead of the usual butter and salt, try and spice things up a bit! Here is one recipe, but you can have a wide assortment of fixings to add to your corn on the cob such as light mayo, hot sauce, cilantro, basil, oregano, lime juice, Mrs. Dash seasonings, salsa, garlic; you name it!


  • 6 ears of fresh corn
  • 1/4 cup butter (use less butter for lower calories!)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • Cilantro


Preheat an outdoor grill on medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Heat the garlic and butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir together the salt, black pepper and cumin in a small dish. Stir into the butter mixture along with the lime juice and hot sauce until evenly blended. Brush the ears of corn generously with the garlic butter; reserve remaining butter.

Cook the corn on the preheated grill, rotating occasionally until the corn is hot and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Brush the corn with the remaining butter as the corn cooks. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro if wanted.

Add a nice fresh salad with fruit and nuts for a vegetarian meal or pair with some turkey burgers or chicken kabobs to make it a meal!

Week of June 1

New Food Labels

You may have heard by now that the FDA has approved and released the new food labels. (Companies are to be in compliance by July 2018 so you will start to see the new ones soon).

  1. Serving size and calories. Notice they are much larger? The new info is supposed to be easier to tell how many exact calories are in the package and what the typical serving size is. (The label now show what the serving size SHOULD be. The new label has more realistic and up to date serving sizes.) Love that the total calories stand out so it is easier to understand.
  2. Now hopefully I won't have to defend fruit and yogurt because "they are SO HIGH in sugar!" The new label will you tell how much sugar the product naturally has and how much is added. This is my favorite change!
  3. Last but not least, the four requirements vitamins and minerals on the label, (vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium) now have to also show the actual value not just the percentage. (Example, 400 mg. calcium not 31%). Not everyone has a diet that is scaled to 2,000 calories so knowing the exact info can be very helpful for some people, especially if they are wanting to focus on a specific nutrient.

Label reading is one of the only ways (and ingredients in a package) you can tell if a product is healthy for you or not. Confused by something on the label? Ask me!

May 2016

Week of May 23

National Hamburger Month!

Hooray! A food holiday I can really get on board with!

May is National Hamburger Month! Ditch those high-fat, fast-food burgers and add some of these LEAN recipes to your grill the next few weeks, while pairing it with baked sweet potato fries or Yukon Gold baked potato and fresh veggies for a healthier, quick meal option in less than 20 minutes!

American Burger

Yes, beef is slightly higher in calories than turkey but packs quite the nutrient punch! Beef is a great source of iron, zinc and vitamin B6.

  1. Buy a package of 96% lean ground beef.
  2. Form into patties.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic and place on the grill.

Use a reduced-calorie or whole-grain bun and top with your choice of veggies.

Turkey Cilantro Burgers

  • 1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (or 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 5 slices of pepper jack cheese, Sargento Thin Slices
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 5 slices of tomato
  • 5 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Week of May 9

Workout Power Foods!

Power foods are food that help decrease inflammation and help you recover after workouts, at least in my opinion. Here are some great power foods to start incorporating into your daily diet:

Omega 3 rich foods help decrease LDL cholesterol and fight inflammation. Examples include salmon almonds, pistachios, nuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds (There is a great mix at the store I found with both chia and flax seeds. I sprinkle it on my Greek yogurt for a great snack!)

If you are NOT a fan of these foods and consume them 2-3 times a week, then I would add in 1,000 mg of fish oil daily.

Antioxidants-Anthocyanin's are compounds found in fruits and veggies. They are believed to reduce inflammation and help with recovery. Cherry juice has found its way into the limelight lately. You can take 1 oz. of tart juice (drink as is) or you can mix in a calorie-free mixer, like club soda. Other sources include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, red cabbage, kidney and black beans and asparagus.

Week of May 2

Are YOU eating five a day?

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is five to nine servings. Many people fall short of this goal. Here are some example serving sizes and ways you can sneak some more fruits and veggies into your diet!

