Month: September 2022

How to cut a whole pineapple with a corer

There’s nothing worse than buying pricey pre-cut pineapple to find it’s lost all of it’s juice. Since starting at Dole Food Company, I’ve learned a few things about pineapple. My desk moved over near the fruit team my second year there, and one day I saw the fruit buyer slice and serve a pineapple first-hand, just using a sharp knife from the office kitchen, and it was a sight. The presentation was beautiful and it made eating the pineapple so much more enjoyable.

I’ll share step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple without a corer in another post but stick with me here to learn how to use a pineapple corer. It’s a kitchen gadget that gets way more use than I thought it would (in my kitchen), and it makes enjoying juicy fresh pineapple at home super easy. This is great for a kitchen beginner, because let’s face it, cutting this popular tropical fruit can seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time.

Let me walk you through the easiest way with these simple steps.

How to pick a pineapple at the grocery store

The good news is that a pineapples sweetness is locked in when it’s picked. It won’t get any sweeter if you leave it on your counter for a few days. In fact, the first thing you should do is cut your pineapple when you get it home!

For best flavor look for fruit:

  • smells sweet
  • feels solid and firm
  • that has a crown that looks stiff and glossy (not dried out)

Storing a pineapple at home:

  • If you bought it at room temperature, keep it at room temperature
  • If you bought it chilled, keep it chilled
  • Keep it in a cool place, out of direct sunlight
  • It’s okay to let it sit upright at room temperature until you’re ready – but not for too long other wise it will ferment!

What you need to cut a pineapple

  • plastic cutting board
  • a sharp chef’s knife or long serrated knife with a sharp blade
  • a pineapple cutter – I got this corer on Amazon

Cut a pineapple in this simple step-by-step guide.

  1. On a clean cutting board, lay the pineapple on it’s side. Use a sharp chef’s knife, to slice off the top of the fruit. (Save the pineapple’s crown to use as a decorative element for charcuterie boards, or pluck leaves to add as garnish to desserts and salsas!)
  2. Next, line up the circular part of the pineapple corer with the center core of the pineapple. Then begin to turn the corer while applying even pressure. Continue to turn the corer until it has moved through the fruit and no longer easily moves towards the bottom. (Take care not to cut through the bottom of the pineapple if you’re repurposing the shell).
  3. Then, hold the pineapple firmly with one hand, while pulling the corer out of the fruit. You’ll see the flesh is now on the stainless steel center of the corer.
  4. Unclick the handle of the corer and slide the spiraled fruit onto a plate.

At this point you’ll have a beautiful coil of pineapple fruit. (Which could be fun to play with for plating purposes).

If you want pineapple rings: Stand the fruit coil upright and find where the fruit coil begins. That is where you slice down with your paring knife.

If you want pineapple chunks: Stand the fruit coil upright and cut in half. Then make 2 cuts in each half to make 3 even sized chunks. Do the same on the other side. These are easy bite sized pieces.

If you need even smaller pieces: Instead of 2 cuts, make 3-4 cuts in each half as described in the instructions above.

Do not use the corer if you need pineapple spears or thick slices! With a corer you’re limited to one thickness. Mind produces a thin spiral slice.

How to store pineapple after cutting

In my house it literally gets gobbled up within minutes, but personally I like very cold pineapple. So I cut it into small chunks with a corer and store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. You’ll want to eat it within 2-3 days.

Suggestions for what to do with the pineapple shell

  • Use as a bowl to serve pineapple salsa for a crowd.
  • Make a pineapple jack o lantern!
  • Use it as a cup for a pinacolada or tropical smoothie.

What to do with pineapple after you’ve cut it?

  • Enjoy it as a great snack all on it’s own!
  • Add to fruit salads.
  • Small dice and add to savory stir fry before serving.
  • Make your own DIY Dole Whip!
  • Skewer it with bell peppers and cubed chicken for a quick grilled meal.
  • Try making a healthy pineapple upside-down cake!

Use pineapple with these flavors.

  • pork
  • ham
  • chicken
  • duck
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • cottage cheese
  • coconut
  • ginger
  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • black pepper

These are some of my favorite pineapple recipes <3

Hawaiian Cauliflower Fried Rice

Pineapple Carpaccio

Pineapple Cheesecake Overnight Oats


pineapple nutrition

Pineapple nutrition

They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, while also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, magnesium, potassium and copper.

