Meet our newest dietitian, Anna!

We are SO excited to introduce you to our newest dietitian, Anna Jensen, RD, LD!

Anna has been working with Brittany Jones Nutrition Group clients in our nutrition counseling and eating disorder/disordered eating programs since August 2021, and our clients have really enjoyed working with her! She is a joy to work with, and we are so grateful to have her on our team.

Get to know Anna!

Q: You were an intern for Brittany in the past, what made you want to be a part of the team?

A: Nothing else felt quite right. When I interned with the team, I got to see the Brittany, Allison, and Christie build relationships with the clients, really listen to them, and create an individualized plan. I decided that is what felt right – helping individuals find food and body freedom in a world of diet culture. – rather than the traditional weight centric approach.

Q: Where did you get your Bachelors in Nutrition and complete your dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian?

A: I went to Clemson University and I would not change a thing! I completed my dietetic internship through Be Well Solutions Distance program. I LOVED doing a distance program, because I got to choose my own schedule – that’s how I was able to choose my “emphasis” rotation with Brittany Jones Nutrition Group!

Q: You have a clinical background in dietetics – how does that help you with your clients?

A: This has shown to be helpful in helping both nutrition counseling and eating disorder clients. In my time in the clinical setting, I learned about chronic diseases, interpreting labs, consequences of malnutrition, and the importance of preventing of malnutrition. I also learned how to work on an interdisciplinary team/communicate with other medical providers, and how to teach individuals to advocate for themselves.

Q: What kind of clients do you enjoy working with?

A: I love working with those ready to ditch dieting and take a full dive into intuitive eating! I also love when clients trust me to be completely transparent, open and honest with their past and current struggles. I use motivation interviewing in our sessions, and meet clients where they are at.

Q: What are you most excited about in this new position with Brittany Jones Nutrition Group?

A: Of course I am excited to take on more clients, but I think I am most excited to be on a team that is so supportive and personally invested in your success!

Q: What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

A: I grew up making Christmas cookies with my grandma and it brings back so many memories. Even if I do not get the chance to bake with her, I try to make the same cookies. Food is so much more than fuel- it can bring back special memories and create future ones.

Are you interested in working with Anna? Click here to set up a FREE 15 minute call today!

TD Saturday Market Peach Panzanella Salad

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I moved to Greenville, SC! I moved here for a job with a start up company after graduating from the Medical University of South Carolina Dietetic Internship, and never looked back.

A LOT has changed in the last decade. I met my person and married him, traveled a ton, had a baby, bought a house, and held several jobs before finally starting and growing my own business!

I was honored to be asked by the TD Saturday Market to participate in their Kitchen Series as it has always been one of my favorite activities in our city!

SC peaches are my absolute favorite, and I had so much fun combining them with ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, meat, cheese, and of course delicious sourdough bread! My recipe features produce from Beachwood Farms, Hyders Farm, and Great Harvest Bread.

Check out my full TD Saturday Market experience and the recipe below!

Farmers Market Peach Panzanella Salad

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Medium Ripe Peaches, sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 Cups Cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 12oz Fresh Mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 4 Cups Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, 1 day old & cubed
  • 6 Slices Prosciutto, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the peaches, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, mozzarella, cubed bread, and prosciutto. Gently toss with the dressing.
  3. Arrange the salad on a large platter and top with fresh ground pepper.
  4. Enjoy!

Sheet Pan Red Potatoes, Veggies, and Sausage

I’m excited to share another EASY weeknight meal for you to try! This recipe has only 4 main ingredients and makes for great leftovers. Be sure to share your photos on social media and tag @brittanyjonesRD and @greenvilledietitians!

Sheet Pan Red Potatoes, Veggies, and Sausage

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil
  • 16oz bag broccoli florets
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Cloves garlic, pressed
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 Precooked chicken sausage links of your choice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with half of the olive oil, Italian seasoning, 1 clove garlic, and black pepper to taste.
  3. Roast the potatoes for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the bag of broccoli florets and chopped red bell peppers to the mixing bowl bowl and toss with the remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic clove, and black pepper t taste.
  5. Add the vegetables to the sheet pan with the potatoes, and roast for 20 more minutes.
  6. While the veggies are cooking, reheat the precooked chicken sausage links according to the package
  7. Serve 1/4 of the potatoes and veggies with 2 sausages, and enjoy!

