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What Fast Foods do Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Eat?

Yay! Yay! It’s National Fast Food Day!  

Back in the olden days, (1982) I taught Fast Food Operations at the University of Wisconsin – Stout and ran the Edible Express Restaurant. I was so lucky to be paid to work with dietetics and hospitality majors to manage the restaurant and serve healthy lunches to their fellow students in the Home Ec building. Of course, the special of the day always included a fruit and milk which bothered the hospitality major for the added cost of fresh fruit and milk but was welcomed by the dietetics majors. The bonus was I was only about 5 years older than my students so every day was fun and enjoyable. (What college teachers get earrings and perfume from their students? ME! )


Since then I have been enamored with the latest foods and fast food trends. It was a JOY DAY when I lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Taco Bell opened.  I was enamored with their taco pizza dripping with cheese. I traveled for the Dairy Council of Wisconsin and remember how difficult it was to eat this pizza while driving. I was washed down my fast food with a nice carton of milk.

I also remember thirty plus years ago when I first moved to Minneapolis, one of my first “must eats” was White Castle. I will never forget watching two guys buy watches while standing in line. Yes, this White Castle was in a rough neighborhood. Not every day is there “bartering” going on in your fast food line.

I discovered the White Castle slider (slides down as there are 18 sliders per pound) was not my favorite, and never ate another one.

My all time fav is simple – McDonald’s Cheeseburger on a leaf of lettuce with extra pickles with a Side Salad with Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette. Since being diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity no bun for me. Three years later I can finally say I am used to no bun. It is convenient and the perfect size combination of burger with a crunchy salad with a savory vinaigrette. My only wish was that that salad had more tomatoes and veggies. Note: You must be a passenger when eating this and not the driver!

My Registered Dietitian Nutritionist friends have more ideas for you.

When life gets hectic and when Sharon is out and about, one of her favorite fast-casual restaurants is Chipotle. Since their food borne illness scare in October 2015, they instituted a rigorous food safety protocol, probably making them one of the safest places to eat. Sharon also really likes their food and agriculture philosophy They have a great interactive nutrition calculator allowing you to build your meal and see the nutrition facts as you go. You can add or remove items to get just the calorie level you are looking for. For example, if you are making a bowl, you can skip the rice and do lettuce instead. Then add the tofu sofritas, 2 kinds of beans, the fajitas veggies, and tomatillo salsa (this one is the lowest in sodium). You get a very yummy and filling salad for a reasonable 450 calories meal with at least 4 servings of veggies! Sharon’s biggest gripe is the high level of sodium in their foods. It’s difficult to stay under the daily guideline of 2300 milligrams since they add sodium to just about every ingredient.  So, if you have hypertension you need to keep an eye on the sodium when you are building your meal. Thanks Sharon!

For the longest time, like years, Julia loved the treat of a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich with a side of hot, salty fries and a fountain Diet Coke. Her perfect fast food combo! Zero guilt – as it was a very occasional indulgence. Nowadays, sadly, Julia’s gluten-free life doesn’t allow it, but if she really wants that combo she says she can make it herself Of course you can Julia! I get it I am gluten free too. Thank you Julia for the great idea! @jugglingjuliaRD

Lauren has 3 fave “fast foods”

Subway rotisserie chicken on a “scooped out” 6″ whole grain roll with every available veggie except olives and a tiny bit of chipotle sauce. Panera “You pick two” with garden vegetable and pesto soup, 1/2 ancient grain and arugula salad with chicken (dressing on the side) and an apple.   And Lauren adores the Starbucks Spinach, Feta and Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap or Chicken and Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens. Each of these is a fast and easy source of protein, fiber, veggies and whole grains you don’t need to make yourself. Each meal averages 300-400 calories which is incredibly modest for fast food and really tasty too!  The key Lauren like you stated, is that they are a wholesome source of calories and as you pointed out…you don’t need to cook them yourself. Sometimes we want to have less kitchen time and eat out. And eating out doesn’t have to break the calorie and fat bank. Thanks you Lauren! @LaurenPincusRD

Judy jokes that she is a fast food illiterate.  She reminds us that it seems like they ask for your order as you approach the counter and she doesn’t even know what is on the menu. (Because she loves loves loves to cook!)  However, at Wendy’s during colder weather, she enjoys the chili over a plain baked potato. Hearty! Satisfying! And an inexpensive food solution!

