Healthy Recipe for Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus Ingredients


  • 1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus spears
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Place asparagus, garlic and lemon zest in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Roast for 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring once halfway through roasting. Serve immediately.

Lunch Box Inspiration

I often have parents asking for easy, fun ideas for lunch boxes. With the first day of school just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to do an entry on back to school lunch ideas.

Children have little bellies, it’s important that the foods that they eat be nutrient packed so they aren’t filling up on empty calories. Make each bite count by providing your child with a balanced mix of protein, healthy fat and fiber (carbohydrate).

Key Lunchbox Proteins:
— Roasted, grilled or baked chicken
– Legumes
– Eggs
– Quinoa, Teff
– Cottage Cheese
– Plain Greek Yogurt
– Hummus
– Nut Butters (Almond, Cashew, Peanut)

Key Lunchbox Healthy Fats:
– Avocado
– Nuts
– Olives
– Chia

Key Lunchbox Fiber:
– Whole Grain Bread
– Quinoa, Millet, Bulgur, Barley
– Fresh Fruit, Vegetables
– Popcorn, Whole Wheat Pretzels
– Bean Dip

Ideas for the Main Event:
– Mexican Sushi
– Whole Grain Flaxseed Waffle with Nut Butter or Soft Cheese Spread (maple syrup or jam on side)
– Mini Veggie Packed Quiches
– Bean & veggie quesadilla
– Hummus & Pepper Sandwich
– Roasted Chicken/turkey Sandwich
– Roasted Chicken/turkey Salad
– Quinoa Vegetable Salad
– Lentil Burgers
– Turkey Meatball Pepper Boats
– Cottage Cheese “Salad” (mix cut up veggies into this protein packed, calcium rich curd)
– Hard Boiled Egg or Egg Salad
– Homemade Chicken Fingers on a Stick with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
– Kale Fritters with Sour Cream, Applesauce or Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Ideas for Sides:
– Fresh Cut Fruit (Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries)
– Finger Friendly Veggie Sticks (Snap Peas, Carrots, Peppers, Grape Tomatoes, Cucumbers)
– Baked Sweet Potato or Zucchini Wedges
– Chia Seed Pudding

– Fruit makes a great treat! Dried fruit like figs, dates and apricots are sweet, nutritious and delicious.
– Using stainless steel bento boxes that are all over the place these days. The little compartments help ensure that all nutrients have been accounted for. Use one compartment to first pack your protein and build the lunch from there. Older children might enjoy making their own sandwiches! For example, place the protein in one compartment, and the healthy fat or carb in another. This will also keep the bread from getting too moist.
– Using cookie cutters to make sandwiches more fun! Stars, fish, hearts, triangles or circles make great little shapes for little hands.
– Putting sides in muffin tins! These colorful little cups make great containers for the inside of a bento box without a divider.

Wondering where all the recipe links are?? Stay Tuned! Or, feel free to comment on how you might go about making the recipes! I would love to learn different techniques

Monkey Smoothie

I was first introduced to this flavor combination when we lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  On mornings when I had to train an early client, I would often find myself at the NY muffin company (which was one of the only places open early enough) ordering the “Elvis” smoothie.  I have now come to love one of Elvis Presley’s favorite flavor combinations: Banana and Peanut Butter.  The muffin company makes their Banana and Peanut Butter smoothie with milk.  Over the past few years I have created my own version.  This version has a little more protein, fiber and probiotics because I use yogurt and oatmeal.  I will list the key ingredients, adjust your measurements based on how much you want to make.  This has become an excellent breakfast or after nap snack that my daughter loves! I have also changed the name because “Monkeys” to a toddler are much more fun =)

Monkey Smoothie (for 1 person)

1/4 cup plain, uncooked oatmeal

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup milk

2 TBS of nut butter of your choice


1/2 banana

4 Ice Chips

1.  Put the oatmeal in the blender and blend on high until the oatmeal turn into a fine powder.

2.  Add the milk and let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes

3.   Add the other ingredients and blend until smooth….

4.  Drink up and ENJOY!

Note about Nut Butters:

I strongly recommend purchasing a nut butter in its purest form.  Nut butters offer many nutritional benefits including healthy fats, protein, iron and calcium (all very depending on the nut).  Always read the ingredients on the back of the jar.  Unfortunately many manufacturers add all kinds of ingredients to their products including High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives and a lot of salt.  The ingredients on a jar of nut butter should only include: “Nut” (depending on the nut you have chosen).  They may add salt if you have chosen one that is not unsalted.  WIth most natural brands of peanut butter, you have to mix the oil and the nut butter, you will notice a separation otherwise.  This is completely normal and only adds to the creaminess.