Note: this recipe is gluten free and dairy free

Not Seeing Progress at the Gym? Why you may need to eat more.

It may surprise you to know that I spend the majority of my sessions with clients telling them to eat MORE and not less. When I say recommend eating more a very typical response is “but if I eat more, I will gain weight, right?” This is not always true.

Diet culture praises hunger, and shames fullness (read more here). It tells you the key is “calories in calories out” – that’s all there is to it, right? Wrong.

Our bodies are not robots. They are not a static machine that requires the same number of calories each day. Energy requirements vary based on activity level, gender, stress and sleep, illness, phase of life, and so much more. That is why listening to our bodies hunger and fullness cues is always the best indicator of our needs.

Unfortunately, diet culture takes you away from these natural cues, praising undereating and making consumers believe that being hungry all the time is a good thing. This puts us at risk for going into starvation mode which ultimately takes us AWAY from our goals. Undereating can also have serious health consequences. 

risks of chronic undereating:

  • Breakdown of muscle (including your heart!)
  • Gastroparesis (slowed digestion causing symptoms such as stomach pain and bloating, nausea and vomiting, blocked intestines, and constipation)
  • Development of eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa
  • Obsessive food thoughts and difficulty concentrating (your brain consumes 1/5 of the body’s calories – without enough intake it cannot function properly!)
  • Lowered sex drive 
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Reduced resting metabolic rate
  • Dry skin, brittle nails, and hair loss
  • Decreased bone density (osteopenia and osteoporosis)
  • Anemia

We find that undereating is particularly common with our clients that are athletes or people with a regular exercise routine such as HIIT workouts, group exercise classes, cycling, or running. This comes back to the calories in calories out philosophy of diet culture. Diet culture teaches us to burn as many calories as we can while taking in as little calories as possible.

Exercising while under fueling has additional risks including:

  • Reduced muscle mass
  • A slower metabolism and an increase in body fat
  • Increased cortisol hormone (stress) – this can lead to insulin resistance and leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone that indicates you are full)
  • Increased risk of stress fractures and decreased bone density 
  • Loss/decrease of performance
  • Reduced T3 (active thyroid hormone)

In addition, under fueling for workouts can hinder your progress towards your strength and endurance goals. When calories are too low, the body prioritizes keeping you alive – meaning its focus is on essential functions such as breathing and regulating body temperature. It is not focused on rebuilding muscle tissue.

Working out without proper nutrition makes it nearly impossible to increase muscle strength or size. 

Under fueling also makes recovery from workouts more difficult. During a workout, your muscle tissues break down. Without adequate calories, carbs, and protein, your muscles will not have the materials they need to rebuild. Instead, that muscle will just be burned for energy. Under eating also disrupts your sleep cycle which is an important part of the recovery process as well.

How do you know if you are undereating?

Signs that you are not eating enough:

  • Low energy
  • Loss of performance in workouts
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog/poor concentration
  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Hair loss and brittle nails
  • Feeling cold
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Infertility 
  • Constipation
  • Low sex drive
  • Increased cravings (particularly for quick energy sources such as sugar and refined carbohydrates)

If you resonate with these symptoms, it’s likely you need to EAT MORE! Focus on eating regularly, every 3 -4 hours, using the balanced plate at meals and including balanced snacks of carbohydrate and protein between meals. 

Before you work out, have a quick source of carbohydrates for energy such as a handful of cereal, piece of fruit, or slice of bread. After working out, we recommend eating a snack with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein such as an 8oz glass of chocolate milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or fruit with nut butter.

If you are having a hard time increasing intake or reaching your performance goals, we would love to help!

Contact us to set up a FREE 15 minute discovery call today.

Thanksgiving during COVID19: how much food to make

The CDC released recommendations today to reduce the spread of COVID19 to friends and family this holiday season. The full recommendations can be seen here, and they include:

  • Celebrating virtually
  • Celebrating with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19)
  • Celebrating with family members or friends from a limited number of households with socially distanced place settings (2-3 households who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19)
  • Hosting an outdoor event (if possible), or opening windows to increase ventilation indoors
  • Washing your hands before eating!!

For a lot of us, these new guidelines mean a significantly smaller Thanksgiving Dinner – which is hard when you’re used to cooking for a big crowd! But how much should you actually make? I’ve put together some tips to help you plan out your more intimate Thanksgiving Dinner below!

