Tag: vegan

How to Make a Great Breakfast Work for Your Diabetes

How to Make a Great Breakfast Work for Your Diabetes


How to Make a Great Breakfast Work for Your Diabetes

Image courtesy freeimages.com/P.R.

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

It can be challenging to make time for breakfast, but it’s a wise choice for health, especially when you have diabetes. Breakfast helps you start your metabolism each morning, and a bigger breakfast is advantageous for better blood glucose management and decreased hunger later in the day. Just like fuel helps our cars run, breakfast helps our bodies be at their best.

When you have diabetes, you may be confused about what you can and can’t eat. My recommendation for a diabetes-friendly breakfast is to focus on a high fiber source of carbohydrates, along with protein and fat. (Yes, you can and should eat carbs with diabetes!)

So, for instance, you can have spouted whole grain toast with natural peanut butter and a small side of cottage cheese. That is something you can order at any coffee shop.

Another great diabetes friendly option is 1/3 of an avocado, one to two whole eggs, and spinach on a whole grain English muffin.

But don’t be limited by these recommendations. The sky is the limit when it comes to breakfast and I encourage you to think outside the box. My Diabetes Comfort Food Diet has many options for breakfast. One of my favorites is Hearty Fruit and Nut Granola. This is an easy and tasty granola recipe that you can make ahead for the week, for breakfast, snacks and on-the-go! A really decadent option is my Chocolate-Banana Stuffed French Toast, which features MUFAs and plenty of filling fiber, thanks to whole grain bread and the banana. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up on sweets like chocolate, and as you can see, you can even have them for breakfast! Chocolate-banana stuffed french toast is great for a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch.

The American Diabetes Association also has a fantastic guide on quick breakfast ideas. If you have time, you can whip up their fruit-and-almond smoothie, kale and tomato frittata or zucchini-and-date muffins. If you are pressed for time, the ADA recommends an oatmeal with fruit and nuts (easy to get at Starbucks or Dunkin’), or egg and cheese wrap (also at Dunkin’). Like shakes? I recommend Boost Glucose Control for those trying to manage blood sugar.

I encourage you to experiment with different breakfast options to find the one that works best for your palate, blood sugar and schedule. Breakfast is a vital part of self-care, so make time for it — even when you don’t think you have the time.

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta


Photo by NYMetroParents.com

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Did you know there’s more to pasta than just white? Pasta comes in so many different types of varieties these days, allowing us to expand our flavor horizons. There’s wheat-free soybean; Shirataki (an Asian pasta made from the root of the Amorphophallus Konjac plant); brown rice pasta; and buckwheat soba, a gluten-free Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour — just to name a few.

Whole wheat pasta has also become a popular alternative, and one that is easily found in your local supermarket. I have a great recipe on Mom Dishes It Out that showcases whole wheat pasta — Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera. The whole wheat adds fiber and complex carbs, and this dish also has peas, zucchini, and peppers as an easy way to increase your veggies. It’s a meal that is full of flavor, doesn’t take all that long to make, and serves four. It’s the ideal dish for a home-cooked Mother’s Day celebration, and a crowd-pleaser for vegetarian friends.

Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera

A delicious dinner made for Mother’s Day..for you or by you…need not be heavy!  Ease up on animal protein with this light and healthy, whole wheat pasta primavera dish! Add seasonal produce like cherry tomatoes, and herbs to naturally flavor this homemade meal.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

1 cup frozen peas

1 zucchini, cut into quarters

1 onion,  sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound whole wheat farfalle (bowtie pasta)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty foil. In a large bowl, toss all of the vegetables with oil, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Transfer the veggie mixture to the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until veggies are cooked and tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, tender but still firm about 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside 1/2 cup of the liquid.

In a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the veggie mixture. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

For another spin on whole wheat pasta, try my vegan mac and cheese recipe with whole wheat elbows, voted one of the best vegan mac and cheese recipes by NY Metro Parent.

You can also make “pasta” out of the vegetable spaghetti squash. I have two recipes you can try featuring this food on Mom Dishes It Out: Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil and Garlic Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach.

Try one or all of these fun alternatives to white pasta.  And report back on Twitter or Facebook if you enjoyed!

What Kale Can Do For You — and Why It’s Anything But Boring

What Kale Can Do For You — and Why It’s Anything But Boring

What Kale Can Do For You — and Why It’s Anything But Boring

kale-1321908-1278x855image via James Wilsher/freeimages.com

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

As you know, my philosophy is “eat kale and cupcakes.” This being National Nutrition Month, I thought it would be a good time to look at the “kale” portion of my favorite phrase. We are all aware that kale is a nutritious food, but what kind of nutrition does it provide? Let’s take a closer look.

