Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a perfect time of the year to enjoy some chocolate- well...preferably, dark chocolate.... it is delicious in many recipes or simply on its own. Let me tell you a little bit about dark chocolate and then at the end, you will find a delicious and simple recipe that will turn into one of the most festive and popular holiday treats!! Just you wait :-)

Dark chocolate is a treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth during the holidays, but of course in moderation. It is good for your heart and can fit into your healthy eating plan quite easily.

Dark chocolate is highly abundant in antioxidants. A small amount of high quality dark chocolate after a meal at nighttime may help control your appetite by making you feel full and satisifed. All you need is a couple bites and you are on the road to long-term success with portion control!

In addition to being a heart-friendly food, dark chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. Dark chocolate contains serotonin, which helps you feel a sense of happiness.

Just remember to keep portions in line. It's important to eat nutrient-rich foods but sometimes overeating on these healthy foods can be more damaging. For example, too much fruit may lead to excessive carbohydrate intake thus added weight gain.

Here is a holiday recipe that will give you just a little bit of that delicious chocolate goodness!

Raspberry-Dark Chocolate Delights
Serves 15 (1 tart each)

All you need
1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips
1 (1.90 ounce) package Athens pre-baked mini fillo shells
1 carton Chobani non-fat raspberry Greek yogurt
15 fresh raspberries

All you do
1. Melt chocolate chips on HIGH in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Spoon approximately 1/2 tsp chocolate in bottom of each fillo shell, spreading up onto sides of shell. Chill in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Spoon raspberry Greek yogurt into fillo shells. Top each shell with a raspberry.
3. Drizzle melted chocolate onto top of raspberry yogurt mixture for garnish.

Nutrition facts per serving: 50 calories, 2.5 g fat, 115 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.
Source: Hy-Vee Dietitians

This dessert recipe uses strawberry Greek yogurt (NuVal 64) in place of strawberry cream cheese (NuVal 16), for a surprisingly healthy, indulgent treat.

NuVal is a nutritional scoring system at Hy-Vee. Items are scored 1-100 and the higher the score, the better the nutrition! You will find NuVal scores to the left of the price tag.

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Olive Foodie

Good evening! Tonight at work, I made a very simple salsa recipe and promoted olives. Olives are a very nutritious food and did you know olives are a fruit? Want to learn more about olives and why they are healthy....or how to use them in your recipes? Read below!!

December Dietitian Pick of the Month: Olive

Did you know olives are a healthy treat that can complement holiday appetizers and meals?


Are a fruit with healthy monounsaturated fats that can promote belly fat loss, improve cardiovascular health and possibly protection from breast cancer.

Have less sodium per serving than a slice of bread

Have fewerthan 100 calories (20 medium olives)

Easy to use:

In place of mayonnaise, chop black olives, mix with fresh lemon juice and olive oil and use a spread on a sandwich

On toothpicks, skewer different olive varieties with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes for a healthy holiday appetizer

Roast chopped black and green olives with a little olive oil in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour, and serve with different varieties of crackers, cheese and breads.

Eat and be merry! Don't forget the red wine :-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinnaclife Complete Health Solution

Pinnaclife is the Expert Supplement Brand

I was excited to spend time with one of the Pinnaclife experts today that visited two Hy-Vee stores to talk with customers about the powerful and complete health solution supplement brand, Pinnaclife.

It is a top Hy-Vee Dietitian pick for a supplement line and helps fill in the missing pieces with essential micronutrients needed to support a healthy life. Not everyone's diet is going to be perfect....that is why Pinnaclife is a perfect way to set a strong foundation for proper nourishment.

Here is some information about Pinnaclife from their team of experts...

The Complete System

The Pinnaclife products provide a synergistic approach to health care. There is compatibility of ingredients designed into the products. Working together, the products offer a true system of care; each product building upon the foundation set by the proceeding product. The products work together to offer the best opportunity for cell recovery.

miracle Olivamine10 Essential
Olivamine is found in every product as it is the "powerhouse" nutrient that has been proven in research to deliver optimum health results.

Olivamine10 is the most scientifically sound wellness and longevity ingredient complex ever created. Simply put, Olivamine10 allows sleeping cells to rest and revitalize instead of fatigue and die. Olivamine10's hydroxytyrosol has six times more antioxidant power than the widely touted Resveratrol. Olivamine10 was proven incredibly effective in human cells and the results are a miracle.

Be sure to stop at your local Hy-Vee today and learn more about Pinnaclife supplements from your Hy-Vee Dietitians or go to the website listed above.

Pinnaclife supplements in addition to consistent healthy eating behaviors and an active lifestyle provide a synergistic approach to a high quality of life!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin-Banana Smoothie!

Are you looking for a healthy and delicious Halloween-themed recipe?!
I made the October 2011 Dietitian Pick of the Month recipe at one of my Hy-Vee stores a few days ago, and it was a hit! Many customers really enjoyed the pumpkin and banana flavors combined in addition to a hint of cinnamon! The chef at the store added in fresh nutmeg which smelled and tasted delicious!