Prep macro friendly foods the whole family will love!

What are macro friendly foods?

All foods are made of macronutrients or macros for short. Any food that makes it’s easy to identify and count macros is “a macro friendly food” in my book. But I’ve also seen it used as a way to describe foods that give you the most volume of food – which if you’re used to limiting calories and portions- is a very welcomed thing! There are a lot of macro friendly foods and we’ll go into all the details below.

The great thing about macro friendly foods is – they are minimally processed and family friendly. As a mom of two, there is nothing worse than having to make a separate meal for me and another for the kids. When I prepare meals like those described below, everyone is happy because the flavors are familiar, they’re easy to deconstruct if you have picky kids and you know exactly what your macros are for the meal!

Macros 101

There are three types of macros: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. Each one has a different job. They help us build new tissue like muscles, give our brains energy and help regulate our hormones!

Don’t confuse tracking macros or macro friendly foods with low calorie, or low fat diets. You can track macros as part of any diet plan, whether you’re gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or aiming to gain weight, gain muscle or lose body fat. Your macro goals just need to be set correctly – and by a professional!

An easy dinner that is macro friendly could look like roasted sweet potatoes, grilled chicken breast and broccoli drizzled with olive oil. A meal like this includes all three macros (is a complete meal!) and it’s easy to see where the g protein, g fat and g carbohydrates are coming from! Chicken = protein, sweet potato = carbs and olive oil = fats!

macro friendly food
Macrofriendly salad with vegetables, chicken breast and edible flower for balanced dinner

Macro friendly sources of lean protein

If your goal is to lose fat, your goal should be to get enough protein at each meal. I recommend having 3-4 ounces of protein at each meal or snack to keep yourself feeling full.

  • Chicken breast
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Lean ground chicken
  • Protein shakes (check labels)
  • black beans
  • Protein bars (check labels)

As a rule of thumb, one ounce of lean protein = 7 g protein. Protein provides 4 calories per gram.

Macro friendly sources of higher fat protein

  • Chicken legs
  • Ground beef
  • Flank steak
  • Filet mignon
  • Chicken thighs
  • Salmon
  • Low fat or fat free cottage cheese
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt

High protein snacks include: beef jerky, dried turkey sticks, edamame, hard boiled eggs, deli meats and protein shakes.

Macro friendly source of carbohydrate

  • Sweet potato
  • White potato
  • Brown rice
  • White rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Most fruit in general

Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram.

Wheat products such as bread, tortillas, english muffins, pancakes and French toast are sources of carbohydrate, however they are also sources of fat and potentially sugar which make tracking their macros tricky. One bread that I do like is Ezekiel Bread. It’s minimally processed made from sprouted wheat and has higher protein than other breads. If you want to include breads in your diet choose whole grain options where the first ingredient is whole wheat and sugar is not in the first three ingredients.

Macro friendly sources of fat

Not all fats are created equally. Some fats like those found in fatty fish, olives and avocados are healthy fats. Research has shown us that these fats promote heart health and desirable cholesterol levels. Fats that are solid at room temperature, such as those found in red meat, butter, even full fat coconut milk are sources of saturated fat which should be limited or avoided especially if you’ve been diagnosed or are at risk for heart disease.

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Shaved coconut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nut butter
  • Salmon

Fat provides the body with 9 calories per gram.

Tips for shopping at the grocery store

The simplest way to ensure you have macro friendly foods in your cart is to shop the perimeter! But trust me, there are a lot of amazing macro friendly foods in the center aisles of the store too.

