“Romaine” calm and Recycle

We have heard scary reports of how the environment in which we live is changing, but “romaine” calm; there is still hope for a healthy planet! There are some small changes we all can make to help! While we’re at it, there’s always hope for a healthier you, too, so let’s get started!

Why Should I Care About Being Green?

Being conscious of how our actions impact the environment helps connect us to the planet we call home as well as prepare for a healthy future for ourselves and our loved ones. There was a recent report of the methane gas produced by food waste decomposing in our landfills; this greenhouse gas can contribute to global warming. While the EPA is working on strategies to measure, trap, and treat these gas emissions to use them for more positive things such as renewable energy, there is room to improve our food waste and environmental impact. Many of the things that can help us accomplish this will also serve to promote good health.

How Can I Make Small Changes?

  1. Recycle…. food!

We all know that recycling our trash helps to better the environment, but did you know you can apply this same principle to your food? Try cooking extra portions of foods that can be safely re-used in the day or two after. For instance, you can cook some extra meat at dinner, save it in the fridge, and cut it up for a different dish tomorrow, which saves time and keeps you on track with your healthy diet plan. Instead of boring leftovers going to the trash, use leftover grilled chicken from last night’s dinner to make today’s stir fry or salad. Mix it up to keep it fresh!

  1. Shop right!

We need to make a list and shop reasonably. It is all too easy to buy too much of something or buy things that don’t go well together and waste food that cannot get used before going bad. Think ahead. We know this takes time to sit down and plan a meal pattern for the week, but it will save you time and even money in the long run! Buy the right amounts, even if it means shopping more often. Get only what you need on your list, and know how to store your foods.

  1. Store food properly.

Along with buying the right amounts to prevent waste, storing food is very important! If you know you will have chicken one night and beef several days later, you can freeze the beef so it is fresh and safe when you are ready to cook it instead of wasting it and adding it to the landfills. We’ve all heard that proper planning prevents poor performance, but it also prevents poor health (not as catchy, but equally true!). We love the tip to stock on those delicious summer berries while they are in season and more budget-friendly; wash and freeze them for later use! It’s a “berry” good idea; frozen fruits and vegetables can last 6 months to a year when stored properly in the freezer!

For More information, please refer to this great infographic from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/multimedia/infographics/reducing-food-waste-infographic

Try one or more of these and “lettuce” know what you think!

Mindful versus Mindless

Have you ever cleaned out the last few crumbs from the chip bag? How about those cookies that were a few days old, luke warm french fries, ice cream with frost bite, or the last dinner roll because it shouldn’t go to waste? Infants and toddlers eat in response to intuitive information from their gut, then they evolve into adults who eat for external reasons. If you are overweight, your reasons for eating exceed hunger and may include boredom, fun, entertainment, stress, all of which are generally mindless automatic routines.

Mindless behavior is defined as an act done without concern for the consequences. What would happen if you drove your car, packed your bags for a trip, took a test, or conducted a meeting in a mindless state? The very perplexing aspect of human mindless eating behavior is, that it’s repeated frequently with continual complaints about the consequences (those extra pounds) and no lasting efforts to change the behavior.

No one goes to bed skinny and wakes up overweight. If you are overweight, you may not remember changing your eating and exercise habits that produced the body you are seeing in the mirror today.  When do you start or stop eating? Most Americans stop eating when they are full, while those in leaner cultures stop eating when they are no longer hungry. Americans also frequently start eating when they are not experiencing hunger. The foods consumed when hunger is not the indicator to start/stop eating more than likely fall into the mindless category.

If you are mindful enough to identify when you are no longer hungry and STOP at this point opposed to mindlessly continuing to eat until you are full, your calorie intake will likely decrease about 20%. The calorie difference between full and too full/miserable is an additional 20%.  Translated into real calorie numbers: if you are mindlessly eating until you are full 3 meals/day and your calorie intake is 2100 calories/day, then you decide to be mindful and stop eating when you are no longer hungry this will decrease your calorie intake approximately 420 calories each day which will produce one pound of weight loss in about 8 days.


