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Try a new vegetable tonight

Have you tried a new fruit, vegetable or exercise this week? If not, here is a how-to video showing how to make Baked Turnip Fries. I love making these fries when I am craving a salty snack or need a quick side dish.FullSizeRender[5] Turnips are a root vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. They are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Not only can they be eaten as fries, you can also try them boiled, steamed, or shredded into salads.

Baked Turnip Fries

3 large turnips
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Peel turnips and cut into French fry sticks.
  3. Place turnips into a bowl and toss with oil and spices, making sure turnips are evenly coated.
  4. Lay turnips onto a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 6
Nutrition data per serving
Calories: 120, Total Fat 5g, Sodium 400mg, Carbs 17g, Fiber 3g, Protein 3g

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

Spring is here and so is warm weather! Lets start this week with a challenge. When it comes to healthy living, keeping your exercise routine and I tried a new fruit-2food intake exciting is key. The National Nutrition Month’s campaign “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” encourages this very act. When the foods we eat and the exercise we do are the same every day, it’s easy to become bored and lose interest. Let’s start the spring season with getting out of our comfort zone. I challenge you to try a new fruit, vegetable or exercise this I tried a new fruitweek. Take a picture of your fruit, vegetable or exercise and either post it on our Twitter or Facebook page. Make sure to use the #dinnertonightrd. The people who post will be entered to when a Dinner Tonight Cookbook.

To get you started on this weeks challenge, here is a recipe which features edamame.  Edamame (soybeans) are high in protein and low in fat. This salad makes a great side dish or light lunch.

Roasted Edamame and Corn Salad


2 cups shelled edamame soybeans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup yellow sweet corn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place edamame, corn, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a 13 x 9 pan and stir to combine. Place on middle rack of the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the edamame begins to brown. Remove from oven and place in refrigerator until completely cool, approximately 30 minutes.
Add tomato, basil and vinegar to mixture and toss to combine. Taste; adjust seasoning as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 5

Nutrition facts per serving Calories: 160 Total Fat: 7 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 160 mg Total Carbohydrate: 15 g Fiber: 5 g Protein: 9 g

Personalize Your Meal Plan

What’s the latest diet? Low Carb Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, Paleo…. these are just a few that are popular. We all have unique lifestyles, health concerns, traditions and taste in foods. Building a personalized eating plan that is sustainable and meet nutritional needs is key to your health and success. A nutritious meal plan should not have extreme limitations on foods, have you eating less than 1200 calories per day or consuming only liquids. All foods can fit within a healthy diet, but portion size and quality of foods is important. Strive to eat fruits and vegetables everyday, limit processed foods and move your body. To help you start eating right follow these 5 steps.

  1. Personalize Your Meal Plan- you want to choose good-for-you foods that you enjoy and taste good. One way is to experiment with new recipes and foods. A goal might be to try incorporating one new vegetable into your menu planning each week.
  2. Mimic My Plate Everyday- Fill half your plate with vegetables and keep serving sizes of lean proteins to about 4-5oz (the size of an iPhone 5). Have fruits for desserts and choose low-fat dairy. Try to limit the amount of processed foods you consume.myplate_green
  3. Be Mindful Of Health Concerns- Eating a healthy diet can treat and help prevent certain medical conditions. Modifying your meal plan to reflect your unique set of health concerns might seem overwhelming. Click these links to find more information about nutrition related to high blood pressure/heart health and diabetes.
  4. Fill Up On Fiber- Pay attention to foods that keep you feeling full throughout the day. Fiber plays a significant role with fighting hunger. Choose foods with at least 3 or more grams of fiber. Beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are good sources.
  5. Drink Water- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is important for body functions. One 20oz soda has around 250 calories and 70g of sugar (17 teaspoons)! Water has 0 calories. Try flavoring your water with frozen fruits to add a refreshing twist while keeping your water cold.

Just like taste buds, meal plans and health concerns are not one size fits all. If a diet sounds too good to be true it probably is. A nutritious meal plan is one that can be followed everyday. Choose healthy foods that taste great and meet your nutritional goals. This flavorful meal is delicious and nutritious. Have a great dinner tonight!


