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Eating Healthy at a Convenience Store

Oikos and bananaPlanning a road trip? Constantly on the go? Healthy eating can seem impossible when our only options are convenience stores and rest stops. In this article for The Loop by Devon Scoble I talk about healthy items to look for to keep you well fueled and on the right track.


A few of my personal go-to foods when I’m traveling are fruit, sliced veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, dry-roasted edamame, and single-serve packets of peanut butter. Though I avoid a lot of protein bars because so many have tree nuts in them, here are some things I keep in mind when it comes to selecting a bar.

Happy trails, kids.

What was the last road trip you took? Any must-have snack items? 

What to make this weekend

So, Friday. What’s on your weekend agenda? After traveling for a wedding two weeks ago and spending last weekend at a conference, it’s weird to be in New York this weekend. I’ll be working at the hospital and then spending Sunday doing things people with real lives do. At least that’s the idea. I’ve been doing a lot of recipe testing and plan to spend a little time in the kitchen coming up with some more new things to share.

Speaking of things to share, someone shared this Slate article with me the other day that I thought was quite well-written. If you hadn’t caught on based off my “real food from all the food groups” approach, you probably won’t be surprised to hear I tend to agree with the idea that “diets” don’t work. I am all about small changes, a little at a time, starting from a place you can handle starting from. I feel it’s the kindest, safest approach to reaching your personal weight goals, and gradually building on your experience as you go helps sustain a lifestyle that will keep you in a place that is healthy for you—every body is different, and maintaining an open line of communication with yourself about your physical and emotional wellbeing is key to long term success.

Now before I go off into any psycho-babble-esque deep end, let’s talk about some recipes I saw and want to share in case you’re planning on cooking this weekend:

meatballs and zucchini pastaI actually have something very similar to this planned for my April newsletter, so I had to laugh when I saw this in the New York Times Cooking newsletter on Wednesday: Coconut roasted carrots. My version does not call for mint or cilantro, but this does, and it sounds divine. Do it.

Speaking of carrots, how about making a cake with veggies in it? Love these ideas from Food52. They look and sound delicious—even the parsley cake!

Need to do a dry-run of Easter dinner? Cooking Light has some great ideas, complete with suggested wine pairings.

I need to try this Frappuccino-inspired smoothie I saw on FitSugar. Now that the weather is consistently above freezing (during the daytime, at least), this is actually doable!

I have Italy on the brain this week and have been spending way too much time on Expedia. Maybe this would be a great time to make some meatballs? I just made these turkey ones the other day, and they were so good. You can use real pasta or spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash if you want to try something new.

What are you up to this weekend? 




Thinking Out Loud: Never-Unpacked Boxes

Happy Thursday. Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

How’s your week going? After pouring all my energy into the post-conference exam* from the certificate of weight management training program I went to, it’s taken me a few days to mentally adjust to real life. I’ve mostly been in to-do-list tunnel vision mode. Pros and cons. In keeping with this weekly link-ups “randomness” theme, here’s a peak at what’s kicking around my brain.

1.) First off, Eli wants me to wish everyone a very happy (if belated) National Puppy Day. If only we could all be so tired from play instead of work…Eli sleeping

2.) The spring cleaning urge has hit me hard this week. I edited the heck out of my closet and cleared off a few shelves in there. Still not sure what I’m making room for or how I’m going to reorganize, so for now, I just have a bunch of empty space—almost unheard of in New York. The closet in the main entryway to my place is another story, though…

I still have boxes and boxes of binders, notebooks, papers from grad school…even the things from my DPD courses and labs are still there. Some of it’s as old as 2009. Yikes! Since packing each item away at the end of whatever semester, I have never gone looking for anything—not even once. I dragged all this crap with me through 2 moves. Why? I suppose to my credit, I last moved about a year before finishing school—maybe I thought I’d need all that at some point. Um, yeah. I was so wrong. It’s not that I know everything and do not need resources. I’m just fortunate that so many of my resources are available in places that do not require unpacking a box or scaling a shelf. Now I understand how 10 years go by in a flash.

