Kale Cabbage & Quinoa Salad Recipe

Kale, Red Cabbage, and Quinoa Salad

By Nutrition, Recipes

This kale, red cabbage, and quinoa salad makes a delicious healthy side dish, or can be served on its own for a light meal!


2 cups cooked quinoa (see below)

1 bunch of curly-leaf kale, washed and chopped (approx. 6 cups)

2 cups shredded red cabbage (packaged or thinly sliced from a small head)

4-6 scallions, chopped (light and dark green parts only, unless you want a stronger onion flavor)

¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted


5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ cup vegetable or olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

To cook quinoa, add 1 cup raw quinoa seeds to a microwavable bowl. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 2 cups water. Cover and microwave for 10-15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove bowl from microwave (bowl will be hot) and cover with plastic wrap to rest/finish steaming. Fluff with a fork like you would rice or couscous.

To toast almonds in a toaster oven, line a small pan with foil. Add nuts in a single layer and bake at 275 for 5 minutes or until lightly golden. To toast over the stove, add nuts to a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until lightly golden. For both methods, watch closely as nuts can burn quickly. (I toast a cup or more of nuts at a time and save the rest for snacking or adding to oatmeal.)

Strip thick stems from the kale and wash and dry the leaves. (A lettuce spinner works well for this.) Chop and add to a large salad bowl. Add shredded red cabbage, scallions, cooked and cooled quinoa and toasted almonds.

To make dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a jar. Fasten lid and shake vigorously.

Toss with dressing (to taste) and serve.
Leftover dressed salad will keep for at least a day, covered and refrigerated.

Serves 10-12 as a side salad or 6 as a main meal

Thanksgiving Nutrition Tips

A Happy (Healthier) Thanksgiving Dinner

By Feature, Nutrition

Thanksgiving is a special time when people get together with their loved ones and enjoy each other’s company over delicious food.  Traditionally, this special holiday started with healthy foods that were prepared from scratch with whole organic ingredients.  If we think of the historic times, the original Thanksgiving dinner had slimmer pickings than the meals that we have today.  Unfortunately, with the passing of time, many not-so-healthy recipes have made their way on the Thanksgiving table. As you prepare your feast, keep in mind there are great healthy recipes that use oil & seasoning for flavoring instead of butter and cream.  Take advantage of these substitutions whenever possible.

Enjoy a happy, healthier, Thanksgiving dinner with these great tips!


Turkey is traditionally the star of the show.  Enjoy, but avoid eating the skin to avoid extra calories.


Stuffing is often the highest calorie builder in the entire Thanksgiving feast. Depending on how it’s prepared, it can be close to 500 calories per serving. There are a number of things you can do to cut down on calories and still enjoy a delicious treat:

  • Use chicken stock or broth instead of fat when preparing.
  • Substitute cornbread for regular bread.
  • Add extra vegetables like onion, apples, and celery.
  • Cook your stuffing outside the bird (it’s leaner if cooked separately).

If you are one of those people that can’t live without stuffing and can’t control how it’s made, then try treating it like dessert and eat just a small portion to avoid the unwanted extra calories.

Mashed Potatoes & Candied Yams

When it comes to eating potatoes, sweet potatoes and the Yukon Gold potatoes are your best options. The good news is that they don’t need much flavoring since they are flavorful from the start. A few tips:

  • Add ginger and cinnamon (instead of marshmallows) to add pizazz to your sweet potatoes.
  • Substitute fat-free buttermilk for butter for light, airy, and lower-calorie mashed potatoes.
  • Be mindful of portion control when enjoying starchy vegetables. For those willing to give up potatoes, quinoa can be a great healthy substitute.

Cranberry Sauce

The best cranberry sauce is prepared from scratch.  There are many great healthy recipes with delicious flavor, less sugar, and no preservatives found in the canned variety.

Green Beans

Vegetables are the healthiest sides in a Thanksgiving dinner—as long as they are not from a can and don’t contain a lot of cream soups and butter.  Use fresh green beans, fresh green salads,  and other nutrient-dense vegetables to your Thanksgiving menu.  Remember that ideally, vegetables should take up half of your plate.


Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie are traditional desserts that can make Thanksgiving an extra special treat.  The best bet is to eat the filling and avoid the crust to save unwanted calories. Otherwise, enjoy them in small portions as if you were doing a test tasting experiment.


Sahar Berjis, RD

Sahar Berjis is a licensed Registered Dietitian with 17 years of experience in traditional and functional nutrition. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, and earned her Dietetic License and Masters in Public Health from Tulane University.

