A Peek Into a Registered Dietitian’s Kitchen

RD approved recipes from her kitchen to yours.

If you know me, then you know that I haven’t always been the best cook in the kitchen, but like anything else worth doing, learning to cook takes time, practice, and patience. After many, many failures, I started to find some success, and now I find that whipping up a quick and healthy meal is second nature.

Some of my favorite successes are listed below with the tweaks and swaps that I make to create a colorful, healthy dish. Here are five recipes from a registered dietitian’s kitchen (mine) that you can make in your own home:

Chicken Tortelinni Soup. All photos were snapped right after cooking in my kitchen.

Chicken Tortellini Soup. All photos were snapped right after I cooked them in my kitchen.

Chicken Tortellini Soup
Original recipe from Real Simple

I (mostly) followed the recipe with some changes:

  • Switched low sodium chicken broth for low sodium vegetable broth
  • Chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts (mostly because I think they taste better)
  • Substituted chopped spinach instead of Swiss chard

This soup usually ends up being more like a pasta dish. Add more water or broth for a soupier texture. For a healthier version, cut the tortellini in half and add more spinach.

Why it’s RD approved:  The spinach and carrots are both good sources of vitamin A and C, and the veggies are high in fiber. Whether you choose Swiss chard or spinach for your soup, you will still have a good source of folate since both are high in the nutrient.

Black bean burger mix and final product.

Black bean burger mix and final product.

Black Bean Burgers
Original recipe from SkinnyTaste

So, here’s the thing: I am not a “make ahead” type of person. I usually just forget, or time simply gets away from me. I’m not saying this is the correct way to go about this recipe, but I am saying it worked for me to mix everything up, patty the burgers, cook, and eat right away. It was slightly messy without the freeze time, but if you don’t mind a messy burger then my approach might work for you. Other than the lack of planning, I followed the recipe from SkinnyTaste and the burgers were a hit.

Why it’s RD approved: Black bean burgers are an excellent meat-free alternative to standard burgers. They are high in fiber and are great for sneaking in extra veggies. Beans are also a great source of protein and iron.

Pasta salad

Pasta salad.

Pasta Salad
Original recipe from Cooking Light

Pasta salad is another way to sneak in extra vegetables. Do you see a theme here? Think of pasta like a canvas. Start with it as a base and then add whatever your heart desires. I used the Cooking Light recipe above, but omitted the olives. If you prefer to make the salad more “salad-based” than “pasta-based” just add extra arugula and asparagus. You can also change this dish by roasting other vegetables like squash, zucchini, mushrooms, or carrots.

Why it’s RD approved: Pasta makes for an easy way to add vegetables to your diet. It often gets a bad reputation because pasta dishes are usually high in fat, sodium, and calories, but when you make vegetables the star of the dish, you lower calories and increase fiber.

Smoothie pre-blend

Smoothie pre-blend.

Green Smoothie
No recipe needed! But if you insist, this is a good one from Real Simple.

One of my favorite post-workout snacks or early morning breakfasts is a smoothie packed with leafy greens. In this recipe, I loaded spinach into the blender along with strawberries, greek yogurt, peanut butter, chunks of frozen mango, soy milk, and a frozen banana. Smoothies are not an exact science, so feel free to get creative. Add about a half cup of your favorite fruit, 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, up to a half cup of milk of choice (soy, almond, cow, etc.), and one or two handfuls of freshly washed spinach. Then, blend and enjoy your green creation.

Why it’s RD approved:  Spinach is high in fiber and a host of other nutrients making it ideal for blending into an otherwise fruit-based smoothie. Yogurt and peanut butter are sources of protein while the yogurt itself is a source of probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria.

Roasted veggies.

Roasted veggies.

Roasted Vegetables
Original recipes from theKitchn

Roasted vegetables are one of my favorite sides to add to any dish. People are often surprised by the sweet taste and the other natural flavors that come out when the vegetables are roasted. Drizzle with olive oil, and then add herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, dried basil, or garlic, and bake. It’s that simple and you won’t be disappointed with the end result.

Why it’s RD approved: Vegetables! Need I say more? With fiber, nutrients, and being low in calories, vegetables are good things that come in tiny packages.