Meh Nutrition News: Peachy Champagne Popsicles

This is the first popsicle I’ve tried that I would neither recommend or make again. But in the name of science, I’m sharing all of my results

Leftover champagne + peach + honey popsicles

Half eaten popsicle - icy with peaches

I didn’t use a recipe for these (which may have been part of the problem), I just googled to see if it was feasible to use leftover champagne as a popsicle.

I added some sliced peaches, a drizzle of honey and filled the rest of the mold with champagne. Thankfully, I only had enough champagne for 2 popsicles so we weren’t stuck with meh leftovers.

Meh because 1) the champagne just got really icy and made the pop taste mostly like alcohol, 2) because they were icy they just fell apart while we ate them, 3) the peaches were in big chunks and you definitely had to bite into them – not good if you have sensitive teeth.

Many of those problems might be improved if I had blended everything up? But I probably won’t try it again.

For popsicles, I would try again, see the previous posts about avocado chocolate popsicles and rapsberry coconut chia popsicles

Nutrition qualities:

  • As peaches make up the majority of this popsicle, you will get a good portion of fruit
  • Peaches themselves are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A
  • As alcohol is not classified as a “food” legally, it’s hard to look up any micronutrients present in champagne. It will provide some carbohydrates and calories for energy. Moderate intake of alcohol which has been shown to have some benefits, but enough drawbacks that most experts won’t recommend starting to drink for the health benefits. Anyway. Don’t drink champagne for the health benefits 🙂
  • Technically dairy-free and gluten-free

My personal rating:

1/5

It gets a 1 instead of a 0 because it was edible, and I did eat the whole thing, plus, got to use up extra champagne? However, taste was very alcohol-y, texture too icy, made a mess and hurt my teeth. Would not make again

Feel free to try, if you’re of age, of course and share your results!

Take care and happy eating!

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Good Nutrition News: Rich Chocolate Avocado Pops

This has been my favorite popsicle so far. Ok it’s only the second one, but it’s good. If you like fudgesicles or if you grew up eating homemade popsicles made from chocolate pudding, you’ll probably like this one:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Popsicles

Chocolate pudding popsicle

The recipe, from Chocolate Covered Katie, isn’t even a popsicle recipe. It’s just for a chocolate avocado mousse, which is also delicious in its non popsicle form. But as a popsicle? It’s even creamier and richer than I remember fudgesicles being.

The ingredients are avocado, cocoa powder, sweetener of choice, and milk of choice, vanilla, salt. Blend them up and put them in your popsicle molds and freeze them!

Nutrition Qualities

  • This recipe involves 2 avocados, and for me, it made about 4 and a half popsicles. That means each pop contains about 1/2 an avocado, which you can totally count as a serving of fruits/vegetables
  • Avocados are a good source of unsaturated fat, which is known as heart healthy fat. The fat is also what makes these popsicles so creamy and rich
  • From my estimates (depending on the size of the avocados and how many servings are made), each pop could provide around 20% of your daily fiber needs for the day
  • Dark chocolate/cocoa is a source of antioxidants and has been shown to help lower blood pressure in some cases
  • Similar to the last ones I tried, they are gluten-free
  • Can be dairy-free and/or vegan depending on which milk and sweeteners you use

My personal rating

5/5

Easy to make, tasty, rich and chocolately, full of healthy fats and antioxidants, and a good way to use up avocados that will go bad soon!

Happy eating!

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Good Nutrition News: Popsicles (or whatever their generic name is)

This summer my parents gifted me popsicle molds for my birthday, so my mission is to try many many popsicle/ice pop recipes.

I figured I would share my adventures and talk about how these summery treats can be another way to get some good nutrition!

First edition – these raspberry swirl chia pudding pops from Happy Kids Kitchen!

A pink and white ice pop full of chia seeds

These are made with fresh or frozen raspberries, coconut milk, and chia seeds (and sweetener; I used maple syrup). You can visit Happy Kids Kitchen for the recipe.

These interesting-looking popsicles have a combination of creamy, mild sweetness from the coconut milk, bright tart-sweetness from the raspberry, and an different but not unpleasant texture from the chia seeds.

