healthy living

21 Ways to Get in More Protein with Breakfast

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Personally, I always try to include a source of protein at breakfast. I know when I start my day with cereal or zucchini bread I'm usually hungry pretty soon after or find myself snacking throughout the day. Besides building muscle, our bodies need protein for about a trillion other daily functions and processes. But did you know that starting your day with a good source of protein may even help you reach your weight loss goals?

More are more studies are coming out showing the benefits of starting your day with some protein. Having a protein rich meal for breakfast can help to keep you full longer, prevent snacking later in the day, and may even aid in weight loss and help to decrease fat mass. Protein is more satisfying and filling than a meal that is heavy in refined carbs because it takes longer to digest and helps control our blood sugars. Studies have shown, that those who start with protein at breakfast are less hungry and snack less throughout the day.

Our bodies can only digest up to about 30 grams of protein at a time, so anything over that is not necessary (check your protein shakes). To find out your daily protein needs you can use the following equation:

(weight in lbs / 2.2 = weight in kg)

weight in kg x 0.8

This equation gives you your minimum daily protein requirements. For those who are more active, are over 65, or are sick or injured I would multiply by 1.0 to 1.2.

One of the best things about being a dietitian is the dietitian community. It's seriously the best. Everyone is so supportive and wants to see each other succeed. I reached out to our wonderful community to compile the following list of healthy, higher in protein, breakfast recipes. Below are 21 healthy recipes to bulk up the protein in your morning meals to help you stay full longer, feel more satisfied, prevent snacking later in the day, and possibly help shed a few pounds. Let me know which ones you try!


Banana Dates & Tahini Smoothie

Dixya Bhattarai, RD

Banana Pear Shamrock Smoothie

Samara Abbott, RD

Shamrock Smoothie: 18 grams of protein

Kid-Approved Tropical Green Smoothie

Sarah Remmer, RD

Cherry Amaranth Almond Smoothie

Judy Barbe, RD


Power Pancakes

Ingrid Anderson, RD

Power Pancakes: 18 grams of protein (15-20 with Greek yogurt)

Flourless Chocolate Lentil Protein Muffins

Sarah Renner, RD

Banana Nut Eggy Oats

Kelsey Lorencz, RD

Sorghum Berry Breakfast Bowl

Sharon Palmer, RD

Breakfast Bowl: 11 grams of protein

Berry Cardamom Baked Oatmeal

Judy Barbe, RD

Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Brittany Poulson, RD

PB Pancakes: 13 grams of protein


5 Minute Egg Bake

Josten Fish, RD

Healthy Egg Muffins

Jenna Gorham, RD

Veggie Quiche Patties

Liz Weiss, RD

Veggie Quiche: 16 grams of protein (in 3 patties)

Mini Spinach & Sweet Potato Frittata

Jodi Danen, RD

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan

Frittata Muffins: 11 grams of protein (in 2 muffins)

Low Carb Egg Cups

Lara Clevenger, RD


Chocolate Peanut Butter High Protein Breakfast Sundae

E.a. Stewart, RD

2 Ingredient Egg White Pancake

Kelli Shallal, RD

2 Ingredient Pancakes: 21 grams of protein

8 High Protein Breakfasts

Jill Castle, RD

Black Forest Chia Pudding

Julie Harrington, RD

Greek Yogurt Parfait with Cereal and Pan-Roasted Grapes

Amy Gorin, RD

Parfait: 17 grams of protein

5 foods to keep your heart pumping

Did you know February is national heart month?  

As many of you know, I used to work as a clinical dietitian. Working in the hospital, I spent many days covering the cardiac floor, educating patients post-open heart surgery on a heart healthy diet. To some, having open heart surgery was a wake-up call that something in their lifestyle needed to change. However, many of my patients either did not see the connection between diet and overall health or were too stubborn to want to make simple changes.