3.) I have been focusing a lot this month on letting things be as opposed to chanting any  of the “let go” mantras I’ve been force-fed since I was a kid. Sometimes the real work is in being where you are and staying present. When we rush to wipe the surface clean or empty or hands, we can miss out on an opportunity to learn.

4.) I made a spanakopita-insired frittata Monday night and can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys. Not only is it easy to make, but it reheats really well, making it great for lunch or dinner the next day. I even had the last slice for breakfast this morning. spanakopita frittata and salad

*5.) I passed my exam, by the way. I now hold a certificate in Adult Weight Management. Or I will hold it once it arrives in the mail. Kinda nifty, huh?

6.) Apparently this also means I’m done with my continuing education credits over 2 years early. Eternal Student-ism strikes again #SagittariusProblems

7.) FNCE is in Nashville this year, and I really want to go! I know it’s not until October, but I’m excited about the idea of going. A city I’ve always wanted to visit, a conference I’ve always wanted to go to—why the heck not?

What’s on your mind today? 



What I Ate Wednesday # 207: Conference Eats

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. How’s your week going? After taking Monday to get back into the swing of things, I’m starting to get into the groove of this week. This past one was my second weekend traveling in a row. First I had a wedding in Miami, then I went to the CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management Program, which was being held in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Originally, I had intended to commute, but when I saw snow in the weekend forecast (plus the mountain of deadlines staring me down), I decided to book a room at the hotel where the conference took place for Friday and Saturday night. It was totally the right decision for me. In the spirit of this weekly “what I ate” link party, here’s a peak at what I ate during the weekend.

pumpkin overnight oats Keeping It Real FoodFriday morning, I was at at 4 a.m.  to catch the train. I brought some pumpkin overnight oats* to go. This had:

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • ~1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • cinnamon
  • a pinch of stevia

*The night before, I’d been so tired, I totally forgot to add the oats. You win some, you lose some. This was still a tasty, filling breakfast. I honestly didn’t miss that tablespoon of rolled oats.

Once I got to the conference, I took advantage of the “light breakfast” of fresh fruit and tea/coffee. I’d also brought some snacks from home, so during the day, as needed, I had the sliced bell pepper, fruit, peanut butter and Fiberlove bars (I’m not a bar person, but I like these once in a while—especially if I’m traveling and need the extra fiber…). I also had packed some Calm magnesium powder to drink at night. I always have that in my overnight bag. One thing I forgot to pack was chocolate. Note to self: do not forget chocolate next time I travel.

I had brought a lot of work with me and had scheduled a few lunchtime phone meetings, so I grabbed lunch to go and ate in my room both days. This looks way sadder than it tasted: grilled chicken and veg Keeping It Real Food

For dinner, I did take advantage of room service. room service scallops Keeping It Real Food

In case I haven’t said it enough times on this blog, scallops are one of my favorite foods, and these did not disappoint. This was sea scallops with red pepper coulis (that word always cracks me up), spinach, crispy shallots, and garlicky Israeli couscous. Oh—and sparkling wine because why not?

I walked around the area near the hotel a little bit, but since a lot of people were commuting, there wasn’t much in the way of nighttime networking, though I did have time to chat with a few fellow conference goers over a drink. The alone-time worked out just fine for me, though as I got to catch up on some work along with emails and phone calls.

Though I had a voucher for the continental breakfast in the hall, after scoping it out after a trip to the hotel gym, I went the snob route and ordered a frittata. It was glorious. Egg whites + spinach + mushrooms + tomatoes + goat cheese for anyone playing along at home. I need to make this at home soon. room service frittata

The only hitch was the busted heat, but luckily I was able to curl up in a giant robe that was probably made for a 6-foot-something-scary dude. It was hilariously cozy. Of course I had to take a silly picture:  Silly Robe photo

And that’s all there is. There isn’t any more. Until next time, anyway.