Nutrition qualities:

  • Some fruit towards your recommended 5-9 fruit and veggie servings/day (raspberries) that provides a decent amount of vitamin C
  • Fiber from: raspberries, chia seeds, and even a little from the coconut milk
  • ALA (the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids) from the chia seeds
  • A little bit of protein from the chia seeds
  • Because it’s homemade, you control how much added sugar (and the type) you would like to add
  • Creamy without dairy, in case you’re lactose or dairy intolerant
  • also gluten free and vegan if that’s your jam (haha jam)

My personal rating:

3.5/5

Packed with nutrients, pretty tasty, easy to make, would probably make them a little sweeter next time, raspberries and chia can get expensive so probably wouldn’t make them often.

(Also if you are looking for ways to get kids – even little kids – excited about cooking and food, spend some more time on Happy Kids Kitchen. Heather knows what she is talking about and has so many great ideas and tasty recipes! I will be probably trying several of her popsicle recipes which she has collected here)

Take care and happy eating!

A resource for exploring new foods

Do you want to adventure into cooking from a different cuisine? Do you want to do some culinary traveling but don’t feel like flying yet? Are you just looking for inspiration for something different to eat?

Do I have the Pinterest board for you.

I’ve been trying recipes from various places around the world. To get as close to the real thing as possible without going to the country or a restaurant serving that type of food, I’ve been trying to find the recipes written by people who are actually from those parts of the world. (Or in some cases, their parents are from that part of the world and they grew up cooking those recipes)

For my own future reference, I collected the websites,blogs, etc. on a Pinterest board, but I realized I could share them with you!

Some of them are recipe blogs and some are specific recipes. Enjoy! I hope you learn something new!

(Also it will continue to grow as I try new recipes and find new recipe authors, so don’t forget to follow it or check back periodically if you want to see updates!)

I’m teaching a cooking class for preschoolers and this is why I’m excited about it

I originally wrote this post before a class I was scheduled to teach at The Thinkery. I’ve updated the post with my online Mini Kitchen Explorers class in mind.

I’m pretty excited because I’m going to be teaching a series of food and cooking classes for preschoolers and their parents. It’s called Mini Kitchen Explorers, and it will be online August 5 or 6 (two different times offered). Kids and their parents will use all their senses to explore different foods in many different ways in a fun, interactive, low-pressure environment.

If you’re reading this before this class takes place, and you’re interested, you can learn more or sign up here:

Now, the reason I’m excited to teach this class is that it will just be fun. I mean, it’s not going to be easy. Maintaining a semblance of order and keeping things interesting for 3-5 year olds is no easy task (even if their parents are there too).

However. Right now, I spend a lot of my time talking to people about changes they should be making, changes they want to be making, or changes they might experience as a result of their current health condition. This is often hard (because change is hard) and is not usually fun. As much as I really try to make it positive and empowering, it often feels like telling someone the rules.

This class will be preschoolers and their parents doing fun activities that involve food.

Talking about food.

Playing with food.

Looking at food.

Smelling food.

Tasting food.

Or not tasting it if they don’t want to. This is a low pressure, relaxed environment. The goal is to give kids and parents lots of different ways to experience food and cooking together with no pressure to EAT VEGETABLES or TRY HEALTHY FOODS.

Lots of experience with any skill increases comfort and ability with it. This is no different for eating and being around foods, including unfamiliar foods.

A kid who says broccoli is gross and yucky and won’t eat it or anything remotely like it is really different than a kid who knows they don’t really like the texture of broccoli and can express that politely and clearly and also knows that trying a food and not liking it is not that scary because they’ve done it before lots of times and it was fine.

A kid who’s messed around in the kitchen and tried some cooking techniques and recipes (even a little) is going to be more comfortable eventually cooking or preparing foods on their own.

A kid who has learned a lot of value-neutral ways to talk about food (salty, fresh, rich, crunchy, colorful, high in protein) may be better equipped to have a nuanced understanding of nutrition and avoid black and white, extreme diet mentality around food.

Being comfortable around food and cooking doesn’t mean guarantee a person will make “the healthiest” choice. It does mean making a healthy choice (if they want to) is going to be way less difficult because they already have a basic familiarity with food.