Fruit: size of tennis or baseball, or 6 oz juice
Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw

What you need:
Snack-sized baggies
Reusable plastic containers for fruits and small containers or dips

Fruit/Vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen
Low fat or light yogurt or Greek yogurt
Light Italian dressing
Light ranch dressing
Light vinaigrette dressing
Low-fat cheese cubes
Egg beaters
Wheat tortillas

  • Dice up green peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, etc. and put into small baggies or containers or buy frozen bags of each to keep handy in freezer. Throw in an egg beater scramble in the morning for a quick veggie omelet. Wrap in a wheat tortilla with some salsa to add some fiber.
  • Chop up your fruit and vegetables and put into snack-sized baggies or containers so in the morning they are ready to go. Also buy small salad dressing containers to add in dips.
  • Make a fruit kabob (Great for kids!). Put cut-up fruit and low-fat cheese cubes on a wooden kabob. Dip in low-fat yogurt.
  • Throw one piece of fruit and one light yogurt in the blender for a quick smoothie.
  • Instead of a plain sandwich with bread and meat, add lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, etc. to add more volume and fiber. (Don't forget the whole grain bread and lean low-salt lunch meats from the deli.)
  • Try to have a salad each night at dinner.
  • Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetable with you to work each day to snack on in between meals.
  • Add vegetables to chicken kabobs over brown rice with a salad for a quickie dinner.

The key is preparation! Those fruits and vegetables are not going to cut themselves. When you get home from the store, cut up all your produce so it's more accessible throughout the week.

April 2016

Week of April 25

How to make a protein shake!

You may have read about protein shakes and have wondered if you should be drinking them too? Here are some benefits and reasons to jump on the protein shake bandwagon!

1. Protein shakes will help you recover faster after a workout. The ideal time to consume one is within 30-45 minutes post workout.
2. They can help to increase your percentage of lean muscle.
3. Protein shakes can act as a healthy alternative for a meal. Aim for about 300 calories for a meal replacement protein shake.

You can buy some already pre-made, or for less money, make one at home for yourself!


  • 1 cup milk (skim-2%, almond or soy)
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (if allergic you can substitute for soy or try whey isolate)
  • 1-1.5 cups fruit
  • Ice/water to blend if needed
  • Juice- if needing some flavor or more calories
  • Sweetener- if needed
  • Peanut butter- if needed to boost calories

Some recipes:

Strawberry Protein Shake- Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup sliced frozen strawberries
  • 30 frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup Silk light soymilk or skim milk
  • 1 scoop whey strawberry protein powder

Blend well!

280 calories per serving

Chocolate Banana Smoothie- Makes 3 servings

  • 1/2 cup of light vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cup of 1% milk
  • 2 scoops whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup of ice

Blend well!
About 215 calories per serving

Week of April 18

Wondering what you can do to minimize your impact on Mother Earth? Look no further! These are, in my opinion, easy ways you can start to reduce, reuse and recycle more often.

1.Make a grocery list and go shopping. If you go grocery shopping, be sure to take your reusable bags or opt for paper bags and recycle them when you are finished. Look for items you can cook from home, pack in your lunches and take as snacks on the go. You'll be reducing your waste compared to dining out, whether it be at a fast food restaurant, food truck or grab and go food, like vending machines and gas stations, because you won't be contributing as much to throwing out garbage, containers and wrappers from fast food.

In most recent stats, 44% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant each week. That is a lot of waste!

Example lunch from home:
Leftover taco meat from last night (in reused Brummel and Brown container)
Salad with veggies and cheese in Bento box
Salad dressing in mini container
Fork from home

All can be washed at home and reused!


Lunch from Panera Bread
Salad and sandwich
2- Plastic/cardboard boxes
plastic utensils
large brown paper bag

2. Buy in bulk. Yes, 100-calorie packs and mini containers of pre-cut veggies save us time, but also increase our waste. Here are items to buy in bulk, to cut up and portion out at home; it's cheaper and better for the environment!

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Yogurt

3.Ditch the water bottles ONCE AND FOR GOOD. I have not bought a case of water bottles in probably over 18 months thanks to my handy Aqua Tally cups. (Anyone who knows me I never go anywhere without it.). Keep a BPA-free, dishwasher-safe water bottle on hand and refill it. Some water bottles even have their own filtration system. Go to Target or email me for an Aqua Tally cup if interested ($10).