Creating a Healthy “Go-Gurt”

This post was inspired by a comment from my previous post on Creating a Healthy Breakfast Cereal.  Today I successfully created my own version of Yoplait’s convenience yogurt: the “Go-Gurt”.  Other companies have other names for this yogurt that is in a squeezable pouch and is fun for kids, but I think most of us are familiar with this particular food item.  Whenever I hear the coined term “Go-Gurt”, I am reminded of Ellen Degeneres’s stand up act on “Go- Gurt”.  In this segment, she is talking about what a fast paced society we have become and how we need “Go-Gurt” now to be able to keep up! I got the biggest kick out of it.  Anyway, when I looked at the ingredients/ nutrition facts label of the “Go-Gurt” this is what I found:

The pouches come in 2.25oz servings and quite the variety of flavors!

One 2.25oz serving contains: 10g of sugar and the ingredients are listed as followed, by weight: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate Added To Maintain Freshness, Carrageenan, Yellow # 5, Blue # 1, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3. Chill-Out Cherry
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate Added To Maintain Freshness, Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Red # 40, Vitamin A Acetate, Blue # 1, Vitamin D3

Just to compare, Stonyfield Farms makes a similar product “Sqeezers”.  Their “squeezers” are contained in about 2 oz packets with 9g of sugar, and each “Chillin Cherry” yogurt contains:

Chillin Cherry: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Reduced Fat Milk, Naturally Milled Organic Sugar, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Cherry Juice From Concentrate, Natural Flavor Organic Carob Bean Gum, Pectin, Carrageenan, Organic Beet Juice Concentrate (For Color), Vitamin D3, Contains Our Exclusive Blend Of Six Live Active Cultures Including L Acidophilus, Bifidus, L Casei And L Rhamnosus. .

Of the 2, I would definitely consider the Stonyfield Farms the healthier one.

But, like I mentioned, I was able to re-create this yogurt successfully today.  It took me less then 10 minutes and I had ingredients left over.  Here is what you need:


– 4, 4.5oz Re-usable pouches (there are a few different brands, they can be purchased on or amazon see my note below for the links)

– 2 Cups Plain Yogurt

– 1.5 Cups of Berries (Frozen or Fresh) or fruit of your choosing

– 1 TBS of Honey

-1 Tsp of Chia Seeds

– **Optional (I added to help thicken but the one I tried without this worked out fine too) 1/2cup ground oatmeal

1. If using the oatmeal, put the 1/2 cup oatmeal in the blender first to process to a fine powder.  Using oatmeal will increase the fiber content.  If not- skip right to the next step

2. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

3.  Pour into a measuring cup- should be about 2 1/2 cups.

4.  Put tops on re-usable pouches (I forgot to do this at first, whoops!) and pour the mixture into the pouches.  Seal the bottom of the pouches.  Store in the fridge and provide as a healthy snack.

Cost breakdown:

Squooshie brand re-usable pouches= 4/ $19.00

16oz Plain Organic Low-Fat Yogurt $2.56

1.5cups of Berries ~$2.00

1 TBS Honey = $ 0.28

1 Tsp of Chia Seeds = $0.12

Estimated total Cost per 4.5 oz pouch =$1.24 (I subtracted the initial cost of the Squooshie because they are re-usable) = $0.27/ ounce

Estimated total Cost per 2.5 oz pouch of Yoplait’s “Go-Gurt” $3.29 for 8 pack = $.41/ 2.5 ounce pouch = $.16/ ounce (price based on Fresh Direct website)

So for only $0.11 more per ounce, you can really increase your nutritional benefits.

** WIth this recipe, you could easily omit the honey and chia, I just added those for added flavor and nutritional benefit.  Although the honey will increase the sugar content, it is a natural sweetener with nutritional benefits.  Honey has been known to be a natural anti-biotic and has powerful anti-oxidants. It also contains in small quantities: Manganese, iron, B2 and B6. I’ll have to talk about how amazing honey is in another post… stay tuned.  However, if you are making this for a kiddo under the age of 1, PLEASE DO NOT ADD HONEY!!!

So, you can understand the distribution of ingredients and you know exactly what each one is listed by weight with brief description of added nutritional benefits we have: Plain Yogurt with live active cultures (probiotic, calcium), Berries (Fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C), Honey (mentioned above), Chia (Omega 3 fatty acid, fiber), oatmeal if you used (fiber and acts as a thickener).

Another HUGE plus to the “Squooshies” is that they are re-usable, so you can be “green” =), be sure to hang on to the caps and seal the bottom of the pouch after you’ve poured the mixture in!!

Squooshies or other re-usable pouch links: