How to Revamp Holiday Leftovers

After the holidays are over, it never fails that we have leftover food. Personally, I only like to eat the same meal a couple of times before it just gets boring. So, keep reading to find out ways to revamp your leftovers to prevent food waste and enjoy all of your holiday favorites!

  • Get creative with different breakfast omelets and hashes: Cheese, turkey/ham, potatoes, veggies, etc.
  • Make wraps and sandwiches with whatever you have on hand. Try toasting them for something different.
  • Use leftover meat, veggies and whatever you have in your pantry to make soups, stews, or chili.
  • You might have the makings for a Shepherd’s pie or turkey pot pie.
  • Try “Thanksgiving Bowls” using rice, mashed/sweet potatoes or any grain you choose, cubed or shredded meat, cheese, cranberry sauce (or whatever you prefer) beans/green beans, potatoes, leftover veggies or salad. The possibilities are endless here!
  • Start with pizza dough, then add your holiday favorites for pizza with a twist. This can also be fun for kiddos!
  •  Air fry things that typically get soggy to give them back some life and flavor.
  • Use leftovers for stuffed sweet potatoes/ loaded baked potatoes

With a little creativity, holiday favorites can be enjoyed in many ways! We hope your families have a fun, cheerful and blessed Thanksgiving. In this month of thanks, Banister Nutrition is grateful for many blessings. We are blessed that because of our wonderful patients and providers, we have celebrated 40 years of excellence this year! 



The History of Banister Nutrition LLC.

What inspired me to create an uncharted career path?

After teaching at OU for several years, I started working at (what was then) Presbyterian Hospital. I wanted to know if I was making a difference in the healthcare of the patients I saw.
I knew dietitians played a vital role in shortening patients’ time in the hospital, improving biomedical markers, and decreasing medications. However, I wasn’t sure that physicians and the public knew this.

In the hospital, an order for a nutrition consult frequently came only a few hours before the patient was to be dismissed. We called these “Suitcase” instructions (as in, patient sitting on their suitcase ready to leave the hospital). But no one’s behavior can be positively impacted with merely a limited discussion of “eat this, not that.”

My biggest frustration working as a hospital dietitian was that generally, I would see a patient only once or twice and never again. Not getting the opportunity to see patient outcomes, I assumed I wasn’t making a difference in their health. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to see positive outcomes.

In 1981, I began to pursue how I could make a difference in patients’ nutrition and healthcare. I knew it would require a different environment than the hospital setting. Physicians, counselors, and therapists see patients in their offices, so why not dietitians?

I also knew it would take multiple visits to support a patient in changing their relationship with food to improve their health. The solution: Nutrition therapy in a private practice setting instead of nutrition education in a one-visit hospital consult.

On September 15, 1981, I opened “Banister Nutrition LLC.”
The outcome has been forty years of fulfilling my passion – what could be better than that?

                                                                                         — 40 Years Ago—
– In 1981 there were no dietitians in private practice in Oklahoma.
– It took a year for me to get permission to lease space in Mercy Tower because I was not a physician.
– I was asked, “Why would a patient come to you for a nutrition consult when they can go to any hospital in the city and get the same service for free?” My response was “I don’t know, but they will.”

Through the years, in addition to one-on-one nutritional counseling, our work has included small hospital consulting, consulting for dialysis centers, corporate wellness classes, grocery store classes for adults and children, the “Restaurant Lite” weekly TV segment and a “Restaurant Lite” conference for chefs featuring Emeril Lagasse, TV interviews, weight loss classes, and eating disorder programs for families.

Memorable experiences in these 40 years have included:
– The 101 year old man who scheduled an appointment because he wanted to make sure he was eating a balanced diet. I had such genuine respect for this gentleman. 
– Doing research to identify how to treat a young man referred to me with a very rare disorder known as fish odor syndrome- trimethylaminuria (TMAU).
– Feeling humble and honored when physicians and peer dietitians have come to me as patients.
– Working with a patient who had type 1 diabetes and dissociative identity disorder. This middle aged woman slipped into her young child personality as she was sitting in my office. WOW—this I will never forget. We had a happy ending, but I was worried for a few minutes.
– Being invited to attend the weddings of beautiful young women who were former eating disorder patients. There is so-o-o much HAPPY in these moments!

Our passion today is the same as it was 40 years ago: to
make a difference in the lives of our patients. We love the
opportunity to work with each patient’s unique set of health and
nutrition challenges.

A reflection on our history would not be complete without reflecting
on the 200+ providers who make referrals to Banister Nutrition.
These forward-thinking providers who embrace nutrition as a vital
part of their patients’ healthcare have been the heart and soul of our
practice for 40 years, and we are extremely GRATEFUL!


Food Planning for Backpacking Trip!

Planning for a backpacking trip can feel overwhelming at first – where to go, who to go with and when to go! After picking a distance and route, the next big task is planning to fuel your activity.

The first task is determining how many days you will be camping, then planning for three meals and snacks per day. Starting with a high protein breakfast is key to fueling your day. My favorite breakfast on the trail is to start with some warm oatmeal and coffee, followed by a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and honey.

After packing up camp, I like to have snacks to enjoy while hiking. I like Kind Bars, applesauce squeeze packs, dried fruit, and fruit snacks. Lunches on the trail need to be easy to prepare and suitable for a stuffed backpack! Try pita and tuna wraps, peanut butter sandwiches, or shelf stable cheese with dried meat and a whole wheat tortilla. With views like this, lunch is a treat!

After setting up our camp for the evening and taking our boots off, it’s dinner time! We first make sure we have enough water to drink and for meal prep by using a water filter. I enjoy bringing individually packaged dehydrated meals, as many come in heat-safe containers that eliminate the need to bring pots and pans. Dehydrated meal options have gotten an upgrade in the past decade, and many taste as good as a home-cooked meal without having to worry about spoilage or extra weight.


Special Halloween Considerations

Halloween can be a particularly stressful time for parents with children who have food allergies or autism. The Teal Pumpkin Project was started in 2013 for children with food allergies. The idea is that if you put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep, it means you have nonfood items you can give to children with food allergies. Similarly, a growing number of social media posts advocate using a dark blue pumpkin to signify that you are welcoming of children with autism or sensory disorders. 

Teal Pumpkins: Use these to indicate that you have nonfood items such as spider rings, slinkys, games, glow sticks, bouncy balls, or other small toys that you can give to children with food allergies. 

Dark Blue Pumpkins: Things to keep in mind for children with autism or other sensory disorders:  

  • It is helpful to have nonfood items to give out to these children in case they have any dietary restrictions or food preferences. 
  • We are all familiar with the tradition of trick-or-treating where we give the candy out AFTER the children say “trick-or-treat,” but this can create tension for those with autism since they are not always verbal. 
  • It is also important to remember that loud noises, bright lights, and scary decorations can cause sensory overload in these children. 

This year, as you prepare for Halloween, consider adding some goodies that are safe for every trick-or-treater, and set out a teal and dark blue pumpkin so that everyone knows they are welcome!


Vitamin D: The Superhero Micronutrient

We’ve been hearing a lot about Vitamin D lately. Did you know that Vitamin D is critical to the body and has numerous health benefits in addition to boosting the immune system? Studies have shown that vitamin D plays a role in bone health and reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, stroke and more. Keep reading to see more benefits of Vitamin D.

  • Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and regulation throughout the body.
  • It is critical during pregnancy because it helps form the baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system.
  • Because it is so important for healthy bone and muscle development, deficiencies can lead to rickets and osteomalacia. 
  • Vitamin D plays a role in keeping the gut healthy by increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut. This also leads to a stronger immune system.
  • Recent studies have also shown that there may be a link between adequate Vitamin D levels and anxiety/depression. We have Vitamin D receptors in the brain that directly affect mood. Some scientists think Vitamin D deficiencies may be related to negative cognition and symptoms of anxiety/depression.

Not surprisingly, Vitamin D deficiencies are more common in people who have less exposure to sunlight. Consider getting your Vitamin D levels checked periodically to ensure optimal health!

Recommended Dietary Allowance:  

2-12 months: 400 IU daily for breast-fed infants

1-70 years: 600 IU

>70 years: 800 IU

*Talk to your  dietitian or doctor before starting any supplements.


Healthy Pumpkin Bread

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Healthy Pumpkin Bread


This delightful healthy pumpkin bread is great for the fall season and is low in sugar, vegan and naturally sweetened!




  • 1 ⅔ cups whole wheat pastry flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  •  1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)


  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare 1 regular sized loaf pan (8.5 inch) by spraying it with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together ground flaxseed with water in a small bowl with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes until a gel like consistency forms.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt).
  4. Combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla, oil, applesauce and flax egg) in a medium-sized bowl and blend well.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix coconut sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
  7. Pour batter into the loaf pan and top with coconut sugar cinnamon topping and place on the center rack of oven. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool before removing from pan.
  9. Bread should keep at room temperature for at least 3 days. For longer storage, keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 1-2 months.