She also enjoys the half-size apple pecan chicken salad. This salad has enough protein that it keeps her full plus she enjoys the variety of textures and flavors. Thanks Judy. You bring up a good point about the chili. It is an inexpensive solution when you are hungry and want to not cook and eat very quickly. Thanks Judy! @JudyBarbe

Samina’s favorite fast food is Whataburger’sWhataburger Jr. It is just the right size for her to enjoy the whole burger without feeling super stuffed and has all the components of a classic burger. Just like most fast food joints, this burger is high in sodium so she makes sure she grabs a bottle of water to stay hydrated. When Samina goes out for fast food she tries to savor every bite and enjoy the experience mindfully. She believes all foods fit within a wholesome diet and one fast food meal every now and then won’t make you a bad or unhealthy person. Samina believes your food choices do not define your morality and you don’t have to eat a 100% “clean” diet to achieve your best health. It’s all about finding the right balance for you. I agree Samina. I love your philosophy that all food fits! @wholesomeStart

Sarah wants to liberalize all foods and loves to show that dietians are “real” people and sometimes eat fast food. Sarah favorite road trip meal is

Chic Fila Fried Chicken Sandwich with Waffle Fries – so simple but tasty! Sarah loves the taste of fried chicken and Chic Fila does it really well. Sarah says you can’t beat their waffle fries with chic fila sauce and honey mustard. Sarah, who doesn’t love fried chicken with a side of fries on a road trip  @bucketlisttumRD

Caroline’s favorite fast food is the Taco Bell Veggie Power Bowl.  She says this bowl has it all – black beans, rice, pico, guacamole, reduced fat sour cream and avocado ranch sauce.  It tastes AMAZING and is under 500 calories (420 to be exact) with 13 grams of fiber!  (Most Americans don’t even consume 13 grams of fiber in a 24 hour period!).  Caroline also loves supporting Taco Bell as they have 2 dietitians on staff.  I love it too Caroline. Thanks Caroline! @CarolineSusieRD


Hope you have a new food that sounds yummy and healthy that you want to try.
What is your favorite fast food meal?



Kathleen Oswalt’s Peach and Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Have thirty minutes and a hankering for shrimp? This colorful recipe has you covered.

This month I want to highlight Kathleen Oswalt, MS, RDN, LD, CLT a registered dietitian nutritionist and food sensitivity detective. She loves the crunchy, soft and creamy textures of this salad poppin’ with flavor from the spicy shrimp, sweetness from the peaches and savory from the blue cheese. With this combination, this dish is sure to please everyone. The best?This dish has basic ingredients without preservatives. Feed your body some goodness today with Kathleen’s recipe.

Kathleen Oswalt’s Peach and Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Serves 2
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Grilled Shrimp
  1. Metal or wood bamboo sticks (soaked in water)
  2. 1lb wild caught shrimp, peeled/deveined
  3. 1-2 tsp packed brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  5. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  6. ½ tsp ground cumin
  7. ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  8. Salt/pepper to taste
Peach and tomato salad
  1. 3 ripe peaches, chopped
  2. 1 medium-large heirloom tomato, chopped
  3. 1-2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  4. 1 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
  5. 1-2 tsp olive oil
  6. Salt/pepper to taste
  1. In a medium sized bowl, toss shrimp with spices and allow to rest for approximately 15-30 minutes.
  2. While shrimp is marinating, in a large bowl add chopped peaches, tomato and sliced celery.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and add blue cheese, gently toss.
  5. Your salad is now just waiting for you to eat it.
  6. Turn on grill and heat to 350°F. Thread marinated shrimp onto skewers.
  7. Cook on grill 1.5 minutes each side.
  8. Be sure not to overcook.
  9. Wah-lah, your dinner is ready to eat!
  10. Scoop a ½ - 1 cup salad onto your plate and top with spiced shrimp.
  1. Serves two.
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/

Kathleen’s Food Tips:

Kathleen always like to use fresh caught wild shrimp when possible, but in a pinch, she uses Trader Joe’s uncooked Argentinian red wild caught frozen shrimp. This shrimp is already peeled and deveined. All you have to do is cook it. If you like spicy add a little more cayenne pepper.

Kathleen Oswalt, MS, RDN, LD, CLT is a cooking enthusiast, wellness coach, and your food sensitivity detective.  She works with clients who suffer from autoimmune disorders, chronic migraines/headaches, arthritis, a plethora of tummy troubles and depression, low motivation, fatigue, and insomnia. Her goal is to make you the boss of your health and wellness. With food sensitivity testing she can create a diet full of foods that love your body so you can start eating better, feeling better and living the life you dream of. To learn more, you can find her at https://www.kathleenoswalt.com

In Kathleen’s spare time she loves to cook and try new recipes, enjoys traveling to new places, loves to jump on her bike and go riding with a local ladies group and enjoys playing “head cheerleader” to her Ironman husband, Don! 

