Sage Brown Butter Cauliflower Gnocci with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Chicken Apple Sausage

Trader Joe’s new Cauliflower Gnocci is ALL the rage this year! So many of my clients have tried it and logged their meal in their Healthie food logs, that I just had to give it a try.

I love the flavors of fall, and also healthy one pot meals dish that takes less than 20 minutes to make. With only 6 ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Check out the full recipe below!

cauliflower gnocci

Sage Brown Butter Cauliflower Gnocci with Mushrooms, Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 10 Chopped sage leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 Packages Frozen Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocci
  • 8oz Sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 Pre-cooked chicken apple sauasges, cut into half moons
  • 2 Cups Baby spinach (1/2 5oz bag)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt, about 1 minute. Add the sage leaves and fry the sage in the butter for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the bags of the frozen caulfilower gnocci and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Toss to coat in the sage butter. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach, chicken apple sausage, black pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the gnocci is fully cooked through.
  4. Place in 4 bowls and serve!

Nutrition Facts (1 serving): 392 Calories, 15g Total Fat, 5g Saturated Fat, 915mg Sodium, 38.2g Total Carb, 10g Fiber, 1g Sugar, 20.4g Protein

Have you tried the caulfilower gnocci yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below!

#PortionPlateSeries

Did you follow along on Instagram last week for the #PortionPlateSeries? I spent the week sharing how to use this awesome tool that allows you to ditch counting calories/macros/points forever!

Keep reading for a recap of each scenario!

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If you have been to any of my nutrition seminars or have read any of my blog posts, you know I am BIG on using the portion plate 🍽 I avoid having my clients count ANYTHING – not calories, macros, or points. We use this tool in everything we do together 👍
. . .
The concept is to fill 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 25% with lean meats, and 25% with complex carbohydrates at each meal. It’s that simple!
. . .
Keep reading for examples of HOW to use the portion plate in different .different scenarios 🍕 🍣 🍝🥗 🥪. While sometimes it might be easy to add a 3oz piece of grilled chicken, 1/2 cup of quinoa, and 2 cups of 🥦 to the plate like this photo shows – the reality is that our plates and recipes don’t always look this way.

sushi

Let’s talk SUSHI 🍣 is it a healthy option? The answer is YES! Keep reading as I’m breaking it down today for the #PortionPlateSeries
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Sushi is a great healthy option packed with omega 3s (healthy fats), veggies, sometimes more healthy fats 🥑, and carbohydrates 🍚. When it comes to balancing out your plate, a sushi roll counts on the protein/carb half of your plate. This leaves the other half for VEGGIES! I always recommend opting for a the salad or seaweed salad (pictured here at @murasakidowntown) on the side with your sushi roll.
. . .
Healthy Sushi Ordering Tips:
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🐟 Go for the raw/steamed/grilled salmon or tuna roll for the most amount of healthy omega3 fats
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🍘Ask for brown rice for extra fiber and fullness. Each roll has about 1 Cup of rice, so be sure to count this in the carb portion of your plate
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🥟Watch out for tempura and deep fried rolls – this is just a fancy word for breaded in panko and deep fried! This option would be considered one of your fun foods for the week
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🌸Eat the ginger on your plate! It can help boost your immune system and also has anti-inflammatory properties
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🍜Opt for the reduced sodium soy sauce (or Tamari) to decrease bloat
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🥢Use chopsticks! Even if you’re not skilled in using them, they will help you slow your pace of eating – but also sushi with a fork just seems wrong 🤔anyone else agree? 🙋🏻‍♀️
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🍣 Still hungry after a roll and salad? Try sashimi to fill you up with more protein and good fat rather than another sushi roll with an additional cup of rice

salad

🚨 Attention: This is not a boring salad 🚨
. . .
Salads have gotten reputation for being boring, tasteless, and unsatisfying – but I am here to bust up those myths for today’s #PortionPlateSeries post 🥗
. . .
A meal salad is an easy way to make 50% of your plate veggies (the darker the greens the better – start with 2 Cups), but what about the other parts to your plate? 🍽 Here are some easy ways to add lean proteins, and healthy carbs to your salad. 📷 is of @traderjoes tabouli over hearty romaine, fat free feta, and grilled chicken – it’s one of my go-to lunches!
. . .
Ways to add lean protein to your salad (3oz-6oz depending on the person):
🍗 Grilled Chicken
🐟 Roasted Salmon
Tofu
🥩 Grilled sirloin
Roasted turkey
🧀 Cheese
🌰Nuts/Seeds
. . .
Ways to add complex carbohydrates to your salad (1/2 – 1 Cup total depending on the person):
Fruit 🍎🍉🍎🍐🍊🍓🍇🍑🍍
Dried fruit (unsweetened cranberries or raisins)
Whole grains like quinoa or wild rice🍚
Whole wheat pita chip crumbles
Organic low sodium canned beans (black, pinto, soy beans, chickpeas)
Starchy vegetables (roasted 🍠 🌽 or butternut squash)
. . .
Of course healthy fats from 🥑 and oil based dressings are great additions as well!

sandwich

Is there a more satisfying lunch than a 🥪? There is something so comforting about the combination of bread/protein/veggies/condiments that I just love! So how does the sandwich fit on the portion plate? 🍽 For today’s #portionplateseries post we are breaking it down.
. . .
First let’s start with the 🍞I always recommend a bread where the first ingredient says “WHOLE.” This means that it has the entire grain, and has all of the nutrients and antioxidants from the bran, germ, and endosperm – basically you’re getting more bang for your buck 👍 Examples include whole wheat bread, Ezekiel bread, sprouted wheat bread, and #glutenfree options. The bread counts as the 25% carb on your plate.
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Then we move onto the protein 🍗I recommend keeping lean deli meats (turkey, chicken, ham) to a couple of times per week mainly because they are processed and many contain nitrates. You could also opt for a grilled chicken breast as well (pictured here), or a #vegetarian protein source like cheese, hummus, or natural 🥜 butter. This counts as the 25% protein on your plate.
. . .
Your 🥪 counts as your meat/protein, so what’s missing? 50% 🥒🥕🍅🌶 I always recommend serving raw or roasted non-starchy veggies, or a salad on the side with a sandwich. Many sub shops offer chips, an apple, or more bread with a sandwich – however this would create a possible carb overload with 75% of your plate now being carbs. I absolutely love raw red bell pepper strips, but some of my other favorites are baby carrots, celery, cucumbers, and snap peas.

pizza

🍕+🥗=😋
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It’s the weekend and time for P-I-Z-Z-A in the #PortionPlateSeries. YES pizza can fit into a healthy diet 🎉 Here’s how:
. . .
Pizza is made up of primarily protein (cheese/meat) and carbs (crust) so this would count on 50% of your plate. Making your own pizza is a really easy way to keep it healthy, and I love using @traderjoeswhole wheat crust to make my 🍕, along with part skim mozzarella cheese. Of course a cauliflower pizza crust is another option as well! If you’re dining out, restaurants like @brixxpizza has a whole wheat option and locally both @sidewallpizza and @swamprabbitcafe have #glutenfree crust options as well. Go for the 🥦🍅🥕🌶 toppings as much as possible!
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🥗 pairs perfectly with pizza, and many restaurants have salad options to have on the side. This also fills the remaining 50% of your plate with veggies! You can opt for traditional lettuce based salad, or I love adding a fun salad like @eatsmartveggies 7 #Superfood Salad on the side to my clients meal plan pizza meals (yes I put pizza on meal plans).

pasta

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child 🙌
. . .
This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite people, and this concept is at the root of my business! My husband and I took a trip to 🇮🇹 this past spring where I really saw this come to life everywhere we went. There were of course some masterpieces, but one of our favorite dinners was at 6:30PM (a totally inappropriate dinner time in Italy) after hiking in #CinqueTerra and they were incredibly simple 🍝 dishes with lots of fresh local ingredients! For my last #PortionPlateSeries post I wanted to share how #pasta can fit into a healthy balanced diet 🍽
. . .
To state the obvious, a pasta dish will count as your carb portion of your plate, but the keys are #1 portion size (keep it to 25%) #2adding lean protein #3 adding 🍅🥦. One really easy way to do that is by creating a pasta primavera dish filled with lots of different veggies! This dish is one from my custom #mealplan recipes that I give to my clients, and it’s a Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera with Spicy Chicken Sausage featuring @traderjoes brown rice #glutenfree penne pasta (or you can use whole wheat). This dish only has 4.5oz of raw pasta for four servings, but with all of these veggies and four chicken sausages it is incredibly filling! Check out my IG story to see how I made the pasta sauce as well.
. . .
Well there you have it y’all: the #PortionPlateSeries is complete with ways to fit 🍣 🥗 🥪🍕 and🍝 into your healthy lifestyle. I hope you have found these to be helpful, and if there are any other cuisines/dishes that you have questions about be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Establishing Healthy Habits for Life

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Have you ever found yourself saying “I know what to do, it’s just making myself do it”?

Here are 5 easy tips to establish healthy meal planning and a consistent exercise habits now, to give you the results you have always been looking for. After reading this blog post, write down one thing that you would like to implement right away!

1 – Lifeong Habits Take More Work Than a Fad Diet

Congratulations on saying “no” to the yo-yo dietiting and “yes” to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime! The secret to wellness is not only making changes you know you can hold on to, it’s starting slow, and building up. It’s going to be harder than following someone else’s rules for 21 days or 30 days – but the results will last longer too.

2 – Make Time for Wellness

It’s true – there are just not enough hours in the day and wellness doesn’t often just “happen.” There is no perfect time for weight loss, so make a commitment NOW to invest in yourself – whether it is through meal planning, exercising, or just taking time to do something for you. Establishing new habits, and avoiding going back to what’s easy takes time and dedication. Schedule an appointment with yourself in your phone, in your planner or on your family calendar to carve out this time and start to create a new healthy habit.

3 – Meal Plan the Easy Way

Meal planning does NOT mean that you have to plan for 21 meals including 7 dinners. Dinner is typically where we tend to end up in the drive thru line, or on the phone with the pizza place. Try planning for just 3-4 dinners and include leftovers into the plan. Many of my clients love meal delivery services, and this utilizes that same concept, but you will save even more money, and cook healthier! Start by putting your “events” in your calendar, and then build healthy meals and snacks around them!

4 – Schedule Your Workouts On Sunday

Take a look at your week ahead and schedule your workouts in your planner ahead of
time. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a
doctor’s appointment.

5 – Be Realistic

It’s about progress – not perfection. This is a time to accept a broader form of excellence
rather than a narrowly defined one. We are not aiming for A+ on a test here, in all reality we are aiming for a really solid B. Did you set a goal to workout 5 times per week but have only gotten in 3? Congratulations you got in 3! Celebrate that win, and consider re-adjusting your goal to build up to 5 times per week – you might need to change up your schedule or ask for some help with your to-do list. Think about what needs to be done to get there, start slow, and build. Remember – you have the rest of your life to build these healthy habits and nothing ends in 21 or 30 days – it’s forever. Focus what works for YOU!

Want to know more? Your first 15 minute phone appointment is FREE! Contact
me here.

Nominated for 2018 Best of the Upstate “Best Weight Loss Services”

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Blush Nutrition has been nominated for “Best Weight Loss Services”!

Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD is the ONLY Registered Dietitian on the ballot, and casting your vote for Blush Nutrition will send the message that Greenville is looking for a sustainable weight loss service, and not a quick fix. At Blush Nutrition, my focus in on healthy small lifestyle changes, customized to each client, and everything I do is backed by research.

What’s the difference between a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist?

Simply said, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritions are dietitians. A Registered Dietitian has additional qualifications that must be met, which include:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree with course work including food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry
  • Completed an accredited dietetic internship
  • Passed the national Registered Dietitian examination
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration (75 every 5 years)

Click here to cast your vote for Blush Nutrition – click on the “Health & Beauty” page and scroll down for Best Weight Loss Services.

Thank you Greenville for this nomination, I am honored!

Nutrition Tips for Your Healthiest Summer Yet

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Summer is almost here! That means lots of BBQs, weddings, vacations and more. Wondering how your healthy lifestyle fits into your busy and very fun summer schedule? Check out my top nutrition tips for summer – including healthy grilling, managing parties, staying on track on vacation, and more.

1. Use the Portion Plate at BBQs & Buffets

Make half your plate non-starchy vegetable at lunch and dinner – it’s easier than counting calories! This will keep the carbs and lean meat to the other side of your plate, keeping calories low and nutrients high. Keep in mind if you don’t use your carbohydrates for energy, they will get stored as fat.

2. Meal Plan for Success

Summer schedules are BUSY! With vacations, work events, and kids being out of school it seems like the summer just flies by. Choose a day on the weekend to take 10 minutes to look at your week ahead. See what days you have an event going on and work backwards to see which days you will want to plan healthy meals for.

3. Use the 80/20 Rule

Focus on functional foods 80% of the time, and give yourself 20% of the time to enjoy the fun foods of summer! The most important part is that after the party/BBQ is over, that you just jump right back in where you left off. There is no falling off the wagon when you are focusing on building healthy lifestyle habits.

4. Fire Up the Grill

Focus on lean meats (chicken, fish, bison burgers) to focus on getting as much protein as possible, and also prevent grill flare ups. Grill vegetables whole or use a grilling basket for a healthy side!

