Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Create Perfect Parfaits

November 25, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE and Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

Building your own tasty snack from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. Parfaits can be packed with protein, fiber and other nutrients while having few calories and small amounts of saturated fat. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares four tried-and-true parfait recipes perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.

Peachy Protein Parfait:

  • ½ cup Daisy 2% Cottage Cheese (90 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 100 mg calcium)
  • 4 oz. Dole Diced Peaches, no sugar added (1 single serving container) – (30 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 0 gram protein, 0 mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. pistachios (24 nuts) – (80 calories, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 20 mg calcium)

Layer cottage cheese and peaches and top with pistachios.

Nutrition Information:

  • 200 calories
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 3 g fiber
  • 17 g protein
  • 120 mg calcium

Quark* with Crunch:

  • 6 oz. Elli Vanilla Bean Quark (1 single serving container) – (80 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 150 mg calcium)
  • ½ cup Kashi Go Lean Crisp (Cinnamon Crumble) – (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 40 mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. pecans (9 halves, chopped and toasted, if desired) – (98 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, 10 mg calcium)

Mix together Kashi Go Lean Crisp with pecans and layer with Quark.

Nutrition Information:

  • 298 calories
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 7 g fiber
  • 22 g protein
  • 200 mg calcium

*Quark (or qvark) is a mild and creamy fresh cheese of European origin. It is high in protein and low in fat. Elli Quark is available in a variety of flavors.

Berry Bliss Parfait:

  • 3 oz. (1 single serving container) Oikos Triple Zero Greek Vanilla Yogurt (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams protein, 150mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. almonds (14 almonds, chopped and toasted if desired) – (80 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 35mg calcium)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries (96 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 7 grams fiber, 1 grams protein, 0mg calcium)

Mix Greek Yogurt and berries and top with almonds.


  • 296 calories
  • 1 grams saturated fat
  • 15 grams fiber
  • 20 grams protein
  •   185 mg calcium

Grandma’s Granola-Walnut Parfait:

  • 6 oz. (1 single serving container) Yoplait Original French Vanilla Yogurt (150 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 6 grams of protein, 200mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. Nature’s Path Love Crunch Apple Crumble granola (70 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, 10mg calcium)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (7 halves, toasted if desired) – (93 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 0mg calcium)

Layer yogurt and granola, top with walnuts.

Nutrition Information:

  • 313 calories
  • 2 grams saturated fat
  •  1 gram fiber
  •  10 grams protein
  •  210 mg calcium

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Dietitians’ Top 10 “Convenience” Health Foods

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Healthy eating starts with what you put in your cart. You can’t go wrong with keeping these staples on your grocery list to make healthy eating convenient for your busy lifestyle. Cooper Clinic dietitians weigh in with their favorite Top 10 Convenience Health Foods.

  1. Fresh fruit. Fruit is the world’s “original” fast food. Pick a variety for meals and snacks.
  2. Bagged salad greens. Throw a salad together in a pinch. These pre-washed greens can be served up as a side dish or main entrée with chopped chicken or canned tuna.
  3. Fish fillets. Individually frozen fish filets (salmon, cod, halibut, sole, and tilapia) are lean proteins and take just a few minutes to broil.
  4. Whole grains. Frozen corn and 90-second brown rice are good sources of fiber, low sodium, and healthy sides to compliment your meal.
  5. Yogurt. Select nonfat Greek yogurt for a high protein snack or after-dinner treat with fresh fruit topping.
  6. Frozen vegetables. Pop these in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  7. Canned beans. Simply rinse to reduce sodium by 40% and add to salads, soups and stews.
  8. Canned tomatoes. Buy low-sodium tomatoes to add to pasta, soups, sauces and casseroles.
  9. Nuts. One small handful of nuts is a perfect snack to carry you to the next meal.
  10. Oatmeal. One of dietitian’s top-pick cereals as a filling source of fiber and heart healthy breakfast that takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave.

To learn more tips and advice from Cooper Clinic Dietitians, join us March 2 for the Cooper Nutrition Expo! With 40-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health, this event is FREE and open to the public. View more details and the list of vendors here.

Saluting Spaghetti Squash: A Power Food

December 30, 2014 2 comments

Ten fruits/vegetables a day will help lower blood pressure (from potassium) and can cut a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer by almost half.