Kale has many vitamins, including A, C, K and E, plus protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and fiber. It is also low calorie. In a side-by side comparison of kale and spinach on Prevention.com, kale comes up the winner in terms of “an extra-powerful nutritional punch,” and is recommended as a great way to get calcium for those who can’t eat or don’t enjoy dairy. Kale also has phytochemicals that help the eyes, beta carotene and antioxdants. Little wonder then that kale has grown to become a hugely popular food in the American diet.

One of the most enjoyable ways to get kale into your diet is to use it as a base for salads. In the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, I explore the “anatomy of a healthy salad.” Pomegranate seeds, nuts, and cheese are all great ingredients to add to liven it up. Oil and vinegar is an easy and healthy dressing.

One of my favorite kale-based salads is a kale and fennel caesar, created by Candice Kumai; you can find the recipe on Mom Dishes It Out.

But what if you are not a salad person?

This Fox News article, which I was a source on, includes 8 ways to use kale in your diet. These include sauteeing, smoothies, kale chips and steaming.

Kale can also be a nice add-in for homemade veggie burgers.

You can even eat kale at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Panera.

Nutrition and versatility — what more can you ask for from a food? So give kale a try and see how you can incorporate it to become a regular part of your diet. And don’t forget the cupcakes!




Throwback Thursday: Avocado Accolades

Throwback Thursday: Avocado Accolades

Throwback Thursday: Avocado Accolades


Image via freeimages.com/PatHerman

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Eating an entire avocado a day could lower cholesterol, according to recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. And it’s not so hard to work a whole avocado, or at least a healthy portion of it, into your diet because it’s so versatile. Most people are familiar with avocado as a prime ingredient in guacamole or as a yummy topper on salad, but you can do other things with it as well, like substituting it for mayo in a sandwich or making avocado toast. If you’re stuck on ideas, just see how many avocado recipes you can find on allrecipes.com! The options are practically endless!

Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD wrote about the many features and uses of avocado in a blog post titled “Avocado Accolades” from Mom Dishes It Out, and I thought this would be an interesting topic to revisit in light of this new, encouraging research. Read on to learn more about the amazing avocado and enjoy a great Cooking Light recipe for Avocado-Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pickled Celery.

Hardly mainstream when I was a child, these curious fruits have become quite the versatile and popular food lately, and for good reason. I’ve been experimenting with these green beauties, and have to say I’m so impressed with the results! There are some wonderful reasons to include avocado in your family meals, and extremely easy ways to do so.

Because its flavor is mild, it’s easy on young, developing palates, and the texture is silky smooth, allowing parents to introduce it as one of baby’s first foods.

There are many things that make avocados …. awesome:

Fat: The heart-healthy fat found in avocados is primarily monounsaturated, amazing for children’s developing brains and helpful for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Fiber: This feature, along with the fat, assists digestion and can help children who struggle with constipation.

Vitamins and Minerals: Avocados offer some great potassium, an essential electrolyte that runs our heart and assists in healthy muscle development. Additionally, they contains some Vitamin K and Vitamin E, both fat-soluble vitamins that assist in healthy blood clotting and provide strong antioxidant properties, respectively. The B vitamins, including folic acid, help in maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and are a key to unlocking the energy that other foods provide.

Flexibility and Versatility: You can work an avocado into endless meals in so many different ways. It lends well to whatever flavors you pair with it, and can be a nice change from typical condiments, spreads or dips.

  • Add some cinnamon and applesauce to mashed avocado for a sweet snack
  • Combine it with some tomatoes, onions and peppers for a dip with a zing
  • Try spreading some on your morning toast, then top it off with an egg
  • Dice some into your favorite pasta salad


Here’s one of my latest finds:

Avocado-Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pickled Celery

To prevent avocado from browning in leftover egg salad, place any remaining salad in a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Then cover the entire bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

  • Yield:

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 sandwich)


  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry-roasted salted sunflower seeds
  • 8 (1-ounce) slices whole-grain bread, toasted
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 4 heirloom tomato slices


  1.  Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of 1 inch; set a large vegetable steamer in pan. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add eggs to steamer. Cover and steam eggs 16 minutes. Remove from heat. Place eggs in a large ice water-filled bowl.
  2.  While eggs cook, combine 3 tablespoons water, vinegar, and sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until boiling. Add celery; let stand 15 minutes. Drain.
  3.  Meanwhile, combine avocado, mayonnaise, juice, mustard, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well   until smooth.
  4.  Peel eggs; discard shells. Slice eggs in half lengthwise; reserve 2 yolks for another use. Chop remaining eggs  and egg whites. Gently stir eggs, celery, and sunflower seeds into avocado mixture. Top 4 bread slices with about 1/2 cup egg mixture, 1/4 cup arugula, 1 tomato slice, and remaining 4 bread slices.



