Super Bowl Snacks: 3 Lower Calorie Recipes

Eat healthier snacks during the game

Eat healthier snacks during the game

What’s your favorite Super Bowl snack?  If you are a typical viewer, you’ll enjoy buffalo wings, nachos, chips, dip and guacamole during the big game.  But those snacks are loaded with fat and calories.  How about making a few lower calorie Super Bowl snacks?

Use one of these recipes to have a healthier viewing experience.

  • Cheesy Artichoke Spread. This recipe from North Memorial registered dietitian Karen Palmer only has 177 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per serving.  Dip sliced veggies instead of crackers to keep the calorie count low.
  • Marinated Grilled Vegetables. Skip the chip bowls and high calorie spreads!  Instead grill a batch of these colorful veggies and present them on a platter.
  • White Bean Dip. This recipe from has far fewer calories than most sour cream based dip, but it’s just as tasty!

And if you are trying to keep your calorie count in control during the Super Bowl, remember to tally up the calories that you consume in liquid form.  The calories in beer, wine and cocktails can send your daily total through the roof.

You’ll also find plenty of resources about foods to eat and foods to avoid, exercise advice and healthy eating strategies at North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss.  Check it out or join the weight loss community on Facebook and Twitter.


Healthy Snack Recipe: Herb-Stuffed Mushrooms

One of the most difficult parts of dieting is giving up high calorie snacks.  But a healthy eating plan can – and should – include snacks.  If you have a sweet tooth, berries or other fresh fruit can be satisfying. But if you like savory foods, snacking can be a little more challenging.  Many savory foods are high in salt, starch and fat.

This healthy recipe can be prepared as a side dish, as an appetizer to be served at parties, or you can make a batch to keep for snacking.  The recipe is provided by the USDA’s MyPlate Holiday Recipe Makeover Program.  You’ll find other healthy recipes for a special occasion or any day of the week by checking their website.

(click on the recipe to see a larger, downloadable recipe to print out)

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Have a Healthier Happy New Year (recipe)

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 11.00.59 AMWill you celebrate 2014 with a glass of champagne?  If you are watching your weight, a single glass of bubbly won’t do too much damage.  Champagne contains about 91 calories per serving.  But if you start celebrating early and have several glasses, the calories can add up. And who wants to start the new year feeling groggy?

If you plan to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, consider making a healthy sparkling cocktail to share with friends and family.  This non-alcoholic drink contains only 39 calories and it’s a beverage that everyone can enjoy.  The recipe is part of the MyPlate Holiday Recipe Makeover program.  Check out all of the healthy recipes to serve throughout the year.

(click on the recipe to see a larger, downloadable recipe to print out)

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Holiday Plate Makeovers to Keep Your Holidays Healthy

Don’t gain weight this holiday season!  There are simple food swaps and recipe makeovers that you can use to keep your calorie and fat intake in control. Use online tips, recipes, and ideas from to keep your diet on track this holiday season. Calorie counts are listed below, but click on the links for the full recipe and nutritional information.

Need a few quick food swaps for eating on the go? This great infographic provides simple tips for eating a healthier diet during the holidays – and all year long!

(p.s. You should also be sure to find us on facebook for more recipes, tips and advice to keep you motivated during the holidays)


Are “Healthy” Recipes Bad for Your Diet?

DSCN1727As a fitness expert and weight loss writer, I often recommend that dieters cook at home if they want to improve their eating habits. When you cook your own food, it’s easier to know exactly what is in each dish and you can use simple techniques to decrease the fat and calorie content of your meals.  But a research study out of Cornell University raises questions about whether or not home-cooked meals are as healthy as we think.

Research Reveals Recipe Trends

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, evaluated recipes in the popular cookbook The Joy of Cooking.  Researchers found that since 1936 the calorie content of similar recipes has increased. In addition, portion sizes for many recipes has increased as well.

The study authors suggest that this trend is due to a change in “prevailing tastes and norms.”  That just means we’ve  gotten used to fatter, larger portions over the years.