You can find Ironman Don at https://www.linkedin.com/in/don-oswalt-a556141/

Don and Kathleen ate at the awards breakfast for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2015, where he found out he QUALIFIED for the world championships in Kona Hawaii where he would race the following October. Two straight years of Ironman works only because teamwork makes the dream work! Way to go Don and Kathleen!  

Family cheered Don on at mile 9.

Hawaii was where dreams came true. Don had a fantastic race, finishing in10:42:24, all the while surrounded by his family rooting for him along his 140.6-mile journey!  

After Don completed the World Championship Ironman he gave Kathleen a medal that said: “You are my superstar.” Way to go Don!

After a week full of Ironman, they celebrated with a fun-family filled week of vacation exploring Hawaii.  They loved the lava tubes! The week was priceless!

Thanks for sharing Kathleen your Ironman experience!

Let us know when you try this recipe and what you think of the pairing of the fruits, and veggies with the shrimp in this salad!

@cherebork #dietitianlifecoach


Fun Ways to Put Milk in Your Diet – Chere Bork on Twin Cities Live

Chere Bork on Twin Cities Live Fun Ways to Put Milk in your Diet

Many people are deciding to ditch dairy for various reasons but what they don’t realize is cutting out an entire food group can have some major health impact especially for kids and young adults. 

Data is showing that 60% of boys and 83% of girls are not drinking enough milk which means they are not able to get nutrients to grow.

Check out these super easy ways to include more milk in your diet

@cherebork #dietitianlifecoach @twincities_live ‏


Holley Grainger’s PB and Strawberry Sushi

Gotta love July… with the sizzling hot summer weather and the start of the back to school excitement.

And, when you think “school,” you think “Oh no I have got to make school lunches again.”

No worries we have you covered. I asked Holley Grainger MS, RD “aka the lunchbox queen” for one of her lunch box favs. Begin this school year with this fresh, fun lunch idea. All you need is 5 minutes and 3 ingredients. Your kids and you will adore this tasty lunch! Thank you Holley!

Holley Grainger’s PB and Strawberry Sushi
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  1. 1 whole wheat tortilla
  2. 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (can use sunflower seed butter or almond butter)
  3. 1 cup diced strawberries
  1. Place tortilla on a cutting board and spread with peanut butter. Making sure the peanut butter reaches the edges.
  2. Dice the strawberries and place on the edge of the tortilla in a line.
  3. Roll strawberries in the tortilla.
  4. Ensure the edge is “sealed” with peanut butter.
  5. Cut roll into 1 inch squares and arrange on a plate/ lunch box with cut side facing up.
  6. Enjoy! See the smiles on your kid’s faces!
  1. Serving Size: 1
  2. Calories 379
  3. Fat 18 grams
  4. Carbohydrate 42 grams
  5. Protein 12 grams
  6. Sodium 247 mg
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/

Here 125 healthy lunchbox ideas from Holley the “lunchbox queen.”

Holley promises that these lunchbox ideas will help you cut back on the mommy/ daddy guilt. They will empower you to try new foods with your child. And they will help your children enjoy many new foods that are tasty and will not break the bank for you.


Holley Grainger, MS, RD is a nationally recognized nutrition and lifestyle expert as well as a wife, mom and business owner. She does her best to keep it real and have fun with her family, readers, and clients all while balancing a sink of dirty dishes, an adventurous teenager, a kindergartener that lives for endless games of hide-and-seek, and a glass of red wine. Holley’s blog, Holley Grainger Nutrition, shares simple, healthy, flavor-packed meals as well as practical and doable nutrition advice. Holley believes in the power of visual communication and storytelling so showing her readers how to do something (versus telling them) makes her a standout online video star (with over 900 videos to her name including ones for brands such as Cooking Light, MyRecipes.com and Southern Living). 

The former nutrition editor for CookingLight.com and MyRecipes.com, she has instructed millions of accomplished and aspiring home cooks on how to make simple, healthy, family-friendly meals through online video, media appearances, speaking engagements, national and local news, and social media. Holley lives in Alabama, with her husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Frances. Make sure to find and follow Holley cooking up new recipes for with her adorable girls on FacebookInstagram and YouTube

Give this recipe a try! Holley and I can’t wait to hear from you!

@cherebork #dietitianlifecoach


Jen Haugen’s Chicken Sausage Scramble

This month I want to highlight Jen Haugen, RDN, LD the Down to Earth Dietitian and mom who adores her family by creating amazing meals to nourish their bodies and soothe their spirits. Her recipes are practical for the busy on the go mom and perfect for you too!

Tired of your same old breakfasts?

