All across the country this week… the weather outside has been frightful…..thirty degrees in LA, snow in Las Vegas, and snow storms in other parts of the county…and it’s not even the first day of winter!

One of the best ways to stay warm is through warm foods. Here are a few of my favorite hot and healthy recipes to get you through the next 3 months…..

Pumpkin Oatmealpumpkinoatmealmed (source:


· 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

· 3 cups fat-free milk

· 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

· 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

· 1/8 tsp cinnamon

· 1 tbsp raisins

· Brown sugar to taste


Place oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl and stir in milk. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in pumpkin puree, spice and cinnamon. Heat for 40-60 seconds, or until heated through. Stir in raisins. Sweeten with brown sugar if necessary and enjoy.

Stovetop method

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in oats and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and spices and stir until heated through. Stir in raisins just before serving.

Serves 4.

Per Serving: Calories 242, Calories from Fat 47, Total Fat 2.9g (sat 0.6g), Cholesterol 3mg, Sodium 99mg, Carbohydrate 40.5g, Fiber 5.3g, Protein 13.2g

Low Fat Lentil Souplentil-soup (source:

Serve with some crusty whole grain bread and a side salad drizzled with your favorite low-fat or fat-free dressing.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


· 2 tsp olive oil

· 1 cup onion

· 1 cup diced carrots

· 3/4 cup chopped celery

· 1 tbsp curry powder

· 1 cup green/brown lentils, rinsed and sorted through

· 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes

· 3 cups fat-free, low sodium vegetable broth


Heat oil on medium heat in a Dutch oven. Gently sauté onions, celery and carrots until softened. Add curry powder and stir into vegetables. Add lentils, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Serves 6

Per Serving: Calories 191, Calories from Fat 27, Total Fat 3.1g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 149mg, Carbohydrate 29.5g, Fiber 12.8g, Protein 11.4g

Low fat Beef & Black Bean Chilibeef-chili-ck-1673140-l (source:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes


· 2 tsp canola oil

· 1 medium yellow onion

· 1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped

· 1 jalapeno chile pepper, deseeded and chopped

· 1 large carrot, chopped

· 2 tbsp chili powder

· 1 tbsp cumin

· 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef (can be left out for vegetarian version)

· 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

· 1 15-ounce can low sodium black beans, drained

· 2 cups frozen sweet corn


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, jalapeno pepper and carrot. Saute for 5 minutes, until onion has softened. Sprinkle chili powder and cumin over the vegetables and stir for 1 minute. Crumble in ground beef; cook on medium-high until no longer pink. Add canned tomatoes and black beans. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add sweet corn and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of fat free sour cream or a light sprinkling (1-2 tbsp) of reduced fat Jack cheese.

Serves 6-8

Per Serving: Calories 279, Calories from Fat 53, Total Fat 5.7g (sat 1.8g), Cholesterol 35mg, Sodium 304mg, Carbohydrate 37mg, Fiber 9.3g, Protein 19.4g


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


· 1 cup fat-free sour cream

· 2 tsp dried dill

· 3 Tbsp scallions, finely chopped

· 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

· 2 Tbsp lemon juice

· 1 ½ lb salmon filet with skin, cut in center

· ½ tsp garlic powder

· ½ tsp black pepper

· fat-free cooking spray, as needed


1. Whisk sour cream, dill, scallions, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard together in large bowl until well blended.

2. Preheat oven to 400º F; while waiting, spray baking sheet with nonstick fat-0free cooking spray.

3. Place salmon, skin side down on baking sheet.

4. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, then spread with sauce made in Step 1.

5. Bake salmon until opaque in center, or about 20 minutes. For best results, do not over bake.

Tip: Steamed broccoli is always a perfect compliment to salmon!

