The Healthy Holiday Party


Finals are over! It’s time to throw on the ugly sweaters and have a great time for the next few weeks. That’s right, it’s time for the holiday party.

I love holiday parties. Mostly, I love holiday party food. The problem is, this is what that holiday food usually looks like:

That looks sooooo good doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s easy to dig in to a little too much at one time when you’re having holiday fun. It’s certainly okay to relax and allow for a few extra calories here and there, but bingeing a little too hard (and often) during the holiday season might leave you in a slump before the season is over.

So what can you do if everything at the party looks good???


  1. Eat something filling beforehand. Have a meal packed with fiber, protein, healthy fat, and other good stuff to fill you up a little bit so you aren’t tempted to finish off the first platter you see. Even enjoying a glass or two of water beforehand can really help curb your appetite before the party.
  2. Eat mindfully. It’s very easy to unconsciously nibble on endless helpings while chatting it up with friends and family. If this is an issue for you, try putting the plate of food down while you talk, or bring the conversation out of the kitchen and out of sight of the food.
  3. Munch on the healthy choices. Gravitate toward the fresh fruit, vegetable platters
  4. Avoid the empty liquid calories. Sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks you often find at parties are full of calories that your mind may fail to register as calories, so they make it very easy to load up on empty calories. There are some yummy andfun holiday-themed ways around this though: my favorite is to offer and enjoy sparkling water with just a splash of cranberry juice (and served with cranberries and lime if you want to be fancy).
  5. Best of all: make delicious and healthy food to bring! Offer some yummy garlic marinated shrimp or prepare endives stuffed with goat cheese, strawberries, and walnuts.
  6. Bonus: Pine needle cookies? While maybe not entirely “health” related, this recipe is a super fun one I thought I should share with you guys. You can find it here. So try it out and make your holiday parties that much more interesting

Check out these other tips for having a healthy holiday while you’re at it.

Happy Holidays!

Recipe provided by Meg Levitt (:



Study While You Exercise!

Happy Study Week!

Wait, did I just combine the words happy and study in the same sentence? Wow. How can anyone be happy when they have to study? Especially if they have to study for the next few hundred hours?

I’m sure we all understand the struggle of finals. We make our best effort and sacrifice any time we can spare to prepare for the Big Tests. We pore through pages and click through websites and sort through Youtube videos scrambling for a strategy or tool that’ll allow us to finally memorize the basic amino acids and recite muscle origins and insertions. We give it our all, even if it doesn’t make us remotely happy.

But what if there was a study strategy that was easy, effective, and fun? What if it even made you a little happier while you studied? What if I told you this strategy was just… moving?


That’s right. More and more research is showing that studying before, after, and maybe even during a good workout can boost your brain cells and help you learn material better.

Why is that? Some experts claim that it is due to exercise’s effect of increasing blood flow to the brain. Another theory is that exercise increases the expression of compounds called brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which are associated with increased cognitive function and alertness. Whatever the case, it’s clear we should really start moving this week. How should we do that though, and in what order? Here are some ideas.

  1. Exercise, then study! Start off your morning with a nice dose of cardio and it may make your following study session a little more bearable. Plus, you’ll enjoy the benefits of increased brain blood flow and feel-good endorphins to help you be smart and feel great. So consider heading out for a nice outdoor walk or run in the AM before hitting the books.
  2. Study, then exercise! Getting the studying right out of the way is a good idea, especially, if you’re worried about time – and then shaking that worry off with some light cardio afterword can help calm the mind and put you back into focus. One study found that exercising a few hours after studying significantly enhances long-term memory storage and retention.c8a3fdd8805ce16ad70093c7570f7c72
  3. Exercise while you study! Seems crazy, right? Well, one study that put participants on a cycle ergometer while memorizing vocabulary words found that the group exercising on the cycle while they studied recalled way more words than the group sitting quietly while they studied.So maybe it’s a little awkward to jog around the block with your biology book blocking your view, but some other strategies you can consider is playing study videos or an audiobook while you exercise or accompany a HIIT circuit with some brief flashcard studying during rest periods.
  4. Don’t forget about proper nutrition! Nourishing that ginormous brain of yours is a must, so consider feeding it some healthy fats, antioxidants, and adequate carbohydrates to best boost your brain power.