How to Eat Healthier Meals

Cooking at home is still a good idea if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy body.  But just because a meal comes out of your own kitchen doesn’t mean that it is necessarily healthy or that you can eat any amount of food that you want.

If you love to cook, look for recipe books that contain nutritional information.  The popular Betty Crocker Cookbook contains nutritional information, and many online recipe sources like also include essential information about the calorie, fat, salt and sugar content of many recipes.

You should also pay attention to your portion size no matter where you eat.  Download our handy guide for estimating serving sizes to evaluate the amount of food you eat at every meal.

Looking for other healthy changes you can make to improve your health? Check out the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website?  It’s a great source of easy tips for healthy eating, exercise and diet support.  You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Recipes for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Have a healthy Thanksgiving with lower calorie recipes.

Have a healthy Thanksgiving with lower calorie recipes.

Have you made your grocery shopping list for the Thanksgiving meal?  Before you plan the big holiday meal take a few minutes to see if you adjust the menu to provide some healthier fare. It’s a great way to avoid weight gain during during these busy and indulgent holiday months.

Lower Calorie Thanksgiving Recipes

Some traditional Thanksgiving foods are loaded with salt, fat and calories. There are better ways to enjoy delicious food and stay healthy.  Consider swapping some of these high calorie foods for lower calorie alternatives. The healthy recipes come from Karen Palmer, a registered dietitian at North Memorial Medical Center.

  • Cheesy Artichoke Dip. Families and friends often snack and nibble throughout the day even before the big meal.  Those snack calories can really add up.  Traditional artichoke dip, for example, can contain up to 312 calories per serving! Karen Palmer provides a much healthier Cheesy Artichoke Spread with only 177 calories per serving.
  • Green Bean Casserole.  Many people get their serving of veggies by scooping a heap of this creamy vegetable dish onto their Thanksgiving plate.  But this “healthy” dish contains 161 calories per serving – and most of us eat more than a serving. Why not serve a beautiful platter of Marinated Grilled Vegetables instead?
  • Mashed Potatoes.  There are a few healthy ways to make mashed potatoes, but the traditional recipe made with cream and butter can total 237 calories or more.  A healthier alternative is Karen Palmer’s Fiesta Rice Salad.  The colorful salad “provides an array of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants to reduce one’s risk for stroke and cardiovascular diseases,” according to Palmer.  And it’s a perfect side dish for turkey!

Don’t be afraid to make some healthy changes to your regular Thanksgiving menu.  You may be able to inspire good eating habits for the rest of the year and create a new holiday traditions.

Want to know how to avoid other foods that aren’t good for you?  Check this list of Foods to Increase and Foods to Decrease.  And if you are looking for more weight loss advice, motivational advice and exercise help, checkout North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss, find us on Facebook and on Twitter.


Healthy Recipes for the 4th of July

4th of JulyAre you going to a 4th of July celebration tonight?  Well, don’t show up empty handed.  Bring a festive and healthy dish to share.  Use one of these recipes to keep your diet on track while you enjoy the fireworks.

  • Patriotic Pie.  This beautiful dessert from North Memorial R.D. Karen Palmer has only 180 calories per serving.  It’s easy to make, but your guests don’t need to know that!
  • Wheat Berry, Edamame and Black Bean Salad.  This hearty salad can serve as an entree or a side dish. It’s full of protein and fiber and only has 194 calories per serving. Give it a try!
  • Turkey, Cheese and Apple Pinwheel.  Will you be entertaining children?  Everyone will love this easy and fun snack.  You can even give the recipe to the kids and let them prepare it for themselves.
  • Sweet and Tangy Kale Salad. This is my favorite kale recipe from registered dietitian Heidi Diller.  If you’re not sure if you like kale, this is a great way to give it a try.  It’s easy to make and beautiful to serve.

Don’t forget to follow 3 Smart Diet Tips for the 4th of July when you go out tonight.  Happy 4th!