Here is the recipe. This smoothie is perfect at breakfast or a mid-morning snack. Plus, kids will love it. What an easy way to add in fruits to their diet.

Banana-Pumpkin Smoothie
All you need:
• 1 or more bananas, fresh or frozen
• 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
• 1/2 cup fat-free milk
• 1/2 cup 100%-pure pumpkin puree
• 1-1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 5 ice cubes
All you do:
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and
purée until smooth and frothy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Need a Boost of Energy?

After a fun get-a-way weekend with my husband and another couple, I am in need for an energy boost!! I am sure there are days when we need a power nap or an ice cold shower to get our day going.... with it being Monday and overcast/rainy, I wanted to share some energy-boosting tips that can help you get back on the right track when you are feeling tired and sluggish after a fun weekend!

Think about whole foods rather than processed foods... By eating more variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you can provide your body with natural foods our body craves which can be utilized as fuel for the body and mind. Make sure to focus on these foods the majority of the time.

A great way to feel back to your "normal self" :-) after your busy weekend is making time for a brisk walk, which can improve your mood and energy quickly. Your heart, lungs, muscles and brain all need oxygen to survive and thus, provide quality energy. Simple 10 minute bursts, 2-3 times per day, can also re-energize your body.

Decrease your intake of sugars and processed foods.. sometimes these foods can creep in during social outings. Eating too much sugar or processed foods can lead to low energy levels. These foods usually do not contain vitamins, minerals and proteins needed to maintain good health.. they may give you an initial burst of energy but they often lead to an energy slump later... So to avoid this and instead, provide your body with long-term energy, make sure to pack healthy snack items such as trail mix, dried fruit, bran muffins (add natural peanut butter on top) or whole grain crackers. I made oatmeal, chocolate chip-peanut butter cookies for our trip to South Bend, and they were a great road trip treat! I used Stevia instead of sugar, dark chocolate chips, natural peanut butter and substituted over-ripe bananas and unsweetened applesauce for the butter. They were delicious and moist!

Have a great week and make sure to fuel up the right way! :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breakfast treat - Try it!

We all know that breakfast is important and a great way to start our day! However, the same old cereal or bagel can get old. So what a perfect time to whip up some delicious and satisfying bars that are sure to tantalize your taste buds!  Hy-Vee Seasons 2011 has many tasty recipes and my favorite one is the Z3 High Octane Bars. It is rich and chewy, full of flavor... :-) An added bonus is that these bars take as little as 10 minutes to make and can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!! If you make them, post a comment about what you think! I made some at work today and am anxious to see what other employees have to say... I will be happy to show that nutrition can be enjoyable!!
Recipe Image

Z3 High Octane Bars

Serves 16. | Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Health 2011.
All you need:
2 c. Hy-Vee quick oats
1 c. natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 c. Hy-Vee honey
1 c. dark chocolate chips
1 c. Hy-Vee dried cranberries
1 c. milled flaxseed
1 c. vanilla whey protein powder
All you do:
Mix all ingredients together and stir until blended. Spread mixture into a 8-by-8-inch pan and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store in refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
Daily nutritional values:
0% vitamin A
2% vitamin C
4% calcium
6% iron
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 340
Carbohydrate: 45g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Fat: 16g
Protein: 10g
Saturated Fat: 4.5g
Sodium: 70mg
Sugar: 31g
Trans fats: 0g

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Go Chobani

Raise Your Spoon and Dig In!

Have you tried Chobani yogurt? If not, give it a try!

Chobani yogurt is simple: rich and thick, real chunks of fruit and authentic.

Why is it called Greek yogurt? Simply because how it is made. Taste the difference! It is high in protein, good source of calcium, rich in live and active cultures/probiotics, and it is made with natural ingredients. 

A great way to introduce Chobani Greek Yogurt is adding it into your baking recipes. Delicious! Go to where you will find a wide range of recipes, including pies, cookies, appetizers, sides and much more!

So why not raise your spoon and dig in?!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

KCCI Web Chat

Join your Hy-Vee dietitians on August 3rd for a live discussion on sports nutrition and the upcoming Hy-Vee triathlon event. Whether you are into running, a particular sport, or you are a casual exerciser or looking for nutrition tips to enhance your work outs, your Hy-Vee dietitians have the answers!

Looking for special diet menu plans or just healthy menu suggestions for the week?
Go to then go to the tab, meal solutions.

New at Hy-Vee is a health and wellness forum where you can post questions about any nutrition question you may have. Hy-Vee Dietitians are here to help! Go to , then go to the health tab where you will find the link health forum. Ask your first question today!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I will be making a delicious salsa from scratch that is full of nutrition and flavor!