They know what they like and what they don’t and why. They know how to choose and procure food, and how to prepare it. And if they don’t, they probably feel fairly comfortable learning how. They know at least a little bit about how foods affect them and what food can do for them.

They have a foundation from which they can make choices, rather than being hindered by fear of the unknown.

So I mean, I guess that’s my hidden agenda – remove barriers for future patients and make my future job easier. Or you know, prevent that they even have to come see me, because they have a healthy relationship with food and don’t even need my help.

Plus, seeing kids learn and explore anything is SUPER fun. They have such honest questions and interesting observations.

If this type of learning experience with food sounds good to you, sign up for my class!

Or if it sounds good to you but your kids aren’t in the 3-5 age group, or you have other questions – talk to me about how we can design a learning experience just for you, your family, or your group. Let’s find a solution that will work for you.

How to eat more vegetables: barrier edition

a blurry photo of a glass bowl of colorful bell peppers.

There’s a bunch of suggestions out there for ways to eat more vegetables. Today we’re focusing on the best way to eat more vegetables FOR YOU.

Not in general, not just how anyone can, but what about you?

What will help YOU eat more vegetables?

By the way, you can use this same process for any goal you want to work on, (doesn’t even have to be nutrition-related) so if you’ve got another goal that comes to mind, just read [your goal here] instead of [eat more vegetables].

1) Start with a question: Why do you want to eat more vegetables?

To get more fiber? To lower your blood sugar? To help you lose weight? Because you want to eat fewer animal products? Because you want to broaden your palate? To have beautiful Instagram salads? Because someone told you to?

Why you want to eat more vegetables may help you narrow down the best way to go about doing it.

If it’s to get more fiber, look up some high fiber vegetables to start with – or see how many of your favorite vegetables you need to eat to reach your fiber goal.

If it’s to lower blood sugar, make sure the vegetables you are choosing will actually help you lower your blood sugar.

If it’s to broaden your palate, you will want to choose a variety of vegetables – maybe quality over quantity is your goal.

If you’re not sure why, or you’re doing it just because someone told you to, take some time to figure out why you want to.

If you know why, it’s easier to maintain long term motivation.

2) Ask the next question: What keeps you from eating as many vegetables as you would like?

Really think about this.

Is it that you get bored of eating broccoli and carrots all the time?

Is it because you hate mushy-textured boiled vegetables?

Is it because you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables?

Is it because you hate washing your cutting board?

Is it because you don’t have a place to store fresh vegetables or they are difficult to afford and go bad too fast?

Is it because your family doesn’t eat veggies and you don’t want to be/are tired of being the only one eating them?

Make sure you know your barrier (or barriers). Only then you can move onto the next step.

Guess what, it’s another question:

3) How can you solve the problem?

Brainstorming any and all ideas can be helpful, but make sure that whatever solution you choose is something you can actually picture yourself doing. Something that’s realistic and might even seem easy or too simple. Successfully completing a goal (even a small one) can propel you toward the next one, so choose a step that you are as likely as possible to do

If you’re bored of the same veggies, can you pick one new vegetable to try each time you go to the store or sign up for a CSA near you?

If you hate mushy veggies, are you ok with eating crunchy raw veggies or crispy roasted ones? (Lots of different ways to eat veggies can be found at itsavegworldafterall.com)

If you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables, can you start with those microwave-in-bag vegetables? Can you buy pre-chopped vegetables if you really hate chopping or washing your cutting board?

If you can’t store much fresh produce, can you look up some recipes for ways to use canned or frozen vegetables? Are there resources you can connect with to help you afford some more vegetables? (In the U.S. you can always call 211 to find out what local services are available near you)

Can you get your family to look up some veggie recipes that appeal to them so they’ll get involved and be more likely to eat them? Here are 100 ways you can get kids involved in choosing and preparing food

Very important note: Choosing a very achievable and realistic step may not bring you to your ideal yet- your ultimate goal. That’s ok. The important thing is that this steps brings you closer to your ultimate goal

4) Do it.

Do the thing (or things) that will make eating vegetables easier for you.

DO IT!

Then, hey look at that! Either you’re eating more vegetables now, or you’ve realized that there were barriers you didn’t initially think of that you can now figure out how to overcome because you know what they are. Either way, you’ve moved forward toward your goal.

