Memorial Day marks open season on backyard barbeques, picnics and potlucks, and with it comes many opportunities to indulge in foods we normally wouldn’t eat (at least not every weekend!) – think hotdogs, potato salad, coleslaw, dips and chips. Whether you are hosting a BBQ, or attending one as a guest, it’s time to broaden your repertoire of summertime party staples. The Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has put together the following dietitian-approved barbeque fare for your next soiree.

• Bake a batch of seasoned kale chips (or buy store-bought).
• In lieu of potato chips, bring a bag of lentil chips and serve with hummus or guacamole.
• Create a colorful crudité plate and serve with a greek-yogurt dip .
• Do-over deviled eggs by replacing the mayonnaise with Greek-yogurt or avocado.

• Quinoa stars in a salad – just toss with any combination of chopped vegetables, dried fruit (apricots or cranberries), nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts), a little crumbled cheese (such as reduced fat feta) and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
• Showcase summer’s seasonal fruits in a colorful fruit salad with watermelon, berries, cut up peaches and plums. Toss in some fresh mint from the garden, and voila!
• Bring on the beans! Whip up some Cowboy Caviar and replace full-fat dressing with a reduced fat Italian dressing.

• There are many lean proteins that are perfect for the grill. Think lamb (leg, loin and rack), pork (tenderloin, loin chop), fish (salmon, halibut, scallops), or chicken.
• Go veggie! Bring your favorite frozen veggie burger brand to throw on the grill, or make veggie kabobs with tofu or tempeh .
• Pizza party! Start with whole wheat dough, grill both sides, top with sauce, fresh mozzarella and veggies and grill for another two-to-three minutes.

• Make a better-for-you version of traditional BBQ desserts, like these flourless black bean brownies.
• Try this twist on a lemon bar featuring peak of the season raspberries with this recipe from Eating Well.
• Grill up some fruit – pineapple, stone fruits like peaches or plums, mangoes – drizzle with raspberry sauce and serve with lowfat frozen yogurt.

• Fruit-infused water is a refreshing alternative to sweet tea and lemonade.
• Calories from alcohol can quickly add up on a hot summer day. Alternate with water in-between, or splash some soda water into white wine for a spritzer.
• Search for fun and festive mocktails and lower-calorie cocktail recipes like these from Prevention.

What’s your favorite go-to summer time dish? Post in the comments below!

 CT Academy Member:                      Dana Angelo White,  MS,RD,ATC 


I prefer certain grocery stores for meat and fish and others for things like snacks and produce, but who has time to go to three stores each week?  In the summer months I also like to get out to the farmers’ market to take advantage of all the locally grown offerings.  You can make it easier.  Use these strategies to help get it all done.

  1. Use a grocery delivery program for weekly staples like bananas, milk, and paper towels.  Most have a delivery fee,  but you can actually save money by paying attention to per-unit pricing and reducing impulse purchases.
  2. Pick one local farmers’ market to visit a week (and bring the kids).  If you can’t find one near you, look into joining a CSA where you can get a weekly delivery of local foods.
  3. Take the kids shopping! No one should shop hungry so five them a meal or snack before you head out.  Use the time together to teach them about food and allow them to take some ownership over what you are buying.
  4. Alternate weeks at other stores.  I usually swap between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Stock up when you can to save money and time.

With your extra time and money get the kids in the kitchen and whip up some of these family friendly recipes —

Charlie’s Double Pumpkin Muffins and Maddy’s Creamy Dreamy Banana Shake.

Excerpted from First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers by Dana Angelo White.

Copyright 2015 by Dana Angelo White.  A Perigee Book, Penguin Group USA, A Penguin Random House Company.

Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Eighty percent of these cardiac events can be prevented with education, diet and lifestyle changes.   Rather than focusing on foods we can’t eat, emphasize all of the delicious foods we should be adding to our diets. Since February is American Heart Month, here is the CT Academy’s top 10 foods to add to your diet to reduce heart disease risk, along with some delicious recipes that incorporate these foods. What other foods would you add to this list? Feel free to add your comments!