So I’ll say it again: Happy Finals Week! Remember to stay active this week while you’re studying — it might help you out in the long run.






Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays out there, and we all know why: the food! Every year I whip up my favorite roasted Brussels sprouts and pumpkin coffee cheesecake. It’s a great time to have fun with family and friends and be thankful (and watch the Dog Show of course!).

Unfortunately, it’s also easy to get lost in all of the calorie-dense, high-fat fare at the table. We can easily lose sight of how much we exceed our limits for carbs, fat, and sodium at Thanksgiving. Want some tips to conquer the feast tomorrow? Here are a few.


  1. gliter-and-goat-cheese-atlanta-thanksgiving-day-half-marathon-costumesGet moving. It’s true you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, but if those not-so-great eating habits are gonna be concentrated into one day (a.k.a Thanksgiving), working out a little harder or longer that day can alleviate the impact of those monstrous calories (just remember that it likely won’t burn off the whole meal) . Strength training combined with high-intensity cardio the day-of is probably the most effective.
  2. Go easy on the butter, gravy and sauces. Like I said, the food is the best part of course! But if you want to improve the calorie profile of your food, try to withhold slathering it in gravy or drowning it in butter, which can add extra calories pretty easily. Remember that a little goes a long way!2012-07-25_18-31-19_43
  3. Enjoy the turkey and veggies first.  Munching on some lean protein and fiber first thing will help quell your hunger so you don’t overdo it on the high-calorie sides and desserts.
  4. Most of all: enjoy yourself! It’s so true that one day of bad eating won’t sabotage your overall healthy diet. So don’t get too high-strung on counting calories and avoiding “bad foods”, because food stress can be more harmful than any unhealthy foods we may eat. Remember to enjoy the company of friends and family, and enjoy the food!

To help you get in the spirit this Thanksgiving, remember to check out these fun facts about Thanksgiving and awesome cultural Thanksgiving recipes. And don’t forget about the leftovers! Incorporate them into these delicious recipes. 

Bonus: Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I thought I would share this nice little recipe  A few weeks ago, I was given a cute little pie pumpkin just after Halloween. Instead of crafting a spooky face onto it, though, I mostly forgot about it and left it to sit on my coffee table. Now, I’m putting it to use and making some homemade pumpkin puree. So if you find yourself at the grocery store and they’re out of canned pumpkin but have piles of little pumpkins, consider making some dsc_0169at home!


1 sugar pumpkin

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sugar pumpkin in half and scoop out all the “guts” and seeds. Lay both halves on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake 30-45 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Allow to cool for at least one hour. After cooling, scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin and blend in a blender or food processor. And done! (courtesy of Alton Brown).




Careers in Nutrition: Agriculture

Where would you work in the field of nutrition? As a clinical dietitian? In a community program? As an educator or administrator?

It can be easy to get lost in the more “popular” nutrition careers while forgetting that there’s an entire world of opportunity out there. For example, if you’re interested in not just the nutritional value of the food we eat but also where it comes from, how it is made, and how it ends up in stores, restaurants, and on our dinner plates, you could consider becoming an agricultural dietitian/nutritionist.

Agriculture is the practice of growing and cultivating the foods we eat, so it is clearly extremely important with regards to our nutrition and health. For a long time, though, agriculturalists were focused on the idea of offering enough food for everyone without even considering the nutritional content of those foods, but as people all over the world suffered from severe nutrient deficiency (with millions even dying),  agricultural firms shifted their perspective to nutrition. It started with biofortification, the practice of adding vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to a crop that does not have  those nutrients naturally (one example is golden rice, or rice fortified with vitamin A), and continues through efforts to increase the quality, availability, and affordability of nutritious foods.

What does a nutrition professional do in the agriculture field?

Work alongside agricultural firms and companies. Dietitians are sometimes employed by large-scale farming corporations to assist in developing healthy and sustainable practices and technologies.

Advocate. Dietitians who become involved in agriculture very often work in the public policy area, calling for sustainability in farming practices and increased accessibility to nutrient-dense foods for people all over the world. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics held a December 2014 conference to address three goals for RDNs involved with agriculture: 1) Advancing sustainable agricultural practices; 2) increase accessibility to foods that promote health; and 3) increase global capacity for RDNs. As the global population increases and hunger-related issues become more complex, dietitians are brainstorming ways that agriculturalists can produce healthful foods more efficiently and productively.

Educate. As nutrition professionals get involved and learn more about agricultural practices, they can use their knowledge to educate the public about where their food comes from and how healthful food can benefit them. On a smaller scale, while maybe not “agricultural” in the larger sense, teaching about farming  gardening can be a fun and practical way to educate others about healthy food, especially kids. Organizations like Green Our Planet and the American Heart Association’s Teaching Gardens are working to establish gardens in schools across all communities and employ farmers who teach basic gardening skills to kids how plants grow. If this interests you, check out their websites to see how you can get involved!


Make it local! Shipping produce from far away places is expensive, requiring extra fuel and manpower, and can potentially degrade the quality. It’s clear that keeping our produce local could be a great thing for everyone. That’s why it is so important to support and engage with our local farms and farmer’s markets, and nutrition professionals everywhere are making an effort to push the idea of “eating local”.

(Here’s something pretty cool: organizations like Urban Seed are working to create plots and greenhouses of sustainable produce that can be grown and harvested right in a restaurant’s backdoor – yes, even here in Las Vegas! )

So if you have a passion for plants, an interest in food production, and wanna push for local and sustainable food supply, getting into agriculture could be for you!

Collaboration by Meagan Levitt


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

I hope you all have a wonderfully spooky night, whether you’re going out on the town and or staying in to watch some scary movies or carving scary pumpkins. Remember to enjoy those pumpkin seeds too, since they’re full of fiber and essential minerals. Take a look at these awesome pumpkins for some inspiration!


Now I’d like to leave you with a story about something I think we can all agree is spooky: the Lied Library after dark.

The Library

Based on a true story (sort of)

On a dark and damp Thursday evening I entered the doors of the library. It was roughly 9 p.m., far past the time I ever want to be doing homework, and I began my ascent of the staircase to the 5th floor.

Nobody really goes on the 5th floor, especially at this time of the night. Whether that is due to the sense of isolation that comes with the height, or due to the infamous ghost stories shelved on that floor, or due to sheer laziness and unwillingness to climb the stairs or wait for the elevator, none of it mattered to me. In fact, the fewer the people, the more focused my work would be, so all the better to me.

As I neared the top of the stairs a sense of unease came over me. I wonder how long this assignment will take, I thought. Hopefully no longer than the 3 hours I had remaining in the library, but based on our class discussions it might take a few hours just explaining the processes, never mind analyzing and interpreting them. I was so fanatically mulling this over that it never occurred to me just how devoid and lifeless the 5th floor felt, and how the quiet and silence contrasted with the chaotic mess of books that had fallen from a shelf. Did I find it a bit uncanny and weird? Yep. But I needed to get to work regardless.

I finally settled into the cold, firm chair at my table, which felt just a bit colder and firmer this time. Taking out my laptop and glancing at the time on my phone (9:15 p.m.), I officially began typing. T-minus 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Writing was difficult for the first 20 minutes but over time each new sentence seemed to flow more smoothly than the last. For a second, I was annoyed because I thought I heard another person about to join me at the adjacent table, but when I looked up I saw no one there. I briefly checked out the clock: T-minus 1 hour and 30 minutes.

