Earlier this year, Sound Dietitians presented a series of Instant Pot / Slow cooker classes. I’m going to be honest, before planning these classes I only used my instant pot for a few things: Bone Broth/Stock, Meats, Stews, and occasionally rice. In planning for these classes, I dug into every possible way to use this multi-talented kitchen device. I was most curious about the elusive “yogurt” button. After lots of internet research and a couple of trial runs, the yogurt function is now my favorite feature! Below I have outlined exactly what you need to do, step-by-step, to make your own yogurt in an instant pot.
To make homemade yogurt:
*Sanitize your pot*
I’ve tried a couple of ways and the best way is to fill your inner pot (the lining that is a stainless steel pot) with water and put it directly on the stove like you would any other pot. Bring the water to a boil and then allow to boil for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, dump the water out, dry, place back into the instant pot base, and you are ready to start!
Pour 1/2 gallon of whole milk into your instant pot. (Note* make sure your milk is homogenized. The first couple times I made it without homogenized milk and although it still tasted good, it wasn’t the classically creamy look that you expect from yogurt.)
Lock the lid on and turn the valve to sealing. Typically the sealing feature is for when you are pressure cooking but I do it anyway, it won’t affect your end product either way.
Press the yogurt button a couple of times until the screen of your instant pot reads BOIL. The pot will automatically get to work and you can go about your routine. Perhaps throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. The pot will beep many times to signal that the milk is to temperature. Take a thermometer and make sure the milk is at 180 degrees F.
For the next step you can either let the pot cool on the counter or if you’re impatient (like me), fill a large bowl with ice water, and rest the inner pot in the ice to cool it down quickly. When the thermometer reads between 110 and 115, you are ready for the next step.
Remove the film that has accumulated on the top of the yogurt. Whisk in 2 Tbsp plain whole milk yogurt with live active cultures. Make sure the cultures have been added after the pasteurization process otherwise the heat from the pasteurization will have killed all those beneficial bacteria. And without those live active cultures, your yogurt won’t be a success. It’s also of the utmost importance that there is no sweetener added to this yogurt. Any added sugar, syrup, sweetener, flavor, or fruit will inhibit your yogurt success as well.
Once your yogurt is fully incorporated into your warm milk, add the inner pot back into the instant pot base, close and lock the lid, place the valve in sealing position, press the yogurt button until you see “8:00” (8 hours) on the screen. The pot will start and you can forget about the yogurt for the next 8 hours.
The pot will beep again and read “yogurt” to let you know that the yogurt is done. Open it up, give it a good whisk and store in the fridge in an airtight container for 10-14 days (if it lasts that long! Mine gets devoured in about a week).
My favorite way to enjoy it:
1/2 cup homemade yogurt
1 tsp flax oil
1 tsp honey
1-2 tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
2 tbsp post shredded wheat (that I blitzed up in the food processor)
1 Tbsp hazelnuts or walnuts (also blitzed up in the food processor)
A handful of your favorite berries
To see the video of how I make this, click here → https://youtu.be/7BqD78SD24M
Gillian Schultz, MHSc, RDN, CD
A whole foods diet is one that is made up of foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Foods are minimally processed and there is an emphasis on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, tubers, legumes, lean animal proteins and plant proteins, and low-fat dairy. It is possible to incorporate whole foods into any diet style and has been shown to be beneficial for overall health and wellness. This is a simple method of eating and one that is high in nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We've gathered up some of our favorite recipes that showcase these whole foods throughout the day!
Healthy Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies: Monique of Ambitious Kitchen
Veggie Scrambled Egg Muffins: Anne Mauney of fANNEtastic Food
Warm Kale Breakfast Salad: Kaleigh McMordie RD of Lively Table
Zucchini, Bacon, and Basil Side Salad: Diana Rogers RD LDN of Sustainable Dish
Mediterranean Hummus Party Dip: Laura Ligos MBA RD CSSD of The Sassy Dietitian
Whole Wheat Flatbread: Lindsay Livingston RDN of The Lean Green Bean
Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos: Alexis Joseph MS RD LDN of Hummusapien
Thai Butternut Squash Soup: Lily Nichols RDN CDE of Pilates Nutritionist
Quinoa With Vegetables and Maple Ginger Tahini: Lizzie Streit MS RDN LD of It’s a Veg World After All
Simple Shakshuka: McKell Hill of Nutrition Stripped
Sesame-Crusted Salmon: Rachael DeVaux RD of Rachael’s Good Eats
Vegetarian Ramen Noodle Soup: Rachael Hartley RD CDE CLT of Rachael Hartley Nutrition
The cheapest vegetables are the ones already in my garden. No need to go to the store... and I can continue social distancing while also getting some sunshine.
This past Fall I was a little busy and left a few things to "winter over" in our mild PNW climate. Now they are coming back full-force. The flowering bok choy in particular is a bright spot in my day and the bees are enjoying it too.
Below is a family favorite recipe for grilling bok choy, followed by a link to a post from last year all about this amazingly versatile vegetable from RDN, Nancy.
Cheers to Good Eating on a Budget!
Tangy Grilled Bok Choy
Fresh Bok Choy, rinsed and patted dry - for baby bunches leave whole, for medium bunches cut in half leaving the stem intact and for large bok choy you can grill individual whole leaves
For fun info & another recipe, click: Bok Choy: A Vegetable With Many Names
To me, asparagus is the harbinger of Spring. There is something so hopeful about seeing that first bunch in the grocery store or, better yet, seeing those first stalks peeking through the soil in your own garden. I like the thicker stalks from more mature plants because they are more tender. There is a higher ratio of "heart" and less stringy outer cellulose as the diameter increases.
This time of year, asparagus goes into everything: sauteed in an egg scramble for breakfast, fresh in salads for lunch and roasted for dinner. To keep asparagus fresh and crisp in your fridge, place the whole bunch in a glass jar or measuring cup with about an inch of water in the bottom and then cover loosely with a plastic bag. We often use only a couple spears at a time, so this method helps the bunch last over an entire week.
If your oven is not available, use your stove-top. For our Simply Sauteed Asparagus recipe, click here.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using an 8-9 inch oven-safe skillet, heat oil over medium on the stove-top. Sauté onions and chopped asparagus pieces, followed by adding in greens, garlic and other vegetables (eg tomatoes) until desired tenderness. Keep asparagus tips separate for arranging on top if you wish.
In a separate medium-large bowl, whisk eggs, liquid, salt and pepper until foamy. Pour mixture into skillet and cook on the stove-top over medium-low heat until beginning to set on the bottom. Sprinkle with cheeses and arrange asparagus spears on top. Move skillet to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until eggs are set. Top with fresh herbs as desired.
Nutrition per 1/4th recipe: 200 Calories; 14g Fat; 14g Protein; 4g Carbs; 2g Fiber; 320mg Sodium
These days grocery shopping and cooking may look a bit different. Pantries are filling up with canned vegetables, rice, pasta, and other shelf-stable items. Freezers are being stocked with frozen produce and heat-and-eat meals. There are many different ideas about which types of processed foods are “healthy” and which are not. Is fresh better than canned? Does freezing destroy nutrients? Check out our answers below, along with a list of nutritious pantry staples and a roundup of mouth-watering recipes!
Is fresh better than frozen?
Both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients! Frozen produce is a great option because the nutrients are “locked in,” while fresh produce can lose nutrients over time as it sits on your counter or in your fridge. Frozen produce also lasts longer! This doesn’t mean that you should only buy frozen produce - but know that frozen is just as nutritious as fresh.
Does freezing destroy nutrients?
As you can probably guess from the previous answer - no (at least not very quickly)! Many fruits and vegetables are frozen right after they’re harvested and are frozen at peak ripeness. This means that the vitamins in these fruits and vegetables are preserved in the freezing process. Your frozen produce may start to lose nutrients over time, but you should be able to store your produce for up to a year.
Is canned food as good as fresh?