  1. In the produce aisle, everything is fair game. Stock up on fruits and veggies for your meals and snacks. I like to go into the week with at least three vegetable options in the fridge. My go-to’s are broccoli, spinach and bell peppers but I may get more depending on what looks fresh and how many nights I will be cooking! Macro friendly produce items: broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, leafy greens, endive, salad mixes, garlic, melons, bananas, apples, peaches, pineapples, berries and the list goes on and on.
  2. Moving onto the deli. I like to get some deli meats for quick lunches that are high in protein. Sandwiches don’t take much time to put together and they’re a great way to create a macro balanced meal. (think bread, meat, veggies, and mayo or oil)
  3. In the meat and seafood department, you can go with either fresh or frozen protein options. I usually get 3 protein options for the week. This gives me a chance to meal plan healthier options that will fit in my macros, and in case I don’t get to cook it all, I can just freeze what I don’t use for later. Chicken breast is always a good option to pick up for a quick baked or macro friendly grilled chicken. Lean ground beef is good for meal prep, taco Tuesday or meat loaf. Shrimp are a superfast and delicious way to be sure you get all the grams of protein you need for your goals.
  4. In the dairy section is where you’ll stock up on eggs, Greek yogurt and skim milk. Unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milks are other lower macro alternatives to have on hand for delicious recipes and smoothies.
  5. When you turn the corner to the frozen aisles the macro friendly foods will be generally less processed without added sauces. (Though you can scan barcodes and manually add macro info from the nutrition facts panel to most macro calculators). My favorite frozen buys include spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower rice, peas, chopped onions, and vegetable medley – I recommend the unsauced versions so you can add freely to recipes and track macros as needed. Sauced versions like those from Green Giant do make for convenient sides that the whole family will like- they have veggie tots that are a big hit with us too!
  6. The center aisles of the grocery store are where you can get your basics for quick meals. Pick up 90 second brown rice packets, tuna fish, canned beans of all kinds and your favorite low sodium seasonings. Seasonings are a great option to change up your meal prepped protein throughout the week in a flavorful way. This is also where you’ll find your oatmeal, tomato sauce, bean based pastas, whole grain cereals, jerky, trail mix, nuts, nut butters and more. You just need to read labels a bit more 🙂

Is ice cream macro friendly?

When I think of macro friendly meals, I think of all three macros. I want all three macros on my plate, at the very least two macros. Having all three macros is the perfect way to ensure that you’re hitting your target numbers by the end of the day.

That said, ice cream is very high in fat, sugar with very little protein.

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat it, it just means that you want to log your portion accurately, and try to modify your eating the rest of the day to compensate. There are macro friendly ice creams out there (Halo Top and Arctic Zero) that are higher in protein, and even use lower fat milk and sugar substitutes but you need to ask yourself this important question. Am I eating ice cream to meet my protein goals? or am I eating it for the enjoyment of food. For me- when I am in the mood for ice cream, nothing else will do. So I account for real ice cream in my macros, even though it’s high in fat and sugar. I guess that’s what makes counting macros so great – you can make food choices that work for you and your food preferences!

Tips for counting macros with homemade recipes

  • In general, it’s easier to count macros when cooking from scratch and eating whole and unprocessed foods.
  • Tracking macros doesn’t mean you need a detailed recipe though. The key to tracking macros with recipes is to add to your tracker in the portions used OR follow the recipe exactly as written.
  • Then portion out according to the listed serving size. For example, if you make a crustless quiche and it serves 8, simply cut it into 8 equal portions and use the nutrition information to log your macros. If you’re like me and 1 serving isn’t enough, you can easily double your portions, just be sure to multiply your macros by 2 when logging them.
  • Weigh out ingredients using the tare function on your scale. When I’m making homemade meatballs for example – place the mixing bowl on top of the scale. Then add ingredients by weight. Hit tare after each ingredient so the scale zeroes out. My favorite part of measuring ingredients this way is that there are much fewer dished!! No need to wash measuring cups or spoons!

When cooking or combining foods during cooking, my number one tip is to use the tare feature on your scale. Not only is it accurate, but you have significantly fewer dishes to do after cooking!

macro meal prep

Meal prep these macro friendly foods each week

  • hard boiled eggs
  • steel cut oats
  • baked sweet potato
  • grilled veggies
  • grilled or baked chicken breasts

Here are some easy recipes for the whole family

Bonus! Most of these recipes are from popular supermarket chains like ShopRite and Trader Joe’s that have an easy add to cart feature. Just click the recipe, select ingredients that you need for the week and send to cart!

Non-recipe recipes

These are easy ways to combine macro friendly foods into delicious meals! While the macros aren’t listed, these combos are easy to add to your macro tracker – and each combo includes protein, fat and carbohydrate to be sure you’re macro balanced!

