Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kelly’s “better than bagged” Kale Salad

Kale salads are all the rage now- I know many of my clients and friends have been buying the bagged mixes from places like Costco, Giant, and Trader Joe's and think they are absolutely delicious. Delicious they might be, but though they are made up of mostly kale, the dressing and cranberries make for a high sugar and calorie dense meal or side dish.

Since I personally do enjoy a creamy and sweet kale salad, I decided re-vamp the bagged version and make it quite a bit healthier. I've decreased the amount of dried fruit and made the salad dressing recipe much much healthier by using yogurt and reducing the amount of added sugar. This recipe appeared in last month's issue of "Wayne Living Magazine."


· 1 bunch kale, leaves chopped fine (bottom part of stem removed)
· 2 tbsp dried cranberries
· 1 diced apple
· 2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts or broccoli slaw blend
· ¼ c unsalted pumpkin seeds (find in bulk at Whole Foods or Wegman’s)

POPPY SEED DRESSING INGREDIENTS [makes about 12 servings (2 tbsp each)]

· ½ onion, very finely diced
· 1 c nonfat plain Greek yogurt
· ½ c light canola or olive oil mayonnaise
· 1 ½ tbsp sweet vinegar (e.g: raspberry white balsamic, apple cider vinegar, well-aged balsamic)
· 2 tbsp honey or agave
· 1 pinch salt
· ½ tsp mustard powder
· 1 tbsp poppy seeds


1. Combine all of dressing ingredients in bowl and mix well (or mix in blender).

2. Mix all of the salad ingredients in large bowl and add dressing to this. Toss and enjoy! Serve ¼ of salad ingredients with 2 tbsp Poppy Seed Dressing. For a complete meal, add quinoa or farro and a protein such as chicken breast or grilled shrimp.

Nutrition info (1/4 salad mix using broccoli slaw blend + 2 tbsp dressing): 190 calories, 7 g fat, 26 g carb (5 g fiber), 8 g protein

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Review of "Perfect Bars"

I was recently sent samples of the “Perfect Bar” for me to taste and review on my blog. The company sent me the variety pack of bars which included peanut butter, carob chip, almond coconut, almond acai, and a few others. Before I wrote a blog, I wanted to sample most of them to have a fair impression of the product before I jumped to conclusions.

Overall, these bars taste fine, though I probably have a biased taste perception as I am more open to healthy products and don’t find many healthy foods offensive. However, I did give out a few samples and most people said that the bars were just okay- which is to be expected of something made from quality ingredients as opposed those made with brown rice or corn syrups. These bars do have a lot going for them, as they are certified organic and made from all whole foods, which I definitely advocate. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, though also very high in calories. In fact, many of the bars are over 300 calories (most are over 250), which for many of my weight loss clients, I have their meals around 300-350 calories and snacks around 100-200. I would not recommend this bar as a meal replacement since it is primarily healthy fat and protein, with no whole grains nor vegetables. So, as far as eating for it as a snack, I would recommend eating 1/3-1/2 bar at a time if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight. For people trying to put on weight, these bars are PERFECT for you! They are small and calorie dense, and made up of relatively high quality ingredients, so much better than eating most other protein bars or shakes on the market. Below I have listed the pros and cons of these bars:

·         They have to be refrigerated, thus not good for travel.
·         They are expensive, averaging about $3/bar.
·         They are high in calories, not making them ideal for people trying to lose or maintain their weight.
·         They are high in sugar, though “natural sugar” from dried fruit, most bars contain 18-20 g sugar- so you would definitely want to eat one prior to or right after intense exercise.
·         The taste is just okay, and for many people, probably not worth the calories.

·         As far as bars on the market, these bars are made of high quality, natural, organic ingredients.
·         Most of the bars contain at least some protein, which make them better than other bars which are solely a source of carbohydrates and fat.
·         For clients with food allergies, these are gluten-free, vegan, and soy free. For people concerned about GMO’s- they are certified GMO free.


As a dietitian, I only recommend bars like these in a last-resort scenario like you are hiking and don’t have access to keep real food on you (though I would prefer you eat an apple and almonds over a bar). The problem with these bars are that they are supposed to be refrigerated, so they are not ideal for those hiking or traveling. While these bars are made of exceptional ingredients, the calories tend to be high and it is always preferred to eat real fruit and nuts over the processed form. They do add “nutrient dense super foods” like dried kelp and spinach, though the benefits are unclear and not nearly as good as eating those foods in their natural form. As mentioned previously, I would be okay recommending these to clients who want to put on weight or mass, as they are much healthier than other options or drinking milkshakes to put on weight. So, for people looking to add more healthy calories to their  However, for most of the public, I would say buying a bar like this is not necessary and probably not ideal.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Whole Grain Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes [Recipe]

This recipe appears in the June 2016 issue of Wayne Living Magazine and was written for families that want to have a special weekend breakfast together that is not only delicious but nutritious too! Blueberries are now coming in season, so this is the perfect time of year to make this recipe with your kids!

Whole Grain Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Prep Time: 5-10 min
Cook Time: 5-10 min
Makes ~12 pancakes


2 cups              blueberries
1 tsp                cinnamon
1 cup               non-fat or 1% cottage cheese
1 large             egg
1 tsp                baking powder
2 tsp                lemon zest
¾ cup               skim or 1% milk
1 tsp                salt
1/3 c                granulated sugar
1 tsp                vanilla
1 1/3 c             whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

2. Whisk eggs, cottage cheese, milk, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

4. Spray a non-stick pan with oil spray. Spoon on about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bottoms are golden and small bubbles start to form on top, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Spray oil on pan between batches. Serve with fresh fruit and cinnamon on top. Enjoy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION- SERVING SIZE: 1 PANCAKE (based on 1/12 recipe using skim milk and 1% cottage cheese)
105 calories, 1 g fat, 20 g carb, 5 g protein

Picture Source: Picture Source:
Nutrition Information Source: Diet Master Pro Software