If you are stuck on any of these steps, a dietitian (like me :D) should be able to help you figure them out 🙂

Also sometimes just talking through these steps with a good listener (even if that’s your dog, your toddler, or your favorite houseplant) can help you realize what you already know, if you know what I mean.

What goals are you working on? What goal setting strategies work for you? What are the barriers you’ve identified? And how are you overcoming them?

Good Nutrition News: Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Frozen fruits and frozen vegetables are good for you!

They are just as nutritious as fresh produce, and may sometimes be even a little more nutritious!

Because fruits and/or vegetables are processed (washed, cut, and frozen) very soon after being harvested, their freshness is “frozen” in place at just-picked quality! This can include ripeness (as they don’t have to be picked early to prevent spoilage on the way to the customer) and nutrition. Here’s how the process works:

The process is very similar for frozen vegetables – except they are usually blanched (boiled very briefly) before freezing so the natural enzymes in the vegetables don’t break the texture down over time. Here’s a video about frozen peas if you want to watch the vegetable process

Why are frozen vegetables and fruits are sometimes higher in nutrition than fresh ones?

Some vitamins and antioxidants degrade over time. Freezing a fruit or vegetable stops or really really slows down this process, so the vitamin content of frozen produce might be higher than one that has been sitting in the produce section (or in your fridge drawer) for a few days.

(This is not to say that fresh vegetables or fruit are devoid of nutrition if you don’t eat them right out of the ground or off the tree – it is only a very small portion that degrades. I just like to illustrate that you aren’t missing any nutrition by eating frozen produce)

Besides excellent nutrition, think of the other benefits of frozen produce!

  • No washing, chopping, slicing, peeling, needed – ready to use!
  • Most plain frozen fruits and vegetable products are just that – frozen fruits and vegetables. They don’t contain any added salt, sugar, fat, or preservatives! (You can always check the ingredients list if you want to make sure)
  • As long as you have freezer space – no need to worry about them going bad. According the USDA, they are safe to eat indefinitely (forever) as long as they have been continuously frozen — although the taste or texture might not be as nice if they’ve been frozen for a long time
  • Sometimes they are more affordable than fresh, especially if it is a seasonal item (like strawberries or peaches) or one that does not grow where you live
  • Some vegetables are even packaged in a bag you can microwave directly so you don’t even have to get another dish dirty! (This is easy and pretty safe and a great way to get kids helping – just be careful with the hot package when it’s done!)

Some ways to use frozen produce besides steaming or making smoothies

  • Add frozen fruit to baked goods – blueberry muffins anytime 😀
  • Top a cereal or yogurt with frozen fruit
  • Cook frozen fruit with a few spoons of sugar to make a syrup that you can use on whatever you like!
  • Add frozen vegetables into the last few minutes boiling pasta to get an extra serving of veggies
  • Add frozen vegetables to a soup – again you can just throw them in the last few minutes
  • Roast frozen vegetables – here’s a recipe for frozen roasted Brussels sprouts

How do you like to use frozen produce?

New year, new you? Try one small habit, not two

Click here if you want to watch/listen instead of reading

My New Year’s Resolution is to start writing titles that sound like Dr. Seuss books.

Haha not really.

I know there will be approximately 70,000 blog posts or articles about making New Year’s resolutions and why you should or shouldn’t, etc. I’m not here to convince you about whether you should make a resolution or not.

What I do know is that the beginning of a new year causes lots of people to think about goals and aspirations. And a lot of those goals will be related to nutrition, so I’m here to tell you what I know about nutrition goals.

Nutrition goals are hard.

Changing anything is hard. If you’re trying to start doing something that you’re not used to doing, it’s going to be hard. If you’re trying to stop doing something you’re used to doing, it’s going to be hard. It’s just the nature of making changes.

There are surely psychological and behavioral studies that will explain the how and why it’s hard, but look – you probably know that from experience. I know it from my own experience and from the experience of working with probably thousands of people trying to make nutrition changes.

So here’s two things I want you to remember:

Start small

Choose 1 or 2 small things that you are confident you can do. And by confident I mean, you are like 95% sure that you will do it. (I know I said not 2 in the title, but it just rhymed, just don’t choose too many) Something that even seems a little bit too easy is fine, especially if you are just starting this change.