Mindful vs. Mindless is a great way to discover the truth about what you are eating and avoid the consequences of those extra pounds. Making this behavioral change from mindless to mindful is not an easy task. It requires guidance, support and encouragement from an RD/LD who is experienced in this cognitive behavioral change process. Consider for a moment the thought of losing weight, changing your relationship with food, enjoying all food and social occasions which include awesome food in the absence of  feeling worried, deprived, or guilty… what are you waiting for?


It Takes Two to Mango

Did you know that more fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than any other fruit? They come in numerous sizes, shapes and colors (yellow, orange, red, and green). In many countries, giving someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship 🙂

Mangoes have a wide range of health benefits due to having high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Just 1 cup of mango contains 35% of your daily value for vitamin A and 100% of your vitamin C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights inflammation, and it also aids in brain function, skin, heart, kidney, and lung health. Vitamin C helps protect against cardiovascular disease, immune system deficiencies, eye disease, and even helps the skin. With only 100 calories in 1 cup of mango this can be a great snack and ingredient to add to your fun summer dishes.

If you are wondering how you can incorporate mangoes into your daily life, here are some fun ideas to try before the summer ends! (find recipes at the websites listed in parenthesis)

  • Mango Sorbet (Brit + Co)
  • Grilled Mango with Jalapeño (Food Network)
  • BBQ Chicken and Mango Quesadillas (Jo Cooks)
  • Mango Chia Popsicles (Jelly Toast)
  • Honey Mango Dipping Sauce (The Cozy Apron)
  • Green Mango Salad (Food for My Family)
  • Mango Salsa (Cookie and Kate)

Mangoes are so nutrient dense, they have multiple health benefits. They aid in healthy immune function, normalizing blood pressure, good vision and strong bones. Mangoes also help protect against lung, mouth, colon, breast and prostate cancers. So, next time you’re in the produce isle pick up a few mangoes and try a new recipe!


Summer Salad Meal Prep

Break out and try something new with these easy salad recipes! Summer is a great time to try a variety of light and easy meal prep options that won’t weigh you down while you’re out in the heat. Here are four summer salad recipes to try out, and the best part is they are practical and cute when you save them in a mason jar! All of these recipes are packed full of nutrient dense fruits and veggies for every occasion.

  1. Southwest Chicken Salad: 2 Tbs southwest ranch, 1 roma tomato (diced), 1/4 C cucumber (diced), 1/4 C corn, 1/2 C black beans, 1/2 jalapeno (sliced), 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1/4 avocado (sliced), 1 C chopped romaine lettuce.
  2. Greek Salad: 2 Tbs balsamic dressing, 1 tomato (diced), 1/4 C cucumber (diced), 1/2 C chickpeas, 2 Tbs diced red onion, 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1/4 C kalamata olives, 2 Tbs feta, 1 C chopped romaine lettuce.
  3. Chicken Quinoa Berry Salad: 2 Tbs raspberry vinaigrette, 1/4 C quartered strawberries, 1/2 C cooked quinoa, 1/4 C blueberries, 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts, 1/4 C goat cheese crumbles, 1/4 avocado (diced), 2 Tbs almonds, 1 C arugula.
  4. Thai Peanut Chicken Salad: 2 Tbs peanut dressing, 1/4 C red bell pepper, 2 Tbs green onion (diced), 1 carrot (shredded), 1/2 C cooked quinoa, 2 Tbs cilantro (diced), 1/4 C mango (diced), 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1 C romaine, 2 Tbs chopped cashews.

Notes* Add all ingredients in the order in which they are written to keep fresh

For additional details check out the recipes at https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/four-mason-jar-salads-with-just-bare-chicken/




Low Cost OKC Metro Workouts

There are several events offered around the OKC metro that are free or low in cost encouraging you to be active. Take advantage of these while the weather is nice! Other free activity ideas: phone apps (example: couch to 5K), websites (example: yoga yak) or trials at a gym.

