Category Archives: Family and Child Nutrition

Grilled Vegetable Mini Pizzas

I invented a new, delicious, quick-and-easy, healthy recipe tonight: Grilled Vegetable Mini Pizzas!



  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheese (I used an Italian blend and crumbled goat cheese)
  • Veggies of your choice (I used spinach, eggplant and tomato)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Italian seasoning


  1. Place tortilla on a piece of aluminum foil.  Spread on tomato sauce and sprinkle on cheese.  Toast in a toaster oven for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the edges of the tortilla are crisp.
  2. Cook a handful of spinach in the microwave until wilted, about 30 seconds.
  3. Finely slice your other veggies (like eggplant and tomato). Season them with a dash of balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning.  Grill on a George Foreman grill for about 2 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. When everything is done cooking, top the pizza with the vegetables and eat!  If it’s too messy, you can fold it in half to make a calzone!
  5. Enjoy!

12 Year Old Kicks Off A Fast Food Free Pledge for Earth Day


This 12-year-old, Koa Halpern, is on a mission to change the world.  His goal: to encourage others to go without fast food for 2 weeks in honor of Earth Day.  According to Koa, if just one person stopped eating fast food for just 2 weeks he or she would:

  • Save 3,222 gallons of water that would be used for livestock
  • Save 9.4 pounds of grain used for livestock feed
  • Protect 285.4 square feet of rain forest from being cut down to graze cattle
  • Prevent 15.4pounds of manure from being created (source

Koa’s website,, provides ideas for alternatives to fast food, information about the detriments of processed food, and the opportunity to sign his pledge to go Fast Food Free for 2 weeks.  If a 12-year-old can do it… so can we!

5 Healthy Meals in 5 Minutes or Less

image Yesterday I gave a cooking demonstration to a group of seniors in Sacramento called Heart Healthy Cooking for One.  The recipes were so popular, easy to make, and delicious, that I thought I would share them on my blog! Each recipe takes 5 minutes or less to prepare, so it’s perfect for when you want to whip up a quick and healthy breakfast or lunch for yourself.  There is also a convenient vegetable cooking chart for the microwave at the end. Check them out, in easy printable format: 5 Meals in 5 Minutes or Less.

These recipes are all easily prepared using a George Foreman grill and a microwave.  If you don’t have a George Foreman grill, you can use a skillet on the stove.  But, I highly recommend a George Foreman grill because they are so easy to use!  I just use a small one that costs less than $20 at Walmart or Target.

All of these recipes are very heart healthy.  The characteristics of a heart healthy meal are:

  • Low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat)
  • Low in sodium
  • High in fiber

Heart disease is currently the #1 killer in America. But, 80% of heart disease is preventable through healthy lifestyle choices! So, I hope you enjoy these delicious heart healthy recipes!

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10 Healthy Foods You Can Cook in the Microwave

image Cooking food in the microwave is easy, healthy, environmentally-friendly and delicious! Here’s why microwave cooking is:

  • Healthy: Unlike some other methods of cooking (such as boiling), microwave cooking allows foods like fruits and vegetables to retain most of their healthy vitamins and minerals. Additionally, microwave cooking very compatible with a low fat diet because food does not require the addition of excess fat to cook food.
  • Environmentally-friendly: Microwave cooking is energy efficient! It conserves energy by only heating up the food within it, and not the rest of the house.

Below are my favorite 10 healthy foods you can cook in the microwave.  Bon appétit! image

  1. Oatmeal: Oatmeal is my favorite breakfast food.  Quick cooking oats,  combined with low fat milk and chopped fruit, cooked for 4 minutes in the microwave make for a delicious morning! Try my Fall Morning Oatmeal recipe.
  2. Spinach: This nutrient-packed superfood cooks in the microwave in less than 1 minute! Try this 20 second recipe or my new favorite: top spinach with a little peanut vinaigrette (like the kind at Trader Joe’s shown here) and sprinkle with peanuts. Microwave for 30 seconds. Yum!
  3. Fruit “Cobbler:” This is one of my favorite heart-healthy desserts!   Combine fresh or frozen bite-sized fruit pieces in a microwave-safe bowl (banana slices, apple chunks, blueberries, strawberry slices, peach slices, etc.).  Microwave on high until fruit is hot and soft. Top with granola and fat free whipped cream. You’ll love it!
  4. imageCorn on the Cob: One of my summertime favorites. Place peeled, rinsed corn cobs on a microwave-safe plate, and nuke until cooked! (About 4-5 minutes per cob.)  In Mexico, they squeeze fresh lime juice on corn rather than butter. Give it a try!
  5. Green Beans: Rinse green beans and microwave on a plate until bright green, about 1 minute per handful of beans. Fresh green beans are one of my favorite veggies- so much tastier than canned!
  6. Fish: Finally, an easy way to cook and enjoy fresh fish! My favorite method is to cook fish for 1 minute on my George Forman grill, and then finish cooking in the microwave. Check out my easy recipe for Grilled Salmon!
  7. Popcorn: Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? Choose a microwavable popcorn brand that is low in fat and sodium, and cook according to directions.
  8. imageSoybeans: Also known as edamame, soybeans are a delicious, protein-packed, fiber-filled snack! Buy frozen edamame in the grocery store, and cook in a microwave safe bowl with just a little bit of water until warm. Discard the water. Top with just a pinch of salt.  If they are in the pods, pinch the beans out of the pods before you eat them!
  9. Whole Wheat Couscous: Couscous is a Mediterranean grain that is basically teeny-tiny pasta. Honestly, I usually cook it on the stove, but it is just as simple to cook it in the microwave.  Heat 1 and 1/4 cup of water in the microwave until boiling. Add one cup of cous-cous, stir and cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then fluff with a fork and serve.  For a ton of couscous recipes, check out this Food Network link.
  10. Eggs: There are many imagedifferent ways of preparing eggs using a microwave, but my favorite is poached eggs! Poaching eggs is a very healthy way to prepare eggs, because it requires no added fat. Here is a great video on how to poach eggs in the microwave.

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The Fun Theory

We health professionals are always trying to come up with ways to get people to adopt healthy behaviors. I like this new idea to get people to take the stairs more often:


What other ways could we implement “The Fun Theory” to get people to adopt healthy behaviors?  (Note: If you have a really great idea, enter the contest at to win $3700!)