Note: if cooking a small dinner doesn’t sound appealing to you – please support our local restaurants and community! Click here to check out GVLtoday’s list of restaurants offering dine-in or carry out Thanksgiving Dinners. It’s a great way to support our local restaurants who have been hard hit by the economic impact of COVID19!

Thanksgiving Dinner for 2

  • Appetizers/Salad: 1
  • Pounds of Turkey: 3 pound bone in turkey breast
  • Carb Sides (bread/rice/potatoes/mac and cheese/stuffing): 1-2 side dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Veggie Sides (green beans, carrots, brussels sprouts etc): 1 side dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Desserts: 1 (will have leftovers)

Thanksgiving Dinner for 4

  • Appetizers/Salad: 1
  • Pounds of Turkey: 6 pound bone in turkey breast
  • Carb Sides (bread/rice/potatoes/mac and cheese/stuffing): 1-2 side dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Veggie Sides (green beans, carrots, etc): 1-2 dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Desserts: 1-2 dishes

Thanksgiving Dinner for 6

  • Appetizers/Salad: 2
  • Pounds of Turkey: 9-10 pound turkey (defrost for 2-3 days prior)
  • Carb Sides (bread/rice/potatoes/mac and cheese/stuffing): 2-3 side dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Veggie Sides (green beans, carrots, etc): 2 dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Desserts: 2 dishes

Thanksgiving Dinner for 8

  • Appetizers/Salad: 2
  • Pounds of Turkey: 12 pound turkey (defrost for 2-3 days prior)
  • Carb Sides (bread/rice/potatoes/mac and cheese/stuffing): 3 side dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Veggie Sides (green beans, carrots, etc): 3 dishes made for 4 servings (will have leftovers)
  • Desserts: 3 dishes (will have leftovers)

Looking for recipe ideas? Check out my Thanksgiving Recipe Round up here!

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away?!

Though this year might be a little be different due to COVID19 guidelines and safety, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries for recipes for your smaller holiday dinners.

Check out this round up of recipes that I’ve shared over the past 3 years, from salads, to sides, to desserts – there is something for everyone. Happy cooking!

Start with this Autumn Broccoli Salad

This recipe is for the nights you find yourself saying, “I have to bring a side dish to a party, but have no time!” Just chop up your seasonal vegetables listed below, and whisk together a few simple salad dressing ingredients, and there you have a delicious side dish that all your friends and family will love! Get the recipe here.

Everyone will love these Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

These potatoes cover two bases by using half gold potatoes, and half cauliflower. The texture and flavor is amazing, and your guests/kids won’t be able to tell that they are also getting in some non-starchy vegetables! Get the recipe here.

Easy Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrots are a great last minute dish

If you are still looking for an easy and healthy dish, check out my Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrot recipe. With only 5 ingredients, you can easily throw it together to get some color on the table! Get the recipe here.

Spruce up the spread with these SAUTEED GREEN BEANS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS, LEMON & GARLIC

This dish is quick, easy and packed with fiber and good heart healthy fats from the almonds! If you don’t have a dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner – I’ve got you covered! Get the recipe here.

Bring a high protein vegetarian dish with this MAC AND CHEESE WITH GREENS recipe

It’s a great spin on a classic dish! You can make this mac and cheese two ways: eat it right off the stove top or bake it for a more crispy crust. Get the recipe here.

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables for the win!

Often times we notice that the dishes at parties feature mostly proteins and starches, but very few contain vegetables. That’s why we always recommend bringing a vegetable dish to add some color to the spread! Get the recipe here.

dessert made easy with these maple walnut baked pears

We’ve come up with a festive holiday snack or dessert that only has five ingredients and is very simple to make. Just put together your ingredients, let it bake, and there you have a delicious Maple Walnut Baked Pear! Get the recipe here.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone – stay safe and stay healthy!

No Bake Fall Energy Bikes

We’ve been talking a lot on Instagram about combatting low energy, and today I am excited to share NEW fall recipes that can help you fuel for your day to give you more energy!

These no bake energy bites feature some of my favorite fall flavors, are super easy to make, and can be meal prepped on the weekend to eat throughout the week. Simply put them in an air tight container and keep them refrigerated for up to 5 days to eat for morning or afternoon snack throughout the week!

Get your go-to fall snack recipes below.

