Do You Need More Than Plain H2O?

  • By Fred Fort
  • 21 Jul, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Nutrient-enhanced water and sports drinks may contain any of the following: calories, sugar, electrolytes vitamins, minerals or supplements. When do you need one of these and when will plain water be sufficient?

Sports drinks are most beneficial for people who perform continuous physical activity for longer than 60 minutes. For every 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, drink approximately 1 cup. The electrolytes in these drinks assist the cells of your body to maintain fluid balance and other essential functions involving your heart and muscles.

Exercise under 60 minutes generally does not result in loss of carbohydrate and electrolytes therefore will not require nutrient-enhanced water or a sports drink. In this case, plain H2O is sufficient to maintain fluid balance. For those who exercise under 60 minutes or those who are not physically active, supplemental beverages contribute unnecessary calories, sugar and sodium.

If you don’t need an enhanced beverage, things don’t have to be boring! To increase your fluid intake while changing it up a bit, add lemon or lime to your water. Sliced cucumber or one of your favorite fruits can be a great addition as well.

Country Pride Food Services

By Fred Fort 21 Jul, 2016

By Dana Yarn, RDLD

Are you doing cardiovascular exercise every day and not seeing any results in terms of weight loss and or performance? If you are performing steady state cardio for a certain period of time as your workout you may want to try HIIT (high intensity interval training) training to reap the benefits of fat loss and improved cardiovascular health. After working in a large corporate health club for almost 10 years I saw the same people get on the same elliptical machine with the same body year after year, doing steady state cardio. They could see tremendous results by cutting total time in half and increasing the intensity of their cardio workouts.

The good news about HIIT training is the workouts tend to be short and because of the intensity it is recommended to only do them 2-3 times per week. On the other days you can do steady state cardio as “recovery,” and of course resistance training is essential for optimal health and body composition.


Convincing and ongoing research proves that the best form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise.

Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics/cardio, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), which improves body composition, energy, and overall fitness.

One study published in the   Journal of Obesity   reported that 12 weeks of HIIT will result in significant reductions in total abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat while giving you significant increases in overall power and performance.

What HIIT workout should you start with?

At my studio I have a class titled HIIT and we incorporate Tabata intervals into the class. Tabata method created by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher who studied athletic performance. The method is 20 seconds of drop dead effort followed by 10 seconds of complete rest repeated for 8 rounds totaling 4 minutes. This type of interval training is great for anyone who is looking to try HIIT.

  • Warm up with 3-5 minutes of walking, light jogging or calisthenics.
  • Complete 1 round of Tabata (the 20 seconds could be jump squats, sprinting, box jump, switch lunges, etc.)
  • Cool down 3-5 minutes.
  • As you progress you can increase the number of rounds of Tabatas.

Other versions of HIIT include 15 seconds of work followed by double the amount of rest (30 seconds). Working ultimately up to 2 minutes of work.

Here is an example of a 12 week HIIT training program.

Week Work/Rest
1-2 15 sec./30 sec.
3-4 30 sec./60 sec.
5-6 45 sec./90 sec.
7-8 1 min./2 min.
9-10 1.5 min./3 min.
11-12 2 min./4 min.
Warm up & cool down 3-5 minutes. Total time with warm up and cool down should not exceed 30 minutes.

The great part is this can be done on a bike, in a pool, at a track, inside, outside, etc.

I hope this encourages you to shake up your workouts with some HIIT training even if it means just a few rounds of Tabata per week!

By Fred Fort 27 May, 2016

Serves 8

As a registered dietitian, I love hosting healthy dinner parties. One of my favorite ingredients is shrimp, because it’s a lean protein and good source of vitamin D. However, it can be tricky to cook a large batch of shrimp just in time for your guests without overcooking it. The beauty of using a crock pot is that you can allow your dish to finish cooking while you greet your guests. The bell peppers in this dish provide more than aesthetic appeal as a good source of potassium and the antioxidants beta-carotene and capsaicin. Quinoa is an excellent plant-based source of protein that provides all the essential amino acids as well as plenty of fiber. Unlike other starchy vegetables, peas also provide protein and fiber which are nutrients beneficial for satiety and blood glucose control. Serve this colorful dish that requires little active preparation time and be assured that your guests will receive a delicious meal with a host of nutritional benefits.

Ingredients For the Quinoa:
1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed
½ cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup sweet peas
5 sprigs of fresh thyme

For the shrimp:
2 lbs. Blue Ribbon shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 cup each of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into strips
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1 cup white wine
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
5 fresh bay leaves
Salt and white pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon

1. Bring vegetable broth and wine to a boil. Add quinoa and peas, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook 25-35 minutes, stirring often. Quinoa is done when it “pops” and looks like it has formed tails.

2. Sauté garlic, peppers, and onions with vegetable broth until slightly softened. Transfer to crock pot, add herbs, wine, and shrimp. Cook 30 minutes on low setting or until shrimp are pink and curled. Squeeze with fresh lemon juice and serve.

