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Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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Do It Yourself

Almost all of our favorite foods can be found pre-made at the grocery store. It’s difficult to walk away from the convenience of food that is already assembled and ready to go. However, some of the store bought ready made foods come with extra sugar, salt, oil and calories. This is definitely true of one of my favorite snacks – trail mix. This portable and light weight snack is great at warding off hunger and it can linger in your travel bag for a few days and still taste pretty good. It’s tempting to buy trail mix pre-made, but once you start looking at the ingredient list of popular brands it is easy to convince yourself to make your own blend.

Many store bought trail mixes will contain excess amounts of sugar and oil as preservatives. This adds a substantial amount of calories, sugar and fat to a food that is already very calorie dense. To avoid these added calories simply make your own. The best nuts to purchase for a trail mix are raw or unsalted almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts. The best dried fruits are dried cherries, cranberries, dates, figs or raisins. Adding pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or organic coconut flakes can also provide another nutritional punch. By enjoying trail mix in a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup portion you allow this power food to stay the healthy option that it was meant to be.

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Meat and Vegetable Lasagna

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 (10 oz box) frozen chopped spinach leaves, thawed and well drained
1 (24 oz) jar Clearly Organic Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
1 (15 oz) tub of ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Clearly Organic Egg
2 teaspoons Clearly Organic Dried Parsley
6 Lasagna noodles
1/3 cup water

In a large skillet over medium heat place oil, onions and ground beef. Toss ingredients season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until meat is browned, about 6 minutes. Drain grease, add spaghetti sauce and well drained spinach. Simmer with sauce for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl mix together, ricotta cheese, egg, 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese and dried parsley.
To assemble lasagna, in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish spread 1/2 cup sauce mixture. Cover with 3 UNCOOKED Lasagna noodles, 3/4 cup cheese mixture, and 1/2 cup sauce. Repeat layer. Top with remaining noodles, remaining sauce and cheese mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top. Add 1/3 cup water to the edges of the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Meat Vegetable Lasagne Meat Vegetable Lasagne
Meat Vegetable Lasagne Meat Vegetable Lasagne
Meat Vegetable Lasagne
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Chocolate Cupcakes

These all natural cupcakes are the perfect treat for your next event. By skipping the boxed cake mixes you avoid artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and modified food starch. Making your own cake or cupcakes is easy and delicious.

1 1/2 cups Clearly Organic Flour
1 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup water
1/2 coconut oil, liquified
1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder to a medium size mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl add water, liquified coconut oil and vinegar. To liquify coconut oil heat in a small sauce pan. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Using an electric hand mixer blend batter until smooth. Pour batter into greased or paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
I like to top my cupcakes with homemade whipped cream and a dollop of almond butter.

Chocolate Cupcakes Chocolate Cupcakes
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Winter Squash

A sure sign of Fall is the colorful array of winter squash that become available at your local grocery store. These thick skinned vegetables are not only pretty to look at, they are also very nutritious. They deliver a host of different Vitamins including A, C, E and B6. Squash is also an excellent source of carotenoids along with important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Squash is actually a broad term used to describe a number of different vegetables, including pumpkins, zucchini and courgettes. Each individual species has a lot of overlapping characteristics, and they each include dozens of varieties like: acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, just to name a few. In North America we simplify most varieties as summer or winter squash. These classifications are primarily based on when the squash ripens and can be consumed. Most winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the Fall. Winter squash has such a thick exterior it can be stored for several months and eaten during the winter season, hence the name. Now is the time to incorporate a colorful winter squash into your next recipe.

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Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups Clearly Organic Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Olive Oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. In a separate small bowl whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices. Combine flour mixture, pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips. Stir until just combine. Do not over mix. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

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Herbed Quinoa Burger

1/2 cup Clearly Organic Quinoa

1 cup vegetable broth

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 (14 oz) can Clearly Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Clearly Organic Egg

1/4 cup Cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoon Clearly Organic Olive Oil

 

In a small sauce pan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low then cook until broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let quinoa mix cool. In a food processor blend two slices of wheat bread until they are fine bread crumbs. Add chickpeas, egg, cumin, salt and pepper to the food processor.   Pulse blend mixture until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape sides to make sure all ingredients are evenly blended. Remove blades from food processor and form patties with the quinoa mixture, will make about 6 patties. Pour 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan. Brush patties with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and cook in frying pan over medium heat. Let each side lightly brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Herbed Quinoa Burgers are great served over a bed of leafy greens atop warm pita bread. I like adding, tomato, avocado and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for a high protein balanced meal.