Mango Salsa
Serves 4

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Serve with pita chips, enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Healthy Eating Made Easy

Are you ever stuck on ideas for meals and snacks? With busy work schedules, family events & activities coming up for spring and summer, it is the perfect time to try new simple, nourishing meals and energy-boosting, satisfying snacks that you will love to share with your family and friends!
Here are some fun, delicious and healthy meal/snack ideas that will satisfy your hunger!

Fresh Fruit
Always turn to fresh fruit for an energy-boosting snack!  Bananas & apples, for example, are loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber which give you quick energy for a great start to your busy day.  Recommended serving size is 1 piece of fresh fruit or 1 cup of chopped fruit. Aim for 2 servings per day :-)

Popcorn is an easy snack at home or work.  You get a large volume and fiber, which will make you feel fuller longer! Plus it is a whole grain so it is a smart snack choice.  Recommended serving size is 1 single-serve pack, low-fat microwave popcorn.

Veggies and Hummus
Are you looking for a snack with a crunch?! Red peppers with hummus is the perfect snack for you.  Be creative with your snacks and choose red peppers for a change.  Hummus provides a source of protein that helps satisfy your hunger. Also try zucchini, carrots, sugar snap peas, and raw asparagus with hummus - delicious :-)

Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts
Nuts are packed with healthy fats, which help you stay full; fiber, and nutrients like selenium, Vitamin E (antioxidants to provide health protective benefits), and omega-3s which aid in brain and heart health, to name a few.

Half of a Sandwich
A lot of people think that snacks need to include the snacky foods, like cookies or bars from the convenience store. You can eat real food as a snack as it will help fill your hunger and boost your nutrition.  A half of a lean turkey or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with veggies, for example, gives you energy-boosting complex carbs (whole grains) plus satisfies your hunger due to the protein from your lean meats.  Another half sandwich choice is peanut butter and banana sandwich. Look for the natural peanut butters with no sugar added and no hydrogenated oils (trans fat) at your local grocery store. For example, PB2 is a powdered peanut butter that has 85% of fat calories removed! All you do is mix 2 Tbsp of powdered peanut butter with 1 Tbsp of water and stir until smooth - then you have a roasted peanut butter ready to eat!

Try this recipe for dinner tonight!

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos
  • 1 (2 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 (1.25 oz) package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 8 fajita-style tortilla shells (look for whole wheat)
  • Reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream (substitute non-fat plain Greek yogurt to provide extra protein and no added fat), shredded lettuce (dark leafy), optional

1. Rub roast with taco seasoning mix.  Place roast in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker; add broth and onion.  Cover and cook on LOW for 10 to 11 hours or on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours.

2. Remove roast from slow cooker and using two forks, pull meat into coarse strands.

3. Serve shredded pork in tortilla shells topped with reduced-fat cheddar cheese, sour cream (non-fat plain Greek yogurt) and lettuce, if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1
Number of Servings: Serves 8.

Amount per Serving
Calories 288 kcal
Total Fat 8 g
Carbohydrates 22 g
Cholesterol 75 mg
Protein 26 g
Dietary fiber <1 g
Sodium 640 mg  *To reduce sodium, be light on the cheese and avoid adding additional salt.

Have fun with food!

Katie V.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fresh and local produce

Buying fresh, local produce is an excellent, smart way to obtain healthy fruits and vegetables that benefit your health and your bank account.  The key to stretching your dollar is to purchase fruits and veggies that are on sale or in season, as these are often sold at very reasonable, lower prices. With the weather warming up, soon it will be time to go to a local farmers market, as this produce is fresh, local, in season and most of the time, budget-friendly.

Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene, the major antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables.  This nutrient is linked to fighting heart disease and some cancer.

Orange/Yellow fruits and veggies contain beta carotene that is a potent carotenoid that's converted to Vitamin A in the body.  It is associated with protecting the eyes as well as playing a role in the body's immune response.

Green fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants, promoting vision, cell growth, and amino acid metabolism.

Blue/purple fruits and veggies have powerful anti-aging benefits.  For example, blueberries and prunes provide antioxidants that help with memory and reduced cancer risk. Eating the skin of the prunes adds fiber to your diet to help with weight maintenance, bowel regularity and insulin sensitivity.

Last but not least is white/tan fruits and veggies.  They play a role in improving heart health and reducing cancer risks!

So, start eating the the rainbow everyday! About 2 cups of fruit per day and 2.5 cups of veggies per day is the recommended serving size (MyPyramid). 

What counts as 1 cup of fruit?  1 cup applesauce, 1 cup diced cantaloupe, 1 large orange, 1 small apple, 1 large banana, to name a few.

What counts as 1 cup of veggies? 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.

Have a happy and healthy day!

"The greatest wealth is health."

First blog

Hi everyone!

I am new to blogging and very excited about getting started. I will be posting health tips, nutrition messages, dietitian picks for Hy-Vee (Dietitian pick of the month foods), recipe ideas, meal planning tips, dietitian events, and much, much more! Have a happy and healthy day.