4.Go meatless once a week. Ditching the animal proteins once a week will save your pocketbook, and it will reduce your carbon footprint. By reducing your animal protein intake just once a week, you can decrease fossil fuel usage, water usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For my Meatless Monday (which will actually be today's dinner in honor of Earth Day), I am simply making homemade pasta sauce with whole grain pasta, side salad with fresh veggies and a side of whole grain garlic toast.

5.This one is obvious and you probably knew it was coming...EAT local. By buying foods close to your home, you are reducing the distance your food must travel, thus the energy it takes to do so. Visit your local farmers market or at least shop for foods that are in season. To find a farmers market, visit the National Farmers Market Directory on the United States Department of Agriculture website.

6.Plant a garden... or at least some pots of homegrown veggies. Save the water for your lawn and instead use it for a garden. Don't have enough room? Join a community garden! I do believe Oak Forest and Tinley Park each has one.

Check out my last post on the benefits of starting a garden on my website.

Making one or two small changes can really add up over time!

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." ~Native American Proverb

Week of April 11

Looking to boost your energy levels and decrease hunger at night? A well-timed afternoon snack may just be your answer! While it is true, snacking too often, especially on salty or sugary snacks, can add pounds; a healthy snack, a combination of healthy carbs high in fiber and some lean protein, can help satisfy those mid-afternoon cravings and actually help you lose weight.

Rule of Thumb: Aim for a snack about 2.5-4 hours after your lunch every day.

Guidelines: Keep it low in salt when possible (unless you are going for a run in warm weather after work) and high in fiber with some protein.


  • Cut up veggies (peppers, snap peas, cucumbers) with garlic hummus (Cedars Point is best)
  • Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp. Hodgson Mill Flax Chia seed blend
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter with cut-up green apple
  • String cheese stick with 1 cup grapes or berries
  • 1 Kashi or Kind bar
  • 1 hard-boiled egg and 12 Kashi crackers

Happy Snacking!

Week of April 4

Post Workout Nutrition

Current research shows that the first 15-45 minute post workout is your best opportunity to help your body recover faster from your workouts and help repair muscle tissue. Why is this so important? Eating or drinking a carbohydrate and protein snack during the 15-45 minute window of opportunity post exercise can help your body replenish its healthy energy levels and quickly recover from tough workouts or games.

Aim for at least 8-15 grams of protein and 15-60 grams of carbohydrates. Snacks in liquid form are your best option, but solid food can also work. Examples of carbohydrate/protein snacks include:

  • A fruit smoothie made with yogurt or one scoop of whey protein powder
  • A sports drink that contains protein
  • Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
  • One cup of skim milk and one scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • Half a bagel with one tablespoon of peanut butter
  • A protein/carbohydrate bar

March 2016

Week of March 28

Did you overindulge during the Easter holiday?Below are some tips to get you back on track!

  1. Limit yourself to one small treat a day (or donate your leftover candy!)
  2. Increase the water! Most post-holiday weight gain is from excess carbs and salt so drink up to help flush your system! Aim for at least 64 oz. a day, more if you are working out.
  3. Get a moving!

Below are some quick ways to burn 100 calories:

  • 15 minutes of an aerobics class
  • Elliptical machine (arms and legs) for 12 minutes
  • Walking or running 1 mile
  • Biking for 20 minutes
  • 20 minutes of yard work
  • Life weights for 20-30 minutes
  • Playing tennis for 20 minutes
  • Play Wii boxing or tennis for 20 minutes
  • Swim laps for 12 minutes
  • Running Stairs for 6 minutes
  • Yoga for 20 minutes

Week of March 21

6 Ways to Combat Sitting Disease!

Medical experts have started referring to the long periods of inactivity and its negative consequences as "Sitting Disease." Please view the Sitting So Much Should Scare You chart for an example.

