Healthy Party Treats for Tailgating

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietitian, Village Health Clubs & Spas

Fall is quickly approaching, and that means one thing — football season is here! Whether you’re a loyal football fan, or don’t know a thing about the game, everyone loves the tasty dishes served up at a football tailgate. If being healthy this fall is on your mind, you can still enjoy some game day treats without derailing your progress and goals. From apps to dessert, we’ve got some creative tips and healthy recipe ideas to serve up at your next tailgate that will impress and satisfy your crew while also leaving you feeling your best!


Smoked Turkey Sausage & Vegetable Kebabs



  • 1 package smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1½ -inch pieces
  • 3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ large red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 large baby bella mushrooms, whole or halved
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil, plus more for the grill
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper



  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 450 to 500 degrees F).
  2. In a large bowl, add the avocado oil and spices, and stir to combine.
  3. Add sliced vegetables and sausage pieces and toss until everything is evenly coated in the spice mixture.
  4. Thread vegetables and sausage onto metal or wooden skewers, first adding one of each type of vegetable, then one slice of sausage, and repeat. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes prior to preparation.
  5. Liberally oil the grill, then place the skewers on the grill and close the lid.
  6. Cook for three to four minutes and then flip on the other side and cook for another three to four minutes or until veggies are softened to your liking and sausages are lightly charred.


Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip


  • 4 oz. fat free or low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ dry ranch seasoning mix
  • ½ blue cheese (or shredded mozzarella)
  • ½ Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (more or less depending on desired spiciness)
  • 1½ chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Veggies and crackers for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the first five ingredients.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until dip is warmed through and cheese is melted.
  6. Serve warm with crackers, carrots, cucumber, celery sticks, or other veggies.


Black Bean & Corn Salad


  • 1 15-oz. can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. fresh corn (kernels cut off the cob) or frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 jar (about 1 c.) roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ c. red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper
  • ⅛  tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. lime zest and 3 Tbsp. lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  • ½ c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large avocado, diced



  1. In a large bowl, add honey, oil, lime zest and juice, and spices and stir to combine.
  2. Add in the black beans, corn, roasted red pepper, tomatoes, and red onion; mix well.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Right before serving, add avocados and fold gently, being careful not to mash them.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature as a side dish, as a dip with chips, on a salad, or in tacos, etc.


Flourless Banana Peanut Butter Brownies 


  • 1 ½  c. ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½  c. smooth peanut or almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½  c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated monk fruit, coconut sugar or sweetener that measures like sugar
  • ¼  tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. semi chocolate chips (use sugar-free chips to keep recipe sugar free)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • White decorating icing



  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. To do so, grease the pan with oil before placing the parchment paper down to help it stay in place. Have the parchment paper hang over the sides to easily remove brownies from the pan once baked.
  2. In a large bowl or standing mixer, mash ripe bananas with a fork or mixer.
  3. Add nut butter and eggs to the mashed bananas and mix until smooth and well combined.
  4. Add cocoa powder, sweetener, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients; mix until combined.
  5. Stir chocolate chips into the batter.
  6. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the brownies are just set.
  8. Let cool, then remove parchment paper from the pan and cut brownies into squares or use a football cookie cutter to cut out football shapes. If you don’t have a cookie cutter you can alternatively use a sharp knife to cut brownies into a football shape. Use white decorating icing to add the laces to the football (optional). Let icing set before serving.


Interested in learning more about how to reach your healthiest self while eating delicious foods? Reach out to Village Dietitian Jamie Miller today to set up a nutrition consultation! E: P: 713-494-2030

Hydration Enhancers for Better Health

We all know that being well hydrated is good for your overall health, especially when in a warm, dry climate like Arizona. But how much water does your body need? Is water alone enough to stay hydrated if you sweat more than normal? Are electrolytes needed to replenish our bodies? Village Clubs Dietitian, Jamie Miller, has helpful tips to get creative with your hydration and keep your body healthy.


How Much Water Do You Need?

Water makes up 60% of your body and is needed for nearly every bodily function. Adequate hydration is vital for healthy digestion, physical activity, mental clarity and energy, weight management, skin health, and detoxification. How much water do we need to drink to ensure our systems are healthy and hydrated? Aim for half of your body weight in ounces during a regular day of activity. You can use this handy calculator to account for activity and age as well. Your body may need even more water if you are active or spend extended time in a hot climate. We usually use thirst as our gauge for hydration, but that’s not the best marker since thirst can be decreased by factors such as age, stress, fatigue, and exercise. The best way to gauge true hydration level is the color of your urine. Aim for a pale, light yellow color. If your urine is a pale honey, transparent color, you are hydrated!


