Tag Archives: nutrition

World Diabetes Day recipe

Our dietitian has shared a recipe in honor of World Diabetes Day that is a good snack for any day.



Cherry Almond Snack Mix


  • 4 cups sweetened oat square cereal or brown sugar-flavored oat biscuit cereal
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cherries and/or golden raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a 15x10x1-inch baking pan combine cereal and almonds.
  2. In a small bowl stir together melted butter, apple pie spice, and salt. Drizzle butter mixture over cereal mixture; toss to coat.
  3. Bake about 20 minutes or until almonds are toasted, stirring once.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Stir in dried cherries.
  5. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

    Makes: 20, ¼ cup servings.

  • Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 82 calories, 3 g fat, 13 g carb, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Quick Tip:

Mix and match your cereals, for example, combine 2 cups each of a brown sugar and a cinnamon flavored cereal.


Source: bhg.com/recipe

Cook something bold and pungent day!

In the midst of all the election fanfare, did you know yesterday was “Cook something bold and pungent” day????

WELL….if you need a dinner idea, here is one our dietitian passed along!



  (6 servings)


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook meat until brown, stirring to crumble; drain. Return meat to skillet.
  2. Add onion, chili powder, cumin and salt; cook until onion is tender.
  3. Stir in rice, beans and chiles; thoroughly heat.
  4. Top with tomato and garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories, 313; Total Fat, 9g; Cholesterol, 29 mg; Sodium, 340 mg; Total Carbohydrate, 43 g; Dietary Fiber, 6 g; Protein,17 g

SOURCE: Recipe and image courtesy of the USA Rice Federation. For more information about rice, visit www.usarice.com


  1. If desired, lower the sodium further by cutting back or omitting the salt.

YUMMY Fall Break treat!!!


credit to mywholefoodlife.com












Cashew Pumpkin Butter



1 cup cashew butter

1 cup pumpkin

¼ cup of maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp of ginger

¼  tsp of sea salt

2 Tbsp of mini chocolate chips


In a food processor (or by hand) mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Once all combined, mix in the chips.

Serve with apple slices, graham crackers or pretzels.

Tip: make these into cookies by chilling the batter until firm enough to drop cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 15 cookies

Nibbles for Health…..Craving-Driven Eating


Craving-driven eating may be conscious or unconscious. You might see food and eat it just because it’s there, without even realizing it, which would be a case of mindless grazing. Or you might see the food, experience a craving, recognize that you are not hungry, and make a conscious choice to eat anyway. In contrast, hunger-driven eating is always conscious: hunger, as a physiological imperative, commands the presence of the mind.

All eating triggers (or the environmental stimuli that pull the strings of our appetite and provoke cravings) can be divided into the following eight categories: food characteristics, activities, settings (places), events, time, people, words, and weather.

  • Food Characteristics: smells, sights, and sounds.
  • Activities: TV, reading entertainment, thinking, problem solving, and socializing.
  • Settings: indoors (eating in, eating out), outdoors (backyard barbecue, picnic, drive-in).
  • Events: holidays, birthdays, weddings, parties, grief, anniversaries, stress days, and nighttime.
  • Time: breakfast time, brunch time, lunchtime, dinnertime, suppertime, and nighttime.
  • People: permission people (foodie friends, parents, comfort/support people), and stress people.
  • Words: health words, taste words, food words, food-processing words (roasted, grilled), and brand names.
  • Weather: inclement weather, picnic weather.

I love to go to the movies, not for the movie per say as much as for the popcorn and soda. I could have just eaten a 6-course meal and feel stuffed to the gills, but if you mention its movie time…I am all in for a buttery bucket of popcorn and a large soda. I may just sit there holding it, but I can’t go and NOT get some. This is a classic activity induced trigger.

How about you, do you have any environmental eating triggers? Consider challenging yourself for the next two weeks, and keep track of your eating. After eating, simply ask yourself ‘why’ you ate. If you ate out of hunger, you have nothing further to do. If, however, you ate out of a craving, then ask yourself what type of trigger it was that prompted your eating. After two weeks, draw conclusions about your key trigger vulnerabilities. Are you a “stress eater,” a “TV-watching eater,” an “eater-outer,” a “by-the-clock-eater?” Use the chart above to help you identify which trigger or triggers caused your craving.


Adapted from: Eating The Moment by Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Written by Jeanne Finney, ECU SHS Dietitian.  Make an appointment with her by calling 252-328-6841; nutrition services are FREE for ECU students!

Nibbles for Health….December

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. Here are some reasons it should be an essential part of your diet.

Vitamin C
One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold.

Bone Health
Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

Sun Damage
Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

Immune System
One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions.

Roasted Broccoli
• 1 ½ pounds of broccoli
• 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
• Juice from half a lemon, about 1 Tbsp
• Kosher salt
• 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl toss the broccoli florets and minced garlic with olive oil and lemon juice until lightly coated. Sprinkle salt over the broccoli and toss to coat.
2 Arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 16-20 minutes, until cooked through and nicely browned.
3 Put the roasted broccoli back in the bowl and toss with lots of freshly ground black pepper and the grated Parmesan cheese. Recipe from www.simplyrecipe.com

Nibbles for Health….October



Nutrition and Health Benefits

  • A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids in vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Pumpkin is an often overlooked source of fiber, but with 3 grams per 1 cup, and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.
  • Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, a compound which improves mood naturally and may even be effective against depression.
  • Ever heard of bananas being touted as nature’s energy bar? Turns out, a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564mg to a banana’s 422mg.