Nutrition information (per serving): 338 calories, 5 grams of fat, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 34 grams of protein

By Fred Fort 20 Apr, 2016

4 servings

While paying attention to the ingredients used when cooking is crucial, the preparation method must also be considered. Baking, roasting, poaching, and boiling are ways to prepare foods without adding any cooking fat, which helps to avoid unnecessary calories. To satisfy the urge for something crisp and crunchy, try this recipe which uses pine nuts to add texture. Like other nuts, pine nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats and magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that most Americans may not be getting enough of, and it has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. So exchange fried chicken, which is full of trans fat and refined carbohydrates, for this dish instead for fewer calories and greater nutritional value.

4 Blue Ribbon chicken breasts
16 fresh mozzarella pearls (or 4 ounces cubed mozzarella)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup egg whites
1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes
½ cup diced green and yellow bell peppers
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
4 tsp. oregano
2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice chicken breasts down the middle to create a pocket and squeeze with juice from the lemons. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Use a food processor or spice grinder to blend pine nuts into a course powder.
4. Coat each chicken breast with egg whites followed by pine nuts and arrange in baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Combine tomatoes, diced bell peppers, salt, pepper, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
6. Stuff each chicken breast with the tomato and pepper mixture, followed by 4 pearls (or 1 ounce) of mozzarella. Sprinkle with oregano.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve atop a bed of baby greens.

Nutritional information for one chicken breast: 328 calories, 31 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber

By Fred Fort 08 Mar, 2016

Makes 6 Servings

Often times, when we think of Italian food, rich, heavy, starchy dishes with pasta and cheese come to mind. Lasagna is a perfect example, and oftentimes is accompanied by garlic bread on the side. Many recipes reduce the meat or cheese in lasagna recipes to decrease calories, however these ingredients are full of valuable protein. Protein is an essential nutrient that has many important functions, most commonly known for being the building block of our muscles. It also helps to build antibodies to protect us against infections. In addition, protein is more effective than carbohydrates in decreasing hunger and providing satiety. It promotes stable blood sugar, so it is beneficial to include some protein at every mealtime. However, many protein rich foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, so be sure to choose low-fat varieties when available and avoid consuming too much protein overall. Speak with a registered dietitian to find out how much protein you need to reach your personal health goals.


1 lb. Blue Ribbon All-Natural Ground Beef
¼ cup jarred tomato sauce
2 bell peppers, assorted colors, cut into thins strips
½ yellow onion, cut into thin strips
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup liquid egg whites
1 tsp. crushed fennel
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
12 cup muffin tin
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a nonstick skillet, sauté peppers, onions, and garlic. Add balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions become translucent. Set aside.
2. Cook ground beef in same skillet. To reduce fat, drain beef in a colander, and then move to a plate lined with paper towels. Let sit for one minute, and blot ground beef with paper towels.
3. Move ground beef back to skillet on low-heat, and add tomato sauce and spices. Cook 1 minute or until warm.
4. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. Add a thin layer of egg whites to each cup. Top with a layer of ricotta cheese, followed by a sprinkle of mozzarella, and a spoonful of the ground beef. Repeat starting with the egg whites. Top with the sautéed pepper and onion mixture, followed by a sprinkle of mozzarella.
5. Baked for 20 minutes covered with aluminum foil, followed by 10 minutes uncovered.
6. Enjoy lasagna cups with a salad and a slice of garlic bread if desired.

Nutrition Information (per 2 cups): 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 35 grams of protein

By Fred Fort 03 Feb, 2016

Serves 2

This recipe is low in carbohydrates, gluten-free, and appropriate for people with diabetes. Avoiding excess carbohydrates and consuming protein and fiber can help to keep blood sugar stable, which is also beneficial for weight management. The daikon in this recipe provides fiber and the shrimp is a lean source of protein. Although this dish is low in calories, these nutrients promote satiety and can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. While cheese can be high in fat and cholesterol, feta and goat cheese have strong flavors, so you can enhance the flavor of the dish without having to use a lot.

Spiral slicer
2 large daikon radishes
10 ounces Blue Ribbon shrimp
4 Tbsp. goat cheese
½ cup fat-free feta cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2 tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup dry white wine
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. olive oil


1. Use spiral slicer to cut daikon into thin, noodle-like strands.
2. Cook daikon in a dry, non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, to reduce moisture content.
3. Remove daikon from skillet and set aside. Coat skillet with olive oil and add minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 minutes, then add shrimp. Cook 2 minutes, then add lemon juice and wine. Cook until shrimp begin to turn opaque and curl. Add goat cheese, feta, crushed red pepper and basil.
4. Plate daikon “noodles” and top with shrimp. Enjoy!

One serving provides 347 calories, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and 44 grams of protein

Tips and suggestions:
If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can use a vegetable peeler to cut the daikon into ribbon strips
If you want to include real pasta noodle, choose the whole wheat variety and replace half of it with the daikon
Use real white wine instead of cooking wine, which tends to be high in sodium

By Fred Fort 13 Jan, 2016

Bruschetta is known for rather simple ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and toasted bread. The ingredients in this recipe don’t vary too much from the classic; however the preparation method is different. Typically, the tomatoes are diced and flavored without cooking. In this version, the vegetables are roasted for a deeper, caramelized flavor. Additionally, tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is better absorbed by the body after cooking. Lycopene is also fat-soluble, so be sure not to skimp on the olive oil called for in this recipe.


