Baked Parmesan Zucchini


  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.



*Recipe & photo by Chungah Rhee

Family Meals Benefit Childrens’ Long-Term Health

We recently moved.   Our new home has a larger dinning area which means it is time to upgrade our table.  My husband and I bought our dinning room table in 2001 while living in Oklahoma.  During the past 17 years that table has been moved six times in 5 different states.  It is the table that our children learned to eat at; it is covered in water stains and scrapes.  It has been the home to thousands of family meals.  I may have shed a few tears watching the young couple we gave it to load it up in their truck.  I could have possibly told the couple where all it has been and how long we’ve had it.  Our 10 year old told me I was being a little ridiculous when I became teary-eyed.  I can’t think of any other thing we have ever gotten rid of that I have missed.
The table meant so much because the family meals mean so much to me.  So when I came across this recent study published in Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics regarding family meals it really hit home.  It was the first to look at whether family meals created healthier kids or was it just a coincidence that healthier kids just so happen to eat more family meals.  The study followed children from when they were 5 months old to 10 years old.  They then compared their study results of those that did have more family meals to those who didn’t while able to account for preexisting traits of family dynamics.  Children that ate regular family meals where more fit, drank less sodas, had better social skills, were less aggressive and missed fewer days of school.
From a nutrition perspective family meals help increase fruit and vegetable consumption, improves a child’s variety of foods in their diet and helps with eating habits like eating slowly and not overeating.  Even if the food you are eating is take-out, put the phones down, turn off the TV and ask someone how their day was.  You will be so glad you did and so will they!  – MK

The Minnesota Starvation Study

The Minnesota Starvation Study is a famous research study conducted by primary investigator Ancel Keys. This study revealed much of what we know today about how our body responds to starvation. Taking place at the end of World War II, the current scene involved discovering severely malnourished Jews that had been held captive in the Nazi concentration camps. Thus, the study acted as an American war effort to examine what happened physiologically to these people and how could we help them.

Thirty-six men volunteered for the study as their contribution to the war effort. Calories were restricted to mimic the process of starvation. The men experienced significant drops in body temperature, heart rate, basal metabolism, and sex drive among many other things. Many of them entered into depression and hysteria due to lack of energy. They also found that muscle mass was severely depleted.

How is this relevant to you? Understanding weight loss comes from understanding our bodies. Research has shown us that our bodies are hardwired to protect against weight loss because for the greater part of human existence, starvation has been a dominant issue. (Excess food in developed countries is a relatively new concept in the view of world history.)

Our thoughts about wanting to lose weight do not necessarily connect with the physiological processes that keep our bodies functioning. Thus, when we stop eating breakfast or drastically reduce how much we eat, our physical body does not understand that we are doing it on purpose. As a result, our metabolism slows down in order to preserve the energy we currently have so that we can prolong its use in case no more food comes. In the Minnesota study, the reductions in body temp, heart rate, metabolism, and sex drive are examples of how our body conserves energy. We can tolerate reductions in these areas (although not optimal) to simply keep our hearts beating for the long haul.

Who knew studying the history books could help with weight loss…


Confessions of a Dietetic Student

Studying nutrition has been an interesting and exciting journey. Before starting school and even a little way into my classes, I remember hearing about every nutrition claim in the media…and not knowing how to feel about nearly all of them. “Does this really work?” “Is this just popular talk or is it actually scientifically based?”

Juice cleanses…organic…low-carb diets…probiotics…apple cider vinegar………and the list goes on and on. Being near the end of my academic journey puts me in a special place in terms of perspective. I’m not too far past the beginning of studying nutrition that I have forgotten how confused I used to be about which foods I should eat, yet I am far enough along that I can generally decipher what is sound advice versus what is just another fad. So let me share some insight on the biggest points that reflect not only my studies but also the reality of implementing my head knowledge into real life action.