Instead of toast and eggs try Jen’s
Chicken Sausage Scramble with lots of scrumptious veggies oozing with tasty nutrition. This dish would be an easy meal to whip up quickly after work too. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?   To save precious after work time, dice the onion, red pepper and sweet potato before you head to work or the evening before. Check out Jen’s You Tube video for her demo of this tasty dish.


Jen Haugen’s Chicken Sausage Scramble
Chicken Sausage Scramble with lots of scrumptious veggies oozing with tasty nutrition.
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  1. Non-stick cooking spray
  2. ½ cup diced chicken apple sausage
  3. ¼ cup diced onion
  4. ¼ cup diced red pepper
  5. ¼ cup diced sweet potato
  6. 4 eggs
  7. 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  8. ½ cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
  9. Salt and black pepper, to taste
  10. 2 whole wheat English muffins, split, toasted
  1. Coat a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; heat over medium. Add the sausage, onion, red pepper, and sweet potato and cook, covered, stirring often, until vegetables are tender (test a chunk of sweet potato to be sure).
  2. Meanwhile, beat eggs with milk in a small bowl until blended. When the vegetables are tender, transfer them to a plate. Return the skillet to the burner; add the egg mixture and cook, stirring often, until eggs are softly scrambled. Off heat, stir in spinach, reserved sausage mixture, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately with a toasted English muffin half. Serves 4.
  3. Nutrition Facts per Serving: 210 calories, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 240 mg cholesterol, 14 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 410 mg sodium.
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/

Jen Haugen, RDN, LD, is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, speaker and author of the inspiring book, “The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden.”

She has been featured as a food and nutrition expert on media outlets like Food & Nutrition Magazine, Nutrition 411, and Today’s Dietitian. Jen empowers moms to live a more balanced life through workshops, retreats and online courses.  Her goal is to equip moms with tools that bring life into balance all while making meal planning a breeze, boosting confidence in the kitchen, and gardening for healthy plates.  Find her at www.jenhaugen.com.

Give this recipe a try! Jen and I can’t wait to hear how much you love it!


Dairy is a Clear Choice for Clean Eating

“Clean eating” is a phrase that is everywhere but exactly what is it?  

While there’s no official definition set by the Food and Drug Administration for clean eating and not everything you read about it can be backed up by science, there are many personal interpretations of this popular diet-style. For many people, clean eating means a healthy, whole foods approach with minimally processed foods.  Clean eaters often crave a simplified lifestyle that is focused on more balance and well-being too.  It is a diet that focuses on the colors of the rainbow and whole foods without wrappers rather than foods that pop out of a box.  It is all about foods that nourish your body and soul. It is really simple…eating whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and dairy.

Clean eating is no longer a trend as a survey show that 29% of consumers claim that clean labels impact their food purchasing decisions.*Registered Dietitian Nutritionists would all agree that buying fresh, whole foods at your grocery store, food coop or farmer’s market is a great place to start. Eat with your eyes and eat the color of the rainbow.

In the survey the top two factors indicating a clean label were “no artificial ingredients/ flavors/ preservatives, and “ingredients easily read or recognized.”

If you are eating lots of processed foods you may want to read your labels more closely and become a “food detective” when you are grocery shopping.  When you buy packaged foods read the ingredient list and nutrition label. Example – canned tomatoes you can choose to buy tomatoes with citric acid (a preservative) in them or you can buy canned tomatoes that are only tomatoes without any preservatives.  

While the interest in clean eating seems to have boomed only recently, our fabulous dairy group has delivered “clean eating” all along. Milk has only 3 ingredients: milk, vitamins D and A. While milk alternatives like almond and soy beverage, contain 10 or more added ingredients, including salt, stabilizers, syrups, thickeners and sugar.

Milk is also a local food, taking only about two days to travel from farm to store, while milk alternatives can take weeks to get from the farm to your table. Not all milks are created equal. Read your labels to compare the nutrition of milk to milk alternatives.

Every type of milk delivers the same unmatched nutrition package.  The best news – milk delivers a nutritional win compared to milk alternatives with higher quality protein and often more absorbable calcium.  

Take the advice from Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD  from Midwest Dairy who says, “Rather than spend time and money trying to find the latest, greatest ‘miracle’ food, look to your favorite dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt for clean, nutritious eating.”

Amen to that!

I did not receive compensation to write this post but am a Midwest Dairy Ambassador and “Cheesehead” from Wisconsin who adores dairy and eats it every single day.

*Source: Food Technology Conference – Innova’s Top Ten Trends for 2016

Here’s to clean eating and living which nourishes your body, mind and spirit!


Midwest Dairy Association – Milk Alternatives

Midwest Dairy Association – Dairy Delivers Clean Labels