  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 whole head plus 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Vidalia onion, cut in half
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. plus ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed with fingers
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 sourdough baguette
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place tomatoes and onion in a baking dish, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place head of garlic on baking rack. Cook until onions and tomatoes are caramelized, about 45 minutes.

2. Remove vegetables from oven and allow to cool. Preheat broiler. In the meantime, slice sourdough into 1” thick slices. Combine ¼ cup of olive oil with minced garlic, fennel, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil mixture. Place sliced bread under broiler and brown on each side, watching closely.

3. Remove bread and place aside. Dice roasted onion once cooled. Combine with tomatoes. Remove skin from garlic and cut off one end of head. Squeeze roasted garlic out into the tomato mixture. Add basil, balsamic vinegar, remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Top toasted bread with tomato mixture and enjoy!


  • Use a multigrain or whole wheat baguette for extra fiber.
  • Combine roasted tomato mixture with whole wheat pasta and low-fat mozzarella or cannellini beans for a vegetarian meal.
  • Replace baguette with grilled Blue Ribbon chicken breast for a low-carbohydrate option.
By Fred Fort 28 Dec, 2015

This time of year often calls for hearty, savory dishes that make your mouth water. It’s possible to enjoy these flavors while keeping options light and healthy. This dish uses a combination of pork sausage and lean ground turkey to provide the sensation of eating sausage while reducing the sodium and fat. Instead of being smothered with melted cheese, the peppers are topped with a colorful salsa that contains beans for fiber and extra protein, as well as Castelvetrano olives that provide a crunchy bite, fruity flavor, and a burst of bright green. Olives are a good source of monounsaturated fats. This dish will add some red and green to your dining table, as well as protein, fiber, vitamin C, lycopene and heart healthy fats.


16 ounces Blue Ribbon lean ground turkey
3 links Blue Ribbon pork sausage, removed from casing
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 red bell peppers
3 green bell peppers
1 pint cherry tomatoes
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. finely minced basil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
15 Castelvetrano olives (any green olives will work), fined diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sauté onions and garlic with 1 tsp. olive oil or cooking spray in a nonstick pan. Add ground turkey and sausage until onions and translucent and turkey is no longer pink. Add spices.

2. Combine salsa ingredients and let sit in refrigerator at least 30 minutes (overnight is recommended).

3. Broil peppers on each side for 1-2 minutes. Add turkey mixture to peppers and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are slightly softened.

4. Top each pepper with a spoonful of salsa and enjoy!

By Fred Fort 22 Jul, 2015

A flavorful twist on traditional coleslaw.

Difficulty: Medium
Total Number of Servings- 6-8
Serving Size: ½-1 c
Prep: 15 min.


1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp. Sriracha chili sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 medium head green cabbage, shredded
1 bell pepper sliced thin
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper


Combine lime juice, cumin, garlic cloves, chili sauce, olive oil in bowel then toss in all vegetables, herbs and season with salt and pepper before serving.

By Fred Fort 22 Jul, 2015

Summer is a great time to throw all kinds of things on the grill! Never tried grilled avocado? Give it a whirl!


Olive Oil
Coarse Salt


1. Cut avocados in half and remove pits.
2. Brush each half with a good dose of olive oil.
3. Place on grill face down (inside of avocado toward the heat, leave the skin on and facing up).
4. Grill for about 5 minutes at medium high heat.
5. Remove from grill, scoop out the avocado, add salt.

*Can be enjoyed all by itself, on top of bread, with eggs, on a salad, anywhere really!

By Fred Fort 22 Jul, 2015

A delicious flavor departure from your customary shrimp and cocktail sauce.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 6
Serving Size: approximately ½ cup


¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 ½ pound shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 6 hours. Drain and discard the marinade. Serve cold.

By Fred Fort 22 Jul, 2015

Arroz con Pollo, simple and satisfying!

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 chicken breast


4 bone-in chicken breasts
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup green pepper, diced
½ cup red pepper, diced
2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-sodium tomato sauce
¼ cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 cup brown rice
1 package mixed vegetables


1. Add chicken breasts to a pan on the stovetop and cook over medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side, just long enough to brown the outside.
2. Transfer chicken to your slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.
3. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours.

By Fred Fort 21 Jul, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Nutrient-enhanced water and sports drinks may contain any of the following: calories, sugar, electrolytes vitamins, minerals or supplements. When do you need one of these and when will plain water be sufficient?

Sports drinks are most beneficial for people who perform continuous physical activity for longer than 60 minutes. For every 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, drink approximately 1 cup. The electrolytes in these drinks assist the cells of your body to maintain fluid balance and other essential functions involving your heart and muscles.