She has been the key speaker at different universities and nutritional conferences including John Muir speaker series, NYU, Columbia, American Dietetic Association, American Homeless Association, New Jersey Nutrition Conference, addressing the importance of nutrition.

She practices Functional Nutrition in Walnut Creek, CA. She looks at each patient individually using the whole-body approach. She spends time analyzing nutritional imbalances using in-office stomach acidity testing and more invasive testings if needed. She creates individualized plans to restore and rebalance gut health and the body using diet & natural remedies.

Leftover Turkey Breakfast Frittata

Leftover Turkey Breakfast Frittata

By Nutrition, Recipes

Not sure what to do with all of that leftover turkey coming your way in a few weeks?  Here is a great recipe for a delicious turkey breakfast!


8 large eggs

½ c. milk

1 tsp. Kosher salt

½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper

2 c. sweet potatoes

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 c. firmly packed chopped kale

½ small red onion

2 clove garlic

1 c. cooked turkey shredded or cubed

3 oz. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.

Sauté sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden; remove and keep warm. Sauté kale, onion, and garlic in remaining 1 tablespoon oil – 3 to 4 minutes or until kale is wilted and tender. Stir in turkey, then potatoes. Pour egg mixture evenly over cooked veggies and turkey, and cook three more minutes. Sprinkle egg mixture with goat cheese.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 14 minutes or until set.

Photo by Romulo Yanes

Roasted Kale & Butternut Squash

By Nutrition, Recipes

Another fall favorite for seasonal fall farmer’s market finds!


1 1/2 pounds butternut squash cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 packed cups chopped kale

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1 can (15 oz) butter beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg (8.8 oz) heat-and-eat white rice

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons bottled balsamic glaze

Heat oven to 450°F . Toss squash on a sheet pan with 2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread in a single layer and roast 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in an extra-large bowl, toss kale with 2 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and the oregano. Stir in butter beans. Stir squash and push to one side of the pan. Add kale-bean mixture to the other side, mounding slightly. Roast 15 minutes. Microwave rice per package directions. Transfer kale, beans and squash to a large bowl; gently stir in rice and crumbled feta. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and toss. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo credit:

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

By Nutrition, Recipes

Fall is finally here! And your local markets are filled with an array of delicious fall squashes.  This Butternut Squash Soup would make the perfect intro to your Thanksgiving holiday feast, but is equally suited to a weeknight meal!



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 onion, diced

4 cups cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional: toasted pumpkin seeds and outer leaves from brussels sprouts

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée soup, or to use an upright blender, let the soup cool slightly and carefully purée in batches.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and brussels sprout leaves as desired.

Cozy Black Bean Soup

Cozy Black Bean Soup

By Nutrition, Recipes

The cooler evenings are upon us, calling for a warm and cozy meal.  Enjoy this quick and easy vegetarian recipe for Black Bean Soup (original recipe from Veggie Inspired).


1 medium onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper (diced)
4 cups cooked black beans (or about 3 cans, rinsed and drained)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 cups vegetable broth

Garnish/Toppings, use what you like:

Diced avocado
Sliced green onion
Chopped tomato
Fresh lime juice
Sriracha sauce
Crushed tortilla chips
Chopped cilantro
Vegan sour cream

  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic and red bell pepper in 1/4 cup water until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add water as necessary to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and salt and sauté another minute or two until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add black beans, tomatoes and vegetable broth. (Start with 3 cups of broth, you can add more later if you like a thinner soup). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree as much as the soup as you like (I do about 1/2). Alternately, you can carefully transfer 1/2 of the soup to a blender, purée, and add back to the pot. Add the other cup of broth if you like a thinner soup.
  5. Serve hot with the toppings of your choice.
Bone Broth: Benefits & Recipe

Bone Broth: Benefits and Recipe

By Nutrition, Recipes
In the last few years, bone broth has become very popular.  There are also many different products that have come out using bone broth.  The preparation of bone broth is what makes it a superfood.  Bone broth’s real benefits come from simmering the bones for up to 72 hours which allows the marrow to be cooked down and the minerals to be released.

Benefits of Bone Broth

1.  Joint Health

Bones actually give the body 50% of its protein.  The collagen from the bones, tendons, and ligaments are broken down in the cooking process and turn into gelatin which is actually a protein.  Gelatin contains several amino acids that help rebuild our connective tissue, especially our tendons and ligaments.  This is why people that have arthritis start feeling less pain once they boost their intake of bone broth because as we maintain the connective tissue in our body we reduce the risk of aching joints.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) best known as glucosamine is a family carbohydrate found in bone broth, which thousands of people take every day as a joint health supplement.  A recent study showed that chicken collagen dramatically improved the symptoms with rheumatoid arthritis.

The minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are crucial to help strengthen our bones and reduce osteoporosis.

2.  Gut Health

Glycine, an amino acid in bone broth helps to reduce symptoms of acid reflux.  Contrary to what you might think, acid reflux is actually caused by a lack of stomach acid which makes digesting food difficult.  Glutamine, another amino acid found in bone broth, is a natural remedy for “leaky gut syndrome”, which basically means the lining of your intestines are not working properly and can set off a number of autoimmune issues.

3.  Immune Health

The marrow in bone broth is extremely rich in nutrients.  It helps immune function, especially for colds and flu. Bone broth also contains a variety of valuable nutrients in a form your body can easily absorb.


2 pounds bones

1 gallon water

1 small piece peeled ginger

1 onion

2 large carrots (if from an organic source, you can rough chop and dont need to peel)

2 celery stalks, rough chopped

salt, pepper, and spices to taste

How to Make Bone Broth

The best bones to choose for making bone broth are the ones with the most marrow.  Depending on the bones, I recommend simmering the broth for 8-48 hours. I usually like to rinse my bones with vinegar to minimize the strong bony taste.

  • Place bones in a large stockpot and cover with water.
  • Roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower to a simmer.
  • For beef broth, simmer for 48 hours, for chicken broth, simmer for 24 hours, for fish broth, simmer for 8 hours.
  • Allow to cool slightly and strain. Store in an airtight Mason jar or freeze until ready to use.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION: Seniors-Take Control of Your Well-Being

By Events, Health & Wellness, Nutrition

Sahar Berjis, RD, and Rebecca Berke, BCH, will be presenting this two-hour class at the Danville Community Center. Aimed to provide seniors with the tools necessary to eat healthier and learn to make better choices adjusting for environmental and emotional factors associated with aging, it also addresses integrating mindfulness into your daily life. This hands-on workshop empowers seniors to have a better control of their health.

Register with the Danville Community Center:

September 16

October 7

Healthy Energy Bars for Kids

By Nutrition

Healthy Energy Bars for Kids

With the wide variety of energy bars out there on the market, it can be hard to know which are the best choice, especially for kids? We’ve identified several that are among the better choices becausethey are low in sugar, made with natural ingredients and don’t have too many additives.  Keeping sugars around 5-9 grams per serving is ideal.

  • Clif Z Bars
  • Mini Perfect Bar
  • Power Balls
  • BOBO’s Oat Bars
  • Warrior Health Chia Seed Bars
  • Rx Bar : Kids
Back to School Lunch Inspiration

Back to School Lunch Inspiration

By Nutrition, Recipes

Back to School Lunch Inspiration

It’s hard to believe that it’s back to school time! There are so many decisions when it comes to school lunch? Should we purchase or pack? If packing, what should we pack for our kids?

Kids have a lot of energy and don’t need foods with added sugars—the best sugars are those that occur naturally in fruits. Many of the pre-packed school lunches include juice, candy and cookies—filled with added sugar that kids just don’t need. You can help make better food choices for your children by packing your own lunches. But do not fear! It doesn’t need to be complicated—it can be simple and easy. Mix and match foods from each column to provide nutritious and well-balanced meals!


  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Melon
  • Berries
  • Cuties
  • Peach/Plum


  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Avocado
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Broccoli florets
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Celery


  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Granola
  • Sandwiches
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Healthy bars
  • Rice
  • Bagels

Proteins & Dairy

  • Nitrite-free/uncured deli meat

  • Mini meatballs

  • Nut & seed butters

  • Chicken wings

  • Cheese

  • Eggs

  • Tuna

  • Yogurt

Some healthy combinations include:

  • Bagel with cream cheese/cucumber/apple
  • Banana & peanut butter sandwich/yogurt/strawberries/crackers
  • Deli meat wrapped with pretzels/strawberries/crackers & cheese


When it comes to hydration, water is the best way to go. Juice and milk tend to have too much added sugar. Plain water or hint water are great to keep active kids hydrated without adding too much unnecessary sugar into their diet.

Healthy Bars

With the wide variety of energy bars out there on the market, it can be hard to know which are the best choice, especially for kids? We’ve identified several that are among the better choices becausethey are low in sugar, made with natural ingredients and don’t have too many additives.  Keeping sugars around 5-9 grams per serving is ideal.

  • Clif Z Bars
  • Mini Perfect Bar
  • Power Balls
  • BOBO’s Oat Bars
  • Warrior Health Chia Seed Bars
  • Rx Bar : Kids