Herbed Quinoa Burger Herbed Quinoa Burger
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Why Try Chia Seeds?

Recently we’ve highlighted two recipes, blueberry muffins and oatmeal, that have involved chia seeds. When you saw this unique ingredient on the list you might have thought to yourself-What is that? And where do I get chia seeds? These whole grain seeds have been around for thousands of years. Legend has it that chia seeds were a staple in the diet of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. In fact, the word chia is derived from the Mayan language and means “strength”.

 

I feel that once you try these nutrient dense seeds you will know why the ancients called them strength. These tiny seeds deliver generous amounts of fiber, protein and Omega-3’s in just a one ounce portion (1oz of chia seeds = about 2 Tablespoons). Most chia seeds are also grown organically, so they contain no GMO’s and they are naturally gluten free. You can find chia seeds at most major grocery stores. However, you might have to ask a store employee where they have them located. Most health food stores sell chia seeds from the bulk bins, so you can purchase any desired quantity.

 

The most common uses for chia seeds are in smoothies, baked goods or sprinkled on a salad. I prefer soaking the seeds in advance before adding them to my recipe or smoothie. Some believe soaking the seeds makes the nutrients more accessible by our digestive system. The recipes we’ve posted on our Clearly Organic blog have the soaking process in the directions. If you’ve never tried chia seeds check out our recipes and let us know what you think!

 

Chia Seeds
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Harvest Fruit Dip

8 oz Clearly Organic Cream Cheese, softened
8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
5 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Honey
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until very smooth. Add yogurt, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Continue blending with hand mixture until dip is evenly distributed. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with sliced honey crisp apples and red grapes.

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Improving Your Lunch

Whether you’re packing a lunch for your child to take to school or you’re packing food for yourself at the office it’s easy to fall into the routine of bringing the same thing. Here are a few creative lunch ideas that the whole family will love.

    1. Balance is best. The most nutritious and filling lunches are ones with protein, vegetables and natural carbohydrate from foods like fruit and oats. Some of the classic convince lunch items are still great options. Apple sauce and mixed fruit cups are great ways to add a serving of natural carbohydrate to any lunch. Combine them with a string cheese or a deli meat roll-up and you have a perfect carbohydrate and protein blend.

 

    1. Deli meat roll-up. Take a slice of your favorite cheese and wrap a piece of deli meat around it. You can also place spinach leaves and spicy mustard in the roll-up for an extra kick. I love munster cheese and spinach wrapped with a slice of turkey. Bring two or three of these roll-ups with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a protein packed lunch.

 

    1. Vegetable based pasta salad. In July we had a recipe for Picnic Pasta Salad. The mix included broccoli, peppers, cheese, chicken, Italian sausage, artichoke hearts and more! This delicious blend of wholesome foods combined with Italian dressing is a great lunch selection. You can make it ahead of time, mix & match different vegetables to fit your taste and add variety.

 

  1. Breakfast for lunch. A hard boiled egg with oatmeal is not only a power breakfast but it can be a power lunch as well. Enjoy a hard boiled egg with overnight oats & chia seeds (recipe on blog) and you’ll have energy to make it through a long afternoon.
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Cinnamon Agave Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
5 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Raisins (optional)
1 Clearly Organic Egg
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Agave Nectar
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Almond Milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to a medium size mixing bowl. Cut 5 Tbs of cold butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, two knives or your hands until mixture is crumbly. Whisk together egg, agave nectar and almond milk. Combine egg mixture, raisins and flour mix. Stir until evenly combine. Form dough into disks and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 scones. Serve fresh out of the oven with a teaspoon of jam.

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