I then glanced at my page count: 3. Perfect. I typed and typed and typed and words seemed to flow freely from my fingertips. At this point I was nearly done with the assignment. I began the concluding paragraph and glanced at the clock for the final time. T-minus 1 h


The sudden sound startled me from my seat. Disturbed but admittedly curious, I walked over to the source of the noise, an aisle of shelves about 10 feet to the right of my table, and noticed a book resting on the ground, its empty slot looming above it. Still no one was in sight, but that wasn’t too weird, I thought. People are always putting these books back the wrong way and they’re bound to fall with the slightest draft. Just then — thump. Another book in a more distant aisle descended to the ground. I started to get a little concerned at this point and thought it a good idea to finish up, go downstairs and print.

It was 11:15 p.m. at this point. I entered the stairway and my nerves settled, only to be disturbed by a sound. Not a sudden sound but a constant sound. The sound of footsteps following me down. They were in sync with mine but somehow louder, and as soon as I stopped they ceased as well. I turned to see no one on my tail and was convinced I was experiencing some kind of auditory illusion.

But the unease I felt at this point quickened my pace to the nearest computer. I booted it up and jammed in my flash drive. Typed in my credentials. Hit enter. Now waiting for it to load. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Still waiting —


The book at the end of the nearest aisle fell quickly and forcefully to the ground. What monstrous draft could cause that? Looking to the computer screen and seeing it finally loaded, I frantically opened my file, hit “print”, ripped the flash drive from the computer and bolted to the escalator where I could sprint to the first floor in seconds. On the way down I heard the same synchronized footsteps, as frantic as mine, but they did not cease this time when I did. I resumed running toward the side door and ignored the security guard’s urgent calls to slow down.

Once outside, I felt relief wash over me and nervously laughed at myself. I now knew the true and scary effects of sleep deprivation on my sanity. I looked at the clock: 11:30 p.m. Way too late for me, apparently.

I was finally at my car when I heard something like paper hit the ground. I looked down to it. My assignment. I forgot to take it from the printer, didn’t I? Or did I? Was I so tired that I completely forgot? I laughed again.

It must have been the ghost, I joked in my head. What a stand-up guy.

“Thanks man!” I said facetiously to no one, and opened my door.

“No problem.” A hushed voice spoke in response.



It’s the spookiest time of the year

As you all know, Halloween is right around the corner. While I was looking around online, I came across a definition that so perfectly summed up my entire month: something called the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). October, for me, has been full of FOMO regrets as a result of so much that has happened. Throwing midterms into the mix doesn’t make it any easier!

But as they say, it’s better late than never! Here are some fun suggestions for putting more spookiness into the few days leading up to Halloween.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.23.57 PM

  1. Head out on town to experience many great events happening this weekend in the Henderson and Downtown areas. You can find a list of events right here.
  2. Carve pumpkins (of course!). You don’t need to do the giant orange ones either; if you wanna cut up a tiny pie pumpkin or a funny looking gourd then go for it!
  3. Aside from actual pumpkins, I like to bake Halloween-shaped sugar cookies  Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.08.45 PM(including lots of pumpkins) and spook them up with colored icing. What? It’s not too Christmassy! They’re pumpkin spice sugar cookies, guys.
  4. Next you can work off those sugar cookies with this weird pumpkin workout (Come on, we all need to try this at least once! Also, hold off on carving your pumpkin before trying this for more resistance).
  5. Bring a kiddo to Boo Bash this Monday!
  6. Read and listen to some scary stories at your local library or on Youtube (stay tuned on Tuesday for the scary story of a lifetime…)
  7. On Halloween night, passing out treats is the best, but try adding a healthy twist. While candy is totally the best, try including other lighter snacks like pretzels
    Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.09.56 PM

    If you offer non-sweets treats this Halloween, place a teal pumpkin outside your door!

    or small fruits like clementines. You can also give out  on-food treats like spooky glow-sticks, bracelets, or flashlights. Because most commercial candy isn’t totally nut-allergy safe, the Teal Pumpkin Project was created to encourage giving out these inedible treats for trick-or-treaters with nut allergies. You can read more about it here.

  8. Trick or treating will forever be one of my favorite childhood memories. Some of you have kids of your own, so this may be one of your default plans already. Or, if you don’t have kids, you can bring a friend or family member so you can still experience the fun that you had when you were young. Or… I don’t know how young you all look, but I can definitely pass for 12 years old if I try hard enough, so maybe just go for it! (?)
  9. Last but not least: whatever you do, don’t forget these tips for having a safe and healthy Halloween.