Exercise under 60 minutes generally does not result in loss of carbohydrate and electrolytes therefore will not require nutrient-enhanced water or a sports drink. In this case, plain H2O is sufficient to maintain fluid balance. For those who exercise under 60 minutes or those who are not physically active, supplemental beverages contribute unnecessary calories, sugar and sodium.

If you don’t need an enhanced beverage, things don’t have to be boring! To increase your fluid intake while changing it up a bit, add lemon or lime to your water. Sliced cucumber or one of your favorite fruits can be a great addition as well.

By Fred Fort 21 Jul, 2015

Add kick to your average burger.  Serve bunless alongside a salad or grilled vegetables to avoid processed flours and excessive starch.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 min.
Total time: 30 min.


1 chipotle pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup chipotle sauce from can
3 tbsp. Minced Garlic, divided
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. of each… garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed black pepper
2 lbs. ground beef (80% lean)
1 tsp. Olive oil
6 slices cheddar cheese
6 1/4 inch-slices red onions
6 1/2 inch-slices tomatoes
6 lettuce Romaine lettuce leaves


1. In medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise, 1 tbsp. chipotle sauce, 1 tsp. garlic, cilantro and seasonings; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. In large bowl, gently mix together beef, chopped chipotle, 3 tbsp. chipotle sauce, remaining garlic and adobo until combined. Divide meat into 6 portions; form into 1″-thick patties. (Take care not to over-handle meat or else it will toughen).

3. Prepare grill to medium-high heat, grease with oil (or heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat). Cook burgers, flipping once, until charred and cooked to desired doneness (about 12 minutes total for medium rare). Add cheese to patties about 5 minutes before taking them off grill.

4. To assemble, divide patties evenly among bottom buns; top with onion slice, tomato slice, and lettuce.

By Fred Fort 20 Jul, 2015

By: Dana Yarn, RDLD

The number one reason why people cannot stick with a healthy eating plan is because they feel restricted and deprived. It can be difficult to lose weight if you feel like you are missing some of your favorite treats. Willpower is great but when it runs out, especially after a restrictive diet you can be in trouble and face binge eating and possible weight gain.  The 80/20 diet rule allows you to indulge once in a while still focusing on your goals. This strategy teaches you more than just how to manage your weight; it helps you to better understand moderation and balance.

Definition of 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle is more than temporary mindset — it is an approach to healthy eating habits that can be used forever. The principle encourages, choosing healthy foods 80 percent of the time. Because you eat healthy the majority of the time, you are allowed to indulge in a few favorite treats 20 percent of the time. For example, if you eat three meals a day, four meals per week can be your 20 percent treat meals. This does not mean those treat meals are to gorge and feel so stuffed and sick that you undo all of your other healthy eating, it just means that if you want to have a cookie, or glass of wine or handful of chips it’s okay. These treats should help you feel satisfied while exercising moderation.

What foods are recommended in the 80 percent?

Aim to eat 6-11 servings of vegetables and some fruits per day, a variety of lean proteins, such as fish and chicken; unprocessed whole grains like steel cut oats, quinoa, wild rice; etc. dairy (or dairy like) products including Greek yogurt, almond milk, coconut milk, etc. Manage your portion sizes by reading nutrition labels and limiting yourself to the recommended serving. Steam, poach, grill or roast your food instead of frying it. Eat slowly, avoid eating while multi-tasking and stop when your body feels full. Eating slower will also aid with digestion.

Strategies for Success

Recognize your weaknesses and plan your treats around those times, whether it be at parties, on the weekends, at the pool, game, etc. Try to also find healthy alternatives to your treats, if you like ice cream have a frozen Greek yogurt bar, if you like chocolate, go for 70% dark chocolate, if you like French fries bake them instead of frying them. This will prevent any weight gain from excessive treats. If you feel like you are not seeing any progress with the 80/20 principle track your food and nutrients and see if you are going over the 20%.

By Fred Fort 10 Jul, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Rewarding children when they do something desirable is a great way to encourage them to repeat the behavior. Unfortunately, the reward is often a sweet treat, such as candy or ice cream. There are plenty of non-food rewards that can be offered to support your child’s positive actions.

When food is offered as a reward, those foods are then thought to be more desirable than others foods. Also, children may not make the connection that food is fuel for their body and may come to expect a sweet treat after every achievement.

You can assist your child in establishing a healthy relationship with food and avoid any negative long-term consequences by opting for some of the following non-food rewards.

• Verbal praise
• Special outing to the movies, park, zoo, etc.
• Play date with friends
• Sleepover with friends
• A new book or toy
• A break from chores

By Fred Fort 10 Jul, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

Staying hydrated during the scorching summer months is vitally important. Doing so will help you avoid exhaustion, dizziness, muscle cramps and headaches, while contributing to a beautiful summer glow for your skin.

You’ve probably heard that you should aim to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example a 150 pound person should consume 75 ounces of water each day. In the warmer summer months, you may need to boost that number to somewhere between 3-5 liters, depending on your activity level and time outdoors.

If you can just not fathom sipping that much water throughout the course of a day, choose some of the following super hydrating foods to help you hit your goal. They are all comprised of over 90 percent water!

• Cucumbers
• Tomatoes
• Zucchini
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Broccoli
• Radishes
• Spinach
• Watermelon
• Strawberries
• Cantaloupe
• Grapefruit

By Fred Fort 10 Jul, 2015

A twist on traditional grilled meals like hot dogs and burgers. This is also a kid friendly way to sneak in some veggies while still being healthy and quick. Bonus: NO DISHES!

Difficulty: Easy
Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1, 6” pizza


4- 6” wheat pizza dough spread
¾ -1 c pesto
8 oz. cooked grilled chicken strips
1 large bunch fresh basil leaves
2 tomatoes sliced (squeeze extra juice out to avoid soggy pizza)
16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil


• Coat pressed dough with pesto
• Get your toppings organized.
• Pre- cook desired meats of needed.
• Pre-Heat grill to medium.
• Lay pizza on pan and place on the grill, layered with pesto, cheese, tomatoes, basil, chicken and shredded cheese.
• Cook for about 7-10 minutes, checking after about two minutes for cheese to melt.
• Remove each pizza with a metal spatula- cool slightly, slice and serve!

By Fred Fort 10 Jul, 2015

Traditional Greek salads can be loaded with calories, fats and lower on antioxidants due to low nutrient lettuce, and excessive potato salad. Try this version for a lower carb and nutrient rich salad that will compliment any meal.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings- 4
Serving Size: 1.5- 2 c
Prep: 10 min.
Assembly: 5 min.


2 bunches of romaine lettuce chopped
½ c chopped onion
1 c chopped multi-colored bell peppers
¼ c feta cheese
½ c roasted almonds
½ c chopped cherry or regular tomatoes
½ c Greek Dressing (no preservatives)


Combine all by tossing lightly in large salad bowl with tongs. Serve immediately.

By Fred Fort 10 Jul, 2015

This is a healthy alternative to the traditional outdoor dessert, s’mores. Same great flavor with less guilt.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Serves: 4
Serving Size- 1 banana


4 bananas
¼ c shredded coconut
1/2 c peanut butter chips
½ c dark chocolate chips
1 c mini marshmallows


Peel banana and slice down the middle. Stuff with approximately ¼ c marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and place on grill for 3-5 minutes or until chocolate melts slightly.

Eat with spoon and ENJOY!

By Fred Fort 08 Jul, 2015

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Total time: 10 min.


2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, each slice cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon local honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Additional olive oil


1. Prepare barbecue (medium heat).
2. Place potatoes in flat cooking sheet.
3. Add 1/4 cup oil, chopped fresh rosemary, brown sugar, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to potatoes.
4. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
5. Brush grill lightly with oil.
6. Place potatoes on grill, spacing about 1 inch apart.
7. Grill until potatoes are tender and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes total.
8. Transfer potatoes to bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

By Fred Fort 07 Jul, 2015

Kick your guac up a notch by adding roasted tomatoes and jalapeños.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 6
Serving Size: approximately ½ cup


2 small jalapeños
1 large tomato, chopped
2 large ripe avocados
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of ¼ orange


1. Cut jalapeños into halves, removes seeds and membranes. Place the chopped tomatoes, along with the jalapeño onto a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then chop the jalapeños.

2. Cut the avocado, add to bowl and mash, adding salt, cilantro, onion, juices and lastly the tomatoes and jalapeños.

By Fred Fort 06 Jul, 2015

By: Dana Yarn, RDLD

It has almost become a cliché to be diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency or similar term. Adrenal insufficiency is related to excessive, sporadic, and/or low cortisol production. Some health professionals say that some practitioners use it as a “catch all” diagnosis. Regardless of what labs, or symptoms may reveal we all can be affected by stress and stress hormones and the harmful effects of insufficient cortisol.

Insufficient cortisol production can result in poor sleep, weight gain specifically in the abdominal area, excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar, low sex drive and inability to mentally focus. Stress hormone imbalances can increase risk for heart disease, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal stress and nutrient absorption.

By making small changes in your daily life you can offset the negative effects of a cortisol imbalance.

Stress hormone management strategies:

Reduce caffeine consumption. False energy from stimulants will only reduce the body’s ability to naturally produce adrenaline. Stick to 1-2 cups of coffee and/or tea daily, avoid chemically packed energy drinks and fat burning stimulant supplements.

Aim for eight hours of sleep per night.   Give up some screen time and hit the sack. The difference between 6 and 8 hours of sleep is incredible. Studies have shown that those who sleep 6 hours or less will have elevated cortisol levels for the next 48 hours. 8 hours is enough time for your body to naturally repair from the days stressors. If you have problems sleeping consider supplementing with melatonin, a sleep hormone that can help the body fall asleep more easily.

Book a monthly massage. Massage helps naturally detoxify the lymphatic system. A massage naturally increases dopamine and serotonin levels, those “good mood” hormones that are also increased when playing and doing something that you truly enjoy.

Sleep naked.   Sleeping in the buff has been shown to naturally reduce cortisol levels because it keeps you cooler allowing the body to produce adequate melatonin and growth hormone allowing the body to have proper rest naturally decreasing cortisol.

Cut back on the sweet stuff.   Sugar can naturally increase inflammation and cortisol production. Reducing sugar especially from processed sources is one of the best ways to keep stress hormone levels under control.

By Fred Fort 02 Jul, 2015

A festive way to eat dessert with less guilt. These looks great on any party table spread.

Prep: 5 min.
Assembly: 10 min.
Yields: 18


box of fresh washed strawberries
1 c white chocolate chips
1 tsp. coconut oil
Blue (and red) sprinkles, and sugar for decorating


1. Lay parchment paper on large cookie sheet or pan.
2. Melt coconut oil and white chocolate on double boiler and stir
3. Dip strawberries in chocolate and sprinkle to decorate
4. Let chocolate harden in fridge for an hour and serve!
5. Store in fridge in airtight container.

By Fred Fort 30 Jun, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

When you begin packing for your vacation or road trip this summer, don’t forget to plan for fuel along the way…for your body that is! Traveling can be exhausting, so you will want to take things that will give you energy and keep you alert, especially if you are the driver.

Stopping at a gas station and running in for a restroom break can present you with a myriad of tempting treats to eat. If you are starving you are more likely to grab something you normally wouldn’t. Plan ahead and pack some of the following smart choices for your travel. They will leave you feeling satisfied and you will have more money to spend at your destination.

Apples, grapes
Carrots, cherry tomatoes
Nut butter, Nuts
Trail Mix
Snack bars, muffins
Sandwiches or wraps

Some of the foods will require a cooler, while others do not. Pack some of each, hit the road and enjoy your trip!

By Fred Fort 24 Jun, 2015

Super easy to prepare and packed with protein!

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 4
Serving Size: approximately 1 cup


¾ lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
½ C chopped onion
½ tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil
2½ tsp cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2½ C cooked quinoa


1. Toss the shrimp and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning together, set aside.
2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, set aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet.) 4. Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook until the onion and jalapeno are tender, stirring often. Mix in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ tsp Cajun seasoning and tomato. Top with the shrimp.
6. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

By Fred Fort 23 Jun, 2015

By Dana Yarn, RDLD

Grilling is a great way to prepare food at home, at a park, camp site or at a bonfire. Grilling controls the fat content, maintains flavor and is a quick way to prepare a meal on the fly. The best part of grilling for anyone who is busy is the minimal amount of dishes that need to be washed.

Grilling Tips:

Marinade meats 24 hours prior to placing on the grill  to maintain flavor, and moisture while grilling. Especially boneless skinless chicken breast, these tend to dry out quickly.

Grill vegetables to avoid losing nutrients , over cooking vegetables while steaming on stovetop reduces nutrient content and fiber. Lightly coat in olive oil and fresh or dried herbs and wrap in foil or grill pan.

Don’t forget about dessert . The grill is not just for meat, and veggies, dessert like banana boat S’mores, grilled pineapple skewers, and grilled cinnamon apple slices are all healthy sweet treats that can prepared on the grill.

Grilling safety and food safety tips: It is important to keep safety in mind especially with children around at a campsite or fire pit. Food preparation and storage are essential in reducing bacteria exposure.  

• Avoid foods that may produce dripping fat.  Foods that can create hot, drippy fat as they cook-certain cuts of steak, bacon-may cause flare-ups and should be avoided. Avoid cooking with oils, this may cause a flame flare up too. A Dutch oven offers more reliable heat than a frying pan with added protection from splatters.

• Keep it cold or not, nothing in between.  Pulling raw meat or poultry out of your fridge for your outing? Make sure you keep the food well packed in ice leading up to grill time: Bacteria can grow dangerously on food that warms to between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions that create a breeding ground for food-borne pathogens. Food should never sit out for more than three hours-or one hour, if the outdoor temperature is very hot.

When grilling, always use a meat thermometer. Food needs to be heated to between 140 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any food-borne pathogens.

• “If it goes in the campfire it stays in the campfire.”  This rule is the most important to establish before the campfire is even lite. A child may want to fish out the lost marshmallow, but make sure you have plenty extra so it can burn away if something drops in the fire.
• Put out, clean up, and secure your site.  Always have a bucket of water or sand on hand to extinguish the fire when you’re done with it. Once the flames have been extinguished and the embers stop hissing, stir the ashes using a metal skewer. Pour on more water or sand. Repeat this process until the ashes are completely cold and wet or smothered.

By Fred Fort 23 Jun, 2015

There is nothing better than a cold treat after being out in the heat on a hot summer day, the problem is traditional popsicles are loaded with sugar, dye and low in nutrients. Try this easy homemade version for a twist.

Prep: 5 min.
Assembly: 2 min.
Cook: let freeze approx. 1 hour
Yields: 4 pops


1 c fresh or frozen berries of your choice (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and black berries)
½ c pure pomegranate juice
½ c water
¼ c fresh basil chopped


Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze and serve when ready.