Do you ever go to conferences? Any go-to travel eats?  
Today’s WIAW is hosted by Laura of Sprint 2 the Table. To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

Scary Recall News for Amy’s Fans

This week, vegetarian frozen food company Amy’s Kitchen is recalling nearly 73,900 cases of frozen food due to concern over possible listeria contamination after one of the the company’s organic spinach suppliers alerted Amy’s to possible exposure to the bacteria in its spinach.AmysKitchen

Listeria is a food borne illness caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes that can cause serious infection and even death, especially in young children, the elderly and frail, and in those with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriage or stillbirth amongst pregnant women. Healthy individuals may experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea, stiff neck, and abdominal discomfort.

No illnesses related to Amy’s products have been reported to date, but the company is pulling affected products from shelves and urging consumers to throw out these items if they have been purchased. Click here to see a list of all Amy’s products being recalled.

What to put on your oatmeal

apple oats with fig Keeping It Real FoodOatmeal is a popular breakfast food. You might even say it’s cliched in some circles—food bloggers, dietitians, for example. Will we ever shut up about our damn oatmeal? Highly unlikely.

One of the most common ways you see oatmeal served is with brown sugar and dried fruit. As a dietitian, I can’t help but look at that and be, like, “Carbs on carbs on carbs.” Aka, “Sugar crash in an hour.” It makes me happy to see more restaurants and food companies starting to offer savory versions and higher-protein options that will actually keep people fueled through their morning.

I’m a big fan of making oatmeal in big batches ahead of time and dividing into single-serving containers so you can grab and go or heat and eat if your morning is rushed. Here are a few of my go-to recipes:

You can also take a plain bowl of oats and add whatever toppings will make it worth your while.  Here’s a post I wrote for General Mills a few months back on ways to add some sweetness to your bowl without extra sugar. A few of my favorite add-ons:

  • Peanut butter (or whatever nut/seed butter you like)
  • Tahini
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flax
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Caramelized fruit
  • Dried or roasted figs (a little goes a long way)
  • Jam or fruit preserves
  • A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • A poached egg and roasted veggies
  • Goat cheese
  • Avocado

How do you like your oatmeal? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Good morning and happy Sunday. First off, I want to give a big congrats to one of my oldest lady friends, who’s having her baby shower today. I’m going to have to miss it because I’m still at a conference, but I’m sending lots of good thoughts her way.

Though I normally would look at two back-to-back weekends out of town as a stressful thing, it’s actually been great to get a change of scenery and to learn a bunch of new stuff. I’m such a nerd for loving continuing education as much as I do, but apparently this is a typical Sagittarius trait, so maybe I just can’t help it?

Speaking of nerd alert, technology is at the top of my little gratitude list this weekend. I love that wi-fi has enabled me to stay in touch with my Rise and MobileRD clients up and write and to chip away at some articles I have due. When I was a teenager, the dream was to have a place to hole up and write without anyone or anything bothering me—who knew that place would be a hotel room I’d booked for a nutrition conference?

Another dream from a million years ago that I was always too embarrassed to admit out loud was wanting to be published in a major magazine. That sort of happened too this past week, when I stumbled across an article I was quoted in while flipping through the current issue of Women’s HealthWomen's Health 1

I also was featured recently in a Yahoo Food article on protein bars. It’s funny how things come in waves.

On another note, I am thankful for yoga and instructors who play The National in class. So good…

I am also thankful for the therapeutic power of cute puppy pics. This is a shot of Eli last weekend when he woke me up at 5:2o to make sure I didn’t miss my flight to Miami. Eli morning

No matter what kind of stress is tugging at me, I can always count on this little guy to make me smile.

Have a great day : )

What’s made you smile this week? 


Tuna to Go

 nicoiseWhen I was got my first clinical job as a new RD, I found myself packing my lunch (and breakfast) for the first time since high school, when I’d realized that saving my lunch allowance meant more money to spend on CDs. That’s how long it had been—CDs has still been a thing back when I’d been brown-bagging it to the senior caf.

True, I could have bought lunch from the cafeteria of the long term care facility where I worked, but, well…Let me put it this way: if I was going to be spending money on food, I wanted it to be on things I knew would fill me up and taste good and not contribute to the development of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. I consider myself very open-minded when it comes to food, but I have my limits.