You've probably heard a million times before the keys to a healthy heart -


  1. eat more fruits, veggies, beans, and legumes

  2. cut down on processed foods & reduce sodium intake

  3. limit saturated and trans fats & choose more healthy fats

  4. choose lean meats and eat more fish, beans, and legumes

  5. eat whole grains and be sure to get plenty of exercise


You get it, I know. But think about it - which of these tips do you actually make a conscious effort to incorporate into your daily life? When was the last time you ate salmon or shrimp? How many servings of fruits & veggies did you eat yesterday? (at least 5 is ideal!) When nutrition information is thrown at us in a million directions, it's difficult to know where to start - I get it. This week (no matter when you're reading this), I challenge you to choose one of the above, make it specific and doable, and set it as your goal for this coming week.



Many people have the attitude that they're young and healthy, or they exercise 5 days/week, or they've been eating this way for years. They think they can eat whatever junk they want as long as it doesn't show on their waist. I'm all for moderation, but to me skinny does not necessarily equal healthy.  Whether you're a baby boomer or a gen X 20-something, it's never too late to start taking care of your body to improve your long-term health.


Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. The good news is- it can be prevented, so why not try through healthy foods and regular exercise. See a few of my favorite heart healthy foods below...

p.s. don't miss out on my awesome newsletter - this month we're talking red wine and chocolate! Scroll down to sign up and learn all about the heart healthy benefits!

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1. Lentils

I love lentils! Not only only are they a great source of fiber and protein but packed with heart healthy vitamins and minerals too. They can be swapped out for meat on your next Meatless Monday (or try half meat, half lentils). They're great in tacos, stuffed peppers, curry, veggie burgers, salads, meatloaf, etc.

Like I said, they're an awesome source of fiber. (If a diet higher in fiber is new to you, introduce fibrous foods slowly to ease in your digestive system.) Soluble fiber in particular can help to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in our bloodstream and lower our LDL ('bad') cholesterol. Lentils are also a good source of folate and magnesium, both associated with a healthy heart.

2. Oatmeal

Think beyond the Quaker packet! Oatmeal is incredibly versatile and is another excellent source of fiber (see above), especially beta-glucan. Beta-glucan can help to reduce LDL and total cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and promote the growth of good gut bacteria. Like other whole grains, oats are a great source of B vitamins. Folate and B6 in particular, have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Oats are also known for their avenanthramides - a unique group of antioxidants - an anti-inflammatory compound which may help to lower blood pressure.

The instant packets can be a great option if that is what you like, but they often include additional sugars and ingredients that aren't totally necessary. I would recommend the whole oat options (Old Fashioned, Steel Cut, etc.) for the most nutritional bang for your buck. Have you tried savory oats or overnight oats? They are great with a runny egg and some veggies, or topped with nuts and seeds (omegas, protein, and more). They can also be added to other baked goods or homemade granola bars or can act as a great whole grain alternative to processed bread crumbs.

3. Salmon

Out of the most commonly consumed fish, salmon has the highest concentration of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3s help to lower triglycerides (fatty acids in our bloodstream that may contribute to clotting). Note that fish oil supplements have not been shown to have the same benefits as actually consuming fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish 2x/week for the optimal heart healthy benefits.

Salmon is also one of the best food sources of Vitamin D. Research is now showing a link between low levels of vitamin D and heart disease (mark my words, Vitamin D will be BIG this year!) *Please consult your MD or RD before beginning any supplement.

(You can also try walnuts & chia seeds for more omega-3s, and cow's milk for vitamin D)

4. Avocado

Avocados are a staple in my house. They are a great source of monounsaturated fats which can help to improve LDL levels. By replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats (think Mediterranean diet) you are doing wonders for your long term heart health. Avocadoes are also a great source of fiber (see above), potassium, and vitamin E (an antioxidant!). Many of us do not get enough potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte and is essential for muscle contraction. It can help to lower blood pressure by lessening the effects sodium has on blood pressure. 

Try substituting some of the butter on your toast with avocado; swapping some of the oil in your baked goods with pureed avocado; or including avocado slices on salads or sandwiches. 