If you have a big goal like “eat healthier” or “lower my cholesterol” or “cook at home more” or “run a 5k” – that’s good! You set those big goals as your end game and use them to decide what your small goals are.

Choose small goals that will move you toward your big goal.

For example:

  • Eat healthier -> eat a fruit with breakfast every day
  • Lower my cholesterol -> find a whole grain bread you like to eat instead of white bread
  • Cook at home more -> Find two recipes that you can make easily and wouldn’t mind eating once a week (or talk to someone about planning meals for you so you don’t even have to think about it)
  • Run a 5k -> Commit to walking 10 minutes 3 days per week

Making these small goals gives you a hit of accomplishment along the way, before you make it to that long term goal. Kind of like a save point in a video game. This gives you more confidence and motivation to make new goals (a cycle of accomplishment) instead of making large unrealistic goals and feeling bad when you don’t reach them (a cycle of defeat)

There are lots more people who have written more about starting small/achievable goals; I really like how the Lazy Genius explains it here

Give yourself credit

Remember what I said just a few paragraphs ago? Making changes is hard. So give yourself credit when you’ve made a change, even if it’s a small one!

Did you hear that?

Give yourself credit for making even a small change!

If you eat a fruit with breakfast most days when you didn’t before, or you now cook two meals at home per week instead of one – good for you! You made a change! You are progressing in the direction you want to go.

If you’ve made progress – you eat more veggies, you drink less soda, you walk more often than you used to – give yourself a sticker*, or a pat on the back, or a little dance in your kitchen, whatever helps you celebrate

*The stickers thing is working for me right now. It gives me a small bit of childlike delight when I can mark that I exercised or completed a blog post with a pretty sticker hehehe

Then take that celebration energy and decide the next change you want to make!


Sometimes knowing what small steps to start with can be difficult – this is where a professional can be helpful. A good dietitian (or other professional if your goal isn’t nutrition related), can help you figure out the first steps to take to reach your big goal.

If your goals are related to meal planning, prep, or cooking, I can help with that! I’d be happy to help you get those wins – click here if that sparks your interest

If you are looking for nutrition help and advice in general (not related to meal planning, etc.), you can find a dietitian near you here

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

Merry Christmas!

Donut with red, white, and green sprinkles on a paper napkin
Here’s a picture of a festive donut for you 🙂

Hope you get to enjoy some festive and special foods today and tomorrow! (Or some tasty foods regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas)

Also on my heart this year are those who don’t have access to enough healthy and nourishing foods. Recently, I have been learning more about how complicated and widespread this problem is as well as how much it can impact people’s health. I’m also seeing it firsthand in my work. While there is a lot of big work to be done and nothing will be solved tomorrow, these are some organizations that are working hard to get more good food to more people who need it.

No Kid Hungrythey work in different channels, including school meals, nutrition education, and public policy to make sure kids get fed. (It’s a sister organization to Cooking Matters which provides free culinary and nutrition education to families to get the most out of their food budget. I have volunteered with them before and they are awesome, but in the current season limited in their ability to do cooking classes right now due to safety and health guidelines.)

Feeding America – a country-wide network of food banks and food panties, that are also working to make sure more people have the skills to remain food secure or click here to find a local food bank near you.

Project Angel Heart or God’s Love We Deliver – both are organizations that provide free, medically-tailored meals to those who have life-changing diseases and can’t afford or have trouble preparing the type of foods they need. The meals they provide greatly improve the health of the recipients – if you like to see measurable results, both of these organizations have encouraging statistics about their work you can read on their website!

Samaritan’s Purse – provides international disaster relief, some of which includes providing food in various forms – supplies for refugees, hot meals to children, or farming or business assistance so poor families can more effectively provide for themselves and escape the cycle of poverty

These are just a few of the organizations working in this area. If you know of another one, feel free to share in the comments! If this is a cause that touches your heart, please consider donating your time, skills, or money.

If you need help with having enough food for yourself or your family, this page has a lot of great resources, and in the U.S., you can always call 2-1-1 to speak with someone who can help connect you with local community services!