Are Electrolyte Beverages Needed?

If you experience high amounts of sweating, such as hours of yard work in the heat, or a difficult workout lasting more than an hour, our body’s essential electrolytes of sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium can be depleted. But many electrolyte-containing beverages on the market are very high in sugar. A regular 20-oz sports drink has 34 grams of sugar in it, equal to 9 teaspoons of table sugar, which is about the daily recommended limit. Aim instead for an electrolyte powder, tablet, or supplement with no added sugar. Some examples are Nuun tablets, LMNT packets, Elete drops, or Hydrant packets. Another option can be a homemade electrolyte beverage:


Homemade Electrolyte Drink:

  • ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp powdered calcium magnesium (such as Calm Powder)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Stevia or monk fruit (or other sweetener) to taste


Put all ingredients in a large mason jar and shake. Taste and adjust sweetener to taste preference. Chill and serve. Makes 4 servings, 32 oz total.


Make Your Water Cravable

If you are not sweating excessively, adequate hydration can come simply through water. But to ensure you take in enough water, make it taste so delicious that you keep coming back for more. While there are many products that enhance the flavor of water, the key is to find a tasty choice that is not loaded with sugar or filled with artificial sweeteners, dyes, or other unhealthy additives. Instead look for ones that contain natural, no sugar options like stevia or monk fruit, fruit, citric acid, etc. Some quality products to try are Stur, Sweetleaf Water Drops , Mio, or True Lemon.



Or instead of a purchased product, try an at home flavoring option like infusing water with a combination of citrus, berries, melon, and fresh herbs. With a little creativity, you’ll have a flavorful pitcher of water that you’ll look forward to pouring a glass of. This recipe is also great for parties (like baby showers!).


Flavor Infused Water

  • 1 cup produce of choice (citrus, cucumber, berries, melon, etc.)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh herbs, optional (mint, basil, lavender, etc.)
  • 8 cups water


Flavor Combinations:

  • Raspberry + Lime
  • Strawberry + Basil
  • Cucumber + Lemon
  • Watermelon + Mint
  • Peach + Orange


Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate 3-12 hours before enjoying for best flavor.


If you have further questions about how to fuel your body best with proper food and beverage choices, or to schedule a one-on-one session with Jamie Miller, the Village Clubs dietitian, contact Jamie at


Foods to Naturally Boost Your Mood

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While millions of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, and countless other mental disorders, there are powerful tools that we don’t utilize nearly enough in treatment and prevention – food and nutrition. Natural mood enhancers in the form of food choices can boost four different “happy hormones” to help regulate our mood and alter our brain’s functioning. Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, shares with us top mood boosting foods and recipes  to nourish our body and transform our mental health.



The hormone dopamine is used by the brain to activate a sense of pleasure, while it also increases alertness and concentration. Foods high in B vitamins (low fat meats, yogurt, beans), vitamin D (fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks), and tyrosine (nuts and seeds), along with fruits like bananas and apples, all help the body naturally boost its dopamine levels.



Endorphins are the feel-good hormones used by our body to block pain sensors and create a sense of calmness and bliss. Foods rich in fat and high in sugar naturally boost endorphins (but can also cause energy slumps). Instead of reaching for a low-nutrient choice like a brownie or chips, there are also healthy foods that increase endorphin levels. Spicy foods such as chili peppers, strawberries, and chocolate all stimulate the production of these feel-good chemicals.



Serotonin is a mood stabilizer neurotransmitter synthesized by the amino acid tryptophan. This hormone also is connected to good sleep, memory, learning, and regulated appetite. By eating foods rich in tryptophan, we can naturally boost our serotonin levels to feel our best. Top tryptophan choices include high protein items like salmon, turkey, eggs, and cheese. But research shows the body best produces serotonin when tryptophan-containing foods are consumed alongside a source of carbohydrates. Examples of serotonin boosting combinations include a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, salmon with quinoa, eggs with roasted potatoes, or cheese with crackers.



Oxytocin, often called the “love hormone” is the neurotransmitter that creates a sense of connection, trust, and calmness. Research shows that sharing food, cooking with loved ones, and eating with others all help the body produce oxytocin. This is a wonderful incentive to schedule regular mealtimes with those you love. Too often, we often eat on the go or by ourselves in front of the television. But by altering where and with whom we eat, we can easily change our mood.


Healthy Guts

Maintaining optimal gut health is crucial not only for physical health, but also for our psychological well-being. Our microbiome directly impacts mental functioning, so much so that the gut is often called “the second brain.” The gut-brain connection can clearly be seen when an individual feels excited and experiences “butterflies in their stomach” or becomes anxious and gets a stomachache. Our gut influences neural development, emotional behavior, regulation of stress response, and the production of our “happy hormones.” More than 90% of our body’s serotonin and 50% of dopamine are produced in the gut. If the gut isn’t functioning properly, there can be a shortage of these feel-good hormones which has shown to impact mental health disorders. To maintain gut health, eat a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods that are also rich in prebiotic fiber. The prebiotic fibers act as fuel to stimulate growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in our gut. Foods highest in prebiotic fibers include fibrous produce such as artichokes, green bananas, apples, onions, and asparagus, along with whole grains like oatmeal and barley, nuts and seeds, and legumes. It’s also important to feed the gut probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. These all help the gut to maintain ample and various types of beneficial bacteria to keep us healthy. If these aren’t common foods eaten, it can be wise to take a supplemental form of probiotics. A happy gut leads to a happy mood!


Interested in knowing your personal needs for better mental health? Reach out to Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, today to set up a nutrition consultation! E: P: 713-494-2030



Dopamine Boosting Banana Maple Yogurt Parfait

  • 6 oz plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Drop of maple extract
  • Natural sweetener to taste like stevia, monk fruit, honey, or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 small banana, sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts



In a small bowl, mix the plain Greek yogurt with a drop of maple extract, sweetener of choice to taste, and cinnamon. Take a small glass or mason jar and spoon in half the yogurt, then top with ½ the banana slices, and 1 tbsp chopped walnuts. Repeat by layering the rest of the yogurt, then banana slices, and walnuts. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Enjoy immediately.



Endorphin Boosting Mexican Chocolate Bark

  • 9 oz dark chocolate
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)


Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Coarsely chop the dark chocolate, and place in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 tsp coconut oil, cinnamon, and cayenne. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. If needed, add ½-1 tsp more coconut oil to smooth out the chocolate. Spread chocolate out on parchment paper, using a spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepitas. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 1-2 hours. Cut into pieces and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.




Serotonin Boosting Turkey Asparagus Stir Fry & Brown Rice

  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-pound 93/7 ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all fruit apricot jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek chili paste or sriracha, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, quinoa, or soba noodles to serve
  • Sesame seeds to serve


Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the ground turkey, using a spatula to break up large clumps as it cooks. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes, until most of the pink color has left. Add the carrots and scallions and stir to incorporate. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the coconut aminos, apricot jam and chili paste or sriracha (to taste). Stir to mix all the ingredients and cook for 2 minutes to form a sauce. Then stir in the asparagus and cook for another 3 minutes, so that the asparagus is just starting to soften, but still crisp. Remove the pan from the heat. Stack and roll the basil leaves, then cut crosswise into ribbons. Add basil over the stir-fry mixture and mix gently to incorporate. Serve the stir fry mixture over a whole grain of choice, such as brown rice, quinoa, or soba noodles, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. Add extra chili paste or sriracha to desired spiciness level.


Happy Gut, Happy Mood Probiotic Breakfast Bowl

  • 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes, cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 1 large or 2 small potatoes)
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion (about ½ small onion)
  • 4 cups kale, tightly packed, washed, stems removed, and chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • Optional: hot sauce or sriracha


Heat oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add cubed sweet potato and red onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until onions and potatoes start to soften a bit. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add 2 Tbsp. water and cover with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the potatoes are just about done. Add kale, toss well and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted and tender. When the vegetables are done cooking, turn off the heat. Cook two eggs in a separate skillet to your liking- fried, poached, or scrambled. Divide the sweet potato and kale mixture into 2 separate bowls. Top each with 2 eggs, half of the avocado slices, and ¼ cup sauerkraut each. Top with sriracha or hot sauce if desired.


Beauty Boosting Foods

Many individuals are willing to pay a high price tag for the latest serums, creams, and cosmetics all in hopes to improve our appearance.

But did you know that what you eat also can transform what you see in the mirror? Proper nutrition supports the health of your hair, skin, and nails to make you glow from the inside out. Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, has the top nutrients to focus on in order to boost your beauty.


Healthy Fats for Radiant Skin

Oftentimes, individuals try to cut out as much fat as possible from their diet in hopes to keep any unwanted pounds off. But this can be one of the biggest mistakes made for our most radiant skin. Too little fat in our diet can cause skin to be more wrinkled and dry. Enough healthy fats provide skin with a natural “glow” and help keep skin moist, firm, and flexible. Focus on heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and from fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, and trout.). Omega-3 fatty acids also block a chemical that lets skin cancer grow and spread, while also lowering inflammation to decrease redness or acne.


Protein for Strong Hair and Nails

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which the body uses to make other proteins, including collagen and keratin which form the structure of skin, hair, and nails. Aim to consume 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound body weight to ensure you have the amino acids from food for strong hair and nails and smooth skin. Nutritious protein sources include lean meats and poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, edamame, tempeh, tofu, protein powder, collagen, and bone broth.


Vitamin C to Lower Skin Cancer Risk

This vitamin helps collagen protein hold its shape to make strong hair, skin and nails. It’s also a powerful antioxidant to protect skin from free radicals and possibly lower the chance of skin cancer. Some of the foods highest in vitamin C include bell pepper, kiwi, strawberries, citrus, papaya, broccoli, tomato, and leafy greens.


Vitamin E to Protect Against Wrinkles

This antioxidant can absorb energy from UV light to prevent damage to skin which can cause wrinkles and skin cancer. It works also with vitamin C to strengthen cell walls and prevent sagging. High vitamin E foods include nuts and seeds, avocado, leafy greens, butternut squash, kiwi, olive oil, trout, and shrimp.


Vitamin A for Healthy Hair

Both the upper and lower layers of skin need vitamin A to prevent sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen. Vitamin A also helps the oil glands around hair follicles work to keep hair nourished. Our skin also benefits from adequate vitamin A in the way it helps our skin heal from any scrapes or other injuries. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, leafy greens, red pepper, grapefruit, egg yolks, tuna, and dairy.


Zinc to Protect from Sun Damage

Zinc can be very helpful for individuals who experience bacterial acne because this mineral has antimicrobial effects. It also keeps skin vibrant by protecting against sun damage. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, so proper intake is needed to keep full and thick hair. Foods highest in zinc include oysters, meat and poultry, tofu, beans and lentils, oats, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, and cocoa powder.




Sparkling Collagen Strawberry Mint Limeade

  • 4 sprigs mint
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 strawberries
  • Stevia to taste
  • 4 scoop collagen peptides
  • 32 oz. sparkling water


Puree the strawberries, mint leaves, lime juice, collagen, stevia and 1 cup of the sparkling water in a blender on low speed until smooth, at least 30 seconds. Pour puree into a pitcher and add remaining sparkling water. Serve chilled over ice in tall beverage glasses. Optional: garnish each with a sprig of fresh mint, slice of strawberry, or lime wedge.


Nutrition (¼ of recipe): 50 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g protein, 4.5 g carbs



Smoked Salmon Avocado Hand Roll

  • 1 sheet nori seaweed paper, cut in half
  • 3 oz smoked salmon or cooked salmon
  • ½ cup red pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ cup cucumber, cut into strips
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • Optional: sriracha


Using a sharp knife, cut a piece of nori in half. Place the nori sheets, horizontally in front of you with the rough side facing up. Divide the smoked salmon, red pepper, cucumber and avocado and lay diagonally, with the ends pointing towards the upper left corner. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, add a few dashes of coconut aminos or soy sauce, and optional sriracha to taste. To fold, start with the left bottom corner first, and fold up over the ingredients, then wrap the right side over and around to form a cone, about the size of an ice cream sugar cone. It will seal itself. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.


Spicy Roasted Nuts

  • 3 cups assorted unsalted, raw mixed nuts such as almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Place nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to evenly coat. Spread out nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until nuts are lightly browned and toasted, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet, transfer to a bowl, and serve. Store leftover nuts in an airtight container at room temperature.


