March Madness Munchies



This week the March Madness basketball tradition begins!! And how does nutrition relate to March Madness?

Sporting game get-togethers give us an excuse to indulge in unhealthy appetizers and finger foods. March Madness means a lot of basketball games and if you are like many people I know, it probably means thousands of extra calories that you wouldn’t normally consume. Try making a change with these easy March Madness munchies ideas.

Chips and Guac

Get a huge bag of organic tortilla chips (this assures that the corn is not genetically modified) and a few simple ingredients to make guacamole: three avocados, two limes, two cloves of garlic, two small tomatoes, and sea salt and cumin to taste). All you have to do is:

-Mash the avocados

– Squeeze in the juice of two limes

-Mince the garlic and toss in

-Dice the two tomatoes and toss them in

-and add sea salt and cumin to taste.

You can add a little bit of cayenne for a kick!

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

I was going to suggest baked kale chips, but I have found baked sweet potato chips to be a huge hit for parties! While you preheat the oven at 400, simply slice up 2 peeled sweet potatoes very thinly.  Put in a big bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of course salt, ½ teaspoon of paprika and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. These should fit on two large baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes flip over and bake for another 12 minutes.

Shrimp with “Healthy” Cocktail Sauce

Most commercial cocktail sauce has high-fructose corn syrup-you don’t want that! For a healthier cocktail sauce, just mix organic ketchup (it doesn’t have HFCS) with a tablespoon or two of horseradish.

Sliced Apples and Low-Fat Cheddar

Who needs crackers? The crunch of an apple suffices and so much healthier! As an alternative, use sliced cucumbers!

Note: If sodium is a concern of yours, in the recipes that call for salt, try a salt substitute like Herbamare instead! It’s just as tasty, I promise!




Cranberries for Breakfast



In my last blog, I wrote about how I learned so much from cranberries last month at the Cranberry Institute. You better believe I’ve been trying to incorporate amazing, high-in-antioxidant cranberries in a lot of my meals. I came up with this recipe for breakfast! I have oatmeal most days, especially in the winter. This has the same warming effect as oatmeal and it’s absolutely delicious!

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Millet


  • ½ cup millet
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Drizzle of honey or maple syrup (optional)

Directions: Toast dry millet and walnuts in a pot over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add all other ingredients and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes and you have a delicious breakfast! Drizzle with honey or maple syrup for some sweetness.

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

Fall for Butternut Squash this Season


Butternut squash soup

While summer is filled with delicious grilled foods and tasty entrée-size salads, fall marks the season of warming soups. Pull out your immersion blender and plan for some creamy soups from now through the holidays!

One of my favorite creamy soups is made with butternut squash….yes, creamy, but low-fat…how awesome is that?

And this soup is an excellent way to protect yourself (and your kiddos) from all those bugs traveling around. Butternut squash is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. The sweetness of this soup also helps curb your sweet tooth so I often recommend it n weight-loss menus. Enjoy!

Blissful Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


  • 3 pounds butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided, extra if desired
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into ½ inch crescents
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
  • One bay leaf


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Coat a baking sheet with olive oil or use an olive oil spray. Pour the cubes of squash onto the sheet; toss with one teaspoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix to coat thoroughly and bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat for 20 minutes, until caramelized.
  • Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.
  • Add veggie broth, sweet potato, celery, apple, bay leaf, and nutmeg. Add the roasted squash. Stir to distribute all ingredients, cover pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes
  • Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Uncover and use an immersion blender to blend soup until completely smooth. Alternatively, work in batches with a blender or food processor.





Win a Copy of The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook



Cover Meal Prep.jpgToby Amidor is an extraordinary dietitian; she has been featured on Dr. Oz and has been quoted by dozens of health, fitness, and nutrition magazines, including: Oxygen Magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life,, Reader’s Digest,, Women’s Health, Redbook, Men’s Journal, Huffington Post, Everyday Health, and more.

I am so excited about her brand new cookbook, THE HEALTHY MEAL PREP COOKBOOK. Toby provides practical and simple solutions with easy-to-follow directions. She shows you how simple it is to enjoy fresh and flavorful meals on even the most hectic days.

I have posted two of her amazing recipes earlier this month: her Root Vegetable and Bean Stew and her Coconut Lime Flounder in Parchment.

I caught up with Toby recently and asked her a few questions about the book and her lifestyle. Her answers will inspire you.

At the end of this blog, I am going to ask you readers a question and if you answer it in the comments section of the blog, you have a chance to win a copy of Toby’s new cookbook!

Kelly Springer: What inspired you to develop this cookbook?

Toby Amidor: I am a working mother of three kids, so I am very busy. If I don’t plan my meals, then my kids will be eating take out or fast food every night. Since I want them to eat healthy, plus I am on a budget meal prepping has become second nature. I wanted to share my tips and tricks with meal prepping with others so they can plan for healthy meals too.

KS: What type of health benefits would you anticipate people to reap by using this book as a go-to for their home-cooked meals?