Winter is the perfect time to try out different varieties of fall and winter-type squash. There are many to choose from and some of the popular standouts are acorn, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti. My personal favorite is spaghetti squash. Like its namesake it can be a perfect swap for noodles in various recipes which call for pasta. It’s a great way to bump up your veggie intake while trimming down on carbs. I love it because it’s delicious and easy to prepare. Spaghetti squash is also referred to as squaghetti, vegetable spaghetti and noodle squash.

What is spaghetti squash?
Spaghetti squash is an oval shaped yellow fruit that contains a stringy flesh and a mild taste. It can also be found in ivory or orange colors; the orange kinds have higher beta-carotene content. The center contains many large, edible seeds.

Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti squash is packed with nutrients including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene. It’s low in calories and fairly low in carbs, especially compared to starchy noodles. In fact, spaghetti has about five times the calories as spaghetti squash

Nutritional Analysis | One cup, cooked
Calories: 42
Fat: <0.5g
Sodium: 28 mg
Carbs: 10 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar: 4 g
Protein: 1 g

Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven or Microwave

With a very sharp knife, chop off the top or bottom of the squash so it will stand flat and secure on your cutting board. Be very careful as you slice it in half lengthwise. Then use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds.

To bake in the oven: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the inside of each half with olive oil and optionally sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place the cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork. Cool for about 15 minutes, or until squash is cool enough to handle. With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands and prepare as desired.

Or to microwave: Place squash cut sides down in a microwavable baking dish. Fill the dish with about one inch of water. Microwave on high for about 12 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the squash. Cool for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is cool enough to handle. With a fork, scrape out the strands and prepare as desired.

Preparation Tips

  • Toss cooked squash in chunky marinara sauce
  • Top with lean protein such as 97% lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
  • Lightly toss strands in olive oil and spices and top with grated parmesan
  • Make a tomato basil spaghetti squash bake
  • Prepare spiced squash pancakes
  • Save the seeds and roast them with olive oil and salt or for a sweet, spicy kick mix in honey, paprika and cayenne pepper

Spaghetti squash is versatile vegetable that is easy to make, delicious to eat and has a high nutrient profile you can’t beat. Try it this season to balance out all the calorie-laden carbs and sweets. You might surprise yourself how good it is and make it a new fall favorite.

Find more recipes from Cooper Clinic Dietitians here.

Go Greek with Yogurt

Studies show that people who regularly eat breakfast are more likely to manage their weight than those who do not.

The Greek yogurt industry is booming. According to the Wall Street Journal it has grown from 1 percent in 2007 to 35 percent in 2014. Greek yogurt now makes up one third of all yogurts in stores and continues to take up more shelf space. A huge part of its popularity is the allure of a higher protein content and less sugar than its regular yogurt counterparts; but this is not the case for all of Greek yogurts so be sure to read the food label to make the healthiest choice.

What is Greek yogurt?

Greek yogurt is made by straining off the liquid whey, which concentrates its protein content, making it two to three times higher in protein than traditional yogurt. It is also lower in lactose (the natural sugar found in milk), and therefore some of its calcium is lost in the straining process. One of reasons it can be more expensive than regular yogurt is because it requires three times the amount of milk. As for the taste, it is naturally creamy and tangy and comes in nonfat, low fat and full fat varieties.

What to look for on the labels:

There are certain nutrients that make some Greek yogurts nutritionally preferable over others; but there is something to please everyone’s taste buds. Look at:

  • Calories: for a lower calorie yogurt, look for 150 calories or less.
  • Total fat: nonfat is best, but if you select one that has less than 2-3 grams per serving, that’s okay, too. More importantly, find one that is low in saturated fat, with less than 1.5-2 grams per serving.
  • Sugar: most flavored Greek yogurts contain more sugar that is added for taste. Look for less than 15-20 grams per serving; note that around 7 grams of the sugar listed comes from the natural sugar in milk.
  • Protein: for a higher protein profile, find a yogurt with at least 10 grams of protein.
  • Calcium: ideally select one that has at least 15 percent daily value (or 150 mg) of calcium per serving.
  • Ingredients: plain nonfat Greek yogurt typically has a short list of ingredients that includes nonfat milk and live active yogurt cultures. For sweetness, flavored yogurt has either evaporated cane juice, sugar or fructose or it has added artificial low calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose or stevia. Some yogurts have fruit or pureed fruit folded into the yogurt or on the side. In some of the newer lower calorie yogurts, chicory root fiber is added.

