lunch, protein, recipe

Curried Turmeric Tuna Salad

 

A few weeks ago, I went to a corner cafe in Hermosa Beach to get some lunch. I looked at the menu and there was a wrap called “KARI.” I instantly ordered it and didn’t read the ingredients because if there is a menu item bearing your namesake with correct spelling, you order it! What arrived to me wrapped neatly in parchment paper was a whole wheat wrap with avocado, greens, sprouts, and an amazing curried tuna salad. I gobbled it down as I marveled over the fact that there was a wrap called the Kari served a few blocks from my house…day made! (Disappointingly, there was not a story behind why it was called the Kari…)

Tuna salad is an easy way to have lunch made for the week. It can be served with crackers and cut veggies or topped on a salad. I like to make a batch to have on hand for lunches/snack for the boy and I to eat during the week (just be sure to limit to 1 can per week due to the mercury content.) Canned tuna provides a good dose of omega 3’s (EPA/DHA) and I am always looking for food based ways to increase my consumption of omega 3’s. The curry and turmeric add antioxidants (the curcurmin found in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to reductions in pre-diabetes, cancer protection, and improvements in circulation)

This salad is crisp and crunchy, with warmth from the turmeric and curry powder. I am leaving for Europe TOMORROW and can’t wait to enjoy my curried tuna sandwich on the 13 hour journey (mints included!).

Curried Turmeric Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 can solid white albacore tuna
  • 1/4 c organic/paleo mayo
  • 1/2 c nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 c minced onion
  • 1/4 c chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. EAT! Goes great with whole grain crackers, wrapped in lettuce, topped on a salad, or classically as a tuna fish sandwich.
recipe, side dish, vegetable

Shaved Fennel and Parmesan Salad


I made the mistake a few nights ago of making a dinner using only the oven…in the middle of summer…when it’s hot…and my apartment is small. So to move past my momentary lapse of judgement, I made dinner the following night and refused to even turn my stove on!

This fennel salad is cool, crisp, and refreshing – perfect for warm summer days when the mercury is rising with no end in sight. I had an AMAZING fennel salad at Love and Salt in Manhattan Beach and since then, I’ve tried my best to recreate it.

Fennel can seem intimidating- the fronds! How do I cut it? I hate black licorice! However, once you learn how to cut the bulb (here’s a great how to video from Martha Stewart) and find a great recipe, you’re ready to incorporate fennel into your diet.

Want more fennel info? Check out Cooking Light for more details and to find some recipes.

Shaved Fennel and Parmesan Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 bulbs fennel, de-cored
  • 1/4 c shaved parmesan
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • fresh cracked sea salt and ground black pepper
  • fennel fronds, minced

Directions

  1. Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, thinly slice or shave fennel. For best results, aim to cut the fennel nearly paper thin
  2. Add parmesan, a healthy drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Sprinkle with minced fennel fronds and stir to combine
  3. Let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Tastes even better the next day.
dinner, healthy, paleo, recipe, side dish, vegan, vegetables

Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce


Roasted squash in the middle of August may not sound exactly tempting, but when I saw these squash at Whole Foods, I couldn’t resist. After cooking, the skin of the delicata squash softens and you can eat it! Meaning, no need to peel the skin, just trim and cook! I love anything that saves me an extra few minutes in the kitchen and so I braved the oven and got cooking.

What sets this recipe apart from other roasted squash is the to die for lemon tahini sauce! Tahini is one of the main ingredients when making hummus but this sesame seed paste is super versatile. It goes great in sauces and dressing to top pasta, vegetables, salad, and more. I love making a tahini dressing paired with a spinach salad and summer berries 🙂

Delicata squash is rich in beta carotene (which converts into Vitamin A). To help your body better absorb this valuable antioxidant, the addition of a healthy fat source (tahini sauce!) can help your body maintain it’s carotenoid and Vitamin A stores.


Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 delicata squash, de-seeded and cut into half circles
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • juice from half large lemon
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place cut squash in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir squash with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with olive oil and spices.
  2. Bake in oven for ~30 minutes until squash is softened and caramelized. Halfway through cooking, flip squash allowing them to cook evenly on both sides.
  3. While the squash is cooking, prep the tahini sauce. Add tahini, lemon juice, water, herbs de provence, and fresh cracked black pepper to a dish and whisk together with a fork to combine. I also added a drizzle of olive oil to bring the dressing together.
  4. Remove squash from the oven and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
  5. Dressing will last in the refrigerator in a mason jar for 3-5 days.
breakfast, recipe, snack, workout fuel

Smoothie Bowl 101


I have a certified obsession with smoothie bowls. Take a smoothie and top it with delicious, antioxidant rich toppings, add a dose of protein and your post workout smoothie is ten times better! However, store-bought smoothie bowls are expensive, higher in sugar, and will often charge extra to add protein or greens.