Yield: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 piece salmon (4 oz.)
Calories: 19 per serving
Total fat: 7 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 76 mg
Sodium: 229 mg
Total fiber: less than 1 g
Protein: 27g
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Potassium: 703 g

Whole Wheat Pasta Bake with Chicken + Spinachi-pasta-penne-rigate


2.5 cups Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1 large chicken breast
1.5 cups marinara sauce
1 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
.5 cup fresh tomato (chopped)
3 oz fresh part skim mozzarella (cubed)
.75 cup low fat shredded mozzarella
1 tsp olive oil


Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 2.5 cups Whole Wheat Penne Pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain water from pasta.
Cut 1 large chicken breast into half inch cubes. Season as desired.
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until golden brown.
Chop fresh spinach (1 cup) and tomato (.5 cup). Cut 3 oz fresh mozzarella into tiny cubes.
Place cooked Whole Wheat Penne Pasta into square baking dish. Stir in 1.5 cups marinara sauce. Stir in chopped spinach and tomatoes. Place cooked chicken cubes and fresh mozzarella cubes evenly throughout dish. Sprinkle .75 cup low fat shredded mozzarella on top. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove when top layer of cheese is golden.

Number of Servings: 6



For many people, the holidays are a time of year when it’s acceptable to prepare and indulge in rich, high calorie foods. It’s also the time of year, when most people feel their clothes fighting tighter and the pounds creeping up. While it’s perfectly all right to enjoy rich holiday treats, by practicing conscious holiday cooking, you may be able to maintain your waistline and feel good about yourself this holiday season! Here are some healthy substitutions you can try when preparing your favorite holiday dish:



Holiday Dish/Ingredient



Take off the skin when you eat it. Choose white meat instead of dark.

Mashed Potatoes

Use skim milk instead of whole milk or cream. Use a little olive oil or low fat margarine instead of butter. Try using a variety of potatoes with skins for extra fiber.


Use sugar substitute instead of sugar.


Use whole grain breads instead of white bread. Use low sodium chicken broth instead of butter.

Candied Yams

Use sugar substitute; use low fat margarine instead of butter; avoid marshmallows. Use cinnamon, a little orange juice or unsweetened apple sauce to add flavor.

Pumpkin Pie

Use sugar substitute and add more cinnamon and spices. Use evaporated skim milk instead of regular. Use egg whites instead of eggs. Use gingersnaps as crust. Avoid whipped cream, or use fat free whipped cream.

Apple Pie

Add extra cinnamon and spices for flavoring. Use sugar substitute. Add a few chopped nuts and crushed high fiber cereal to add more fiber.


Use fat free or low fat version. Try soy eggnog. Try making your own with bananas, skim milk, ice, nutmeg, cinnamon and rum extract.

All-purpose flour

Whole-wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour called for in baked goods.

Butter, shortening or oil in baked goods

Apple sauce of prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil.

Use non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.


Two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for each whole egg.

Whole Milk/Evaporated milk

1% or fat-free milk/ Evaporated skim milk

Fruit canned in heavy syrup

Fruit canned in it’s own natural juice or water or fresh fruit

Regular cream cheese

Fat- free or low-fat cream cheese

Regular sour cream

Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat free or low fat yogurt

Oil-based marinades

Wine, balsamic vinegar, or fat-free broth

Ground beef

Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey (no skin)


Trans fat-free butter or shortenings that are specially formulated for baking


Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low calorie, sugar-free syrup

Choosing a Breakfast Cereal

December 8, 2008

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. It also happens to be the most important meal of the day (See post on August 26, 2008)

I basically eat the same thing every day (this does NOT mean you should 🙂 ) …1 ½ cup mixed cereal (Kashi GoLean + some other lightly sweetened cereal, such as GoLean Crunch or Trader Joe’s Organic Morning Mix) + 1 cup Soy Milk. For me, this breakfast satisfies my hunger and taste; fuels my body; and provides a balance of nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, calcium and more).

I look forward to it each morning. J

For many people choosing the right kind of breakfast cereal can be very overwhelming. I mean, imagine yourself in the cereal aisle of a supermarket…there are literally hundreds of cereals to choose from! How do you choose?

In general, low sugar, low fat, and high fiber cereals are the healthiest and best to nourish your body and give you lasting energy. Check the nutrition facts on the food label. Look for sugar (should be <10 grams per serving), fat (should be <5 grams per serving), and fiber (should be >3 grams per serving).

Some of the BEST breakfast cereals include:kashigoleanflaxpluscereal

General Mills Fiber One (1 cup= 120 calories; 2 g fat; 0g sugar; 28g fiber)

Kashi GoLean (1 cup= 140 cals; 1g fat; 6g sugar; 10g fiber)

Kashi Good Friends (Original) (1 cup= 170 cals; 2g fat; 9g sugars; 12g fiber)

Nature’s Path Multigrain Flax Plus (1 cup= 125 cals; <2g fat; 7.5g sugars; 9g fiber)

Post Spoon-Size Shredded Wheat (1 cup= 170 cals; 1g fat; 0g sugars; 6g fiber)

Some of the WORST breakfast cereals include:corn-pops21

Kellogg’s Apple Jacks (1 cup= 130 cals; .5g fat; 17g sugar; 0g fiber)

applejacksKellogg’s Honey Smacks (1 cup= 120 calories, .5g fat; 17g sugar; 1g fiber)

Kellogg’s Corn Pops (1 cup- 120 calories; 0 g fat; 14g sugar; <1g fiber)

Kellogg’s Froot Loops (1 cup= 120 cals; 2g fat; 13g sugar; 1g fiber)

Quaker Captain Crunch (1 cup= 120 cals; 2g fat; 13g sugar; 1g fiber)

Finally, try to stay mindful of eating breakfast every day, even during the holidays when most people are either too busy or skip meals and try to “save up” for holiday treats. Chances are you will make wiser choices at the holiday party if you eat a healthy breakfast!

thanksgivingfeastToday, the first day back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday, and my very first client walked in the door, sat across from me, and said, “It was Thanksgiving and I overate.” He then proceeded to tell me about the wide range of holiday foods he ate, including 5 slices of apple pie for dessert. He also described feeling physically uncomfortable from eating too much food. When I asked him if he ate too much because he was still hungry, he replied, “No, it just tasted good so I kept eating.”

It’s probably not surprising to many of you that this is a very common situation, especially during the holidays when there is an overabundance and availability of many delicious foods. It can be very easy to eat beyond our satisfaction and comfort levels.

Some reasons for overeating during the holidays include:

(Source: “Am I hungry?”, Michelle May, MD)

  • I felt obligated.
  • I wanted to taste everything.
  • I was afraid I wouldn’t get that food again.
  • I ate food I didn’t enjoy.
  • I wasn’t paying attention as I ate.
  • I ate too fast.
  • I mindlessly picked at the leftovers.
  • I had too much on my plate.
  • I was keeping up with someone else.
  • I wanted to get my money’s worth.
  • I hate to let food go to waste.

If any of these statements are familiar to you, and you are having feelings of guilt or regret, instead, try to learn from your experiences to help you to change your behavior for the future.

For your next meal or holiday event…..

  • Set your intentions before you eat. Choose how full you would like to be when you are finished eating. Think about what it feels like to feel satisfied and stuffed. Usually, when you are satisfied, you are fulfilled and content and may even feel energized. But, when you are stuffed, the feeling can be more uncomfortable, such as feeling tired or lethargic. If you decide that you want to feel stuffed, then, it is actually ok because you’ve consciously considered the consequences.

  • Next, prepare, serve, or order the amount of food needed to reach your desired level of fullness.

  • Eat mindfully by paying attention to the process of eating (focus on the taste, smell, texture of food) as well as your level of hunger and fullness. It may help to slow down your eating and to stop eating after about 20 minutes to assess how you feel. If you decide that you want to feel content (as opposed to stuffed) and you have food remaining on your plate, move the food away from you or move yourself away from the food.

bloatedTo determine how full you are, you might want to consider:

  • The feeling in your stomach- does it feel full, extended, or bloated? Am I feeling any pain or discomfort?
  • The feeling in your body- Are you experiencing any heartburn or nausea? Are you feeling uncomfortable or pleased and content? Are your clothes feeling tight?
  • Your energy levels- Do you feel energetic, drowsy, or lethargic?

Holidays are intended to be a happy and joyous time of year, so, don’t stress about the “proper” way to eat. If you find that you’ve overeaten (even if your intention was not to), focus on the future to get yourself back on track. Listen to your body to guide your eating. Even if you’ve overeaten, you will eventually feel hunger again- let that direct you to the next meal. If you find that you repeatedly overeat, consider what causes you to overeat and what you can change for the next time.