What’s for Dinner?

We all have a pretty good idea of what it means to eat healthy. While the exact foods and meals vary from person to person, the general idea remains to eat more whole and natural plant foods and limit the amount of prepackaged or fast food (a.k.a “processed junk”). But this can be a huge challenge, especially when it comes to making dinner. After you’ve had such an incredibly long day, don’t you sometimes feel entitled to go the easy route, which is usually some quick and cheap processed junk?

Every day this week, I spent several hours on campus surviving on bagels and Starbucks coffee. I was mentally and physically exhausted by the time Thursday came around and knew that I needed some real food. My dilemma was real though: It’s 6 pm and I haven’t eaten any real food all day. What can I make that is healthy and satisfying, but won’t take forever and cost my whole paycheck?

To be honest, I was really tempted to drop by and get some processed junk. Instead, I dropped by the store really quick and made this for me and my roommates.

Spinach Tomato Feta Pasta


3/4 box pasta of choice (or roughly 1/4 box of three different kinds of pasta if you forgot to buy more, like I did…)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried basil
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package. In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat and saute’e garlic, red pepper, and basil until the garlic is slightly golden. Stir in spinach and cook until slightly wilted, stirring frequently. Add grape tomatoes, reduce heat, and cover, allowing mixture to heat gently for about 3 minutes. Serve over pasta and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 (with some leftovers)

So that wasn’t so bad, right? It was something whole, not too processed, and healthy, and it took me no longer than 30 minutes to make. That’s definitely the ideal dinner right there!

Maybe you’re not a fan of pasta, though, and want some more meat in your meal. This taco recipe is another quick favorite of mine.

Simple Chicken Tacos


Corn tortillas
1/4 onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of white pepper (or black pepper is fine, but white pepper is awesome)
Kale, shredded cheese, and tomato (for topping).

Heat corn tortillas on a saucepan until each is soft and browned in several spots. In a saucepan, heat oil and cook onion until translucent. Rub spices onto chicken breast and place into the saucepan. Cover with water (or chicken broth), bring to a boil, and then simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and water is evaporated. Once chicken is cooked, shred with a fork, and serve on tortillas with desired toppings.
Serves 4

These are just a few examples of some convenient dinner recipes you can all try. Here are a few other deliciously fall-themed recipes you should definitely try too, provided by my friend and fellow Nutrition Sciences student, Meagan Levitt (and excellent commentary courtesy of her as well).

If you have a favorite dinner recipe you just can’t keep to yourself, feel free to share in the comments!


Meg’s Cranberry Sriracha Baked Wings

With Football, studying, and cooler weather upon us this is a wonderful fall dish that is great for get togethers or study benders. These wings offer a sweet and spicy flavor that will aim to please all tastes. Enjoy friends!
● ½ cup jellied cranberry sauce
● 2 tbsp sriracha
● ½ tsp salt
● 3 limes quartered (to squeeze over cooked wings)
● Fresh pineapple spears
● 2 oranges cut into wedges
● 1 tsp garlic
● This is also a great glaze for vegetarian options as well such as cauliflower wingz, zucchini and sweet potato spears, or firm tofu spears.
1. Combine all ingredients except wings inside a large ziplock bag; seal and mix well.
2. Remove ¼ cup of marinade and set aside. Add Wings, or vegetarian option to bag and seal. Turn ingredients over in bag to coat contents and refrigerate for one hour.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour chicken and marinade into an ungreased baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes. Periodically turn and brush with remaining marinade.
4. Transfer to a nice long plate with cut limes, pineapple and oranges.


