Posts Tagged ‘Cindy Kleckner’

Grab and Go Grub for the Lunchbox Warriors

September 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Lunch box warriorsLong gone are those grade school brown bag lunches of mushy PB & J sandwiches and warm sodas. Whether tucked in the latest trendy insulated lunch sack or favorite “character” lunchbox, taking the noonday meal to school has never been more in vogue. It’s like a picnic everyday!

Packing a lunch can be a balancing act for parents. Taking into consideration your child’s favorite foods, strong dislikes and special nutritional needs, can present a challenge. Planning ahead to have a variety of food on hand and make lunches the night before can prevent some of the morning mania.

Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, Cindy Kleckner offers tips and tricks to turn the science of nutrition into the art of packing a delicious and nutritious lunch. The goal—more food in their tummy and less in the trashcan.

The key is to get your kids involved in the lunch making adventure. Choose My Plate is an excellent resource with tools to provide information and guidance on the basics of feeding your kids. A good start is using color as a quick visual for planning a balanced meal. Is there something green? Red? Orange? Yellow? Building a better brown bag lunch incorporates as many food groups and colors as possible.

Use a mix and match concept for fun and creative combinations:

  • Sandwiches made using a cookie cutter
  • Wholegrain cereal, fruit, yogurt and nuts
  • Popcorn, apples, carrots with hummus and a cheese stick
  • Crackers, cheese, ham, cherry tomatoes and a Clementine
  • Chilled Mac n’ Cheese with diced lean ham, broccoli and melon cubes
  • Wrap sandwiches using leftover rotisserie chicken mixed with light mayo, celery and diced apples
  • Egg salad in a whole grain pita pocket, lettuce salad, trail mix and a peach

Use these examples for the lunchbox or use them as an inspiration to create your own! Try a rotation menu chart and vary the meal with the day of the week. Rely on leftovers from the fridge or try some quick fix recipes (below) that can be made in a flash.  Sprinkle in a dash of fun by adding a joke-a-day!

Quick Fix Recipes

 Deli Fajita

  • (1) 6-inch wholegrain tortilla
  • 2 oz. thin sliced lean ham, chicken or turkey
  • Finely shredded lettuce
  • Finely diced tomato
  • 2 Tbsp grated reduced-fat cheese
  • 1-2 slices avocado
  • 1 Tbsp Light Ranch dressing

Layer ingredients on tortilla, roll and eat it up!

Add this joke for fun – What is an astronaut’s favorite sandwich? Launch meat!


Lunchbox B-A-N-A-N-A Split

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp combination of chopped strawberries, crushed pineapple, nuts, granola and dried coconut.

Slit an unpeeled banana lengthwise in half, almost all the way through. Spread the peanut butter on the inside. Add the chopped mixture; close the banana, wrapping the peel around the banana. Place in plastic container and when ready for lunch, peel and eat!

And add a joke: Why did the banana peel? It forgot it’s suntan lotion!

English Muffin Pizza

  • 1 English Muffin split
  • 2 Tbsp Pizza Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp favorite veggies
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Spread 1 Tbsp sauce on each English Muffin half. Cover muffins with veggies and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Good either cold or hot in the microwave!

And one more joke for laughs: Do you know why bakers’ kids are so bored? They have “muffin” to do!

With a little effort, planning and involving your child, lunches can be well-balanced, tasty and appealing. You’ll have your lunch warrior go from “yuck” to “yum” before they can even think of negotiating for that Twinkie snack!

Cindy Kleckner RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian at the Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch and author of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Cindy work with clients on lifestyle intervention with nutrition, helping to improve their diet, lose excess pounds, and enjoy optimal health. For more information or to schedule a nutrition consultation, call 214-383-1000 ext 2001.

Savor Healthy Eating This Summer

Summer is a time for bare feet, swimming at the beach, backyard barbecues and vacation adventures! Kids are out of school and home from college and the leisure days can get you out of your normal routine. Cindy Kleckner, RD, LD, a registered and licensed dietitian at Cooper Fitness Center shares how to brighten up your family’s eating habits and make good nutrition a part of your summer.

Explore the local farmers markets. Take your family on a field trip and enjoy the open air markets. Everyone can pick a new food to try, which gets kids involved in the process and makes them more likely to eat fruits and veggies! When local produce is at its peak, getting your nine servings in a day effortless. You’ll also support your local economy and community.

Enjoy the wide variety of summer fruits and veggies. It’s easy to sink into a vegetable rut. Summer includes a colorful variety that gives your body a nutrient kick! Find seasonal recipes, purchasing tips, and much more from Fruits & Veggies More Matters.

Use the backyard grill to say yes to simple suppers. Cook the whole meal on the grill: meat, seafood and veggies. Combine a few simple ingredients for exceptional flavor. You’ll enjoy easy prep time and real cost savings using a variety of grill baskets or Reynolds Wrap® foil packets.

Downsize your dinnerware by switching from a 12-inch dinner plate to a 10-inch plate can help reduce calorie consumption by 20-22 percent. That can equate to nearly two pounds of weight loss per month, without changing any other aspect of your diet.

Get inspiration for a new recipe from cookbooks but pay more attention to flavors than instructions. Experiment with different herbs and spices. Let your palate embrace a spirit of discovery with bold and unique flavors. Science continues to reveal the promise of many health benefits from the antioxidants in these treasures.

Hydrate often. The Texas summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration. Start your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep drinking at each meal, as well as before, during and after workouts. Carry a reusable bottle as a reminder to drink up! For some added flavor squeeze a slice of lemon, lime or orange. For workouts lasting longer than 45 minutes, grab a sport drink to help maintain energy and increase endurance.

Eat healthy on the go. While at the beach or pool steer clear of the concessions by planning ahead. Pack a cooler with ice, bottled water, sandwiches on wholegrain bread, pita chips, hummus, yogurt, nuts, and lots of fruit. As summer months heat up, remember to put your health in center stage and you’ll reap the benefits year round!

For more healthy eating tips from Cindy Kleckner, grab the family for a culinary class with emphasis on healthy cooking at Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch.

A Guilt-Free Thanksgiving

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

The holidays are upon us! In between the hustle and bustle of holiday festivities and pulling together Christmas lists, it can be easy to forget to control our appetites and calories as delicious foods abound in our homes and at parties.

Thanks to our amazing Cooper Wellness and Cooper Clinic dietitians, there are ways to turn your  traditional Thanksgiving recipes into a healthy feast for all. Sneak in nutrients along with the decadence in these crowd-pleasing recipes:

Don’t forget, a key to fending off holiday weight gain is knowing that the secret of healthy eating is all about moderation, not deprivation.

If you’d like to learn more about the secrets to a healthy Thanksgiving, join Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cindy Kleckner in her upcoming culinary demonstration, “Tweaking the Turkey Tradition.” Click here to register.