  • FISH: Aim for two servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. The “fatty”-fish can reduce risk of developing heart disease by decreasing inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels, and can even help boost your HDL levels.
  • SOY: 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease, by helping to lower levels of LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol. Find soy protein in tofu, soy milk, soy nuts, vegetarian meat alternatives as well as certain protein bars and powders
  • WHOLE GRAINS: Replacing refined grains (white bread, pasta, etc.) with high-fiber, antioxidant rich whole grains including oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat breads and pastas, can help reduce heart disease risk by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and insulin levels.
  • NUTS: Adding four servings of unsalted nuts a week (a serving is a small handful of whole nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter), is good for your heart. Be sure to buy raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than those cooked in oil. Toss chopped walnuts or pecans into your morning oatmeal or on a salad, snack on some almonds or peanuts, or spread some almond butter onto whole grain toast.
  • HEALTHY FATS: Avocado, olive oil and olives all contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps reduce total cholesterol while raising the ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol protects the heart from heart disease, and adding these healthy fats to the diet also helps reduce total body inflammation.
  • BEANS: Beans, beans are good for your heart — in one study, people who ate legumes, including beans and lentils, at least four times a week had a 22% lower risk of heart disease than people who ate them less than once a week.
  • BERRIES: High in antioxidants and polyphenols, berries can help improve blood flow and prevent plaque build-up in the arteries.
  • GREEN VEGGIES: The antioxidant compounds in broccoli, asparagus and spinach, combined with being a good source of potassium and folate, make these veggies heart-health standouts, but adding more fruits and vegetables of any kind is heart smart.
  • GARLIC: Garlic contains a high amount of the antioxidant allicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can help lower blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol in the body. Other naturally-occurring compounds in fresh garlic have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow.
  • SPICES: An emerging area of research into the medicinal properties of spices has shown that spices such as turmeric and cinnamon have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce many of the risk factors for heart disease by improving blood flow and cholesterol levels.

Heart-Healthy Recipes by CT Academy Member Evelyn H. Gezo, MS,RD,CDN

Salmon with Spicy Black Beans & Cilantro Sauce Dinner

*Heart healthy salmon combined with beans, garlic, and avocado.

  • 4 – 4 oz. salmon
  • 1 small minced onion
  • 1 small diced red bell pepper
  • 4 medium minced garlic cloves
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • ½ tsp chili powder


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of one lime
  • Ground pepper
  • Large tomato, chopped and seeded


  • Lettuce greens
  • Sliced avocado
  1. Prepare cilantro sauce by combining ingredients except tomatoes in small food processor or blender.
  2. In large skillet, sauté onion, pepper, garlic in broth over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, stir.
  3. Add broth, beans and chili powder.   Continue cooking at least ten minutes. Add more broth if needed.
  4. Brush baking pan with oil, place salmon pieces (skin side down) in pan and spread with cilantro sauce.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes on top and bake uncovered at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with lettuce greens topped with sliced avocado and spicy beans on the side on one plate.

Avocado and Hearts of Palm Salad

*Refreshing salad to serve with heart healthy seafood.

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ small sweet onion (cut into thin slivers)
  • 2 – 14 oz cans hearts of palm, drained and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (can substitute light mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Toss together tomatoes, onion, hearts of palm, avocado and cilantro.
  2. Whisk together in separate bowl dressing ingredients: mayo, lime zest,

lime juice and oil.   Season with salt and pepper.

  1. Add dressing to salad and gently toss.
  2. Can serve over greens and add chopped walnuts if desired.

Oriental Spread

*Here is a recipe that substitutes tofu (soy) for cream cheese and has nuts, garlic, and spices for a great spread!   Good on crackers and whole wheat bagels.

  • 12 oz. cream cheese or soft tofu
  • 2/3 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 4 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend well.

It’s well into 2015, and time to get into a regular routine.  Routines are especially important for families.
Family dinners are at the top of the list.  While nutritionists emphasize the importance of breakfast, dinner is often overlooked.  Yet research shows that families who eat together have healthier diets – richer in fruits and veggies; lighter on fat and fried foods.  And 74% of adolescents say they like having family meals!
January is the ideal time to start making a priority for more family dinners.  It’s also a great opportunity to get everyone eating more fruits and veggies.  Brightly colored items – orange, yellow, red and green are some colors that invite everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Parents have to be the models for that!
Hydration is important all year long, but often forgotten in cooler weather.  All fluids count — in moderation!  Whether it’s milk, juice or water we need to strike a balance, and stay hydrated.
Simple routines will soon have everyone back in a healthy routine, and ready to win out in the rest of the flu season.
Look at the social benefits:
  • Research shows family meals creates closer family bonds
  • 74% of adolescents report they LIKE having family meals
  • Regular family meals are associated with higher grades; lower rates of substance abuse and depression in kids
  • Uplug!  Silence cell phones, TV, etc. Get the conversation going during dinner
Go Seasonal for Good Nutrition:
  • Use MyPlate to plan family dinners; half the plate should always be veggies and fruit
  • Seasonal tems like squash, cranberries, apples give flavor to meals
  • Be democratic: each family member gets a chance to choose a new food or recipe
  • Use tricks to entice healthier eating: add dried fruits to salads and side dishes; add broccoli to baked macaroni