5. Maintain Don’t Gain on Vacation

Let’s be honest – no one expects to lose weight on vacation (what fun is that?). Enjoy yourself while keeping your healthy habits in mind by utilizing the portion plate when dining out and finding a way to incrorporate movement into your day (walk, local gym, swimming, and more).

6. Alternate Alcoholic Drinks with Water

Keep hydrated and keep the calories low with this trick. Even better, choose a low calorie drink like a spiked seltzer over a beer.

7. Cut Out Sugary Drinks

This includes sodas, sweet teas and juice. Cutting out two sugary drinks per day could result in losing over half a pound per week. Remember, these count in the carb portion of your plate. Try regular, or infused or sparkling water for best results!

8. Schedule your workouts on Sunday

Take a look at your week ahead and schedule your workouts ahead of time. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a doctor’s appointment.

9. Let your hunger and fullness drive your choices

Recognizing your hunger and fullness cues is the key to dining out on vacation and eating at BBQs/weddings. On a scale of 1-10 try to eat when you are at a 3-4 and eat until you are a 6-7. Avoid being ravenous going into a meal, this will put you at risk for overeating.
Want to know more? Your first 15 minute phone appointment is FREE! Set up your appointment here.

Calling All Teachers!

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School is out and Blush Nutrition is offering a new package designed specifically for teachers looking to focus on their health and wellness during the summer months!

This package is perfect for developing healthy habits and continuing them throughout school year. The Healthy Lifestyle Package is a 3 month plan, which includes nutrition coaching and meal planning. I am currently offering 10% off for teachers (new clients only) until June 30th!

The Healthy Lifestyle Package is designed to take you from June through September to kickstart healthy habits now establish a plan for a healthy school year!

Blush Nutrition loves teachers, and we can’t wait to help you make this summer the best yet! Click here to set up your first 15 minute appointment for free.

Should I Buy Organic?

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Should I buy organic, and is it worth the investment?

This is a question that I am asked all the time as a Registered Dietitian. Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, and research has shown that it has higher cancer fighting potential because of this. It’s true – buying all organic produce can be pricey – so I tend to recommend following the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” when my clients ask me about purchasing organic and sticking to a budget. This is also what I use when writing the grocery lists for my clients’ customized meal plans.

The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” are two lists of produce to help you choose which foods to buy organic, or conventional. Note: this list changes yearly. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit organization which determines the list each year, and updates it based on new findings in pesticide use, and contamination of certain foods. The “Clean Fifteen” is made of the top 15 foods which are grown using the least chemicals and pesticides, while the “Dirty Dozen” is made of the 12 foods grown with the most amount of pesticides. If possible, I recommend purchasing the the produce on the dirty dozen list as organic to keep pesticide levels down. As you can see from the list below, the dirty dozen are often things where we eat the skin and the fruit/vegetable, whereas on the clean fifteen the skin is not consumed.

  • Within the Dirty Dozen, the EGW uncovered a few surprising facts. Strawberries, spinach, peaches, cherries, and apples all were found to have traces of at least one pesticide residue. Strawberries were found to have at least 20 different forms of pesticide residue (definitely buy these organic if you can!).
  • In the Clean Fifteen, avocados and sweet corn were found to have less than 1% of any form of pesticide residue, and not one fruit on the Clean Fifteen was found to have more than four types of pesticide residue.

With that being said, it is always better to have fresh produce than no produce.

There is not a drastic nutritional difference between organic and conventional foods, and there are TONS of vital vitamins and minerals within conventional, non-organic produce. Also note that there are many other fruits and vegetables which fall in the middle of the two groups, such as bananas or kale. For these “inbetween foods” I recommended shopping by the season. Organic strawberries will always be more expensive in the fall as compared to organic apples, since they are in season. Therefore, shop around for seasonal, fresh produce to fit your budget and keep the nutrition level high!

Print out this 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list to bring on your next shopping trip!

The 2018 “Dirty Dozen”

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet Bell Peppers

The “Clean Fifteen”

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet peas frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Using the “Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen” while shopping is a quick and easy way to save money, while still getting the highest amounts of cancer fighting potential from produce and keeping pesiticide levels down. Keep the list on your phone, or a piece of paper in your purse/wallet for easy access during grocery shopping! Want to know more? Contact me.

Citation

  • Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.”EWG, www.ewg.org/foodnews/full-list.php.

-Written by Abigail Palmquist, Blush Nutrition Intern and Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD, owner of Blush Nutrition

 

Blush Nutrition is Looking for an Intern!