  • Whole wheat pastry flour: If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, you can also use white whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose and ⅔ cup regular whole wheat or 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour. For a gluten-free option, you could try a gluten-free 1:1 flour blend.
  • Maple syrup: For a sweeter pumpkin bread, feel free to use ½ cup maple syrup.
  • Flax egg: A regular egg can be used in place of the flax egg if you don’t need the recipe to be vegan.
  • Original recipe found at:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 146
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 258mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 23g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

Why We Became Registered Dietitians

Each registered dietitian at BN has a unique story about how they became passionate about
nutrition and why they enjoy their job. Continue reading to get to know the BN team a little

Carol Banister: “I grew up on a farm and spent 12 years in 4-H which provided many
opportunities to learn about food: cooking, baking, gardening, canning, freezing, even helping
my mom clean chickens. Gathering around the family table for meals was central to life. When I
went to Kansas State University, the study of food and nutrition was a natural extension of my
early experiences. Learning in Nutrition Bio-Chem class how a slice of bread turned into glucose
then into ATP for energy was fascinating. I realized my enjoyment of food and fascination with
food chemistry could be applied to bodily health and fitness, so I became a licensed/registered
dietitian. My career has included teaching at the University of Oklahoma, working as a clinical
dietitian at Presbyterian Hospital in OKC, and having my own practice for 40 years, which is the
best gig ever! There is nothing better than coming alongside my patients to provide counsel and
guidance for becoming a healthier version of themselves. When lab values improve, medications
decrease, and weight and physical activity reach healthy levels, patients become transformed,
happier individuals, making this fun and rewarding work for me!”

Lauren Northcutt: “My interest in nutrition initially started for personal reasons. I was a
competitive athlete in school and got injured my senior year. At that time, I started exploring
ways I could support my body in the healing process. Later, when I went to college, I decided to
take my interest and apply it to a degree at OSU. My personal interest quickly became a passion
to apply to helping others. As a private practice Dietitian, I am thankful I am able to use my
passion and knowledge to impact the lives of my patients.”

Autumn Sisneros: “Simply put, food for me is the fuel my body needs to be able to move and
enjoy all the things in life that are meant to be enjoyed — friends, family, and the world around
me. Even more, being able to share my passion and knowledge with others in a way that helps
them to do the same is a privilege that keeps me genuinely excited to come to work every day!”

Adrienne Radcliff Hefner: “I always knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field. When I was
a freshman in college I took a class that featured guest speakers from different areas in
healthcare. One day a dietitian came in to talk about how she helped people understand how to
eat in a way that supported a longer healthier life. I instantly knew that was what I wanted to do
and changed my major from biochemistry to dietetics! I love being a dietitian because I get the
privilege of working with a variety of people who are learning how to better their lives and who
inspire me every day.”

Jessica McCartney: “My interest in dietetics started with exposure to nutrition research by one
of my professors. After several years in labs researching the relationship between phytoestrogens
and cancer, as well as the biology of pre-term birth, I found myself wanting to have a closer
connection to the application of this research to patient care. With this realization, I started
working with a dietitian in a Neonatal ICU and returned to graduate school to pursue a career as
a dietitian. Through my research, I knew that nutrition had an important role in cancer prevention
and infant health. I continue to be fascinated by how many different fields nutrition impacts –
and the list of these continues to grow! I love helping my patients learn more about themselves
and how their choices impact their health and how they feel.”


Air Fryers:  What’s all the Hype About?

It seems like air fryers have become a favorite go-to for busy college students and singles. Why?  They cook quickly and can cook a wide variety of foods. Plus – not only are air fryers amazing kitchen gadgets, they save 70-80% of calories compared to traditional frying because they require very little to no oil. And they’re not just for frying. Did you know you can also use air fryers to bake chicken or roast veggies? Actually, roasting veggies this way makes them crisp and you can use any seasonings you wish. You can even use frozen veggies. 

Here are some additional reasons people are hyped up about air fryers:

  • They can do everything an oven can without heating your house up! We all love to save a little money where we can, am I right?
  • They are also great for reheating leftovers that normally would be soggy.
  • You can put ANYTHING in the air fryer for a quick meal. Check out recipes online for some ideas. One fun dinner I made in my air fryer was toasted ravioli!

Some foods you can cook in an air fryer:

Proteins: chicken, salmon, steak, shrimp, sausage, bacon, pork chops

Veggies: asparagus, zucchini, squash, green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, potatoes 

Other: chicken parmesan, ravioli, stuffed peppers, grilled cheese

Worth the hype? Maybe so!


2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for some last-minute gift ideas? Well, look no further! I rounded up some great gifts for your family and friends would love! Check out our list of some health and wellness gift ideas.