A growing body of research shows that long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. In January 2010, British experts linked prolonged periods of sitting to a greater likelihood of disease. And that same month, Australian researchers reported that each hour spent watching TV is linked to an 18% increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease -- perhaps because that time is spent sitting down. (Source: WebMD.)

So what can you do if your job requires you to sit most of the day?

Here are some tips on combating sitting disease and ways to get you moving more!

  1. Wear a pedometer! Pedometers help get you moving throughout an entire day, not just while you are exercising. I personally LOVE my Fitbit but there are many other devices you can use as well.
  2. Find ways to move more! Park farther in lots, take the stairs to the next floor for your bathroom break, walk to your co-workers desk and ask a question versus emailing.
  3. Schedule exercise! For exercise to be consistent, we need to schedule it! The ideal amount of minutes for exercise is 30-60 minutes, 5 days a week.
    • Add some 10-15 minutes sessions of exercise in:

      • Before you get ready for work
      • After you eat lunch go on a mile power walk or use the hospital fitness center (Not a member? All Franciscan Alliance employees have a free membership to the hospital fitness centers. Email Carlos for more details
      • Walk hallways if you have an afternoon break
      • Pack your gym bag for a post work gym session at one of the hospital fitness centers.
  4. Take mini breaks every hour to get up and stand, stretch, bend etc.
  5. Stand when you can whether it be when you are on a call, or talking to coworkers.
  6. When you watch TV, stand up and move around, or fit in activities on commercials. I love doing the 7 minute workout app during commercials.

Week of March 14

Food Journal -- Rate Your Plate!

Food journaling is one of the ways you can help ensure weight loss success! Why is that? Journaling everything you eat and drink helps you to become more accountable for your food decisions. Food journaling can also help you troubleshoot your diet to see why you may not be hitting your weight loss goals. Here are some tips for keeping a food log.

  • Keep a small notebook close by to record the time of your food intake, what you ate or drank and how much (portion size).
  • If you are a smart phone or tablet user, I suggest downloading Lose It! or My Fitness Pal to journal electronically. (Friend me on My Fitness Pal at
  • Journal the food as you eat it and not at the end of the day when you have trouble remembering everything you consumed.
  • Don't forget to record the drinks such as Gatorade, juice or supplements.

Some things to review once you have been journaling a week or more:

  • Are you a bottom heavy eater? (Eating most of your calories at night?) If so, start eating more food earlier in the day.
  • Are you heavy in your fat consumption? Aim for no more than 40-50 grams a day.
  • Are your portions too large? Aim for 250-400 calories per meal if you can.

Happy journaling!

Week of March 7

Example of how fast added sugars add up!

Starbucks Frap (14 oz.) 47 grams
Oatmeal packet 12 grams
Meal Total 59 grams
Lean Cuisine Chicken Pecan 15 grams
Vitamin Water (1 bottle) 32 grams
Meal Total 47 grams
Pasta 0 grams
Pasta Sauce 10 grams
Can of Sprite (12 oz.) 38 grams
Salad greens 0 grams
Honey Mustard dressing (2 tbsp.) 5 grams
Meal Total 53 grams
Yoplait yogurt 26 grams
Laughing Cow ice cream bar 11 grams
Snack Total 37 grams
Daily Total for Added Sugars 196 grams

February 2016

Week of February 29

Happy Nutrition Month to you! I'll kick off with a post on some of my favorite foods, technologies and kitchen gadgets!

Have to start out with my most favorite gizmo:

  1. The Fitbit. This pedometer is awesome. It not only tracks steps but also active steps...meaning the ones you REALLY have to earn. I could average in the spring and summer 15,000+ steps a day and not have 1 active minute. This drives me to make sure I am having "steps that count" most days of the week. And I love a good competition. In the Fitbit app you can track to see who is close to you in steps. What better motivation to kick it up a notch.
  2. On-the-Go Blender. These quick blenders are AWESOME because they are made for people on the go. I blend quick smoothies with yogurt and protein, quickie protein shakes or meal replacement shakes. Makes for a great quick breakfast and I can screw the cup off the blender and take it with me.
  3. I cannot do a post on my favorite things unless I mention hummus. Cedar's Point garlic lover's hummus is just 40 calories per serving. Pairs GREAT with sliced veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers, etc.), pretzels or pita chips. My most favorite snack right now.
  4. Tin foil. As a busy mom on the go, I have to say tin foil has made my nights a lot easier! Tinfoil packets: throw some olive oil spray, cut up veggies, salmon or chicken breast in a self-made tin foil packet...and voila! Throw in oven or grill for 10-15 minutes. The meat steams right up and no clean up! Roasted veggies -- cut up whatever veggie you want for dinner, coat with non stick spray, salt, pepper and some garlic and roast in oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. No pans to clean up after!
  5. Aqua Tally cups. The single reason I consume as much water as I do in the last 18 months. Helps track your water intake throughout the day. But that's not even why I like it. It's because it keeps my water ICE COLD. I have like 5 of them in every room of my house. Just love them! (Will most likely be doing another group order soon if you are interested or you can go to their website above to order!).
  6. Brown paper bag + popcorn kernels. Easiest snack ever.
    Toss some kernels in the bag, fold down a few times and throw in microwave on popcorn setting. Voila! For topping suggestions and recipes view my past blog post!
  7. This salad dressing bottle! Want to make your own recipes but don't know how? Check out this bottle then. On the bottle it has recipes for numerous salad dressings. I found it at Target but it is also on Amazon.
Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite things! What are some of yours? Email me at

Week of February 22

Support your cardiovascular health by adding these five foods to your diet this February and all year round. Your heart will love you for it!

  1. Beets: Looks like a heart, works for your heart. Beets pack tons of nitrates that help expand veins and arteries when converted to nitric oxide in the body, letting blood and oxygen flow more easily. In one study, middle-age people with hypertension saw an 8% to 11% drop in blood pressure from drinking one cup beet juice compared to others drinking water. Beets also may help tame LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene, potassium, flavonoids, and vitamin C-- all nutrients that may help keep your ticker ticking. A study from Tufts University found people who got the most lycopene in their diets, primarily from tomato sauce and fresh or canned tomatoes, saw a 26% reduction in coronary heart disease risk and 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Try Shakshuka, a spicy tomato sauce with poached egg whites, which uses tomato paste, possibly the most available source of lycopene in the diet.
  3. Apples: Could an apple a day really keep the doctor away? British researchers say maybe. According to their study, prescribing an apple a day to everyone over 50 is likely to reduce the annual number of heart-related deaths just as well as if everyone were prescribed medication that can lower cholesterol (and apples are much tastier!). Apples contain health-promoting nutrients such as quercetin, which has been shown in studies to help lower blood pressure, and other phytochemicals linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. Cocoa: No wonder Valentine's Day and chocolate go hand in hand. Cocoa is packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and also contains a little fiber. According to research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2014, the real chocolate power comes from good bacteria in the gut: friendly microbes such as lactic acid bacteria also snack on cocoa and ferment it, producing anti-inflammatory compounds that may lessen inflammation and reduce risk of stroke. Choose dark chocolate varieties with at least 70% cocoa to treat your heart decadently right.
  5. Strawberries: In a study from the University of Toronto, patients at risk for heart disease saw a 13% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol after adding three cups of strawberries to their diets. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and manganese, both nutrients that can help fight free radicals, which can be damaging to the heart. Dark chocolate covered strawberries, anyone?

Week of February 15

Lenten Heart Healthy Recipes!

Whole Wheat Tortellini with Broccoli


  • 9 ounces refrigerated whole wheat or regular three cheese-filled tortellini
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup slivered pitted olives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil

In a deep large skillet bring 1 to 2 inches water to boiling. Add tortellini; cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain in colander. Return tortellini and broccoli to skillet.

Stir in beans, olives, oil, vinegar and red pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle with tomatoes, feta and basil.


Week of February 8

Food labels can be confusing. What should you look for when you want to buy foods healthy for your heart?