 Tilapia with Orange Parsley Salsa

2 oranges
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4- 6 oz tilapia fillets
2 cups hot cooked instant brown rice

For the salsa, grate 2 teaspoons orange rind. Peel and section oranges over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons juice. Chop orange sections. Combine rind, chopped orange, orange juice, parsley, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a bowl; toss well.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.Place fish in an oven proof skillet coated with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake at 400° F for 14 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneneTilapia-With-Orange-Salsass. Place salsa on top of fish and serve with rice.

Servings 4. Serving Size 1 fillet with ½ cup rice and ¼ cup salsa
Calories: 380, Total fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 2g, Sodium 530mg, Fiber 3g, Protein 37g

Saying No to Fad Diets

Diet- this four letter word can cause stress, anxiety, disappointment and hunger as soon as we hear it. In our society, we put a lot of focus on weight. According to Marketdata Enterprises, the weight loss market generates around 60 billion dollars each year. It is not surprising that so many people fall prey to fad diets and impractical weight-loss products. Have you ever put yourself on an unrealistic diet or bought supplements for weight loss?

I hate to break it to you, but there are no pills or foods that magically burn fat. There is no exercise equipment that will get you a six-pack while sitting on the couch. Weight loss is one equation. Burn more calories than you consume.


I think we all can agree that this is harder said than done. National Nutrition Month’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” The goal is to teach people how to build a healthy relationship with food, increase cooking skills and help people realize that all foods can fit within a healthy menu plan. This week we are going to focus on avoiding fad diets and what foods we should incorporate into our own menu plan. To bite into a healthy lifestyle try these Quinoa-Oat Granola Bars. These are great for a filling breakfast or a mid-day snack.  These bars can be frozen for up to 3 months.

 Quinoa-Oat Granola Bars


  • 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used dried cherries, apricots and raisins)
  • 1/2 cup, dry roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Spread the oats and the quinoa on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

Spread the coconut on the now-empty baking sheet and bake at 325° F for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Add the coconut, dried fruit, flaxseed meal and pistachios to the oat and quinoa mixture.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, applesauce, honey, canola oil, and salt. Stir until mixed. Pour the mixture over the oat mixture, toss to coat.

Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and press the mixture into the dish. Bake at 325° F for 15-17 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely, then cut into 12 bars.

Servings 12, Serving Size 1 bar
Calories: 220, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 90mg, Total Carbohydrate: 27g, Protein: 6g

 *Quinoa is part of the beet and spinach family but functions as a grain. Quinoa has twice as much fiber as other grains and is a good source of protein.

Keeping a Healthy Pantry

Now that you have the basics of menu planning, let’s dive a little deeper (if you missed Monday’s post, click here). There is not one right way to plan the meals you want to make at home. Even the word menu might sound intimidating if you’ve been away from the kitchen for a while, or are just getting started.

There are many apps and programs that can help you plan. Examples of programs are: Plan to Eat, Ziplist, Pepperplate and Cook Smarts. Most of these programs allow you to import recipes from websites into your weekly menu plan templaIMG_0343tes. They will also create a grocery list and some give recommendations for left over meals. If you prefer to keep lists on paper, you can always write it down on a calendar. Since I live by my written planner, I usually just write it down as you can see here. Whichever method you choose to use, remember that practice makes perfect!

Keeping an organized and stocked pantry will save time, money and make menu planning eaiser. Check out my top 5 favorite healthy pantry items in this short video.

Also, here is an easy recipe that uses canned beans (which is one of my top stable items in my pantry). This recipe is an excellent option for a side dish or place on top of spinach leaves for a fiber packed lunch. You can also serve it as an appetizer with baked tortilla chips or whole grain crackers.

Keep up the good work with your menu planning and have a great dinner tonight!

Three Bean Salad


1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 (15.5-ounce) can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15.5-ounce) can low sodium kidney beans, drained
1 (15.5-ounce) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, pepper, juice, and salt; pour over bean mixture, stirring to coat. Cover and chill.

Yields 12 servings. Serving size ½ cup- Calories 128, Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat .3g, Protein 5.8g, Carbohydrates 21g, Fiber 6g, Sodium 321mg

Adapted from Cooking Light