Sydney Fry, MS, RD,

Cooking Light

May 2015




Throwback Tuesday: Color Me Red!

Throwback Tuesday: Color Me Red!

Throwback Tuesday: Color Me Red!

7462159882_9417037809_zPhoto Credit: Kiwifraiz via Flickr

by Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD

February is American Heart Month, and as we all know, Valentine’s Day is also right around the corner. Along with traditionally romantic foods like chocolate, oysters and champagne, consider enjoying the many healthy fruits and vegetables that just happen to come in the color red! These include cranberries, strawberries, acai, watermelon and so much more, all with amazing health benefits. (Strawberries are especially good for the heart.) Getting your children involved in identifying and filling their plates with color is also a great idea to help them celebrate.

In this Throwback Tuesday, I’m reposting “Color Me Red” by Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD from Mom Dishes It Out. Enjoy!

As we enter February, we’re seeing red around every corner.  Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month highlight the color, and give us a burst as the sometimes-drab days of winter continue to swirl around us.   Not only can our moods become a little blah this time of year, our food choices may become more monotonous as well.  By creating a theme, however, we can add a fun, proactive twist to eating, and bring more variety to our plates. What a great way to jazz up your kids lunchboxes, snacks or meals at home by picking a color theme– and what better color this month than RED!

Our role as parent or provider is not to make sure our kids love everything they eat, but rather to present them with opportunities to explore food, develop their preferences, expand their comfort level around a variety of choices, and therefore become confident, competent eaters.  A color theme is one way that children can participate in the process, as they identify colors in the grocery store, find them in your fridge, and add them to their plate palate.  It also provides an opportunity for them to learn about the function of many foods.   For example, as you will notice below, many red fruits and veggies help promote heart health, so children can begin to connect the ways that foods work for them and support their bodies and brains.   If you are introducing a new food, make it fun and don’t be discouraged if they don’t enjoy it the first time around (or the first many times!).So roll out the red carpet and enjoy acquainting your family with some of these bright beauties:

Acai: This berry from Central and South America is shown to have excellent antioxidant value, which may assist in heart health, decreased inflammation and decreased risk of some cancers.  Mix frozen acai in your blender with a splash of milk and banana, then top with granola, fresh fruit and shredded coconut for a colorful and satiating breakfast or snack.

Cherries: These succulent rubies give us great fiber, immune-helping vitamin C, and heart-happy potassium.  Slice up fresh or frozen cherries for a fun ice cream topping or substitute berries in your favorite recipe with equal parts (pitted) cherries.

Cranberries: Not only are they super for our urinary tract system, they may also help keep our digestive system protected from unhealthy bacteria and ulcers. Pour a glass of cranberry juice, add some canned cranberries into a smoothie or mix some dried cranberries into your kids’ trail mix.

Raspberries: Rich in vitamins C and K, and many antioxidants such as alpha and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline,  these berries can help protect our heart and prevent certain types of cancers. Fold some fresh berries into your favorite muffin or pancake mix, or keep frozen raspberries on hand to toss into a smoothie or oatmeal

Strawberries: They are a good source of heart-helping folate, which decreases the risk of certain birth defects, and are a powerhouse of the antioxidant vitamin C, giving a boost to our immune system.   Sprinkle some strawberries on cereal or blend up some frozen strawberries in a milk and yogurt smoothie.  Or dip into some melted chocolate for a super satisfying snack!

Watermelon: Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, it is actually considered a nutrient dense food, one that provides a high amount of vitamins, particularly A and C, mineralssuch as magnesium, potassium and zinc, and antioxidants, including high levels of lycopene. Because it does contain 92% water, it’s also a wonderful way to help keep your kids hydrated. Insert a popsicle stick into watermelon chunks for a fun snack, or freeze some watermelon balls to add to your kids’ water bottles.

Beets: With an earthy flavor that gets supersweet when cooked, beets are very nutrient-loaded, giving us 19 percent of the daily value for folate, necessary for the growth of healthy new cells.  Their rich color comes from the phytochemical betanin, which helps bolster immunity. Roast them, pickle them or shred them raw and dress them with citrus for a refreshing salad.

Red peppers: For the love of your eyes and your skin, include these vitamin A-packed foods. Add a little crunch to your child’s favorite deli sandwich or have them taste test with peanut butter or hummus.

Tomatoes: These red beauties are heart protective and provide a great defense against prostate and potentially breast cancers. Include a little more marinara sauce on your pasta or add some grape tomatoes into the lunchbox.

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