How different popular brands stack up:

Plain unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt:

  • Fage® Total 0% (6 oz.): 100 calories; 0g fat; 18g protein; 7g sugar; 200mg calcium
  • Chobani® 0% (6 oz.): 100 calories; 0g fat; 18g protein; 7g sugar; 200mg calcium

Flavored nonfat Greek yogurt with added sugar:

  • Fage® (5.3 oz.): 120 calories; 0g fat; 13g protein; 16g sugar; 150mg calcium
  • Chobani® (5.3 oz.): 120 calories; 0g fat; 12g protein; 16g sugar; 150mg calcium
  • Dannon® Oikos (5.3 oz.): 130 calories; 0g fat; 12g protein; 19g sugar; 150mg calcium

Flavored nonfat Greek yogurt with artificial sweeteners:

  • Dannon® Light & Fit Greek (5.3 oz.): 80 calories; 0g fat; 12g protein; 7g sugar; 150mg calcium (with added Sucralose)
  • Yoplait® Greek 100 Calorie (5.3 oz.): 100 calories; 0g fat; 10g protein; 9g sugar; 100mg calcium (with added Sucralose)
  • Chobani® Simply 100 (5.3 oz.); 100 calories; 0g fat; 12g protein; 6g sugar; 150mg calcium (with added Stevia)

Creative ways to incorporate Greek yogurt:

  • Whip up a savory veggie dip or creamy dressing with all the rich texture and zero grams of fat. Mix plain nonfat yogurt with lemon juice, onion flakes, garlic powder and Italian herbs.
  • Swap for high fat mayonnaise in creamy salads and side dishes such as potato, egg, pasta salads and  coleslaw.
  • Blend yogurt in smoothies as a high protein alternative to nonfat milk or protein powder.
  • Substitute sugar-loaded syrup with yogurt as a topping for whole grain waffles or oatmeal pancakes.
  • Create a yogurt parfait for a sweet dessert or satisfying protein and carb snack with layers of yogurt, fruit and a high fiber granola cereal.

For more nutrition tips, download the Cooper Clinic Nutrition brochure, call 972.560.2655 or request an appointment online.

Making Mealtime Successful

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Making Mealtime SuccessfulLet’s bring back family mealtime. Yes, our hectic lives all too often force out this once staple daily activity. But it’s SO important and here’s why. Having a meal together is one of the easiest and most essential activities you can do to encourage healthier eating. And, it’s simpler than you think!

Kids learn by example. As parents, you already know what you say ‘speaks’ to them but what you do ‘screams’ to them. “Do as I say, not as I do,” has no place (setting) at the kitchen table. Mealtimes are key opportunities for kids to learn about foods and preferences. Starting at a very young age, children start to develop lasting impressions about different foods, both positive and negative. We want to encourage the right balance of the what, the when and the where: healthy food choices at regular times in a pleasant setting.

Here are some simple steps to get your family’s nutrition headed in the right direction:

  • Plan it. Review the schedule for the week and pick a day or two when you can eat together as a family. Gradually add another day each week.
  • Pull up a chair. Sit down together at the table to eat. This allows for better conversation with fewer distractions. Try to keep the conversation light and fun. Catch up on the events of the day. Enjoy each other’s company.
  • Turn off the distractions and be more mindful about eating. This can be a challenging step but a rewarding one too. Just turn off the TV, put the cell phones and iPods and any other ‘noise’ out of reach. Focus on enjoying a delicious meal together.
  • Try something new. Each week introduce one new food or recipe. Get your kids involved in the deciding what to try. This will get them pumped up about what they are going to eat. Children are more likely to eat foods if they have a hand in picking them out.
  • Prepare the meal together. It may only take a few minutes. Ask your kids to spin the lettuce, snap the green beans or stir the bowl of pasta. When your kids help make the meal they are more likely to eat what is served.
  • Be creative and make it fun. Kids can make name cards for their seats. They can create a decorative centerpiece for the table or fold the napkins in a creative way (I loved doing that as a kid!).
  • Be a positive role model. You as parents and the older children can help model healthy eating habits. Now that’s rewarding!

Kids who eat with their families are more likely to eat healthier foods. And healthy families are happy families!