Meg’s Farmhouse Kale and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

As a person from one of the leading maple syrup producing states, I can tell you this salad provides healthy ingredients and a mapley delicious taste. Whether it is served as is or in a warm whole wheat wrap with hummus, I promise you this dish is addicting.
● 8 cups chopped kale leaves
● ½ large apple
● 1 cup cubed + cooked butternut squash, cool before adding
● ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
● ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
● ¼ cup chopped pecans, roasted

Maple Vinaigrette

In a mason jar combine:
● 2 Tbsp. olive oil
● 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
● 2 tsp. maple syrup
● 1 Tbsp. mustard
● salt and fresh ground black pepper
● Place lid on mason jar and shake
1. In a large bowl, toss kale leaves with half of the Maple Vinaigrette
2. Add apples, butternut squash, red onion, feta, and pecans on top of the kale leaves. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve.

Meg’s Rad Vegetarian Curried Butternut Squash Spiralized Noodles

(Perfect for trying out a veggie spiralizer, if you have one!)
Keeping it fall, fresh and green with this dish. Please feel free to add it to 1 cup of vegetable broth and 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk for a delicious soup.
1 lbs Medium butternut squash
1 Large Red onion
1 cup frozen green peas
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Maple syrup
½ Tbsp Sea salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp Yellow curry powder
¼ Cup Pecans finely chopped + additional for garnish
⅓ Cup Medjool dates chopped
½ cup cilantro
Optional: Jalapenos, red chili flakes or chili oil, or tabasco taste great with it
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Chop the bulbous end of the butternut squash off, as well as top stem, leaving just the straight part in the middle. Peel off the skin (I find it easier just to cut it off) and chop it in half, so it’s easier to spiralize.
3. Spiralize the squash so it turns into thick noodles. Place into a very large bowl.
4. Cut the apples in half and cut out out the core. Cut the round part of each apple half off slightly, so that it’s flat. Don’t cut too much, or the apple will split when spiralizing. Place onto the Inspiralizer and spiralize each cut half. Place into the bowl with the squash noodles.
5. Thinly slice red onion, place with Squash noodles
6. Toss the noodles with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, ginger, curry powder, and pepper.
7. Transfer the noodles, being sure to scrape up all the oil and syrup from the bottom of the bowl, into a large baking or casserole dish and cover with 1/4 cup of the chopped pecans.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, stir around and then bake again until the squash noodles
are fork-tender and the apples and syrup has begun to caramelize, about another 10-15 minutes.
9. Immediately stir in the cilantro and dates, and then let cool for 5 minutes.

Meg’s Stupid Good Jamaican Jerk Eggplant

The street food in Negril, Jamaica is unbelievable. It is so delicious, I felt I had to share
it with my favorite people. One of the greatest gifts I have learned about the cuisine from
Jamaica is that it incorporates heat, sweet, love and fresh ingredients. In fact, this
Summer I asked a chef when I was visiting there what his secret was in his delicious
food, and he said, “When I cook for people, they know I put my heart and soul into their
meal”. At this point in the semester we could use a boost, and this dish has a kick.
Since none of us will be going to the Caribbean anytime soon because we are all hard
at work, and for some of us, a semester away from graduating; I figured I’d bring a part
of the Caribbean to you. I have made this dish with Brown rice with lime, and with
Cauliflower rice. Enjoy!
1-2 tablespoons of Jerk seasoning
1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp garlic
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp melted coconut oil, plus more for grilling
3 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced
1 thinly sliced serrano, seeds removed
1 large or 2 small eggplants
SAUCE optional
1/4 cup BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Pinch each sea salt and black pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, green onions, and serrano.
2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more soy sauce for saltiness, lime
juice for acidity, fresh herbs for earthy flavor, maple syrup for sweetness, pepper for heat, or garlic for bite.
3. Slice eggplant vertically (lengthwise) into 1/2-inch- thick “steaks” and generously brush both sides with the marinade.
4. Heat up a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil / grease to prevent the eggplant from sticking. Once hot, add eggplant and grill on both sides until golden brown and grill marks are present – about 3-5 minutes each side.
5. In the meantime, prepare sauce (optional!) by adding BBQ sauce, lime juice, oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper, onion, to a small and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
6. Serve over rice, over cauliflower rice, or with sauce (optional), and garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or green onion.


Thymes Intro: Welcome to Fall 2017!



We may be already be nearly halfway through the semester, but it is never too late for a warm WELCOME back to UNLV.


Welcome back!

This is your UNLV SNDA Thymes blog, where you will find weekly postings about your favorite topics in health, nutrition, and beyond. We’ll be talking about all kinds of nutrition stuff: new research in nutrition, careers in nutrition, fun facts about nutrition… I could keep going, but you get the idea. There is so much awesome info about nutrition that even the experts are still picking up on new things.

Now that Fall is here, there are so many things we can start diving into. For example, how hard is it to eat healthy during the holidays? Probably at least a hundred times trickier than eating healthy on any normal day, but don’t worry: we’ll be getting into some tips to guide us on ideals like portion control and getting our veggies in (which doesn’t sound like much fun, but trust me – it’ll be fun). I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes (like this delicious turkey chili), fun workout ideas, study tips for difficult classes, and certainly all the volunteer  opportunities available on campus and with SNDA.


Seriously, try this.

For this first post, I want to be honest with everyone: it’s been a pretty crazy year. Life has been super kind at times, affording me the opportunity to work and travel and introducing me to new people, new places, and delicious new foods. And then other times, it feels like life kinda just sucker-punched me in the face for no good reason. Cramming for big tests, scaling mountains of homework, and worrying about program applications and going in to work right after while forgetting what the definitions of “fun” and “leisure” even are. On top of everything that’s going on in my personal life and certainly everything going on in our community and in the entire world, I feel like I’m constantly begging life for a break. I know we’re all in the same boat too, some maybe sinking more than others.

But here’s the deal: now more than ever, the world needs the healing and positivity of nutrition. We can use our nutrition passions and knowledge to make such a positive impact on others, and definitely on ourselves. Whether your path is taking you to become a personal trainer, physical therapist, registered dietitian, scientist, writer, businessperson… whatever it is, that knack for health and well-being is sure to radiate onto everyone around you.

So SNDA, let’s make the rest of this year a great one. Let’s share the recipes we love, and the workouts we’re into, study hard, and keep making fun of “nutritionists” and making cheesy jokes about how to “taco” bout it. And let’s keep enjoying and appreciating all things nutrition. And reading the Thymes blog. 🙂


Introducing the UNLV Nutrition Sciences Master’s Degree

Ever considered getting a master’s in nutrition? Maybe it’s a clear “yes” (because you just love school and nutrition that much!), or maybe a “no way!”, or perhaps a “maybe someday”. For quite a while, though, UNLV did not offer a nutrition master’s degree and nutrition students were limited to pursuing a graduate degree elsewhere or otherwise settling on another area of study for graduate work. But thanks to the work of UNLV nutrition faculty, the Nutrition Sciences Master’s Program will be happening right here at UNLV, this fall. Dr. Laura Kruskall, Director of UNLV Nutrition Sciences and the UNLV Dietetic Internship, has devoted tremendous time and effort to establish this long-awaited program and proudly shares what the program will offer to prospective graduate students. With the master’s degree option, both future and current registered dietitians may enhance their skills and even pave the way for salary increases. Here’s what you should know about the Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences degree at UNLV.

It took a while (and lots of work) to establish.

A master’s in nutrition seems pretty essential to offer university nutrition and health students. Unfortunately, it took some time to convince administrators to see it that way. The process, according to Dr. Kruskall, was a long and tedious battle involving not only overcoming technicalities like paperwork but also persuasion. The first step was submitting a proposal to the Dean of Allied Health Sciences, explaining the importance of a nutrition Master’s program for UNLV students. Once the proposal was officially received, the faculty and administration voted to confirm the master’s program proposal– a nearly unanimous “yes”, according to Dr. Kruskall.

It will offer both research and clinical practice tracks.