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Blush Nutrition continues to grow and I am looking for a summer intern to help take the business to the next level. The intern can assist me in continuing to deliver the highest level of service, support and nutrition education! Candidates must:

  • Currently be enrolled in a Didactic Program in Dietetics or have a B.S. or M.S. in Nutrition
  • Plan on applying to a dietetic internship in the next 1-2 years
  • Be available to work in Greenville, SC at least 1 day per week (other work can be done virtually)
  • Be available April 9th – July 31st

Any candidates that are interested please send an email to BrittanyJonesRD@gmail.com with your resume and a cover letter indicating why you would be interested in working with Blush Nutrition by Friday March 23rd.

Understanding The 80/20 Rule

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Today we are talking about the 80/20 rule. Not sure what that is? It is the concept that instead of “eating perfect” 100% of the time, it’s the idea that you can eat fun foods 20% of the time and still meet your goals. This is something that I practice with my clients on a regular basis.

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and knowing that you don’t have to give up burgers for the rest of your life.

So what does 20% work out to? Well, if you consider that you eat 21 meals in a week, this would come out to be about 4 times per week that you can flex on fun foods. But what exactly does that mean?

Here are some tips on finding 20% balance in your diet:

  1. Eliminate the all or nothing mindset. A healthy lifestyle is not about depriving yourself of the things you love. Find ways to incorporate “fun foods” in a way you are comfortable with.
  2. Stop using the word “cheat.” When I hear someone say this I ask “who are you cheating on??” This can imply that healthy eating is a punishment and cheating is a reward…and that’s not how it works in a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Ask yourself: what does the food do for you? Maybe a wine and cheese night with the girls is something you need to feed your soul – foods can be nourishing in other ways and it’s important to remember this.
  4. Stick with the foods you really love. I encourage my  clients to make conscious choices when it comes to their 20%. Think less “this happened so I had to eat a buger” and use your meal planning time to make these conscious choices ahead of time. Try changing this to “we went out to see a band and I chose to have a fried chicken salad as a part of my 20%.”
  5. Find a balance within your 20%. While this shakes out to be about 4 meals per week, it’s important to plan out what that might look like for you. Instead of fried mozzarella sticks as an appetizer, fried chicken parmesan with pasta, and a gelato for dessert- consider focusing on one part of that meal. In this scenario consider ditching the mozzarella sticks for a salad, going for the chicken parmesan and pasta, and opting for some mint flavored gum after dinner. Small choices like this can help you feel satisfied without negating all of your hard work.

Have questions about finding a healthy 80/20 balance? Set up your first FREE 15 minute initial appointment by clicking here!

How to Lose Weight & Keep It Off in 2018

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This year keep the weight off by doing one thing: stop dietiting! A healthy weight loss is one that can fit into your busy yet wonderful lifestyle – if a certain 21 day or 30 day “diet” doesn’t fit into that – it’s not the one for you.

Check out my healthy lifestyle tips to lose weight and keep it off in 2018!

  1. Start with S.M.A.R.T. goals. Your overall goal might be to lose a certain amount of weight in 2018, but how are you going to lose the weight? Set specific and measurable smaller goals to help you get to your big yearly goal.
  2. Use the portion plate trick. Make half your plate non-starchy vegetable at lunch and dinner – it’s easier than counting calories! This will keep the carbs and meat to the other side of your plate, keeping calories low and nutrients high. Keep in mind if you don’t use your carbohydrates for energy, they will get stored as fat.
  3. Cut out sugary drinks. This includes sodas, sweet teas and juice. Cutting out two sugary drinks per day could result in losing over half a pound per week. Remember, these count in the carb portion of your plate. Try regular, or infused or sparkling water for best results!
  4. Schedule your workouts. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a doctor’s appointment.
  5. Eat Intuitively. Recognizing your hunger and fullness queues is the key to overcoming boredom eating. Figure out the best meal timing for you and gain a healthy relationship with food. It’s the opposite of dieting and counting calories – it’s listening to your body!
  6. Don’t eliminate an entire food group. This is one of the first signs of a fad diet! Eliminating a food group (unless it is for a medical reason) will not fit into your lifestyle in the long term. All foods can fit! Decide what you want that to look like.
  7. U.S. News & World Report’s WORST Diets of 2018: The Keto Diet, Whole 30 and The Dukan Diet. These are all very hard to follow, with lots of rules that make social situations awkward.
  8. U.S. News & World Report’s BEST Diets of 2018: The D.A.S.H. Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Flexitarian Diet. These are all healthy patterns of eating (many that incorporate exercise!) rather than “diets.”

Want to learn more about the best and worst diets of 2018? Join me on 2/15 for a Lunch and Learn with CoolSculpting Greenveille. RSVP here!