Canned fruits and vegetables are also often canned at peak ripeness, which ensures the best flavor and lots of nutrients. Some water-soluble vitamins may be lost in the canning process, but this process can also increase the availability of nutrients, as well! For example, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce provide antioxidants that are better absorbed when cooked!
Tip: The Canned Food Alliance has some great resources. Check out how long your canned foods will last and how to read can codes on their website!
Pantry & Freezer Staples
Fruits & Vegetables:
Now you may find yourself wondering what to do with all these items. We reached out to our dietitian colleagues for a list of 13 recipes that you can make using pantry staples and items from your freezer!
Coconut Date Balls: Kelsey of Simply Nourished Home
Daal Makhani (Coconut Lentil Curry): Shahzadi of Desi-licious RD
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili: Megan Byrd of The Oregon Dietitian
Homemade Nut & Seed Butter: Registered dietitian Judy Barbe, author of Your 6-week Guide to LiveBest
Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken: Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Sound Bites Nutrition LLC
Spiced Healthy Roasted Chickpeas: Amy Gorin Nutrition
Chickpea Meatballs: Jamie of Dishing Out Health
Salmon & Corn Fritters: Chrissy of Dairy Free for Baby
Roasted Frozen Broccoli - 5 Ways! Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of It’s a Veg World After All
West African Peanut Stew with Chicken: Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, Owner of Kara Lydon Nutrition and The Foodie Dietitian Blog
Sweet Potato Oatmeal Bake with Blueberries: Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN of Bucket List Tummy
Slow Cooker Vegan Chili: Melissa Altman-Traub MS, RDN, LDN
Zero Waste Cinnamon Apple Chickpea Cookies: Erin Hendrickson, RDN
~Leah Swanson, MHSc, RDN, CD
With all the paper towels, soap and hand-sanitizer flying off the shelves, it leaves one to wonder... "What were people doing with their hand hygiene before COVID19?"
I am glad this public health message has gotten out....washing hands really does make a difference! Next step - let's also get back to basics with dietary measures you can be taking to stay well.
It might be as easy as a bowl of soup - see recipe below.
But first, some information on nutrients for immune function.
What are basic Nutrients for Immune Function?
Nutrients that are fundamental to immunity include Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Polyphenols. A strong immune system requires healthy eating habits all year round. In fact, a quick burst of Vitamin C does not provide protection against catching a seasonal cold. Focusing on nutrient-rich foods and healthy lifestyle behaviors can help you and children in your care stay a step ahead of germs all year round.
Dietary Sources of Nutrients:
The following recipe was created by our intern, Sada Ijaz, last Autumn for a Childcare Provider Workshop to promote healthful intake of the providers and of the kiddos they care for. It is packed full of nutrients, as well as providing hydration. Enjoy the warmth and coziness of this self-care soup.
Happy Hand Washing ~ Megan, RDN
Back-To-Basics Vegetable Soup
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! This holiday tends to revolve around all things sweet and decadent! Chocolate, candy, baked treats, and even sweet drinks (think strawberry milk, sweet seasonal coffee drinks, and sugary cocktails). Whether you like to brave the crowds and dine out or make it a cozy night at home, the treats are abundant!
Although splurging on a decadent dinner and a sweet treat or two is 100% okay, maybe you’re looking for something a little lighter? Check out these tasty recipes all developed by Registered Dietitians for some Valentine’s Day inspiration. And you don’t have to limit yourself to just dessert! We’ve included recipes for all hours of the day, including breakfast, appetizers, snacks, sides, dinner, and of course, dessert.