  • It’s important all year long
  • Sealed office and school buildings create dry atmosphere; fluids important
  • Every beverage has a benefit; moderation is key
  • Look at food labels and check it first
Make a Schedule:
  • If you don’t it won’t happen
  • Use an oversize wall calendar for everyone to check
  • Make a Master Family Calendar on Google so everyone can check on their cell phone

Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

As 2014 comes to a close, a recent survey showed popular health and wellness goals for 2015.  The CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wishes everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

According to a Harris Poll (on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition), over 2,000 people said they were committing to one or more of the following health and wellness habits in 2015.

Check and see if you are making any of them.  What’s most important in making a goal or resolution is that it’s practical and reasonable for you.  Choose one or two, rather than many.  Be successful with a few and then move on.  That’s the path to success.

America’s Top Health & Wellness Resolutions for 2015*

  1. Drinking enough water.
  2. Eating healthy;healthier in general
  3. Getting more physically active
  4. Getting more sleep
  5. Taking vitamins
  6. Starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast
  7. Spending more time with family and friends in real life, instead of online
  8. Staying cool, calm and collected when stuck in traffic
  9. Visiting my doctor before I get sick
  10. Tracking my meals/exercise via mobile app(s), online tool(s) or personal gadget(s)

* Source: Council for Responsible Nutrition 12-19-14

Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The holidays are a festive time focused on faith, family and food. Whether you celebrate The Twelve Days of Christmas, the eight days of Hanukkah, or the seven days of Kwanzaa, all of these holidays culminate in feasts. Not to mention the cocktail and office parties, cookie exchanges and chocolate gifts galore leading up to the actual holidays. With temptation and tradition around every corner, it is no wonder so many people pack on a few pounds before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

The Wise Men (well, in this case, mostly women) of the nutrition and food world are registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and dietitian technicians, registered (DTR). The Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics put a call out to their members to share their own personal tips for how they help their patients and clients eat healthfully during the holidays, without putting a bah-humbug in their celebrations. Here are the top 12 tips for how CT Academy members survive the holidays:

  1. Observe the ‘first bite’ rule: “The first bite of food usually tastes the best, so as you eat, pay attention:  when it no longer tastes magical, put down your fork.  And if the first bite doesn’t rock your world, move onto something that does,” recommends Julie Harvey, DTR, dietetic technician at Sodexo.
  2. Don’t drink your calories: “Eggnog, specialty coffees, mulled wine, hot buttered rum, and Champagne punches can go down easily and pack in a lot of calories from sugar. Limit alcohol to one or two drinks and alternate with a ‘mocktails’ such as sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice,” says Mireille Blacke, MA, RDN, CD-N
  3. Have a ‘pre-party’ snack: “Nothing sets you up for overeating at a party than going on an empty stomach. Have a small snack before you go. I like to have a snack that has protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and control appetite, such as an apple with a small handful of almonds,” suggests Kristin Tallodi, a CT Academy student member at the University of New Haven.
  4. Bring a healthy dish: Going to a holiday party or family gathering and not sure if there will be some healthful options? Take matters into your own hands, and offer to bring a dish, such as a vegetable platter with a hummus dip,” offers Beth Rosen, MS, RDN on her blog goodnessgraciousliving.com.
  5. Sneak in nutrition: “Make traditional foods healthier with these sneaky substitutions. For brownies, add one can of pureed black beans and ¼ cup of water to any brownie recipe to replace the eggs and oil. Swap dips high in saturated fat (cream cheese, sour cream) with this easy healthy fat cashew cream: Soak 1 ¼ cup raw cashews in water for two hours, puree with ½ cup water, add 2 tbsp. honey and 1 tsp vanilla and serve cashew cream with cut up fruit,” recommends Nancy Ferriello MS, RDN, CD-N who has a private practice in Westport (http://www.nutritiontoliveby.info).
  6. Spend wisely: “Think of calories like an allowance and spend them wisely. Look over the buffet and select a few of the truly special dishes that you ‘only’ get at the holidays, and take the time to savor every bite,” says Teresa Martin Dotson, MS, RDN, CD-N of Nutrition Solutions for Life, LLC.
  7. Pack a Peppermint! “Take a look around the party room and plan what you really want to eat and drink. When you are finished, pop that peppermint in your mouth. It will keep you from eating and drinking more,” recommends Evelyn H. Gezo, MS, RDN, CD-N, nutrition consultant.
  1. Don’t Forget to Move Your Body: “Plan cold weather activities and dress warmly for ice skating, sledding, or skiing, for example. Stay active at family gatherings (rent Karaoke or Wii Fit, play charades, go for walks after dinner). It is all about balancing calories taken in with food with calories burned off through physical activity,” reminds Tina Fox Dugdale MS, RDN, RN, CD-N of UCONN Department of Allied Health Sciences.
  2. Forgo the food court: “Be selective about mall food when holiday shopping.  Bring your own mini muffins (60 calories each), for instance, to avoid mega-muffins that can run up to 700 calories, or pack a protein bar, some nuts, and a piece of fruit for on-the-go energy,” says Pat Baird, MS, RDN, FAND, CT Academy President.
  3. Balance your calories over the course of a week, not just a day. “If you know you have a big party coming up on the weekend, make a conscious effort to eat healthier during the week with lighter meals, fewer snacks and more fruits and veggies. This way, you can enjoy some more indulgent foods at the party, in moderation, of course,” suggests Heather Peracchio MS, RDN, CD-N, Community Health Center, Inc..
  4. Grab a smaller plate: “When going down the buffet line, grab an appetizer or dessert plate instead of the larger entree plate. By having a smaller plate, you are less likely to serve yourself extra-large portions. Plus, you’ll feel satisfied having a full plate of food,” offers Sarah Bourque, MS, RDN, CD-N, President-Elect, Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  5. Focus on the people, not the food. “Try to mingle with people away from the food table and hold a drink while doing so. If your hand is holding a glass, it is difficult to eat a small plate of food. The purpose of a party is really to gather with friends and family, not just to eat,” reminds Judy Prager, RDN, CD-N, Wellfed Connecticut.