Along with the high price, many store-bought smoothie bowl can have more calories than an ice cream cone or a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. To ensure that I am creating a nutrient dense instead of a calorie dense smoothie bowl, I follow 3 main rules:

  1. Veggies
  2. Protein
  3. Non-juice base

I accomplish this by starting with a water base, 2 heaping handfuls of greens, and addition of a protein source (protein powder, almonds, Greek yogurt). This ensures that my smoothie is nutrient dense, slowing digestion and stabilizing my blood sugars to keep me satisfied until my next meal.

Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 packet frozen acai (I purchased mine at Whole Foods)
  • 2 heaping handfuls spinach/kale or greens of your choice
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/4 c frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 c frozen peaches
  • 1/4 c frozen berries
  • 1/4 piece frozen banana
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 TBS chia seeds + more for topping
  • 1/4 gluten free granola (I’m obsessed with Boulder Granola and Purely Elizabeth granola)
  • Fruit of your choice (since it’s summer, I’m obsessing over peaches and nectarines with berries! YUM)
  • Goji berries, hemp seeds,

Directions

  1. Run acai packet under cool, running water for 20 seconds. Break acai into pieces and add to blender bottle, along with frozen fruit, water, and chia seeds.
  2. Add almond milk by the tablespoon.
  3. Blend smoothie. It should be thicker than a drinkable smoothie. If smoothie mixture is too thick, add more almond milk.
  4. Once blended to desired consistency, pour into a bowl.
  5. Top with granola, and add sliced fresh fruit on top. Sprinkle with goji berries, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.

If you make your own smoothie bowl, experiment with different fruits and toppings. The different combinations are endless and each bowl will be delicious!

Let me know if you make your own smoothie bowl. Tag your smoothie bowl with #karionnutrition on Instagram, I would love to see your creations!

#karionnutrition

main dish, recipe, side dish

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

I’ve been majorly MIA but when I’m not blogging you can most definitely find me ‘grammin on @kari_on_nutrition. However, I am trying to post more deliciousness on my blog.

What’s eaten up all my time? I recently started a new second job! Every Friday I head to Westwood and work in the radiation oncology department at UCLA. I’ve always been interested in oncology and the opportunity to work at the 5th ranked health system in THE COUNTRY was something that I couldn’t pass up. Never have I felt more challenged or learned so much in such a short amount of time. I often question if I’m the right fit for the job, however if it scares me that much than maybe it’s a right fit!

How does my job at UCLA relate to my Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa salad? I stopped at Whole Foods for lunch last week and bought a delicious albeit expensive bowl of kale, nectarine, and quinoa salad. As I was eating it, I realized I could spend WAY less money if I made said quinoa salad myself. So last night after soccer, I brought this baby to life.

It’s protein packed and full of veggie goodness. Plus as a bonus, it includes homegrown tomatoes from my parents garden, local kale, and California avocados. Sustainable eating= happy Kari. I ate it over a bed of more kale and added some sliced chicken. It is great as a main dish or a side dish and would go great at a 4th of July BBQ (just sayin….)

Southwest Kale and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used tri-color quinoa)
  • 3-4 leaves of lacinto kale, Julienned into strips
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • juice from 2 limes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz feta cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Add first 9 ingredients to a bowl and combine.
  2. Drizzle with ~ 1-2 TBS olive oil. Add spices little by little, tasting to see if it needs more. I don’t typically measure my spices- I just add and taste until it’s perfection 🙂

Enjoy!!

dietitian, exercise, food blogger, Hermosa Beach, recipe, registered dietitian, South Bay, sports nutrition, workout fuel

Poise Fitness

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Well! It’s been awhile! A lot has been going on in the Kari On Nutrition camp. Here’s what’s happened since I last posted:

  • I accepted a position at UCLA as a radiation oncology RD (!!!)
  • Spent a week in Kauai for my birthday (check out my Instagram @kari_on_nutrition for photos!)
  • Collaborated with #RD2Be Tawnie Kroll of Kroll’s Korner on a Q&A post for students (check the post out here!)
  • Had my roomie from my dietetic internship visit from Boston
  • Repeal the Seal and the Kids Eat Right Kraft debacle

Two weeks packed into 5 bullet points…impressive I know!

