Miranda Ortolani is a senior Nutrition/Dietetics major at Penn State University. Miranda is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that includes a well balanced diet and exercise. “My mom is the cook in the house and she is a very healthy eater, so from a young age I was always fed good meals with great nutritional value!”
In Miranda’s spare time she likes to cook, play the guitar and take adventures new places with her friends. She also enjoys spending time with her dog Shelby and going to the NJ shore! After she completes school and becomes a registered dietitian, she would love to work to inspire people to live happy, healthy lives and to help them realize that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult- it can be fun!
Acai Bowls are all the hype this summer as they are the perfect way to start your day off right- and the hype is well deserved! Our Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists at Eat Right Bucks County can’t eat enough, especially with local berries on top!
Acai berries are a super-fruit from South America that are high in heart-healthy antioxidants and low in sugar, but contains excellent amounts of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. Acai berries also increase energy levels, help with digestion, and can aide in weight loss. You can add any toppings you like onto these bowls such as gluten free granola, chia seeds, hemp seeds, peanut butter, some local bucks county fruit, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, etc. These bowls are healthy, super delicious, and they will keep you full for hours- what more could you ask for?
In the United States, you can find pure and organic pureed acai in the frozen isle of health food stores (you could also switch out acai for frozen pitaya puree, another superfruit!) In the Doylestown Bucks & Montgomery County area, you can find Acai puree at Whole Foods & Wegmans. There are also many up and coming cafes and juice bars that make acai bowls but if you cannot find a place near you, here is how to make them at home in three easy steps! My tip is to use all organic products to make this the healthiest it can be! Here is what you’ll need:
- 1 pack pure and unsweetened frozen Acai (found in the frozen fruit isle at whole foods)
- 1 Frozen Banana
- 4 Frozen Strawberries
- 1/4 cup soy OR almond milk
- (can add peanut butter for extra protein!)
- 1 tbsp. Chia seeds
- 1/2 cup Granola ( I chose granola made with quinoa for some protein)
- 1/2 fresh banana
- add 1 pack of frozen acai, 1 frozen banana, and 4 strawberries into a blender and blend until you get a smooth and thick consistency that is scoopable.
- pour mixture into a bowl.
- add granola, chia seeds, and 1/2 of a banana on top!
The summer heat is in full swing and it’s crucial to stay cool and healthy all summer long. Homemade summer snacks are always so much more delicious and healthy then those that come prepackaged. They are not only healthier, but fun to make and even better to devour. Below I shared some super easy snacks to stay cool all summer long. Trust me your taste buds will thank me. Both recipes are FODMAP diet friendly as well.
Coconut water pops:
- 1/2 Coconut water
- 8 Strawberries
- Handful Blueberries
- Cut the desired fruits and throw them into the cup and fill the rest with coconut water. Feel free to use any flavor of coconut water and fruit you would like. I chose the pineapple flavor to give it a fresh summery taste. I popped them in freezer with a popsicle stick for a couple hours and then they will be ready to enjoy!
- You can also use the Zoku Popsicle maker for quick pops!
Mini Banana Sandwiches:
This one is really easy and is hands down my favorite summer sweet. All you need is bananas and peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower butter depending on what you like or different nut allergies. I simply cut the banana into slices and popped a dollop of the yummy butter on the slice to make a sandwich. I put them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. I left them in the freezer for a couple hours and then they will be ready to eat. YUM!
The final recipe isn’t a recipe at all but a super simple idea for delicious snaking. All you need are a bowl of grapes and to pop them in the freezer. I know silly right?! But frozen grapes are the perfect snack after a long day by the pool or just sitting in the hot sun. When frozen they are crunchy and taste just like candy! They are truly the easiest summer snack!
Don’t forget to stay cool and hydrated this summer! Check back every week for a new blog post!
Have a happy healthy summer Bucks County!
Nutrition Student West Chester University
Eat Right Bucks County Intern
If peanuts are part of your go to snack that you pack your kids for school, it may be a safe idea to switch it up! Peanut allergies are one of the most common in younger children; many schools and classrooms are even nut-free as a precaution. Although nuts can be present in many easy to pack, go-to snacks there are plenty of quick, on-the-go, healthy snacks to provide for your kids during the school day.
Yogurt is always a great snack. Greek yogurt especially, being high in protein and low in fat, will keep your children full for a sufficient period of time. This way they can focus in school instead of focusing on the grumbling noises coming from their stomach. It takes no preparation time, just right from the fridge to a lunch box!
Another snack idea is raw vegetables. Instead of using peanut butter to dip or unhealthy dressings, try dipping your crunchy, fresh vegetables into hummus! This snack is nut free, easy to pack, and has tons of healthy benefits.
Along with vegetables, fruit is another quick and nutrient rich snack to put in your kid’s lunch box. Bananas and apples are easiest, but if that gets boring make a mix of berries in a container to pack! Something sweet and nutritious is a perfect mid-day pick me up for your kids during the school day.
- Granola Bars
There are now many natural, barely processed granola bars available. Be sure to stay away from nut-flavored choices and read the label to insure this is a nut free snack, there are plenty of fruit flavors and more to choose from! Some of our favorites are the Kind and Kashi Bars.
Remember, there are plenty of nut-free, quick, healthy snacks to pack your kids to bring to school. Nutrient rich snacks will keep them full longer and give them more energy throughout the day, two very important outcomes of food for a successful day full of learning and fun at school.
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Lately I have been obsessed with avocados! Not only are avocados a delicious food but they are also very beneficial to our bodies. This scrumptious fruit – yes I said fruit – is packed with tons of nutrients our bodies need. They contain vitamins K, B6, C and E as well as tons of fiber, copper, protein, and potassium. Avocados also have many health benefits such as lowering bad cholesterol, promoting a healthy liver and supporting good digestive health. Besides all the amazing benefits to eating avocados they are just plain delicious.
My favorite way to benefit from eating avocados is by making homemade guacamole. I am a Mexican food fanatic so I love to have fresh guacamole on lean turkey tacos with fresh lime juice, fresh salsa and of course fresh cilantro. If you are one of the many people that finds cilantro unappealing and tasting like soap – no worries your guacamole will taste just as great without the addition of cilantro. Another great way to enjoy avocados is to slice them and toss them in with scrambled eggs, spinach, fresh salsa and a little cheese to make the perfect breakfast. In recipes you can even replace butter and mayonnaise with avocados in things like cookies and chicken salad.
Avocados can also be used on the skin! Who knew that fresh food could make the best facial mask, especially without all the harsh chemicals? The fats in avocados are great for moisturizing dry skin during the frigid winter and help with those dreaded summer sunburns.
Below is my favorite guacamole recipe and a couple recipes I’d like to try! Enjoy!
- 2 Avocados diced up (keep the pits)*
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. cumin
- 1 clove fresh garlic – minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2-3 shakes of Tabasco sauce
- 1-2 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro – optional
- ¼ cup fresh salsa (Giant brand is my favorite)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with tortilla chipos or fresh sliced peppers, celery, carrots, etc. If you have any leftovers – add the avocado pit to the bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator. The pits will keep your guacamole fresher longer.
Avocado Egg Salad
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 hard boiled egg whites, chopped
- 2 small avocados, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mash it all up in a bowl, refrigerate and eat on toast with crackers or veggies.
Avocado Face Mask:
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Mash it all up and lather it on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. This mask will leave your face fresh and glowing