Grilled Chicken Breast with Olive & Sundried Tomato Tapenade



  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado oil, for grilling

Olive Tapenade

  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (7 ounce jar)
  • 1 4-ounce jar green olives, drained and pitted
  • 1 6-ounce jar 1 6-ounce jar mixed Greek olives, drained and pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley


In a gallon sized freezer bag, add chicken and marinade ingredients. Seal the plastic bag and mix with hands to combine. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to 24 hours. To make the olive tapenade, add garlic and olive oil to the bowl of a food processor and process on high until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until the tomatoes are chopped. Add the green olives and the Greek olive mix and pulse two times so the olives are just coarsely chopped. Stir in the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and parsley. When ready to grill the chicken, bring one side of an outdoor grill to high heat with the other side cooler. Oil the grill grates well then place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear, then flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler grates of the grill, cover, and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 160F. Time will depend on thickness of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with olive tapenade.


Looking for more ways to improve your health, check out all the Village has to offer!



Keeping Kids Healthy While At Home Learning

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietician for The Village

As many schools shift to online learning, there are a number of challenges that arise for families with this adjustment. Many parents find that an added headache to at-home schooling is feeding their child healthy meals. How can parents provide nourishing meals and snacks every day while also trying to juggle their children’s schooling on top of their own responsibilities? Village registered dietitian, Jamie Miller, has some insight to share.


Keep to a Schedule

Being at home means easy access to the refrigerator, it is easy for families to fall into the habit of “grazing” throughout the day instead of sticking to designated meal and snack times like they would at school. However, this presents a couple of problems. First, snack foods often tend to be more focused on carbohydrates (crackers, fruit snacks, etc.) which digest quickly. So it may seem like your child is always hungry, but it’s most likely because they aren’t filling their stomachs with foods that keep them fueled. The second issue with grazing is that the child never gets hungry enough to have a balanced meal of nutrient-rich foods. If they ate a snack too close to a meal, they are less likely to be open to trying new or less preferred items. At school, children have set times for a snack and lunch. Follow suit and schedule lunch and snack time for when your children know they can pause their schoolwork and take a break to eat.


Aim for Fiber, Fats, and Protein at Each Meal and Snack

To keep your children fueled and focused on their schoolwork, there are 3 things you want to center each meal and snack around: fiber, fats, and protein. These nutrients take time to digest to keep their blood sugar stable and stomach satisfied. Make sure their food choices are filled with veggies, fruits, and whole grains for fiber. Offer healthy fats with meals through items like nut butters, guacamole, hummus, pesto, and dressings. Then ensure they get quality protein through things like eggs, chicken, tuna, steamed edamame, and bean-based pastas.


Make It Easier

With such high demands on parents now, it’s smart to know where we can save time while still maintaining healthy choices. There are plenty of convenience food items that are full of nutrients but take no preparation or effort. Purchase produce that you don’t need to cut like grape tomatoes, snap peas, mini bell peppers, berries, and grapes. Try out canned green beans, frozen broccoli, unsweetened applesauce, and fruit cups in 100% juice. For fiber-filled carbohydrates, look to low sugar dried cereal, whole grain crackers, bread, and tortillas, canned beans, and frozen peas. Easy protein could be purchased with things like frozen chicken sausage links, canned tuna or chicken, deli meat, rotisserie chicken, and individual yogurts and cottage cheese.


Give the Kids Some Responsibility

There is so much responsibility on parent’s plates during at-home schooling, it’s important to find ways to spread out the work. With some guidance, children have the ability to prepare much of their own meals and snacks. Make it easier for them by having designated areas of the refrigerator and pantry with foods they can reach. Have a list of ideas that are easy for them to prepare on their own. For breakfast, they can toast a whole-grain waffle and top with nut butter, then pair with strawberries and a glass of milk. For lunch, they could make a wrap with a whole grain tortilla, hummus, and turkey, with baby carrots on the side. For a snack, they can open a string cheese and peel a clementine. Oftentimes even the most resistant and selective eaters have a more open mind if they prepare the food themselves. Make it fun for them to try out one of these meal ideas below!


English Muffin Pizza

Spread Marinara sauce on a WG english muffin (or pita, bread, etc). Top with shredded mozzarella, diced chicken/ham, and optional chopped veggies. Toast/broil to melt cheese.



Fill WW tortilla with cheese, veggies, chicken, beans, etc., and microwave or warm in a skillet until cheese has melted. Dipin salsa, plain greek yogurt, and guacamole.