Fun Food Facts

  • Pumpkins are usually orange but can sometimes be yellow, white, green or red.
  • The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’.
  • Giant pumpkins can be grown for competitions. In 2010, the world record was 1810 pounds!
  • Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. The tradition is believed to have come from Ireland, where they used to carve faces into turnips, beets and other root vegetables.

Pumpkin Oatmeal in a Crockpot


  • 1 cup Coach’s Oats or steel cut oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp stevia (to taste), optional
  • 1 pinch salt


In a bowl that will fit in your crockpot, add all of your ingredients and stir. Place the bowl in the crockpot and fill the crockpot with water until the water comes up at least half way of the inner bowl. Set your crockpot on low for 6 – 8 hours.

Serve with brown sugar, maple syrup, pat of butter, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, or nuts.

Calories per cup: 143, Fat: 2.5, Cholesterol: 0, Sodium: 48, Carbs: 25, Fiber: 6, Sugar: 2.1, Protein: 6

Recipe from Peanutbutterandpeppers.com


Nibbles for Health…..September

cherries Cherries are packed with health-benefiting nutrients and unique antioxidants. The cherry fruit is part of the Rosaceae family which also includes almonds, peaches, apricots and plums.

Health Benefits:

  • Red cherries are low in cholesterol, fat, sodium and 1 cup of cherries, with pits, contains only 74 calories. They are also a very good source of fiber and Vitamin C.
  • Tart cherries are known to contain certain pigments called anthocyanins that are very effective in relieving pain associated with arthritis and sports injuries.
  • Cherries are also rich in melatonin, which can help relieve insomnia and headaches.
  • Cherries are an excellent source of potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure
  • The powerful antioxidants such as lutein and beta carotene found in cherries are associated with anti-aging and cancer prevention.

Add Cherries to your diet:

  • Add cherries to a fruit salad to add color, flavor and variety
  • Poached cherries make an excellent topping for frozen yogurt.
  • Dried cherries add sweetness to oatmeal or trail mix.
  • Add frozen cherries to a smoothie (see recipe below)


  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 container cherry Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • Add ice for additional thickness

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender and blend until desired consistency.

Healthy Tip: Add frozen spinach for an extra dose of iron and vitamin C

What’s the Best Diet for 2013?

It’s the start of the New Year, and your resolution may involve eating healthier or losing weight. Trying to decide on the best diet plan to help you achieve your goals? The U.S. News & World Report recently evaluated and ranked 29 diets with the input of a panel of health experts. The DASH Diet received top honors as the best overall diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension and was designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help individuals have better blood pressure control. It emphasizes getting adequate potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber through lots of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes) and low-fat dairy. The DASH Diet also promotes overall cardiovascular health, weight loss, and is good for people with diabetes too.

While we often don’t recommend “dieting” this is one diet that is good for you! Check out what other diet plans made the top of the list at http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets.

Don’t forget to discuss changes in your current diet with your physician or a Registered Dietitian! Student Health has Registered Dietitians that are available to discuss your individual needs. Call 328-6841 to schedule your free appointment!


Would you eat “frankenfish”? The scoop on genetically modified foods!

Have you stopped to take a minute to think about where the food you eat really comes from? If you get most of your food through a drive-thru window or unwrap it from a package, chances are you are consuming more substances that are unnecessary or even harmful to your body rather than the nutrients needed to maintain good health. But what if you eat a lot of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and fish? Are you still eating “healthy?”

One topic of recent debate in health and nutrition centers on genetically modified foods. Genetic modification or genetic engineering refers to technologies that alter the genetic makeup of animals, plants or bacteria, typically by adding genes (DNA) from another species. Reported benefits include higher yield, drought tolerance, reduced pesticide use and more efficient use of fertilizers. Some of the most common foods that we consume today that are genetically modified include sugar (from sugar beets), soybeans, and corn.

So what’s the big deal? There are currently no long-term human studies on the health effects of genetically modified foods, but there is much speculation on how this change in agriculture will affect not only our health, but the health of our planet and our food supply. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), there is the potential of introducing new toxins or allergens into foods that were previously seen as safe, increasing toxins to dangerous levels in foods that typically produce harmless amounts, or diminishing a food’s nutritional value. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/environmental-effects-of.html#HUMAN_HEALTH_ISSUES

A report by UCS expert Dough Gurian-Sherman titled Failure to Yield states that “despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields.”

In addition to the UCS, we highly recommend The Environmental Working Group (EWG) as another credible resource for information on food and the environment. A recent report from the EWG claims that Americans are eating their weight and more in genetically engineered food every year. http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2012/10/americans-eat-their-weight-in-genetically-engineered-food/

One company from Canada has been creating a new breed of salmon by altering the DNA of existing salmon. Watch this short video clip for more on this “fishy” topic! http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/environmental-effects-of.html#HUMAN_HEALTH_ISSUES

Genetically modified foods do not undergo strict testing for safety; and under current FDA and USDA regulations, are not required to be labeled. Many researchers, politicians and activists are campaigning that, at the very least, these foods be labeled so that consumers are aware what they are consuming. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to food and health. The choice (hopefully) is yours.

Tara Smith, MS, RD, LDN
Clinical Nutritionist
ECU Student Health Service