June is Dairy Month


Did you know June is National Dairy Month?? Here is some interesting info on dairy foods:

  • 1 cup of milk provides 9 essential nutrients (calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, Vitamin B12, protein, potassium & Vitamin A)
  • Several cheeses are low-lactose or lactose free, so if you are lactose-intolerant you may want to experiment with small amounts of cheddar, colby, swiss, parmesan, mozzarella & monterey jack to see what you can tolerate. Also, the live & active cultures in yogurt can actually help aid in the digestion of lactose, so many people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy yogurt in small amounts. Click here for more information on lactose intolerance, or visit the National Dairy Council website.
  • Get creative – you can add milk/cheese in cooking, use Greek yogurt in recipes for dips (plain Greek yogurt can replace sour cream/mayo), and for ideas on health benefits/recipe ideas of milk & oats.
  • Milk can be a great refueling choice for athletes/sports nutrition. For more on this topic, click here.
  • For more recipe ideas and ways to work in dairy foods/calcium sources into your diet, you can also visit the Dairy Council of Florida/Florida Dairy Farmers website.

With the 4th of July around the corner, the recipe below will be a hit at any cookout (and incorporates a dairy food/dipping sauce!):

Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)


July 2014 Recipe: Chicken Kebabs with Lemon-Pepper Yogurt Sauce

 Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Marinated-Chicken-Kebabs-with-Lemon-Pepper-Yogurt-Sauce-350664  



  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3/4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (about 4 sprigs)
  • 3/4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (about 5 sprigs)
  • 6 single boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned of fat and cut into large cubes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Bamboo skewers


  • 2 (7-ounce) containers plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Zest of 2 lemons (fine)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)


  • For the kebabs: in a plastic bag or airtight container, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Add chicken, toss well to coat evenly, and refrigerate overnight.
  • For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Remove chicken pieces from marinade and season well with salt and pepper. Grill chicken for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and juices of chicken run clear when pricked with the end of the skewer. Thread 3 pieces of chicken onto each skewer. Serve with Lemon-Pepper Yogurt Sauce.

Eat Your Veggies!


I am often asked by parents: “How do I get my kids to eat their veggies?!” As a mother of a 17-month-old, I have been lucky enough (so far) to have a child who eats just about anything, including her veggies. I do realize that even as a dietitian mom, toddlers are unpredictable and this could change at any moment. However, if my daughter does move over to the “picky-eater dark-side,” my hope is that it will be temporary. I would also like to think I can take at least a little credit for my thus far adventurous-eater. Here are several tips for kids (and adults) on ways to increase food variety:

  • Be creative & make trying new foods fun! Research shows if you refer to broccoli as “dinosaur trees” kids are more likely to eat them. I also like to cut fruits & veggies into strips (like a french fry) for a shape that’s easy to hold and appealing to kids.
  • Explore different flavors. We discovered my little one loves tart flavors – we add lemon/lime juice & dill to veggies & she gobbles them up. Sprinkling cinnamon & cardamom in her oatmeal, or mixing in a teaspoon of nut butter after cooking also increases her intake.
  • Make time for family meals. This can be a challenge with our busy lives and varying schedules, but research shows both health and behavior improvements in kids who eat meals with at least part of their family on a regular basis. For more info on how and why to prioritize family meals, visit this previous blog post.
  • Leave your own food biases at the door. Example: I do not like peas, but I made every effort to introduce them in a neutral way and so far my husband and daughter share the love of this tiny green squishy vegetable.
  • Focus on color & variety – we all eat with our eyes to some degree. Try to work in at least 1 new food/recipe per week, and remember it may take trying an item up to 10 times or in various forms before kids figure out if they like it.
  • Pair a new food with ones they already enjoy. My little one likes hummus, so it’s a fun way for her to eat veggies – she loves dipping them in this tasty spread. For more ideas, check out a blog I wrote a couple years ago for Flatout Flatbread on this very topic. For more recipe ideas from my Flatout blogs, click here. We also love the recipe below for a tasty way to eat cauliflower – the whole family likes them!
  • Have your kids participate – they are more likely to be interested in trying something new if they help prepare it, pick out a recipe, or help plant/grow/pick it out in the supermarket. Getting kids involved is a great way to increase exposure to new foods.
  • Disguise it? While I don’t believe you have to “hide” veggies from your kids, mixing pureed pumpkin into baked goods, or stirring diced veggies into sauces can increase intake without the fuss. Experiment with telling your kids what’s in the dish before, during or after they have eaten it and see what they say – you may be surprised! PS. maybe this is why the green smoothie is so popular; adults “sneak” kale/spinach/etc. into their own drinks to subtly incorporate foods with health benefits.

For more kid-friendly healthy eating tips and recipe ideas, visit the Kids Eat Right website.

Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)

June 2014 Recipe: Baked Cauli-Tots

Source: http://cupcakesandkalechips.com/2013/10/01/baked-cauli-tots/


  • 3 c (or ~1/2 head) shredded cauliflower (see Note below)
  • 4 oz (or ~1 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2%/reduced fat works well)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard


  • Heat grill; Fold four 18-inch long pieces of foil in half, unfold & coat inside with cooking spray
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil or coking spray.
  • Place the shredded cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together thoroughly. I like to use a fork.
  • Using a spoon or scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cups.
  • Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
NOTE: use the shredding blade on a food processor to shred the cauliflower & you can use the stems & florets!