Pecan Pie Energy Bites

Servings: 6 (2 bites per serving – 12 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup dates, pitted
  • ¼ Cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend well.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites

Servings: 9 (2 bites per serving – 18 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ½ Cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ Cup raisins
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. First combine the wet ingredients of peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites


Servings: 8 (2 bites per serving – 16 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ¼ Cup natural creamy almond butter
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond butter, honey, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Substitutions:
*Dates can be substituted for raisins
*Natural peanut butter and almond butter can be used interchangeably
*Honey can be substituted with maple syrup, however it might make the bites more malleable

Written by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

Stop Connecting Fullness with Shame

One of the most common questions we hear while working with clients is:

“What should my portion sizes be?”

Believe it or not, this is not a black and white answer. Although the portion plate is a great guide to get us started, that’s exactly what it is – a guide. The absolute BEST indicator of what portions we should be eating is from listening to your own body! 

Part of rejecting diet culture is learning to listen to what our body is telling us instead of external diet rules such as “you can only have ½ Cup of rice at a meal” or “you are not allowed to eat after 7PM.” One aspect of listening to our body is honoring our hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies are SUPER smart and know what they need. Therefore, if we honor our hunger and fullness cues, our portions will be exactly what our bodies need that day. 

Keep in mind these portions may vary day to day. Our bodies are not robots and our needs change daily. For example, if you did an intense HIIT workout, it is likely you will need more energy, and therefore be hungrier, the next day to help you replenish your energy stores lost during the workout. Same goes for when you are on your period! Our bodies expend a LOT of energy during that time shedding our uterine lining so it makes sense that we would need more food during this week.

Understanding Hunger and Fullness

The first step to learning to honor your hunger and fullness cues is to understand what hunger and fullness are. Let’s dive into some science!

Our bodies have two main hormones that regulate our appetite: Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin signals the feeling of being full and ghrelin signals hunger. If we are honoring our hunger and fullness cues, these two hormones work in complete homeostasis. When you need more energy, ghrelin increases. When you have replenished your energy stores and no longer need fuel, leptin increases. Unfortunately, constant dietiting often throw off this homeostasis by ignoring biological hunger. 

Diet culture teaches us that being hungry all the time is “good” and feeling full is “shameful.” We do things like chug water or chew gum to distract ourselves and suppress our hunger. Overtime, this can throw leptin and ghrelin out of sync. After years of dieting, we can lose our ability to feel hunger and fullness entirely. Additionally, the more we ignore our hunger, the more our hunger hormone (ghrelin) increases. This makes your body think it is in starvation mode, stressing it out and causing it to hold on to fat stores to compensate. In our practice, we talk primarily work with clients on eating MORE to reach their goals – not less!

In order to reach our goals, it is key to build back our trust with your body’s natural cues.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways to feel hunger and fullness. Everyone is different and there are not right or wrong ways to experience it. Here are some common signs of hunger and fullness:

Common Signs of Hunger

  • Stomach growling
  • Feeling panicked/stressed
  • Dull ache in throat
  • Cloudy thinking, unable to concentrate, headache, thoughts about food and eating
  • Irritability/”Hangry”
  • Sleepiness/lack of energy

Common Signs of Fullness

  • Heaviness/bloating
  • Fewer thoughts about food and eating
  • Decreased desire to eat
  • Pleasant and relaxed mood
  • Energy changes: Either re-energized or for some, drowsy for others

As we are learning to look for and honor these sensations, keep in mind that there are a lot of aspects that can get in the way of feeling and responding to hunger and fullness cues. These are called attunement disrupters. Attunement disrupters may include distractions, thoughts, rules, beliefs, and a lack of self-care.

Attunement Disrupter Examples:

  • Eating while multitasking (watching TV, on phone, reading, driving)
  • Food rules (“I can’t eat after 7pm”)
  • Working through lunch break
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Not controlling stress levels properly
  • Not getting proper amount of sleep

If you are struggling to recognize hunger and fullness cues, reflect on these disrupters. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you overly stressed? Are you skipping meals? In order to re-regulate hunger and fullness hormones, we recommend eating every 3-4 hours and engaging in daily self-care activities.

Using Hunger and Fullness Cues as a Guide

In order to use hunger and fullness as a guide to portion sizes and meal timing, we recommend clients practice ranking their hunger and fullness levels after each meal and snack using the hunger and fullness scale below.

When you are getting ready to eat a meal or snack, ask yourself, “Where am I on the hunger and fullness scale?” Ideally, you’ll be between a 3 and a 4. When we drop below this, we tend to overeat as a natural body response to extreme hunger.