For more Health Tips and meal preparation inspiration check out the Cooper Aerobics Pinterest page or Recipes section on our website.

Apples for a Healthy Bite

October 10, 2013 Leave a comment

153755211_applesOctober is National Apple Month! Apples are one of the most popular fruits purchased by American consumers and there are over 700 varieties to be picked! They not only taste great, but they also provide a lot of nutrients. Apples have only 80 calories for a medium-sized fruit. They are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL). They contain good quantities of the antioxidant vitamin C and also beta-carotene and B-complex vitamins. Apples are fiber packed and can be very filling for a power snack before a workout or as a pick-me-up during a mid-day energy slump.

An apple a day really does keep the doctor away! Here are some of the health benefits that make apples so smart to eat. They may:

  • Boost weight loss
  • Improve brain health and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Inhibit growth of cancer cells of the colon, breast and protect against other cancers
  • Improve heart health
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase good bacteria in the gut

Apples are crunchy and satisfying and easy to grab and go. Here are some great ways to pack apples into your routine:

  • Lunch box
  • Car trips
  • Beach/pool trips
  • Plane rides
  • Picnics

Apples are a ready-to-eat fruit. These tips can help you keep them fresher longer:

  • Select apples that are firm to the touch, free of bruises.
  • Wash apples under running water and dry with a paper towel.
  • If slicing or dicing up an apple, store in a mixture of one part lemon juice and three parts water and either eat within 2 hours or refrigerate.
  • Refrigerate apples right away to maintain flavor and slow down ripening. Apples that are stored properly can last 4-6 weeks.

Apples are fun to eat in creative ways:

  • Apple slaw
  • Apple chips
  • Chopped apples as an oatmeal topping
  • Baked apples for dessert
  • Chopped in tuna salad
  • Tossed in a green salad
  • Sliced in a turkey sandwich with melted 2% low fat Swiss cheese
  • Apples smeared with peanut butter
  • Served with a low fat cheese stick for a snack
  • Homemade chunky apple sauce
  • Low-fat high fiber apple berry muffins or apple walnut bread

What’s your favorite apple?

Cooper Aerobics Joins Pinterest

PinterestCooper Aerobics is excited to announce it has expanded its social media presence by joining Pinterest, a digital bulletin board-style photo sharing website. On Pinterest, Cooper Aerobics will share pins and boards to help inspire you to make good health a habit.

January is an especially exciting time for Cooper Aerobics to start pinning. As the New Year begins, many people develop goals and resolutions which focus on health – from increasing physical activity to reducing stress and eating more nutritious foods. At Cooper, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you Get Cooperized  at any stage of your health journey.

To kick off our presence on Pinterest, we will have two boards: Inspirational Quotes and Exercise Moves.

  • Inspirational Quotes: Each day will we add a new quote to inspire you to live better.
  • Exercise Moves: These videos will feature a Cooper Fitness Center expert demonstrating and explaining a new exercise move that you can try.

Let us know the kinds of things you’d like to see on the Cooper Aerobics Pinterest account by leaving a comment below.

For more ways to connect with Cooper Aerobics, visit

Fall Fruit Favorite: Butternut Squash

September 24, 2012 2 comments

Now that it’s fall, it’s a great time to try out some seasonal fruits and veggies! Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty flavor similar to pumpkin.

This squash packs a nutrition punch as a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, C, and E, potassium and magnesium. This fruit has only 45 calories per half cup, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber.

There are a number of ways to enjoy butternut squash. It can be roasted, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, muffins and breads.

One of the most popular ways to prepare butternut squash is roasting. It’s very easy to do. Just cut the squash in half lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake it for 45 minutes or until it is softened. Once done, you can scoop out the inner flesh from the shell and use in a variety of dishes. The seeds taste great roasted on a separate baking sheet and can be nibbled on as a snack or tossed on a salad for some great crunch.

You can also buy a pre-cut squash at the grocery store. I would suggest you do this instead of trying to cut and remove the skin yourself which can be tricky and “dicey.”

Here’s a tried and true recipe for a butternut squash casserole that your family will love.

Do you have any favorite fall fruits or veggies?

Game Day Menu: Tailgating Tips and Recipes

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

By Amber Odom, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian, Cooper Clinic

It’s that time of year again…fall, cooler weather and football season! Whether you are tailgating at the football game with a few friends or hosting a football extravaganza, here are some healthy tips for a winning game plan this season.