Celebrate May the Mediterranean Way!

Amalfi coast Naples Italyganze und halbe avocado isoliert auf weissEven though Cinco de Mayo has come & gone, below is a recipe full of flavor to help you celebrate all month long. You can also Click here to read my 2010 blog on Cinco de Mayo eating tips.

For the rest of May, let’s focus on enjoying International Mediterranean Diet Month! Oldways/The Mediterranean Foods Alliance has great information on healthy eating tips and unique recipes to help incorporate the Mediterranean Diet. Here are the key concepts to start with:

  • Look for ways to increase physical activity
  • Enjoy cooking and eating together with family & friends
  • Include whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, herbs/spices, nuts and healthy fats (ie. olive oil) on a daily/regular basis
  • Enjoy fish/seafood at least 2x/week to increase intake of Omega-3 healthy fats
  • Incorporate dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) in moderate portions
  • Limit intake of red meat and sweets/desserts (incorporate as “sometimes” foods)
  • Drink water primarily but also enjoy wine in moderation (up to 1 glass/day for women & up to 2 glasses/day for men)

For great recipe ideas and free 7-day seasonal menu examples visit their website today!


Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)

May 2014 Recipe: Shrimp with Avocado-Mango Salsa

Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Shrimp-With-Avocado-Mango-Salsa-365851


  • cooking spray
  • 8 c baby spinach
  • 1 c couscous (or could substitute quinoa)
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • ½ c chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided
  • 1 large mango, peeled & diced
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled & diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ¼ c chopped red onion
  • ½ jalapeño chile, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice


  • Heat grill; Fold four 18-inch long pieces of foil in half, unfold & coat inside with cooking spray
  • Place 2 c spinach in center of 1 half of each piece of foil
  • Combine couscous with ¼ c water; divide evenly among packets, placing on top of spinach
  • Combine shrimp, ¼ c cilantro, oil & ½ tsp salt in a bowl
  • Divide shrimp evenly among packets, placing next to couscous
  • Fold foil to close & crimp edges to seal; place on grill, close lid & cook until packets are fully puffed, ~10 minutes
  • Combine remaining ¼ c cilantro with remaining ¼ tsp salt, mango, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño & lime juice in a bowl
  • Carefully cut foil open, stir contents & garnish with salsa before serving

Makes 4 servings; Per serving: 397 calories; 10 g total fat (1 g sat fat); 52 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 8 g fiber

Esophageal Cancer Awareness

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness month. Why is this important to a registered dietitian? With a focus on health and disease prevention, I frequently receive calls from individuals asking for diet/lifestyle tips to help manage their GI symptoms ranging from reflux/GERD, irritable bowel, gluten intolerance/Celiac Disease, etc. Most people have experienced reflux at one point in their life and know the unpleasant feeling. However, chronic reflux and GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), especially when untreated, can lead to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus which greatly increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer. For more information on Barrett’s, click here.

Luckily, I have the privilege to work with Dr. Fusco, a local surgeon who is skilled in treating Barrett’s Esophagus. Click here to learn more about Barrett’s/treatment options, and click here to learn more about Dr. Fusco and the Halo procedure to treat Barrett’s and significantly decrease your risk of developing esophageal cancer.

You can also visit Dr. Fusco’s website to learn more about the 2013 Esophageal Cancer Awareness Event which includes links to last year’s presentation slides, educational materials, and a patient testimonial/esophageal cancer survivor story.

If you have reflux/GERD, below are some of the most basic dietary guidelines to help manage and decrease symptoms:

  • Limit the following foods/common GI irritants:
     - Citrus fruits (orange/grapefruit, pineapple, lemon/lime)
     - Chocolate
     - Caffeine (soda, tea, coffee, caution with decaf varieties)
     - Fatty and fried foods
     - Rich foods heavy in butter/cream/whole milk/oils
     - Garlic and onions for some people
     - Spicy foods, hot sauce & hot peppers
     - Mint flavorings/peppermint
     - Tomato-based foods (ie. tomato juice, tomato sauces/pasta sauces,  salsa, chili, pizza, etc.)
  • Chew food well/eat slowly (focus on mindful eating & portion-control)
  • Eat smaller, frequent meals consistently throughout the day
  • Do not lay down for at least 2-3 hours after eating; limit late night snacks
  • Seek treatment/help for any emotional eating/disordered eating (including binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, & anorexia nervosa)

In addition to dietary interventions, these lifestyle tips are equally important:

  • Maintain a healthy weight; even a 5-10% weight loss can help if you are overweight
  • Work on managing stress/prioritize time for relaxation
  • Try to stop smoking
  • Limit strenuous activity immediately after eating
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes/belts around your mid-section
  • Elevate the head of your bed 6-8 inches
  • Check with your doctor to make sure prescription/over-the-counter medications, vitamins/supplements are not making symptoms worse

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), esophageal cancer is 2nd only to lung cancer in preventability. This starts with living a healthy lifestyle in addition to managing and treating reflux, GERD, and Barrett’s Esophagus if you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions. AICR experts estimate that maintaining a healthy weight, following a balanced diet, and limiting alcohol (1 drink/day or less for females & 2 drinks/day or less for males) could prevent 7 out of every 10 cases of esophageal cancer in the U.S. every year – that’s over 12,000 cases this year alone! For more information on the AICR, including recipes/etc., visit their website.

Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)

Alcohol Awareness

alcohol image

Did you know April is National Alcohol Awareness Month? While there are several noted health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption, in particular with cardiovascular health, many Americans are unaware of what “moderate” intake refers to. Here are the official guidelines:

The definition of “1 drink” depends on the type of drink. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a standard drink is one that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. One recommended serving is as follows:

  • 12 oz beer/wine cooler (keep in mind specialty beers with a higher alcohol content will have a smaller serving size)
  • 8 oz malt liquor
  • 5 oz table wine
  • 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits, such as gin/vodka/whiskey

Keep in mind also that the recommendations on alcohol intake differ between men and women. For men the guideline is up to 2 drinks per day & for women the guideline is up to 1 drink per day. Anything more than moderate drinking can be harmful to your health, including an increased risk for high blood pressure, liver disease and certain type of cancer. Check with your doctor to make sure drinking alcohol does not interfere with any medications or current health problems you may have.

And what about alcohol content and cooking? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if the food is uncooked, the alcohol content will remain the same. If the alcohol is added to boiling liquid at the end of cooking, ~85% of the alcohol may remain. For braised foods (foods cooked covered in liquid at temps below boiling in a covered pot) only ~5% of the alcohol remains after 2.5 hours of cooking. A flambé (flamed) dish may retain ~75% of its alcohol content.  

For more information and a toolkit sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., click here. Remember to make healthy and safe choices if you choose to drink alcohol, and do so in moderation!

Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)

April 2014 Recipe: Taco Pizzas  -  * Great for celebrating Cinco de Mayo! *

Source: http://www.elliekrieger.com/taco-pizzas


8 small corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter)

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 scallions

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¾ pound lean ground turkey

1 ear fresh corn or 2/3 cup corn kernels

½ cup no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 cup canned low-sodium pinto beans

¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water

3 ounces pepper Jack cheese (3/4 cup grated)

½ cup reduced-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt


Preheat the oven to 425F

Brush the tortillas on both sides lightly with 1 tablespoon total of the oil. Place them on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving the tortillas on the trays.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the dark greens separate, and mince the garlic. Add the scallion whites and light green parts to the skillet and cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more.

Place half of the scallion-spice mixture in the bowl of a small food processor and set aside. Add the turkey to the remaining scallion-spice mixture in the skillet and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, if using an ear of corn, cut the kernels off. Add the corn kernels and tomato sauce to the skillet with the browned turkey and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add them, along with the chicken broth, to the food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice if necessary. Grate the cheese.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture on each tortilla and top with about ¼ cup of the turkey mixture. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of cheese on top and bake until the bean puree is warmed through and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the scallion greens. Cut each pizza into quarters with a sharp knife or pizza cutter and serve each with a dollop of the sour cream.

Makes 4 servings; Per serving (2 pizzas): 510 calories; 22 g total fat (7 g sat fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein; 8 g fiber; 540 mg sodium


National Nutrition Month

The 2014 National Nutrition Month theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” What better way to enjoy the taste of your food than to focus on exploring the principles of mindful eating and experimenting with new foods/recipes? Make it a goal this month to try at least 1 new food or 1 new recipe per week. Try to focus on tasting & enjoying your food and eating slowly. I often give my clients the “homework” assignment or challenge to really taste the first 3 bites of everything you eat. This can be a difficult task, so even if you do it 30% of the time you eat, it’s a great start.

Remember to keep meal planning practical and simple. Cooking & eating healthy does not have to mean hours upon hours of slaving in the kitchen. Schedule cooking/shopping on your least busy days, search for crock pot recipes, and plan for leftovers so you do less cooking/meal prep when you are busiest.

One delicious way to experiment with flavor is by adding herbs & spices to your usual dishes. Click here for 30 simple ways to add spices to your diet.

Check out a variety of recipes posted on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, and don’t be afraid to try something new!

Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN

LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442475677


  • 1 1/4 pounds asparagus, with tough ends broken off
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 small garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Tarragon sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Arrange the asparagus stalks in a single layer on an oven-proof baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus. Roast in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until asparagus begins to brown, yet has cooked only until fork tender. When cooked, season to taste with pepper.
  • Meanwhile, make aioli by combining yogurt, mayonnaise, tarragon, shallots, garlic, orange zest and mustard in a small bowl. Mix in orange juice. Whisk to blend well. Season to taste.
  • Arrange the roasted asparagus spears on a serving dish. Spoon aioli over the top. Garnish with tarragon sprigs. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings; Per serving: 190 calories; 14 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 180 mg sodium