  1. First, check out the fat section of the label. Aim for foods low in saturated fat with zero grams of trans fat. Unsaturated fats are your heart healthy fats (found in healthy oils, nuts, seeds and avocados) so don't be afraid of these. They are actually good for you! Most people's total fat intake should in general be between 35-50 grams per day, with 90% of those fats coming from your heart healthy sources.
  2. Next up, the carbohydrate, sugar and fiber section. Aim for foods with a higher content of fiber (especially the soluble fiber!) and lower amounts of sugar. Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day to help fill you up and lower those LDL cholesterol levels.
  3. Last but not least, check out the ingredient section. Avoid foods with ingredients such as palm kernel oils, hydrogenated fats and bleached white flour.

Make your own trail mix recipe:

I find it healthier to mix your own trail mix than to buy those that are prepacked, which may or may not have added salt and sugars.

In a gallon size baggie, mix a variety from the following ingredients:

  • Carbohydrate options: Low salt pretzels or Cheerios (multigrain and regular)
  • Fruit: dried fruit with no added sugars such as apples, bananas, strawberries
  • Seeds: sunflower, hemp, sesame, flax or pumpkin (Target has a great selection!)
  • Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, almonds
  • Sweets: Dark chocolate pieces, yogurt covered raisins, or chocolate covered nuts (in moderation!)
  • Spices: It's nice to spice up your trail mix every now and then to jazz it up a bit. Try cinnamon, curry, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne pepper.

In general a serving of trail mix is about 1/4 - 1/2 cup.


Week of February 1

Easy One Pot Beef/Pasta

Serves 6 (enough for leftovers!)


  • 1 pound of ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 8 oz. dry whole wheat penne
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium
  • 4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 3 oz. package fat free cream cheese
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions, set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a 5 quart pot or skillet over medium-high heat and cook beef. Set aside beef.
  3. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a 5 quart pot, add onion, sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 more. Add beef and sprinkle in a dash of salt. Add flour, cook 1 minute.

January 2016

Week of January 25

Tips to Avoid the "Freshman 15!"

Gaining weight when you first go away to school is not uncommon. But fortunately you can help prevent that weight gain by following these tips:

  • Weigh yourself once a week so you are not surprised by a fast gain in a couple months' time.

  • Schedule your workouts in your calendar just like you do classes. The Shannon Center has many options to choose from such as intramurals, exercise classes, running programs, the track and exercise equipment and much more. Utilize these services!

  • Stick to an eating schedule. Try not to skip meals and start the day off right by eating breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day! Even if you don't have time to head to the cafeteria before class, grab something quick to eat from your room.

  • Keep healthy snacks on you to eat in between classes so you don't rely on junk foods. Some ideas are protein or fiber bars, trail mix, fruit, nuts, peanut butter and crackers, low fat popcorn or pretzels. The Shannon Center also has a healthy vending machine just outside the gym.

  • Skip the sugary drinks and energy drinks and drink primarily water based beverages (least amount of calories) throughout the day. This will keep you more hydrated and craving less snack foods.

  • Sounds silly but wear fitted pants or jeans. If all you wear to class are pajama pants, you're less likely to realize you are full when eating. If you are wearing jeans every day and they start to feel a little snug, you know you need to head to the Shannon Center for some workouts!

  • And last but not least, the biggest offender of college weight gain is the late night eating/fast food consumption. Try and cut off your snacking at night to 10 p.m. (especially during midterms or finals!). Try and limit the fast foods or ordering take out late at night. Your waistline and wallet will thank you!

Week of January 18

Jump Start Plan!

Now is that time of year to pitch all the leftover cookies, dust off that treadmill and make those New Year's resolutions. Focus on LIFESTYLE changes this year, not just quick fixes. Here are some tips to help you get started!

  • Try to cut out all drinks except water, sugar free teas and Crystal lights and coffee (minus the sugar and creams). This includes juices, caffeine/energy drinks, sweetened teas and soda pops (diet and regular).
  • Start a food journal so you can keep track of the following items: time you eat, food or drink you consume, portion size, amount of time exercised, and weekly weight. If you are not losing at least 1 pound per week, go through the journal with a highlighter and see where you can improve. I recommend downloading My Fitness Pal on your smart phones if you want to journal electronically. (Find me as a friend by searching my email,
  • Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day about every 2.5 to 4 hours. This will increase your metabolism and cut down on the amount of food you consume at your large meals.
  • Cut back on your portion of carbohydrates such as potatoes, fries, chips, buns, rice, breads, cookies, sweets, donuts, etc. Aim for a lean protein source at each meal with 1 or 2 vegetables.