  • Food First: Aim for choosing food over supplements, and if possible, shop for the foods around the perimeter of the store. Boxed or packaged products are often higher in calories and are easier to eat in larger quantities. Eating the real deal will give you what you need.
  • Be Intentional: Even as a nutrition major, I have to be intentional about choosing vegetables. My diet has improved since I’ve been studying nutrition, but it has come with making choices about implementing what I know is best for myself. Book knowledge didn’t change my taste buds into immediately wanting to snack on raw broccoli.
  • Progress: Raw vegetables used to be something I ate simply because I knew they were good for me, not because I was truly excited about eating them. I noticed I liked cooked veggies pretty well so I started eating more of those until I started choosing to keep beefing up my vegetable game. I was eating more vegetables than I used to, but I challenged myself to keep going to where I knew I wanted to go.
  • MyPlate: This tool truly does give you the template for success. Who knew that what I learned in grade school (then as MyPyramid) would be the foundation of my professional career. For nearly everyone who is asking what he/she should be doing nutritionally, this is a great place to start.

Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. Food first and veggies can lead to more changes in your health than any number of popular diets or supplements.


Roasted Eggplant Hummus

Looking for a new dip to serve at mealtimes or a friendly gathering? Most dips can be heavy in calories, but the recipe below includes more fiber and vitamins/minerals with fewer calories than the traditional cheesy dip.


Roasted Eggplant Hummus*

–Serves 6 to 8



1 medium eggplant

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 Tbsp tahini

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp lemon zest

1 lemon, juiced

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Pomegranate seeds, optional for garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 420F.
  2. Cut eggplant in half. Rub the cut side of the eggplant with 1 T of olive oil and place on a roasting pan, cut side down.
  3. Roast the eggplant until the interior is tender, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop the inside out, tossing the skin.
  5. In a food processor, combine the roasted eggplant “meat” with the remaining 2 T olive oil and other ingredients.
  6. Puree to desired consistency and serve.


Nutrient Analysis:

Calories: 135               Total fat: 7g                Sat fat: <1 g     Sodium: 164 mg     Cholesterol: 0 mg

Total carb: 14 g           Dietary Fiber: 4 g        Sugars: 2 g      Protein: 3 g


*Recipe & photo by Chef Katie Cavuto, MS, RD, of Nourish.Breath.Thrive

*Also courtesy of Today’s Dietitian

The Reality of a Registered Dietitian


The nutrition profession does not make us less human.

“We were in a hurry to pick up birthday donuts as a treat for my daughter’s classmate. The donut shop threw in an extra dozen donut holes. After dropping her off, I headed to Target, finding myself very hungry after the rushed morning. I ate 7 of the donut holes and threw the remaining 5 away.”

“I was given some holiday cereal mix. I didn’t really want a full meal, and since I don’t do this very often, I decided to have some snack foods instead. I put the snack mix in a small bowl instead of eating from the bag so I would know how much I ate. I did leave the bag visible and accessible, however, so I ended up getting another small amount, about half of what I ate the first time. I also considered what nutrients I was getting from the snack: grain from the cereal, and protein from the nuts. I ate a couple of halo oranges afterwards so that I could still be getting in some fruit.”

As nutrition professionals, we are passionate about food and healthy eating. However, that doesn’t mean our diets are perfect. Some days we just aren’t “feeling it,” and that’s perfectly okay. Understanding the science of nutrition doesn’t eliminate the occasional craving for a sweet food. Sometimes giving in to a small dose of donuts or snack mix can keep us on the healthier path more consistently because we don’t get tired of eating “perfectly.”


–Your real-life, purely human dietitians 🙂

Smart Grocery Shopper:

Do you hate the thought of going to the grocery store? Are you overwhelmed by the crowds at the grocery store? Are you too busy to get to the grocery store this week? Do you always end up with extra foods in your cart as you go through the grocery aisles? Great news, most grocery stores are providing a new way to shop. You can shop for your groceries online from the convenience of your home or from your mobile device. This is a great way to shop conveniently, save money and avoid temptations. Online grocery shopping is a smart way to grocery shop that will help you stick to your healthy meal plans.



Shopping for your groceries online can be fast and easy. You can create a grocery list, choose a pickup time, and make a quick stop at the grocery store on your way home from work. Some grocery stores even load your groceries into your vehicle for you.


Save Money:

Are you the type of shopper that picks up additional food items not on your grocery list? If so, online ordering is the way to shop for you. Choosing your items online can prevent you from picking up those extra items. You can stick to your list and save your wallet a few bucks.


Avoid Temptations:

Shopping in the grocery store can create temptations. The smell of the fried chicken or the freshly baked goods can sabotage your grocery shopping and healthy meal plan. If you shop online, you can avoid picking up extra foods you do not need. This is a great way to stick to your meal plan without the challenges of the grocery store temptations.