Red Coyote Running and Fitness: Free 3 mile walk or run http://redcoyoterunning.com/weeklyruns.html

  • Tuesdays, 6PM @ Red Coyote Edmond location – loops through Mitch Park
  • Wednesdays, 6PM @   Anchor Down – through downtown OKC
  • Thursdays, 6PM @ Red Coyote Classen Curve location – through Nichol Hills trails

Sunrise Yoga: $5 yoga https://www.visitokc.com/event/sunrise-yoga/9165/

  • Thursdays, 6:30 AM @ Will Rogers Gardens

Fitness Meetups:


  • Group Training at Energetic Wellness: Tuesdays/Thursdays mornings/evenings
  • Oklahoma City Sports Fitness: Sunday afternoons – pickup games (soccer, touch football, touch rugb,y baseball, kickball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, etc.)
  • Lake Hefner Walk Meetup: Saturday mornings @ parks around Lake Hefner – walking
  • MWC Walk Meetup: Thursday evenings @ Joe B. Barnes Regional Park


Oklahoma City Running Club – The Landrunners: free run or walk http://www.okcrunning.org/

  • Meets on the weekends in the Spring to train for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and half marathon @ OKC metro locations. Meets on the weekends  in the Fall to train for The Williams Route 66 Marathon and half marathon @OKC metro locations.

Yoga in the Park – Oklahoma: Free yoga @ parks around the OKC metro. Facebook Groups

  • Yoga in the Park – Edmond: Thursdays, 6:30PM & Saturdays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Downtown OKC: Sundays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Northwest OKC: Saturdays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Moore: first Saturday of the month, 9AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Norman: Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays, 6PM & Saturdays, 9AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Midwest City: Wednesdays, 7PM

Fire Up the Grill

Here is my go-to meal when I’m not sure what I want to eat. It’s easy, nutritious, and tastes amazing!

Grilled Pork Chop with Green Beans & Red Potatoes


  • 1 small/thin cut pork chop (3 ounces)
    • (I add a dash of salt, pepper and smoked paprika to mine!)
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 1 cup diced red potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (divided use)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Preheat grill over medium heat (350F-400F)
  • In a bowl combine one tablespoon of the olive oil with potatoes & season to taste
  • Stir to make sure all potatoes are evenly covered
  • Prepare grill pan and add potatoes
  • Cover grill and allow potatoes to cook for 12-15 minutes, occasionally stirring
  • Meanwhile, combine green beans with one tablespoon olive oil & season to taste
  • Add green beans to grill pan and stir gently, continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes
  • Prepare pork chop and grill for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until fully cooked

That’s it! Enjoy, and let us know how yours turned out on our Banister Nutrition Facebook page.


You Had Me at Avocado

Avocados are IN. The major fat in avocados is monounsaturated, which is considered a healthy fat when eaten in moderation. Monounsaturated fats have shown to reduce cholesterol, known to be a main contributor to heart disease. It also reduces the risk of a stroke. This type of fat is satisfying and leaves us feeling full. So how often is it okay to eat avocados and what does the food label tell us? Keep in mind that moderation is key when choosing what to eat, as there is no perfect food.

One serving is about 1/3 of a medium avocado, containing around 80 calories. The serving size seems small, but an avocado is extremely nutrient dense and high in calories.

Avocados contain almost 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Fiber helps protect against heart disease, regulate bowel movements and contributes to the feeling of satiety.

FUN FACT – Avocados have more potassium than bananas. At the recommended daily intake of 3500 to 4500 mg per day, potassium helps prevent cramps, stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

They are also extremely versatile, here are 5 ways to incorporate avocados into your diet:

1) In smoothies

2) In salad dressing

3) In hummus

4) As a topping

5) As a replacement for mayonnaise

Avocados are also high in vitamin E, C and A. Vitamin A is critical for vision health while vitamins C and E boost immune health. Along with being high in fiber, good fats and vitamins, avocado’s help the body absorb nutrients more efficiently. Moderation is the key factor to consuming a healthy amount of avocado’s every day, and when moderation is achieved avocado’s and heart health are the perfect ‘avo-couple’.