(These products are not sponsored)

For the Foodies

Snack Subscription Boxes

Universal Yum delivers international snacks right to your doorstep every month. They have created boxes from all over the world from countries like France that included sea salt chocolate to Egypt that had lemon chili chips. If you know someone that is adventurous and likes to try new foods, this would be a great gift! The boxes include sweet and savory snacks with a snack guide that has trivia and fun facts.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, By Samin Nosrat • Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

I love Samin Nosrat! I got introduced to her by her Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat. Her cookbook gives her readers a cooking guideline on how to build great balanced dishes with the baseline of elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat in the dishes (hence the names of her book). My favorite section of the book is dressings, vinaigrettes, and sauces. I am always looking for different dressing to add to my protein sources or salad so I loved how she incorporated a variety of dressings and sauces from different flavor profiles.

Omsom has a variety of East and Southeast Asian starters that combine all the sauces and seasonings all in one package so there’s no need to add additional ingredients. From Spicy Bulgogi to Mala, you can spice up one of your meals by just adding a seasoning packet to protein, and voila you have dinner!

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 10.25" (1-3/4 qt.), Flame

Did you know that cooking on a cast iron skillet can increase the amount of iron that you are consuming? A good cast iron skillet is always a great gift no matter the season. They are great for making just anything. I like to use mine to get a great sear on steak, fish, or burgers. Don’t limit your cast iron skillet to just the stovetop. You can bake all sorts of yummy treats like cobbler or cornbread just make sure to butter those sides!

For the Outdoorsy Ones

Hammocks are nice and convenient because you just need two trees to set up and bam now you have somewhere to sit or lie down! They are awesome for when you go camping or just to have in your car so you can set it up anywhere you would like to relax in nature. Depending on the brand the straps to attach to the trees come separate from the actual hammock. So don’t forget to buy those too! They usually come in two different sizes, single or double.


When going on hikes or camping, I love to bring a portable speaker. This JBL Bluetooth speaker is small and compact so it is super easy to clip on your hydration pack or toss in your bag without adding too much extra bulk.


A travel journal is an excellent gift for those who are adventurous and spend a lot of time traveling (pre and post-covid hopefully). What I like about the Roadtrip journal Letterfolk is that it is passport-sized and it has prompts to fill out to remember your trip.

For the Eco-friendly Ones

Small changes can make a big impact when it comes to being more sustainable and eco-friendly. With more people being more eco-friendly, here are some items to slowly reduce single-use waste. These iteams are a really great way to make a gift bundle for someone that wants to start reducing their waste!

Reusable Bags

Beeswax Wraps

Organic Beeswax Food Wraps Bee Good Wraps Made in Oregon image 7

Bento Boxes

Bamboo Utensils and Metal Straw

Eko Bamboo Travel Utensils Cutlery Set: Reusable, Eco-Friendly, Lightweight, Portable – Spoon, Fork, Knife, Metal Straw w/ Brush + FREE Toothbrush Eko Traveler

For the Sporty Ones

Bored with your bodyweight exercises? TRX is a great way to change up your workout routine. What I love about TRX is that you set it up anywhere and you can train every single body part. It’s a great way to engage and strengthen your core strength. You can adjust the bands to make the movement easier or harder depending on what you want to focus on. There is no need to buy extra attachments or weights.


NordicTrack Percussion Recovery Gun with Interchangeable Massage Heads - -

Trust me, the person that gets this gift is going to enjoy this next one. You might even buy one for yourself! Massage guns are the best to get those tough knots out with minimal effort. If aren’t a big fan of being sore either, try using this for a couple of minutes after workouts to relieve your muscle and release that tension.


Why the Scale Shouldn’t Matter

I think we all know how it feels when you’re working so hard to lose weight, but the number doesn’t change. After all those sweaty sessions at the gym, it’s frustrating not seeing results. In reality, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. There are plenty of other ways to measure success!

Factors Influencing the Scale

Let’s get this straight. You are going to weigh differently every single day because there are multiple things that influence your weight. For example, you could weigh more today than yesterday because you had lots of salty foods. You could possibly be bloated. Your body mass can be changing. Comparing fat and muscle, muscle is denser than fat. Rather than just focusing on that number on the scale, focus on how you feel about yourself and your body, your progression in your workouts, or lifestyle changes that you are keeping up with.

Non-Scale Successes to Celebrate

  1. Waking up feeling refreshed
  2. Feeling more confident
  3. Lifting heavier
  4. Knocking off time your mile
  5. Being able to run longer
  6. Your clothes feel looser
  7. Feeling good about yourself
  8. Getting off medication
  9. Hard workouts are now a breeze
  10. Not getting winded walking up the stairs
  11. Choosing healthier options when eating out
  12. Drinking more water
  13. Being more in tune with your body
  14. Less pain and aches
  15. Exceeding your step goals

Don’t focus or be discouraged about that little number on the scale. There are so many success measurements that you should celebrate. At the end of the day, progress is about how you feel inside and out. Don’t be too hard on yourself! If you feel better about yourself, that should matter much more than the scale. AN