Grocery stores in the OKC metro offering grocery pickup:

  • Walmart
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Natural Grocers
  • Homeland
  • Uptown Grocery Co.
  • Buy For Less
  • Click Shop Grocery Delivery

Hearty Italian Vegetable Beef Soup

Hearty Italian Vegetable Beef Soup is filled with chunks of ground beef, plenty of vegetables, and generous Italian spices. This soup freezes quite well, making it perfect for easy lunches.

Servings: 10-12 servings


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small, about 1 cup
  • 10 medium carrots, sliced thin, about 4 cups
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced thin, about 3 cups
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, roughly chopped, about 4 cups


  • In the bottom of a large pot, over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef along with the garlic and onion. When the beef has browned, about 8 minutes, add the carrots, celery, and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid. Once the soup is boiling, stir and reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered for about 15-20 min. until the carrots are tender.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the salt as desired. Stir in the cabbage. Simmer a few more minutes, just until the cabbage has wilted. Top with cheese, if desired, just before serving. Enjoy!


FREEZER TIP: This soup freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave straight from the freezer or allowed to thaw in the refrigerator and then reheated on the stove or in the microwave. Consider storing it in small containers with appropriate portions for easy meals.


Recipe from:

Fed Up — The Documentary

Fed Up is a documentary on Netflix that centers around being “fed up” with the issue of obesity. Overall, the film has some great points in tracing the development of the food industry as we know it today. As excess weight became a health issue in the United States, there started to be a greater focus on lowering fat intake due to fat having the highest number of calories per gram. Low-fat versions of food products began to hit the shelves, yet many of these products also contained increased sugar content to maintain taste.

Excessive weight gain is a larger issue than pinpointing one bad type of food. Indeed, sugar is a tricky nutrient, tasting delicious and sometimes being hard to identify in foods. The documentary helps viewers see how easy it is to overconsume sugar in a single day. At the end of the documentary, there is a recommendation for a 10-day sugar-free diet. While reducing sugar in your daily diet is certainly not a bad thing, it may be better to regularly limit excessive sugar intake everyday instead of going completely sugar-free for ten days. Ten days is…well, ten days, and while you will likely feel better at the end of those ten days, following a completely sugar-free diet long-term is usually hard to do. By controlling your sugar intake on a daily basis, you are setting yourself up for consuming a few less calories every day, leading to continual, realistic weight loss and a health-conscious lifestyle.

How does this translate to everyday life? Food labels are now starting to show us “added sugars”. This fantastic little label change helps us see if a food contains natural sugars or if the products have been sweetened up with extra sugar. So, to minimize excessive sugars: (1) choose fresh, whole foods found along the perimeter of the grocery store, and (2) choose packaged products with lower amounts of added sugars.


The Fun of Asking Why

When it comes to different foods, each has its own makeup of nutrients. Historically, vitamin deficiencies were a lot more common in the United States than today, and many of the ways we prevent deficiencies today are so ordinary that we don’t even know we should ask why things are done a certain way. So let’s ask why!

Why is it important to cook rice until all of the water is absorbed?

The rice grain has different parts to it, including the bran, germ and endosperm. B vitamins are found in the bran and germ, which are removed during processing to create white rice. This means the B vitamins are lost; as a result, we add them back through a process called enrichment. Scientists considered two main points when creating the best way to enrich the rice: (1) B vitamins are water-soluble, and (2) rice is cooked with water.

These important factors led to putting the rice into a large, vapor-filled tub. The vapor contains B vitamins, which sticks to the outside of the grain.This is why it is important to allow all of the water to absorb into the rice grain when cooking…because the B vitamins get absorbed into the grain along with the water. If there is any extra water that is poured off at the end of the cooking process, some of the enriched B vitamins are washed away.

Why is milk not usually sold in clear containers?

Milk naturally contains a B vitamin called riboflavin, which is important for many various cellular reactions in the body. Riboflavin is sensitive to light, being easily broken down when exposed to UV light, sunlight and fluorescent lights. Thus, when milk is packaged, we find it in opaque plastic jugs at the grocery store and in small, paper cartons at schools.

Sometimes we just accept things as they are, but it’s fun to ask why things are the way they are, too.