Needing motivation? Check out the SXU Weight loss starting this Tuesday!

Shannon Center 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Program

  • Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The class will meet every Tuesday night for 8 weeks. For more information email Jennifer Quinlan at

For nutrition or exercise questions, contact:

Devine Nutrition

Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT

Shannon Center Nutritionist

Devine Nutrition

* Not all products and advice are intended for each and every individual. It is recommended that individuals seek advice from their physician before starting on any diet or exercise routine.

Week of January 11

Looking for a jump in 2016? Try these 5 rules over the next two weeks to rev up that metabolism and increase your energy!

Rule 1: Hydration
Rule 2: Sugar Detox
Rule 3: Small frequent meals
Rule 4: Protein at all meals
Rule 5: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Rule 1: Hydration

  • Ditch the sugary and flavored drinks (Juices, sodas, sugary teas, diet sodas, flavored coffees, energy drinks)
  • 1-2 cups of coffee is still okay, but instead increase the amount of water you consume.
  • Flavor your water with lemon, cucumber, or fruit
  • How many ounces of water should you consume daily?
  • Minimum 64-80 oz. a day (or half your body weight)
  • More if exercising or if you have a higher sweat rate

Rule 2: Sugar Detox

  • Foods to omit the next two weeks:
  • Sugar (or High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Equal/artificial sweeteners
  • WHITE foods (breads, rice, pasta, etc)
  • Sugary cereals
  • Potato by-products (fries, chips, etc)
  • Candy/junk food

Rule 3: Small Frequent Meals

  • Eat breakfast or a snack within 1 hour of waking up
  • Eat every 2.5-4 hours throughout the day
  • Stop eating 1-2 hours before bed
  • Balance your meals and snacks (no all carbohydrate meals or snacks)

Rule 4: Eat protein at all meals
Balance some protein with fiber at EVERY SINGLE MEAL OR SNACK.

  • Helps to maintain more steady blood sugar levels
  • Keeps you fuller longer
  • Maintains your muscle mass on a weight loss diet
  • Helps repair muscle fibers post exercise
  • Decreases sugar cravings!


  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week
  • Break it into smaller sessions if needed
  • Highly suggest a pedometer
  • Average your steps and increase by 1-2,000/day

Good luck!

Week of January 4

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you are having some great successes in the start of your New Year's Resolutions. How can you be consistent in your goals? Take a look at these tips to help keep you motivated!

  1. Team up with a partner or group. Accountability is key no matter what your goal is. Set a specific meeting time and date and stick to it no matter what!
  2. Start going to an exercise class at the Shannon Center. HIGHLY recommend Bootcamp 101!
  3. Sign up for Kelly's 8 week weight loss class, starting January 19 or come to our monthly weigh in program! Contact Jen Quinlan at the Shannon Center for more details at 773-298-3778.
  4. Write your goals down and tape them somewhere where you can see them. Bathroom mirror or door, work cubicle, your planner, bedroom etc.
  5. Give yourself incentives. Money in a jar, new music, clothes, jewelry.

Good luck with staying on track with your goals this year!

Shannon Center Monthly Weigh-In and 30 Minute Nutrition Talk

  • Tuesday, January 5 at 12:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Do you need help staying on track?
Do you need accountability and education?
Do you want to continue your weight loss?

Then the monthly weigh-in program might be for you! The cost is $12 per person per month and it includes a 30 minute nutrition talk. Payment is due on the weigh-in day. For more information, email Jennifer Quinlan at

Shannon Center 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Program

  • Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The class will meet every Tuesday night for 8 weeks. For more information, email Jennifer Quinlan at

For nutrition or exercise questions, contact:

Devine Nutrition

Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT

Shannon Center Nutritionist