By Fred Fort 22 Jun, 2015

We have become a very “protein aware” society, it seems like every diet book and blog emphasizes the importance of getting adequate protein. It is hard to believe that some of us still do not consume enough. When I review a new client’s food recall almost half of the time there is still a lack of protein when the daily total grams are added up. Lack of protein is especially common amongst women. When women are trying to lose weight or lean out they tend to start cutting calories and since most women tend to enjoy eating carbohydrates more the daily protein is the nutrient group that is sacrificed over carbohydrates.

Here are some common signs and symptoms that you may not be getting enough protein.

You are hungry and craving sweet and starchy foods.   It is common among dieters to eat low calorie cereal, bread or plain oatmeal in the morning, sure they may feel full for a short period of time but within an hour or two they feel like they never ate. If that person were to have incorporated an egg or protein powder to their morning meal they would feel fuller and have less cravings. Protein helps regulate our insulin hormones, preventing highs and lows allowing the body to metabolize fat and have steady energy levels. It’s not about the daily calories it’s about the chemistry.

You find it difficult to concentrate.  If you feel like you cannot get your thoughts together or mentally “foggy” you may be lacking protein. Protein contains essential amino acids that help fuel our muscles. Being deficient in amino acids can eventually cause muscle wasting and malnourishment resulting in a hindered ability to concentrate and focus.

If you get sick all of the time.   Our immune system thrives off of being nourished properly with adequate carbohydrates, fats, proteins, hydration and vitamins and minerals. If one of these maco or micro nutrients is lacking then your immune system will not be as strong as it should be and more susceptible to getting sick when exposed to bacteria and viruses. Those who eat a diet rich in all nutrients tend to get sick less often because they have built an immune system that is able to fight off sickness when exposed to certain bacteria and viruses.

How much protein should you eat daily?

Protein can also be over consumed this is typically common in men, they double or even triple their protein scoops in shakes or have 10-12 ounces of meat in one sitting. The body is typically only able to metabolize and absorb in one sitting 30-40 grams for women and 40-50 grams for men. If you consuming more than that it is your kidney’s responsibility to filter out the excess, which can strain them over time.

Aim to consume .8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of your GOAL body weight. If you are 250 pounds but would like to get below 200 pounds do your calculations per the goal weight. The higher side of the recommendations are for those exercise intensely often (ie. Runners, cyclist, weight lifters, body builders, etc.).

By Fred Fort 15 Jun, 2015

Flavorful grilled chicken that can be enjoyed with rice and veggies or over a bed of fresh greens.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 8
Serving Size: approximately 1 chicken breast

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper to taste

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Preheat grill to medium high. Put chicken on the grill and cook about 8 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook about 4-8 minutes on the other side, until chicken feels firm.

By Fred Fort 09 Jun, 2015

Protein and veggies, ready in a flash.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 8
Serving Size: approximately 1 cup


2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into cubes
1 lb red potatoes, chopped into cubes
1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Add chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, basil, garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary. Add pepper if desired. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally until tender.

By Fred Fort 08 Jun, 2015

Here’s a fun way for kids to enjoy fruit. Don’t forget to let them help with assembly!


seedless watermelon
1 cup strawberries, sliced
½ cup blueberries
2 bananas, sliced


Slice watermelon into round, circle slices. Slice each watermelon round into 4 triangular slices. Top the watermelon triangles with a few of the sliced strawberries, sliced banana, and blueberries. Any of your favorite fruits can be added as “pizza toppings”. Enjoy!

By Fred Fort 05 Jun, 2015

Enjoy for a warm, filling breakfast or as a dessert.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 4
Serving Size: approximately 1 cup


1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
2 cups almond milk
olive oil


Preheat oven to 350°F and coat a medium-sized oven dish lightly with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with rhubarb pieces. Combine the oats, almond, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Pour the mixture on top of the rhubarb and pour the almond milk on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

By Fred Fort 28 May, 2015

Light and fresh salad with a little kick!

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1/2 cup


• 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• black pepper to taste
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cucumbers, very finely sliced
• 2 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste


1. Dice the jalapeno and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl.
2. Add 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to incorporate the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
3. Finely slice the cucumbers (Use a mandolin if you have it). Add the cucumbers to the dressing and stir together.
4. Finely mince the cilantro and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine.

By Fred Fort 28 May, 2015

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

There may be times that you want to prepare a special treat for your kids, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

But, rest assured, it is not necessary to prepare something for the adults and then a completely separate “kid friendly” option every time your family gathers around the table.

A study called “ The Family Meal Panacea, ” from the University of Edinburgh and led by Dr. Valeria Skafida, found that children who eat the same meals as their parents have healthier diets than those who eat special meals designed to cater to their kid palates.

“Eating the same food as parents is the aspect of family meals most strongly linked to better diets in children, highlighting the detrimental effect in the rise of ‘children’s food’.” Unless a child has a serious allergy or medical issue, there is no reason why kids can’t learn to eat the same foods as their parents.