What’s on the Menu
Before you head to the game, don’t forget to put lots of ice in the cooler for food safety. Here are a few low-calorie ideas to get your party started for appetizers:

  • Fruit and Veggie Tray (made ahead of time or purchased from the grocery store deli)
  • Baked Lays potato chips, pretzels or multi-grain tortilla chips
  • Dips – salsa/picante sauce, hummus, guacamole or spinach dip
  • Laughing Cow Cheese (Light) with raw veggies, Kashi TLC crackers or reduced-fat Triscuit crackers

Go for the Grill
When you think of tailgating, go for the grill! It can be a fun and healthy way to enjoy your favorite pre-game foods. Here are some grilling ideas for the main entrée/protein:

  • Chicken – use breasts for grilled chicken sandwiches or kabobs; or try marinated chicken for fajitas
  • Fish – try wrapping your favorite fish in foil with fresh herbs, garlic & lemon and it will be ready for the grill, or you can try salmon (marinated in a little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice and basil) grilled on a cedar plank, or shrimp for kabobs
  • Pork – marinated pork tenderloin
  • Burgers – 97% lean ground beef or ground turkey (use 2% milk cheese slices if making cheeseburgers)
  • Hotdogs – try fat-free Ball Park, turkey Oscar Meyer or 97% fat-free Hebrew National (use 2% shredded cheese and 99% fat-free, turkey chili if making chili cheese dogs)

When packing the tailgating mobile, don’t forget to throw in a pot or pan to cook or heat up the veggies/sides:

  • Grilled onions for sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, or fajitas
  • Chunks of tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, squash, and zucchini on skewers for kabobs
  • Baked beans
  • Brown rice to serve with kabobs
  • Whole-wheat buns for burgers and/or hotdogs
  • Whole-wheat tortillas for fajitas
  • Fresh fruit tray
  • Pineapple chunks on skewers for kabobs

By following these tips and meal ideas you’re sure to have a great tailgating bash. Remember – it is not about deprivation but moderation. Enjoy the game!


Amber Odom, a registered and licensed dietitian, joined the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department in 2004 and specializes in preventive and cardiovascular nutrition and weight management. She leads grocery store tours educating attendees on how to navigate the store and select healthier food items and teaches nutrition classes to Cooper teammates as part of the CooperFit wellness program. In 2002, Amber was named “Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year” by the Texas Dietetic Association. She received a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from Texas Tech University and completed a combined Bachelor of Science and internship in nutrition at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Low Sugar Summer Sips

July 5, 2012 4 comments

With summer temps reaching over 100 degrees, there’s nothing more refreshing than a nice, cold drink by the pool. Pass up the high-calorie sodas, sweet teas, sugary sports drinks and lemonade in favor of low-sugar beverages that will quench your thirst and help keep you healthfully hydrated. Drink up!

  1. Infused water, a.k.a spa water: De-stress by the pool with this high-flavor beverage that looks pretty too! All you need is a pitcher of cold water and add some sliced fruit (pear, orange, berries), vegetables (cucumber) or herb leaves (mint, basil). Marinate for 2-8 hours to chill and let flavors infuse. You may invest in an infusion pitcher and all you do is add the cut-up ingredients to the infusion rod. Chill and serve.
  2. Iced cold flavorful tea: Black and green teas are packed with antioxidants and are calorie free. Some varieties taste sweet naturally so there’s no need to add sugar or sweetener. Check out some fruity herbal teas like mango and blueberry. Try sweet-spiced teas like cinnamon and vanilla (or mix them together for a delicious blend). One of my favorites is passion tea derived from the passion flower. If you add a teaspoon of sugar, honey or agave syrup, this will add about 15-20 calories.
  3. Fresh fruit slushy: This beverage far surpasses the sugary slushy drinks from your childhood. Using a blender, mix 1/3 cup of chopped melon or berries with ¾ cup sugar-free sparkling water and ½ cup ice. For less than 20 calories per 12 ounce serving, that’s a bargain!
  4. Juicy spritzer: Skip the store bought sparkling juices that are as sugar-packed as a soft drink. Make your own sparkling juice by mixing 1-2 ounces of your favorite 100% juice to 12 ounces of sparkling water. Squeeze a twist of citrus fruit or float some fresh herbs for extra flair and flavor.

What summer drinks do you enjoy?