Halfway through your meal, pause for 10 seconds and check in with your body. Ask again “Where am I on the scale now?” You may choose to stop eating or continue based on what your body is telling you. Eat until you are comfortably satisfied at a 6 or 7.

“What if I fall below a 3 or eat to the point I am above a 7?” 

It happens to everyone and this is very normal! The hunger/fullness scale is NOT a rule – so start with showing yourself compassion. Shame is not a helpful emotion and does not promote progress. Avoid beating yourself up. It’s about progress not perfection!

Take this time to reflect with curiosity instead of judgement. Did dropping below a 3 impact your food choices and your hunger and fullness the rest of the day? Could you have done anything differently to avoid getting overly hungry such as packing a snack or prepping lunch that morning? If you overate, why do you think that happened? Could you practice being more mindful at meals and slowing down in the future?

Instead of dwelling on the fact you got too hungry or overate, acknowledge it, reflect with curiosity, and then move on to your normal routine.

*You deserve to have dinner even if you overate at lunch!* There is no need to “compensate” or “make up” for overeating.

Conclusion

Diet culture praises hunger and shames fullness – leading us to ignore our natural body cues and eat according to external rules. This not only leads us away from our health goals but also can damage our relationship with food. The truth is our bodies are super smart and tell us what they need through mechanisms like hunger and fullness hormones. Practice using the hunger and fullness scale and keep a log to help you see if you are getting too hungry or too full throughout day. 

If you are interested in ditching diets for good and understanding your hunger and fullness signals more in depth, we would love to help! Click here to schedule your FREE 15 minute phone call session today to learn more.

-Written by Allison Walters, RD, LD

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Walnuts

Fall is officially here, and I am LOVING these cooler temperatures. Being in the third trimester in hot and humid weather is not a good look – and I am grateful for the opportunity for more outside time.

That first cool fall morning always makes me want to do one thing – BAKE! When I saw that Starbucks had Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on their menu I knew I had to create something similar to have ASAP.

Check out my spin on this recipe which features walnuts for some extra protein and crunch. Be sure to pin or save this recipe for later!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Walnuts

Yield: 18 Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 Cup avocado oil
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 Cup almond milk (you can use oat milk or skim milk here as well)
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients

  • 8oz low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 18 muffin tins with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil and sugar by hand. Stir in the eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda until combined, but not over mixed.
  3. Add in the whole wheat flour and stir. Stir in the milk. Lastly, stir in the all purpose flour and walnuts until combined (but do not over mix) and set aside.
  4. Combine the cream cheese filling ingredients together using an electric mixer or mix by hand until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 18 muffin tins.
  6. Make a small indentation in the top of the muffin with the back of a spoon for the cream cheese filling.
  7. Drop 1-2 Tablespoons of the filling onto the top of each muffin. You can use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture into the indentation you made.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
  10. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze for later!

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free & Vegetarian)

mac and cheese with greens

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of easy dinners that encompass everything you need to feel satisfied in one pot. This one pot family friend meal is just that – the pasta has both carb and protein, the Palmetto Gardens kale is your veggie, and then you of course have cheese for more protein and taste!

It’s a great spin on a classic dish! You can make this mac and cheese two ways: eat it right off the stove top or bake it for a more crispy crust.

You will have half a bag of Palmetto Gardens Kale leftover to make another batch of mac and cheese – or you can check out my Southwestern Kale Power Bowl here. Happy cooking!

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free)

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 12oz Chickpea or Red Lentil Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Bag of @Palmetto Garden’s Kale (~5.5 Cups)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Cups 2% Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 8oz Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Optional: If you would like to bake your Mac and Cheese, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Strain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add half of the kale, garlic and black pepper. Cover and cook until it starts to wilt. Stir and add the remaining kale. Cover and cook another 3 minutes until it is all wilted (avoid over cooking as the kale can get bitter). Remove the cooked kale and place it in a large bowl, and set aside.
  4. Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth. Add to the Dutch oven over medium heat along with the butter, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens about 5 minutes. Add the Grueyere and Cheddar and continue to stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Add the pasta to the saucepan and stir to combine. Gentle fold in the kale and serve!
  6. Baked Option: Pour into a 13×9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mac and cheese and baked on 425 degrees F until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve.

This post was sponsored by Palmetto Gardens

kale