TA: There are several health benefits that someone would have by following The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. First is portion control. All of my recipes list exact portions and measurements for every ingredient, including salt. Once the dish is done, you measure out the portions and store it for the week. Calorie control is a key component of weight loss and weight management. Second, you’ll eat healthier. Instead of stopping at a fast food joint or hitting up the vending machine, you’ll be armed with healthy meals and snacks throughout the week. Last, you’ll reduce mid-week stress. Many folks become stressed to get healthy food on the table, especially during the hustle and bustle during the work week. When everything is planned, it helps decrease stress related to weeknight meals.

KS: Do you consider the recipes to be kid-friendly? If so, tell me about a couple recipes that you think that kids will particularly love?

TA: Many of the dishes are kid-friendly recipes including my Apple Walnut Loaf, Wild Blueberry Whole Grain Scones, Lighter Panzanella Salad (my 12-year old LOVES it!), Maple Orange Glazed Carrots, and Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken.

KS: If you had to pick three top-favorite recipes in this book, what would they be?

TA: That’s a tough question! That’s like asking a parent “who is your favorite child!” But if I had to choose it would be:

  • Lighter Panzanella Salad
  • Apricot Chicken Drumsticks
  • No Bake Maple Cinnamon Bars

Okay readers, now I have a question for you!

“How would a cookbook filled to the brim with easy to put together, delicious healthy meals benefit you and your family?

Answer this question by this Friday September 1st at 5 p.m. EST and I will choose a winner over the weekend to receive a signed copy of Toby’s book!

~Kelly Springer, RD,  MS, CDN


Root Vegetable and Bean Soup



(Serves 4)

I have sad news for you: winter in Central New York will be here before you know it. Halloween is just over two months away and the snow has been known to start flying that early around here. But hang in there; I am going to help you get through with warming recipes.

Try this delicious soup of Toby Amidor’s when the coldness starts making its presence known. I guarantee you will love it! This is just one of several of her amazing recipes in her new cookbook, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. Click here to check out this new favorite cookbook of mine. Enjoy!


  • 1 packed cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained
  • and rinsed
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Stack spinach and cut in ribbons Work in batches if
  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmer Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, and turnip, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, and stir to combine. Add the vegetable broth, mirin, and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the bay Stir in the spinach

ribbons and black pepper.

REFRIGERATE: Store the cold soup in a resealable container for up to 1 week. Reheat in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.

FREEZE: Store the cooled soup in individual freezer-safe containers or in one large container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.


Coconut Lime Flounder in Parchment



Every now and then, I meet a nutrition expert that I admire. Toby Amidor is one of them. You may have seen her on Dr. Oz or quoted in Readers Digest, Redbook, Women’s Health, Oxygen Magazine, or many other publications. She is a nutrition expert extraordinaire and I am so excited about her new cookbook, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook, which will be released in just a couple weeks!

This is one of my favorite dishes in the cookbook and it only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook! Enjoy! For more delicious recipes, be sure to visit

Coconut Lime Flounder in Parchment


  • ¼ cup coconut cream (not coconut milk)
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium
  • soy sauce
  • 2 limes, cut into
  • 6 rounds each
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 (5-ounce) flounder or
  • cod fillets
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut, divided


  1. If cooking the fish right away, preheat the oven to 400oF.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut cream, lime zest, and soy sauce.
  3. Place 1 piece of parchment paper flat on the counter.
  4. On the lower half lay down 3 rings of lime and then a layer of 3 basil leaves. Place the fish on top of the basil and lime.
  5. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the coconut mixture over the fish and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut.
  6. Fold the parchment paper in half over the fish. Working your way around, gently roll the edge of the open sides of the paper, tucking the ends under the packet. Repeat this step for the remaining three packets.
  7. At this time, you can store the raw-fish packets in the refrigerator and cook as needed.
  8. To cook, place up to two packets on a baking sheet and roast until the fish is opaque and reaches an internal temperature of 145oF, about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut several 3-inch slits in the packets.

REFRIGERATE: Store the uncooked packets for up to 3 days. Once cooked, transfer the fish and seasonings to a resealable container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Crazy for Cumbers Salad



A cucumber is one veggie that appeals to most people, even kids!

This low-calorie favorite is great for much-needed hydration especially this time of year–it is 96 percent water!

The water and combined nutrients in cucumbers also help to flush toxins out of your system. Research indicates that they can even help dissolve kidney stones.

Cucumbers are great for your heart too–the sterols in cucumber help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

And don’t forget how they help your pearly whites—read this blog where I talk about foods that literally clean your teeth and cucumbers are one of them!

Here’s the perfect summer salad for cucumber lovers!

Crazy for Cucumbers Salad

– 2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced
– 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
– 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
– 1 teaspoon of honey
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

– Mix cucumbers and onions together.

– Mix the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl, whisking them well.

– Toss the cucumbers and onions into the dressing mixture; chill for at least a half hour and serve!