At about 6 months, your baby is ready for some solid foods, alongside their milk or formula (no cow’s milk before 1 year). Rice cereal is often the first food added into a baby’s diet at this point. Soon after, they can also begin trying some cooked and mashed or pureed vegetables and fruits. At the 10-12 month mark your baby can have chopped rather than mashed foods as well as some finger foods. These are general rules of thumb, so be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician to discuss introducing solids according to their specific development.

There are many advantages to feeding your child a home cooked meal and allowing them to enjoy the same foods as you. You will know all of the ingredients that are included and you will have more time to spend together at the table!

By Fred Fort 28 May, 2015

Want a different option for the grill this summer? Try this twist on a meatball sub, cut the portion down and add fresh basil and it is the perfect light summer slider.

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings- 6-8
Serving Size: 1 slider
Prep: 10 min.
Assembly: 5 min.
Cook: 8 min.
Yields: 6-8 sliders


• 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
• ½ onion chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 egg
• 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
• 1 c Organic marinara sauce
• Fresh mozzarella cheese
• 6-8 wheat or gluten free slider buns


Mix ground turkey or beef with egg, garlic and onion and make into 2-3 oz. burger patties. Grill until you reach desired doneness. Top with a thin slice of mozzarella cheese. 1-2 tbsp. marinara sauce and 1-2 fresh basil leaves on a wheat slider bun.

By Fred Fort 28 May, 2015

By: Dana Yarn, RDLD

When I meet with clients and we go over their current food logs I typically discover a vice or two. One of the vices typically involves sugar or artificial sweeteners. Stevia is my only approved none calorie sweetener, and thank goodness it is becoming more and more mainstream. We all love some sweetness, but we have to learn how to control our cravings so it does not destroy our health. If you are new to using stevia or would like to learn more about it, this basic guide will help you source a high-quality stevia product you can feel confident about.

Is Stevia really a plant?

Stevia   is an herb that is anywhere from 50 to 450 times sweeter than sugar. It has a long history of use in South America in the treatment of diabetes and reducing blood glucose levels. Stevia is calorie-free, carb-free, sugar-free and does not increase blood sugar. Home improvement store actually sell the stevia plants.

What do I do with Stevia?

Stevia can be used in cooking and baking and as a sweetener for drinks like tea and coffee. High-quality stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stevia acts synergistically when used in combination with other sweeteners.

How are the packets or bottles of stevia processed?

There are two different processing methods used to extract the glycosides, which are the sweet compounds, from the stevia leaves. The healthiest and safest process starts with non-GMO stevia leaves and uses only cold water for extraction. Another process of extraction, that is deemed a safe “sweetener” by the FDA, is chemically driven, using acetone, acetonitrile, methanol, ethanol and isopropanol for extraction and oftentimes starts with genetically modified stevia leaves. Obviously the first method is the more natural way to process stevia leaves, typically the natural processed stevia products can be found on the natural food isle, NOT by the other artificial sweeteners.


There is a growing number of stevia options on the market, however, they are not all the same in quality, taste, bitterness or sweetness. High-quality, non-GMO, pure white, powdered stevia extract, is highly concentrated. As little as 3/4 of a teaspoon has the sweetening power of 1 cup of sugar. Five to seven drops of clear liquid stevia is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar.

What I use

NuNaturals and SweetLeaf are two honest brands that provide stevia products at a high quality level that can be trusted. Both of these companies start with non-GMO stevia leaves and use cold water for extraction.

By Fred Fort 21 Apr, 2015


1 ½ c fresh canned pineapple slices
½ cup fresh pineapple juice
¼ cup reduced teriyaki soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp ground ginger
4 – 4 oz (boneless center cut) pork chops, trimmed of fat
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped


1. In a small bowl prepare marinade. Whisk together pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, honey, rice vinegar and ground ginger.

2. Place pork chops in a large glass container and cover with marinade. Seal container and place pork chops in fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. If possible, turn bag every hour or so to evenly cover pork chops with marinade.

3. Remove pork chops from bag. DO NOT DISCARD MARINADE.

4. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for 15-17 minutes until sauce thickens, making sure to stir sauce frequently. After sauce has thickened, remove from heat and place in a small dish. You will use this marinade sauce while grilling pork chops and pineapple.

5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray.

6. Place pork chops on grill and brush often with marinade sauce while cooking. Cook pork chops on each side for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

7. Delicately add pineapple slices to grill and cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides.

8. Let pork chops rest for 2-4 minutes before serving.

9. To serve, place a grilled pineapple slice on top of each pork chop and sprinkle with chives.

By Fred Fort 20 Apr, 2015


Roasted Pears:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2  tsp. kosher salt
3 bartlett pears, unpeeled

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
black pepper
3 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Combine the lemon juice, honey, and salt. Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the stem down to the core. Combine the pears with the lemon mixture.

3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a rack on top of the foil in the baking sheet, and place the pears, cut side up, on the rack, reserving the lemon juice mixture. Drizzle or brush each pear with a little of the lemon mixture.

4. Roast until the pears are completely tender and slightly caramelized on top, about 40. Remove the pears from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cut each pear into 3 slices.

5. To make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.

6. Combine the pear slices, arugula, vinaigrette, walnuts, and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss.

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