Coconut Cherry Dark Chocolate Waffles (Vegan): Sharon Palmer of The Plant-Powered Dietitian
Chunky Chocolate Hazelnut Granola: Kaleigh McMordie of Lively Table
Flourless Blender Chocolate Pancakes: Jamie Vespa of Dishing Out Health
Apps, Snacks, and Sides
Goat Cheese and Concord Grape Juice Crostini: Amy Gorin Nutrition
Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus: Brittany of Your Choice Nutrition
Balsamic Roasted Winter Vegetables with Goat Cheese: Chelsea LeBlanc Nutrition
Valentine’s Dark Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie: Jessica Levinson
Dark Chocolate Walnut Butter: Jenny Shea Rawn MS, MPH, RD of My Cape Cod Kitchen
Turnip and Beet Gratin with Gruyere: Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of It’s a Veg World After All
Pomegranate-Cranberry Chicken: Marie of Healthy Ideas Place
Salmon en Papillote: Peggy Korody of RD4Health
No Bake Sugar Cookie Bites: Meals with Maggie
Easy Vegan Chocolate Mousse: Ginger of Champagne Nutrition
Chocolate Cranberry Almond Bark: Liz Weiss of Liz’s Healthy Table
4-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Raspberry Hearts: Andrea of Beautiful Eats & Things
Vegan Brownie Pizza: Chelsey Amer Nutrition
Vegan Turtles: Kelly Jones Nutrition
Chocolate Cherry Truffles: Amanda of The Nutritionist Reviews
Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes: Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, Owner of Kara Lydon Nutrition and The Foodie Dietitian Blog
Dark Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Raspberries: Marie Dittmer, MA, RDN of Healthy Ideas Place
Mediterranean foods are typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean proteins like fish, healthy fats like olive oil, fresh herbs, and the occasional glass of red wine. It has also been the most widely researched style of eating and has shown to have heart health benefits.
There are so many reasons why beans are truly one of the best foods we can eat. They are a great source of plant based protein and complex carbohydrates. This means the carbohydrates are rich in fiber which is amazing for your gut health. Did you know that most Americans don’t meet their recommended 30g of daily fiber? Fiber is so important because it’s a prebiotic which helps to feed all the good bacteria in your gut! On top of all that goodness, legumes also contain iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and folate. Not to mention they are easy on your budget!
If you happen to be looking for a healthy work lunch, look no further! This lunch is super easy to whip up for the whole week ahead and is packed with nutrition to keep you satisfied.
Since this salad doesn’t contain any leafy greens like a typical salad, it doesn’t get soggy or wilted so you can dress the salad while you are preparing it and you won’t have to worry about it sitting in the fridge during the week. If anything, the veggies will marinate in the dressing making it tastier each day!
I recommend pairing this salad with some homemade hummus and pita for a complete and delicious mediterranean style lunch.
Ingredients for the Salad:
Nutrition Facts per Serving: 165 calories, 21g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 8g fat, 6g protein, 255mg sodium
Did you know that every year about 18% of all new moms in the U.S. experience gestational diabetes? In recognition of American Diabetes Month, we'd like to share a brief guide to help keep mom and baby healthy!
Being a nutrition professional often leads to questions about the most recent diet, the latest food trend, or the best meal plans. One common topic that I’m asked about is fish! Should I eat fish? How much? And what type? Let’s take a look at the facts.
What about Mercury?
Nearly all fish contain mercury, no matter the source. However, some fish are higher in mercury than others such as king mackerel, shark, and swordfish. Fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fats) include salmon, sardines, trout, pollock, trout, cod, and haddock.
The bottom line? You shouldn’t avoid fish because of mercury - just look for fish that are low in mercury!
Wild or Farmed?
Canned Versus Frozen
Always remember to buy seafood from reputable sources and avoid frozen seafood with ice-crystals, which could be a sign of thawing and refreezing. If you are buying fresh fish, it should not have an icy or fishy smell. Check out Seafood Health Facts to learn more about the proper handling and storage of seafood.
Things To Keep in Mind
Quick Meal Ideas
Anytime Salmon Patties
Nutrition Facts per Serving (2 patties): 220 calories, 20g carbs, 3g fiber, 5g fat, 27g protein, 350mg sodium
Creamy Mint Dressing
Nutrition Facts per 1/3 cup serving: 60 calories, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 1.5g fat, 4.5g protein, 180mg sodium
~Sadaf Ijaz, Dietetic Intern
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!