Because a girl can only take so many salads with chickpeas, I found myself getting creative with protein options. These sealed pouches became a desk-drawer staple because they were satisfying, cheap, and super-convenient. I still like to throw one in my lunch bag every now and then on a day I work at the hospital. If I ever relearn how to be a good driver, I could even see myself bringing a few of these on a road trip.

My favorite way to enjoy this is over an arugula salad with cucumber, roasted peppers, a hard-boiled egg, olives (I dig Oloves as another great to-go item) and balsamic vinegar. Voila: almost-nicoise salad. Easy and delicious.

Not feeling the salad thing? This is also great in pasta or on toast with sliced tomato and a drizzle of olive oil.

Are you a tuna lover? What are some of your favorite ways to eat it?

What to make this weekend

Happy Friday! Oh, and happy beginning of Spring this weekend. Please ignore the snow forecasted here in the northeast…

conference snack bag Keeping It Real FoodIs it just me or did this week fly? It could also be that I’ve been squeezing into 3 days what I normally have 7 to do. I’m heading to a conference this morning. Definitely not planning on spending much time in the kitchen, but I have some snacks packed to get me through the next few days:

  • Overnight oats packed for breakfast to eat on the trip this morning
  • Sliced green bell pepper
  • Fruit (apples, clementine, banana)
  • Dry-roasted edamame
  • Fiberlove bars
  • Single-serve packets of peanut butter

A client recently asked me for some tasty, weight-loss friendly recipes, so I thought I’d share a few ideas if you’re looking to try any new lightened-up dishes for the new season, here are a few suggestions:

This spiraled zucchini with grape tomatoes from Skinnytaste — so pretty! Just add some protein for more staying power. I think chicken sausage or grilled chicken or shrimp would taste great in this.

These tomato-braised lentils from the Kitchn would make a great vegetarian dish, but you could also top with an egg and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese (I recommend 1 tbsp goat or feta) to take it up a notch without breaking the calorie bank.

Breakfast for dinner. It doesn’t get much easier than an omelet with lots of veggies. Use one whole egg and 2 extra whites. Hopefully your flipping skills are better than mine. Keeping It Real Food omelet fail

You win some, you lose some. Such is life.

What are you up to this weekend? Any healthy recipes on your “must try” list? 


Thinking Out Loud: Takeoffs and Landings (and airport food)

Happy Thursday. Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

I was only out of town for a few days, but since I’m going to be spending this weekend at a conference, I’ve felt extra crazed about getting everything done in three days that I would normally do in five—multi-tasking like crazy. In keeping with the Thursday theme, here’s some randomness for you to chew on.

1.) On my trip to Miami last weekend, I was really impressed with the dining options available in the airport. On my flight down, I enjoyed a really decent salad and a banana LGA lunch Keeping It Real Food

and on the way home, enjoyed this salad with grilled fish (trying to remember—I think it was mahi-mahi?) while killing time before boarding. Miami airport lunch Keeping It Real Food

2.) For people without time to grab a meal, I was also impressed by the different healthy snack options, especially at Laguardia.

3.) Speaking of snacks, if you’re looking for any protein bar recommendations, a Yahoo Food article I was featured in went live over the weekend.

4.) Also in snack news: when we got into Miami Saturday afternoon, my mom, sister, and I went out walking around the neighborhood and shared some oysters and two salads as a snack. One had duck, and the other had seared tuna. Apparently, I was all about fish on salad last weekend. salad as a snack Keeping It Real Food

5.) I used to think I hated to fly—takeoffs and landings could reduce me to tears, even when I was, like, 25 years old. I’m not totally sure what changed or when, but as long as I’m on my own, I’m more or less okay. The anxiety is really the hard part. Once I’ve gotten to the airport and located the gate, I’m good. That said, I still get antsy about delays and the like. Who doesn’t, I guess? I have quite a bit more travel coming up this year than I have in a while, so I suppose there are some things I’ll have to get used to!

Do you love or hate to fly? Any favor airport eats?  



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