PB Roll-Up or PB Toast

Spread nut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, peel a banana and place down the center. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll up tortilla into a burrito.



Post Quarantine Nutrition Reset

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietician for The Village

The summer of social distancing is ending and slowly, but surely, life is seeming to return to a bit of what once was. But as you swap your “life in lockdown” sweats for regular attire, you may be frustrated to find that your old jeans are not as forgiving as your athleisure wear. Or maybe you’re not feeling the same energy level you had in pre-pandemic life. If the last few months of quarantine have left you feeling less than your best, there is a smarter solution than resorting to an extreme diet or expensive programs that promise a “quick fix.” Check out these tips for a post quarantine nutritional reset!


Crash diets and cleanses can actually do more harm than good to your metabolism and long-term weight loss success; however, a proper reset of nutritional habits can be helpful to kick start weight loss and get you back on track. Consider committing to a set time where you are focused and intentional on your nutritional choices. This can help end chaotic eating patterns that don’t serve your health by introducing order and repetition back into your lifestyle. Clean eating can also reboot your taste buds to decrease cravings for salty, fatty, and sweet foods. Consider committing the next seven to 30 days to making intentional choices to “reboot” your health. During this time, focus on the following four factors and you will feel even healthier, stronger, and leaner than you did pre-quarantine!


Fill Up the Water Bottle

Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces (or more if sweating in excess) of water every day. Our kidneys are one of our body’s natural detoxifiers, but they need ample water to do their job. You can even start your day with a glass of (warm or cold) lemon water. The pectin from lemon aids in digestion and lemon also shows to curb appetite and boost satiety. So drink up!


A Smart, Squeaky Clean Diet

Extremely low-calorie, crash diets are not the answer to maintain long-term health and weight loss. However, we can commit to eating clean, quality ingredients to feed our body well. Load up half or more of your plate with veggies; ensure you have a lean protein at every meal (grass-fed beef, poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, etc.); choose quality carbohydrates (fruits, beans, peas, potatoes, corn, whole grains, etc.); and focus on healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado or coconut, oils, etc.). If you feel like you have any sort of sugar addiction, it’s particularly helpful to cut out all added sugar and artificial sweeteners for this time period in order to “retrain” your tastebuds.


Sweat it Out

Sweating naturally allows our bodies to “detox” themselves. So hit the gym and try out the sauna. Increasing your heart rate and blood flow through exercise can also help your body to flush out toxins naturally. If taking a brisk walk is about all you can handle right now? There’s no better time to start than now.


Support Your Gut

Both stress and a poor diet can disrupt good gut health. If the pandemic left your stomach feeling upset, we can improve digestive health through prebiotic fiber in wholesome foods (such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.) and through supplementing with a probiotic. Incorporating live-culture yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, and other fermented foods can also help keep your gut flora thriving and happy.


Creamy Berry Smoothie

  • 1/2 large ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sliced zucchini (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 big handful of greens, such as spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 scoops collagen powder or 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp. flax, hemp, chia seeds, or 1 Tbsp. nut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened nut or coconut milk
  • Ice to desired consistency
  • Optional: stevia or monk fruit to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend on high until creamy and smooth.


Niçoise Salad

For the tuna salad:

  • 1 small shallot or 1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 6-ounce tin of good quality tuna (like Wild Planet or Safe Catch)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice


For the dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1  Tbsp.  olive oil
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • ¼  tsp. black pepper


For the salad:

  • 1 cup arugula leaves

1/4  cup green beans, blanched

  • 1/3 small avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. pitted oil-cured black olives (or your favorite olives)

Combine the shallot, capers, and tuna with lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. To assemble, toss the arugula and green beans with half of the tuna mixture. Arrange the avocado, olives, and boiled egg on top and finish with the remaining tuna salad.


Apple Nachos

  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp. natural nut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Optional: shredded unsweetened coconut, hemp seeds, flax, chia seeds, etc.


Slice apples into thin, chip-like slices, about a fourth-inch thick and spread onto a large plate. Use a spoon or spatula to drizzle the nut butter over the apple slices. If your nut butter is too thick to drizzle, warm it briefly in the microwave. Sprinkle cinnamon and any additional toppings over the apple slices.


Have questions about how to apply these measures to your personal lifestyle and health needs? Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, is here to help create a personalized reboot for you! Reach out to her today! (E:, P: 713-494-2030) 



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