Sprinkled in between all this was a visit to Poise Fitness in Hermosa Beach. A few of my friends had been telling me about a class they had been taking at Poise, so I decided to take the plunge and e-mail Justin (the owner). After exchanging some e-mails with him, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a 5:30 AM class (!!!)My friends were right! I loved the class! Each week, Poise focuses on a different goal or movement. The week I came in, the focus was abs. The gym is split into three sections – functional movement (body weight exercises, flexibility, core), cardio (in the form of treadmills), and strength (weights, kettle bells). There are 10 rounds in each section, for a total of 30 rounds, 1 minute each. What I loved the most about this set up was:

  1. There were tablets that showed each movement. Along with the coach explaining the movement, we had a demonstration of how to do the movement correctly, ensuring proper form and optimizing our work out
  2. The movement changed every rotation. Talk about zero workout boredom. By constantly changing what movement we did, I knew that I was getting a total body workout
  3. You could control the intensity on the cardio. I remember during one of our last sets on the treadmill, the instructor was pushing us to increase our speed. I was feeding off his positive energy and upped the speed to 9.0, which I would not typically do in the gym on my own

This class was the ultimate HIIT workout. I wore my Polar heart rate monitor to track my fitness. I like using a heart rate monitor because it allows me to push myself more to get within my training goals to optimize fat burning and maximize my cardio effort. Tracking systems help me to monitor my progress and give me a way to gauge how I can improve. I highly recommend getting a heart rate monitor if you are looking to up the ante on your fitness goals. It’s a great motivator and can help you to challenge yourself to do more.

According to my Polar:

  • Max heart rate: 173 bpm
  • Average heart rate: 128 bpm
  • Calories: 606
  • 61% fitness (cardio)
  • 39% fat burning

To re-fuel my muscles after this workout, I like to combine protein, carbs/fiber, and healthy fats. This will replenish my muscles and keep me satisfied until lunch. A favorite post workout breakfast is my power breakfast sandwich. It’s a perfect mix of complex carbs to replenish muscle glycogen and healthy fat to provide satiety and a dose of fiber. The addition of 1 egg provides 6 grams of protein, to help with muscle rebuilding, and increase the meal’s staying power. I choose sprouted bread because it is higher in fiber and I feel is more nutritious than other whole wheat varieties. There are no fillers/additives and the ingredients are all items I can pronounce 😉

Power Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sprouted bread (like Ezekiel), provides 30 g carbs
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 egg
  • handful of spinach

Directions

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray). Crack egg into pan and cook until desired level of doneness.
  3. Mash avocado on the toast with a fork. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Add salt if desired.
  4. Top toast with avocado and handful of spinach.
  5. Eat & enjoy!

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What is your favorite post-workout breakfast? How do you re-fuel your muscles?

A special thank you to Poise Fitness for having me! It was a great workout and I can’t wait to come in again (aka tomorrow!).

Note: Poise Fitness provided me with a free class. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

baking, breakfast, dietitian, gluten free, nutrition, recipe, snack, training

No Bake Protein Oat Bars

Three day weekends are the best! Especially when they fall on a holiday! This past weekend was filled with beach volleyball, friends, love, and absolutely gorgeous So Cal weather. I won’t go into too much detail (especially as I know the East Coast has been decimated by blizzard after blizzard..sorry New England friends!) BUT I thoroughly enjoyed summer weather and beach cruises this weekend.

Matt works a busy schedule so I try to keep granola bars (<10 g sugar, ❤ g fat, and 3 g fiber/serving- a lofty goal!) and other healthy snack options on hand. Today as he was packing his lunch, said healthy items were no where to be found. So to remedy that situation, I made use of some extra sunflower seed butter and decided to make my own granola bars!

Homemade granola bars are SUPER easy and you can control what ingredients you add. Want more protein? Add nuts or protein powder. Fiber? Chia seeds and oats can provide a soluble solution. They are so customizable that it makes you question why you spent $3.99 on that box of granola bars from TJ’s (which I did once I was done making these!) Plus, have you read the label on a protein bar from health food stores? Most have ingredients you can’t pronounce and aren’t the “clean eats” that most active individuals want to put into their body. Instead of spending the money on store bought granola/protein bars, control the ingredients and make your own! It’s healthier and YOU’RE in charge of the additives!

Everything I used in the bars today, I had on hand- that’s how easy they are! Add your favorite mix ins and experiment with what works for you! It literally took me 10 minutes start to finish to make these!

granola bars

No Bake Protein Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1/2 c pepitas
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (any type, I used whey)
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 2 TBS hemp seeds
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • drizzle of maple syrup
  • almond milk

Directions

  1. Add oats, sunflower seed butter, pepitas, protein powder, chia and hemp seeds, and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Mixture with be very thick.
  2. Add drizzle of maple syrup and a pour of almond milk. Combine mixture. It should begin to form together. If it is too thick to stir, add more almond milk.
  3. Combine until the mixture resembles cookie dough.
  4. Line a 9×9 baking dish with wax paper. Press granola bar mixture into dish. Fold over wax papper and remove from dish
  5. Place in the freezer to hardern for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cut into bars. Store in the freezer/refrigerator or airtight container.