Convenient OKC Metro Meal Ideas

Fast food is not your only option if you are lacking time or energy. Convenience is usually the main reason my patients are eating fast food or snacking on junk food. If this is your challenge, there are healthy options available to you. Here are a few ideas around the OKC metro that can save you time and energy while still meeting your nutritional goals:


  • Easy Freezy Freezer Meals: They offer a variety of menus to choose from including Keto, Plus, Vegetarian/Vegan, Regular and Whole30. They provide meals that can be put in the freezer. All you need to do is add the meat. https://www.easyfreezyfreezermeals.com/



  • PREP’D: Known for “healthy eating on the go.” You can stop by the store to pick up an individual meal(s) or you can place a bulk order of pre-prepared meals. They offer gluten free, vegetarian, paleo and customized options. https://www.prepdmeals.com/



  • Crockstar Dinner Club LLC: You are able to order one or as many meals as you would like per month. Each meal feeds 6-8 people. They offer gluten free, low carb or keto meals. https://www.crockstardinnerclub.com/



  • Clean Slate Kitchen: You will meet with a chef who will cater to your nutritional needs (likes, dislikes, allergies, food intolerances and other dietary restrictions or constraints). Made-to-order entrees and side dishes are developed from this meeting. http://www.cleanslatekitchen.com/


Crockpot Flock and Dinners that cROCK: Follow these facebook pages for available crockpot meals. You just need to add the meat to these meals.


Doc Cooks–Spaghetti Putanesco

Doc Cooks…………yes, physicians do cook, and, per the dietitian here—quite tasty and healthy! I recently enjoyed “Spaghetti Putanesco”, salad, wine, and great conversation with friends. An interesting addendum to the story, he (MD) manages his diabetes and a few cardio issues with cooking healthy, walking 4 miles regularly, managing his weight and fitness with lifestyle—a great example for everyone.

I love being introduced to new healthy, quick and convenient meal ideas. Putanesca is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid 20th century. The ingredient list is short and no meat except the anchovies which are definitely not detected in the dish.


Spaghetti Putanesco


  • 1 lb dried pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 handful capers, soaked in water and drained
  • 2 handfuls black olives, large pitted
  • 12 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1-3 dried red chilis, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper


Cook pasta in salted water to aldente. Meanwhile, sauté garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chilis, and oregano in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Add tomatoes—simmer 4-5 minutes until a lovely tomato sauce consistency develops. Remove from heat. Pour over cooked pasta and toss. Rip fresh basil leaves over it; salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil.


A closer look at the milk shelves

Dairy, non-dairy…coconut, almond, soy… what’s the best option? Let’s take a look:


Type of Milk

Calories Carbohydrate Sugars Protein Fat

2% Dairy

120 12 12 8 5

Almond, Original

60 8 7 1


Coconut, Original 80 7 7 0


Soy, Original 110 9 6 8



At first glance, it may be tempting to narrow in on the “calories” column. If we only look at these numbers, we could of course say that dairy milk is the “worst” for you. However, the other categories should be examined alongside the calorie information. Coconut and almond milks come in better with carbohydrates and fat, followed by soy and lastly dairy. However, dairy and soy milks take a mighty leap to the front when examining protein content. Additionally, the proteins in dairy and soy milks are complete proteins, providing all the essential amino acids together. Other dairy alternatives either contain no protein or incomplete proteins.


Where does that leave us? It depends on what you need.Regular ole dairy milk often gets a bad rap nowadays, but why? Well, the current trend is geared toward non-dairy milks. There is nothing wrong with dairy milk; our ancestors certainly survived while drinking dairy milk—thus, if it was as harmful as some sources may claim, we certainly wouldn’t be here today. If you are lactose intolerant, then by all means, go for a non-dairy alternative, or try a lactose-free dairy option like Lactaid.


The bottom line is to consider what is best for you. Are you looking for a quality recovery option from a workout? Choose regular dairy, as it has been shown to stimulate protein repair and synthesis and replenish energy stores in the muscle. Soymilk is a good alternative in this situation if dairy is not an option for you. If you have a valid reason to not consume dairy milk, go for it. Simply be careful that you are not consuming extra of a non-dairy milk due to trendy news saying it is better for you. Each kind has its time and place.