Maybe you want to do research, or become a registered dietitian, or maybe even both– whichever the case, this program will work for you. The Nutrition Sciences Master’s Program will offer two distinct study tracks: an independent thesis track, geared toward preparing students to compose their master’s theses and conduct nutrition and health-related research; and a clinical case study track, in which students have the opportunity to learn about and practice nutrition interventions and prevention techniques in the community. The latter track, says Dr. Kruskall, is a unique opportunity for current and prospective dietitians to develop new clinical skills and refine existing skills. One of the overarching goals she intends for the program is a fresh emphasis on chronic disease prevention in the community, and by working with local hospitals and health centers students can practice this emphasis through the clinical case study track. On the other hand, nutrition students who may or may not aim for an internship, and current dietitians who wish to contribute more to the field, may apply for the research track. Dr. Kruskall believes that both tracks are excellent ways to “shape the expertise of the registered dietitian”.

It will offer a flexible curriculum tailored to the student’s interests.

This will be no rigidly structured program. Aside from the study track distinctions, the master’s degree curriculum will offer 9 elective credit courses teaching specialties in nutrition such as genomics, sports nutrition, and more, and core classes teaching a variety of nutrition disciplines such as clinical nutrition. Within the research track, there is even an entire course dedicated to writing research grants! Outside of these specific classes, however, a student may also complete courses from related studies, such as kinesiology and public health, provided they are approved by a program committee. “Within this program, there is room to allow you, the student, to develop expertise in in your area of interest”, Dr. Kruskall assures.

In 2024, all dietetics students will require a Master’s to sit for the RDN exam — meaning this will affect all students entering college this Fall.

That’s right: any student starting college this year who wants to become a registered dietitian will require a 4 year DPND bachelor’s degree, an internship experience, and a 2-year nutrition master’s degree to sit for the exam and become licensed. Very few registered dietitians in the state of Nevada hold master’s degrees, and only a fraction across the entire country hold doctoral degrees, Dr. Kruskall mentions, which limits both nutrition research and potential faculty for nutrition programs at colleges and universities. It is hoped that this new requirement will grow a new generation of advanced nutrition degree holders across the country.

Maybe you can be one of them, too! Are you planning to get a master’s in nutrition, and does the program at UNLV sound appealing to you?

Spring foods in season

Now that we find ourselves in the middle of spring (hard to believe since spring break has just come and gone!), it is an excellent time to share some yummy and healthful foods you can find in the spring months. Here are a few!


I’m sure at least a few saw the picture and thought “what exactly is that mythical beast?” In truth, that is an artichoke plant. The tender artichoke flowers can also be consumed, but it is the scaly bud of the plant we all know and love. You’ll love it even more when you see that they are also rich in fiber, thiamin, and vitamins A and C, and probably also when you try delicious garlic artichokes.


Arugula, also commonly called “rocket salad”, offers a rather spicy kick to any salad. It is available year-round but at its best in the cool early spring months, and offers generous amounts of folate and vitamins A, C, and K. Those pretty flowers you see above? Those are also edible. You might have luck finding those at a local farmer’s market, and if you do, please do make a bacon arugula blossom salad and let me know how it is! (if I don’t try it first, that is…)

Fava beans

Favas are generally at peak between March and May, and offer much in the way of protein, B vitamins, and several minerals. Fava beans are fairly easy to cook up, especially when prepared fresh, and are great sautéed.


You have likely never even heard of it, but purslane is an intriguing plant that has been in use as far back as ancient Greece. Purslane is also technically a weed, so cultures disagree on whether to burn it or eat it! However, if you break down and try it you’ll find that purslane is actually a great leafy green similar in taste to spinach and rich in many of the same vitamins and minerals. Best of all: purslane has more omega-3 than any other plant food. 

Go ahead and try some in this delicious purslane pesto recipe.


CAUTION: These leaves are poisonous!

Rhubarb is often thought of as a fruit, cooked like a fruit, and is even legally considered a fruit in New York, but is actually a vegetable that looks almost exactly like celery. Because the stalks are so bitter, rhubarb is usually prepared with ungodly amounts of sugar (like in good old rhubarb pie). Here are a few healthier recipes, both sweet and savory, that will allow you to enjoy the great taste and antioxidants that these red stalks offer without the sugar crash (just don’t include the leaves: they contain oxalic acid and other poisons).