Pasta with Butternut Squash Red Pepper sauce

This nutrient-packed dish can be made easily on a weekday. It is great for people with dietary restrictions, as it is dairy free, vegan, and can be made with gluten free pasta to be Celiac safe! Pair it with a fresh garden salad to make a balanced meal.

Prep Time: 22 minutes                 Cook Time 18 minutes             Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta, such as penne or ziti
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 3 cups (1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Chopped parsley and parmesan cheese, for topping (omit for dairy free)



  1. Boil a large pot of water on your stove top. Peel and dice a small butternut squash. Place the pieces of squash in the pot, and boil until the squash is tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. While that boils, remove the stems and seeds from the pepper. Coarsely chip it, and add it t the boiling water about 3 to 4 minutes before the squash is done.
  3. In another pot, cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. Place the tender squash, peppers, olive oil, minced garlic, salt pepper, and almond milk in a blender. Blend until a thick sauce forms. Add more milk if you would like a thinner sauce.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 283, Calories from Fat 63, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g, Sodium 30mg, Potassium 253mg, Total Carbohydrate 45g, Fiber 11g, Protein 10g, Vitamin C 31%

Recipe courtesy of:
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Restaurant Portion Distortion

Did you know approximately 92% of restaurants in America, both chain and independently owned, serve oversized portions, providing too many calories than any individual may need in one sitting? To make matters worse, studies have found that most people will overeat when they are served more food than they need, even if the calorie information is provided on the menu!

Does this mean we avoid eating out all together? No! Eating out should be in moderation in a balanced, healthy diet, but it is a large part of our social lives. There’s so much to enjoy about eating out, such as convenience, trying new foods that you normally wouldn’t make at home, and spending quality time with family.

To enjoy a meal away from home, but avoid overeating, try some of these tips and tricks for managing portion sizes:

  • Order vegetable-based appetizers to fill up on, such as grilled vegetable plates, a salad, non-cream based soup, or skip the appetizer all together.
  • Order an appetizer as your main entrée.
  • Order a double portion of vegetables as a side to your entrée to add volume without adding a lot of calories.
  • Ask for a to-go container to come out with your food. Put half the portion in the to-go box before you start eating. With this trick, you’ll also have a meal for the next day!
  • Sharing is caring! Split an entrée with whomever you’re dining with.
  • Ask to cut the entrée size in half, or for a lunch-sized portion.
  • Try a tapas-style restaurant! Tapas are small portioned plates that one typically orders multiple of to make a full meal. They are easy to share, and allow you to try multiple items on the menu. Limit yourself to ordering 2-3 plates.
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New Year’s 10-Minute Treadmill Workout

As we enter the New Year, our goals are set high but our schedules remain as busy as ever. Don’t let your travel schedule get in the way of you fulfilling your New Year’s resolution or hinder you’re ability to maintain or improve your health and fitness. If you’re on the road or in a time crunch, give this 10-minute HIIT treadmill workout a try:

Start with a 3-5 minute warm up walk/jog

  • Set 1: 10 sec. run / 10 sec. rest
  • Set 2: 15 sec. run / 15 sec. rest
  • Set 3: 20 sec. run / 20 sec. rest
  • Set 4: 30 sec. run / 30 sec. rest
  • Set 5: 30 sec. run / 3-5 minute cool down at walk/jog pace


  • The workout protocol above features a 1:1 work to rest ratio. That ratio can be modified if needed to accommodate your current fitness level. For example, if using a 1:2 work to rest ratio, Set 1 would be 10 sec. on / 20 sec. off. Set 2 would be 15 sec. on / 30 sec. off, etc.
  • The speed and incline can be adjusted throughout the workout based on perceived exertion. The workout should be challenging, yet reasonable.
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PLC Recipe: Chicken & Rice Soup with Turmeric (low FODMAP)

Makes 4 servings


1 ½ pounds skinless chicken breast

8 cups water

8 thyme sprigs

½ to 1 1/2 tablespoons turmeric (adjust to your taste)

2 large celery stalks chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice


  1. Add chicken, water, 6 sprigs thyme, turmeric, celery, salt and pepper to medium stock pot over high heat.
  2. Bring mixture to boil for about 20 minutes (after 20 minutes, check chicken with meat thermometer…165 degrees F is adequate). Shut off heat, cover pot, and let sit for one hour.
  3. Remove chicken breast and shred
  4. Add carrots to broth, put heat back on high and boil for 5 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.
  5. Add in shredded chicken and cooked rice and reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Skim out sprigs of thyme.
  7. Enjoy!
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Happy New Year!

As we welcome 2018, here are 3 nutrition trends the PLC Dietitians feel are worth keeping your eye on throughout the year!