5. Tomatoes

I'll be honest, I HATED tomatoes as a kid. It wasn't until the past few years I actually started eating them and still I prefer them cooked or canned over raw. Now, canned tomatoes are actually a staple in my house. I add them to soups, sauces, curries, and more.

Like many other fruits, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants (specifically vitamins A and C), helping to fight free-radicals and reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene. Studies have shown many potential benefits of lycopene including: lowering LDL, antioxidant properties, acting as a potential blood thinner, as well as reducing the risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease.


P.S. I know you know blueberries are loaded with antioxidants too- great for your heart, inflammation, and more. Check out my yummy Wild Blue Raz Smoothie Bowl recipe here.

7 Food & Nutrition Trends to Watch For in 2017

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The new year is upon us and 'tis the season of food forecasting. 2016 was the year of overnight oats, meal delivery kits, and La Croix sparkling water. What does 2017 have in store...? Here are a few of my top predictions...

1. Waste Not, Want Not
40% of all food produced, never actually makes it to a plate before getting tossed out. Meanwhile, more than 40 million Americans are hungry. Thanks to our millennial generation, we are beginning to value food preservation and do our part in reducing food waste, for not only the economical, but the social, and environmental benefits as well. In 2017, we'll start to see more restaurants, food companies, and even home cooks hop on board and err towards the side of wasting less. We will see more recipes for using broccoli stems, kale stems, potato skins, chicken bones, and repurposing leftovers- food items that may otherwise be tossed out. Check out this site for some tips and recipe ideas for your food close to expiration.


2. Is Cottage Cheese the new Greek Yogurt?
We all saw it in the Wall Street Journal, word is out - cottage cheese wants what greek yogurt has. Cottage cheese manufacturers have begun making individual serving containers with sweet, fruit flavored add-ins, similar to their greek yogurt counterpart. High in protein, cottage cheese makes a healthful, satisfying snack. Although if sodium is something you need to be cautious of, be sure to read the nutrition facts label.


3. Sweet Potato Toast
This foodie trend has begun to swarm pinterest and food blogs alike. Perhaps it will take off in 2017 as we start to get sick of our overnight oats and chia seed pudding. Click here and here for a few different variations. While you're at it- be sure to follow me on Pinterest for all my favorite recipes!



4. Turmeric
An ancient spice, with a long history of medicinal properties, turmeric is becoming more and more trendy. Specifically growing in popularity for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, turmeric may relieve discomfort from arthritis, GI and menstrual stress, headaches, and acne alike, not to mention reducing LDL as well. Studies have shown, that consuming turmeric with black pepper or a source of fat helps to increase the spice's bioavailability. Keep in mind, more research is needed and what works for one person (or lab rat) may or may not work the same for you, as everyone's nutritional needs vary. Check out this cozy, warm turmeric milk recipe from Nutrition Stripped. 


5. Keto Diet
The all-trendy ketogenic diet has not quite reached its peak. For the early part of 2017, as many of us begin to rethink our health habits and once again begin to fear carbs, I see this diet trend continuing to trend up. Check out my blog post from a few months back for more information on the ketogenic diet. And as always, please contact your MD, ND, or RD before beginning any type of diet plan.


6. Plant-Forward Meals
Word is getting out about plants! More and more research is touting the health benefits of consuming more plant-based foods, including lowering cholesterol as well as a decreased risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. We will begin to see more restaurants hopping on board and offering veggie-centered meals. This is not to say we all need to eat tofu or entirely vegan. You can still incorporate a 'plant-based' lifestyle by swapping a meat-heavy meal or two each week with plant-based alternatives or trying to focus a meal around veggies.


7. Fermented Foods
Gaining in popularity over the past year for their high probiotic content, we will begin to see more and more fermented food products in 2017. Aside from yogurt, packaged sauerkraut, kimchi, and even fermented water kefir and 'gut shots' will soon line our grocery store shelves.


What do you think? What are your predictions for 2017?