Shed Those Layers

By Jane Sylvestre, RD - 3/30/2015

Time to Shed Some Layers

We all know this was one of the toughest winters ever in the North East.  Many people struggled with their weight loss and added on a few pounds this winter.    People were cooped up in their homes, unable to get out and move much and settled in with many carb filled comfort foods.  It is time to start shedding some layers and I mean that in more ways than one. 

Spring is finally here.    I can hear the birds singing and see the buds budding and the grass peeking through the snow!  Spring is a time for renewal and to make a new life for ourselves.   This is the time to clean out.  Many talk about spring cleaning their home, but it is also a great time to clean up your diet.  Have you ever heard the term “clean eating?”  This is a matter of getting back to the basics and eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy, non processed protein options. 

Spring and summer are wonderful seasons for eating well.  The fruits and vegetables are delicious and bountiful!    Spinach, kale & chard a just a few examples of my favorite spring vegetables that are clean, super foods.  They provide vitamins A & C for immunity, vitamin K for bones, Folate and iron for our blood and magnesium and potassium for our muscle development.  Base your meals around these green vegetables.  A handful of raw baby spinach with a source of protein like fish, chicken or nuts can be a quick easy meal to pack for lunch.  I buy multiple bags or boxes of spinach a week and use it for lunches, to add to scrambled eggs and to sauté with a little olive oil and garlic as a vegetable for dinner.  I use a whole box at once when sautéing because it cooks down soooo much.  These greens can easily be a part of any meal. 

Berries are coming into season too.  Yahoo!!!  These are my favorites.  The good news is that they are tolerated very well by our patients.  Strawberries are the first berries to appear.  They are also high in vitamin C to provide immunity. They offer manganese for bone health, fiber for regularity & heart health and phytonutrients & anitoxidants for cancer protection.  They are also a clean, super food!  Include berries with your protein in the morning, add to a salad for lunch, eat with cottage cheese as a healthful protein rich snack or eat at the end of your diner as one the healthiest desserts ever! 

Remember that all fruits and vegetables are great filler foods.  They fill you up and take the place of other, less healthy foods you might have eaten in their place.  Instead of chips, eats some carrots, peppers (any color) or raw green beans with hummus.   Of course, protein remains our number one priority, but our fruits and vegetables take a close second.  Stir fry works well at the end of the week.  Cook up all the vegetables that are on their way out and serve with a healthy, protein for a super clean meal.  You won’t need to add any pasta or rice for a couple of reasons.  You probably wouldn’t tolerate these foods because rice, bread and pasta tend to be very sticky and have a hard time traveling through the small passage ways.  Also, you probably wouldn’t have room if you are following our guidelines of protein first, veggies and fruit second and starch (if any) eaten last. 

I found this great recipe for mini eggplant pizzas; see below.  I made them on the grill (yes, I used my grill all winter- call me crazy!)  They are delicious.  Feel free to add any toppings you desire (especially if they are healthy.  ) I also tried these with chicken on top.  I just bought one of those pre cooked chickens and added to the top of the pizza to give a greater protein punch!   I hope you enjoy the recipe and start to include lots more different fruits and vegetables in your diet in these coming months.  Not only do they provide great protective benefits to your health, but they help control calories and support your weight loss efforts.  Enjoy the season!  Jane

Eggplant Pizzas


Canola oil spray
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1-inch rounds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 cup low-fat mozzarella shreds
10 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon diced red onion
Fresh basil, to garnish
Red pepper flakes, to garnish



1.      Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2.      Lightly spray two baking sheets with canola oil spray, lay out the sliced eggplant, and sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

3.      Remove the eggplant trays from the oven, and construct your mini pizzas. Spread out a heaping tablespoon of tomato sauce, follow with a sprinkle of mozzarella, then a few grape tomato slices, and a sprinkle of red onion on every eggplant round.

4.      Set the oven to broil, and place the trays back in for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is crisp and bubbling. Watch the oven closely to make sure they don't burn.

5.      Remove the trays from the oven, top with basil, red pepper flakes, or the garnishes of your choice, and enjoy warm.

Source: Calorie Count


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