Probiotics: Most of us are familiar with probiotics found in yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. But, with a demand for other probiotic options, food companies have responded with probiotic-enriched foods like granola and chips. Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Granola and Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps are a few products that we’ve sampled recently. We feel that more research is needed to determine newer probiotic products can provide the same gut-health & immune boosting benefits as their more familiar counterparts and hopefully we’ll know more in the coming months.

A Low FODMAP diet: If you suffer from IBS or other digestive issues, eating a low FODMAP diet may be a way to get some relief. FODMAP is an acronym for various types of sugars: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are small in size and will therefore draw fluid in the gut that results in increased delivery of water through the bowel. FODMAPs are also poorly absorbed in the small intestine so they continue along the digestive tract to the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, which produces gas leading to bloating, discomfort and abdominal pain. With a Low FODMAP diet, you reduce foods that contain any of the FODMAPs (a small sampling: apples, garlic, watermelon, honey, milk, lentils, sugar alcohols, etc.) for 2-6 weeks. Once symptoms improve, you can gradually re-introduce foods. Your PLC Dietitian can help to determine if a Low FODMAP diet is appropriate for you and can provide guidance on a low FODMAP diet if needed.

Spices: Adding spices to food and beverages has always been a great way to add flavor without calories. But, now, the focus is on the potential health benefits of spices like turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, etc. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory potential, cinnamon may help with blood sugar control and has anti-fungal properties, and black pepper aids digestion. We have already been recommending some patients incorporate particular spices into their regimen to help with their various issues and we are excited to see what new research brings to the world of spices this year; we’ll share what is discovered along the way!

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Balance to Maintain Stability

Although there are some changes one can’t avoid including deterioration of your hearing, vision, and coordination, research suggests that its worth taking steps even risking a few missteps to slow the decline in one’s balance.

Loss of balance makes us vulnerable to falls, which can be dangerous at any age.  Falls are the fifth leading cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

As an Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer and Titleist Performance Instructor, I think its smart to start working on exercises that address balance and stability ;Exercises that are designed to challenge the complex system of reflexes that govern our stability and spatial orientation.

Many people are surprised to find out how their balance declines over time, and individuals often underestimate how important balance is to navigating the hazards in their daily lives, from escalators to uneven sidewalks and grassy hills.

Many people don’t think about balance when they think about their exercise routines.  Most think of weight loss, or they want to get ready for a wedding or reunion or something.  Whether you’re preparing for an event or doing your regular exercise routine you should include exercises that address balance.  Doing so has the added advantage of helping with weight loss due to the large muscles groups working to assist with stability, therefore enhancing the caloric expenditure.

Initially everyone should start with balancing exercises on the floor with one foot, before progressing to challenging equipment.

The following are a few of the products aimed at different levels of fitness and expertise:

Balance Pads, Bosu Ball, Dyna Disc, Bongo Board and there are other products being created for people whose balance has decreased, whether through age or illness, and are geared towards preventing falls.

Some of the low tech approaches you can incorporate into your everyday lives include standing on a pillow, walking on grass as opposed to concrete, or looking around and moving your head while walking as opposed to looking straight, standing on one leg in various poses, which you can do anywhere waiting for the bus, or brushing your teeth, in the bathroom all of which challenge and improve your balance.

The take away message is clear:  To Maintain Stability as you get older, you need to challenge Balance.

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How Can I Remember to Take My Vitamin & Mineral Supplements?

We all know that life can be hectic, especially this time of year. With the endless “to-do” list, holiday celebrations & family gatherings, it can challenging to fulfill even the most mundane daily responsibilities. We may forget to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, or consume  our vitamin and/or mineral supplements.

Although missing an occasional supplement may not present any immediate harm,  continued missed doses can lead to nutrient depletion and possibly deficiencies. To help you get back on track with your daily supplement routine, we’ve put together a few simple tips.

First, take supplements with snacks or meals. This will help prevent stomach upset often associated with taking supplements on an empty stomach. In addition, fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) are better absorbed when consumed with food containing a source of dietary fat (think peanut butter, low-fat dairy, etc.) If you’re taking a medication, be sure to check with your doctor to determine the right time of day to take vitamin supplements. And always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.

Second, set a daily alarm or calendar reminder to serve as a quick reminder. For a low-tech option, keep a post-it on your desk or refrigerator. Also, keep supplements in plain site to serve as a visual reminder. Instead of a medicine cabinet, try to kitchen counter or your office desk.

Third, train your brain. Try to keep a consistent schedule when you take your supplement. Overtime, you will get used to this as part of your routine. For a back up, store extra supplements in your lunch, purse, car or bag. This way if you do forget, you will have a visual reminder later on throughout the day.

Lastly, be aware that your nutrient needs may change over time. Always discuss your supplements with your healthcare professional and follow your healthcare professional’s advice when it comes to determining the right vitamins and amounts for your needs.


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