“Most of us get into trouble when we allow ‘holiday eating’ to take over our lives from Thanksgiving through the New Year,” adds Sarah Bourque. “Don’t have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality when it comes to celebrating. Just because you enjoy one day doesn’t mean you have to throw all of your healthy habits out the window. Rather, enjoy the seasonal foods you love on the holidays themselves, but get right back on the healthy-eating wagon the next day. By allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite holiday foods, you don’t feel deprived and risk overeating later.”

For those consumers who may need a little help with planning and sticking to their nutrition resolutions, Connecticut registered dietitian nutritionists can develop personalized eating plans to meet your goals. Visit http://www.eatrightct.org/ and click on the Find a Registered Dietitian link.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The nutrition profession requires staying up-to-date and current in science and practice. So on Nov. 14th, 2000 CT Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Dietetic Technicians, Registered, and students attended the Fall meeting of the Connecticut Academy at CoCo Key Water Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Waterbury.

There were a wide variety of exhibitors including End Hunger CT, Lilly USA, New England Dairy Council, Cambridge Eating Disorder Center, Sunbutter, Stativa Pharmaeuticals (Megace), Monsanto, Miai Yogurt- Registration Samples, Simplified Nutrition, Medtrition, Nestle Health Science, TFC Health Foods, Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars and Skinnygirl Sparklers.

Here are some of the meeting highlights and speakers:

  • Food Psychology: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Jim Painter, PhD, RD, Director of Nutrition Research, California Raisin Marketing Board will show the factors that contribute to most people not being aware of their volume of food consumption. He presented some fun techniques for dietitians to use with their clients to help them be aware of their eating pattern, reduce excess calories and make healthier choices.

  • Past, Present and Future of the Dietary Guidelines for American

Rafael Perez-Escamilla, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health provided a background on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. He addressed what changes might be in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines – including new recommendations for children under two.

  • Hunger in Connecticut: Food Insecurity Panel

Christine Rivera, RD, Nutrition Manager of Feeding America, led a panel on the state of food insecurity in Connecticut. She was joined by Lucy Nolan, JD, Executive Director of End Hunger CT!, Judy Prager, RDN, CDN, Hunger Study Coordinator, CT Food Bank, and Trish Molloy, RD, School Food Service Director, West Hartford Public Schools.

  • The Practice of Sports Nutrition: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Nancy Rodriquez, PhD, RD, CSSD, FACSM, Professor of Nutritional Science, University of Connecticut. Dr. Rodriguez focused on relationships between exercise, protein intake, and protein utilization in athletes, physically active adults, and children.

  • Diabetes Detectives: A Patient- Dietitian Collaborative for Success

Nancy Ryan, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE, CDN Nutrition Consultant and Diabetes Educator presented the latest on helping patients achieve diabetes management goals using productive and positive approaches.

Welcome the Attendees

Barbara Bush and Gail Cole welcome the attendees.

Lots of activity at the exhibits.

Lots of activity at the exhibits.


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