  • Chocolate banana smoothie – 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower crumbles, 1T chia seed.
  • Cauliflower hash brown egg cups – Spray a muffin tin and layer 1/4 cup cauliflower, 1/4 cup frozen hash brown, 1 egg, salt and pepper – bake at 350 F until set!
  • Black bean bowl – 3/4 cup microwaveable brown rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 2T salsa, 2T sour cream, cilantro.
  • Classic chicken dinner – Roasted potatoes and baked chicken breast with steamed broccoli – just log your portions accordingly!
  • Warm salad bowl – Start with a bed of greens, add 1 cup of warm rice, add leftover herb chicken breast and top with diced cucumber and your favorite salad dressing
  • Chicken cutlet or grilled chicken with sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil for all of the flavors of chicken parmesan
  • You can never go wrong with a big salad – just be sure to make a meal out of it and invite all the macros to the party. Add shrimp, beans or lean steak, top with corn, onion and salsa for southwest flavors that win every time.

All of these are easily added to macro tracking calculators and will start you off with generally balanced meals. Portion sizes can be increased or decreased for your needs.

Making macro-friendly recipes is easier than you think!

How do I know what my macros should be?

A great way to find out your macro goals is to talk to a registered dietitian. Everyone has different macro goals based on activity level, lifestyle and body composition goals. It’s no one size fits all. And often, once macro goals are set, they will need to be reassessed and tweaked.

If you’re thinking about macros as daily allowance or “limits” – try to think of them as minimums in order to reach your goals!

We all have specific nutrient and macro needs based on our health and fitness goals, and tracking macros is an effective strategy to make well balanced and complete meals. Often weight loss programs focus on calories, which shifts the emphasis away from the three macronutrients and their important functions in the the body. The good news is when you include all three macros (according to your specific needs and goals) you can expect see changes!!I

If you’re new to macro counting, and want to learn more about why people do it. Check out my post about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss.

For more on family friendly meals, you may like these…

DIY Dole Whip is back with new pumpkin spice recipe!

The original iconic Dole whip needs no introduction for Disney fans, but in case you’re new to the scene, Dole Pineapple Whip launched as a soft serve mix in the early 1980’s and was served at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park shortly after. You can find it at the Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and at some other 3rd party retailers (if you’re lucky!). But if you don’t think you’ll be at a Disney resort anytime soon, there is a similar version of the DIY whip available at the dole website! And now there’s an amazing new pumpkin spice Dole whip to add to your favorite DIY recipes!

Did you know that I worked Walt Disney World Resort at the “Spirit of Aloha” dinner show in college? It was a great experience. I made relationships friends and mentors that I still keep in touch with today – and it all started at the Polynesian resort! Truly, what could be better than being able to go into Disney’s theme parks, being able to see Minnie Mouse and try all of the parks incredible food offerings whenever I wanted!? It was a foodie dream.

And as a full time dietitian for Dole Food Company, I know the love for the classic Dole whip runs deep! I’ve seen everything from Dole whip smoothies and popsicles to raspberry and orange flavored Dole whips too! I mean, Disney even created a national Dole Whip Day which is celebrated every August. In developing the original DIY recipe, it was important to keep it’s smooth like soft serve ice cream and maintain a slightly sweet and tropical flavor that makes it a the perfect anytime treat. Dole and Disney followers just love their Dole whip, and they love this DIY frozen treat. All of these are vegan, or can easily be modified to be vegan dole whip!

Bonus: The original and pumpkin spice-flavored versions are even healthier than Disney’s original Dole whip dessert, thanks to it’s whole foods ingredients!!

Melanie Marcus MA RD

In honor of the fall season, Dole developed a Pumpkin Spice Dole Whip recipe!

If you’re a lover of all things pumpkin, then this is a a delicious treat that kids will be happy to eat, and you’ll be happy that it fits in your macros too! I mean, you’re probably reading this with a skinny pumpkin spice latte in hand right now right? So forget the candy corn and add the ingredients for this iconic sweet treat to your shopping list! Hello pumpkin-spice season!!!

This seasonal flavor combines tropical fruit flavors of the islands, with warm flavor of sweet potato and pumpkin spice. When it’s served cold and topped with coconut chips it truly makes a stunningly special fall treat.

Ingredients you need for Pumpkin Spice Dole Whip

  • sweet potato
  • pineapple, frozen
  • maple syrup
  • unsweetened refrigerated coconut milk
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • pecans and/or coconut chips for garnish (optional)
Jump to Recipe

You may think that sweet potato is an unusual ingredient, but after making this recipe, I can attest, that it provides a great soft serve texture. It’s not a weird pumpkin-pineapple mash-up. Trust me!!

It’s actually very convenient because sweet potatoes are an easy household staple that don’t require special conditions to be stored. Just keep them in a cool dry place and they’re basically ready for you, when you want to cook them! For this recipe you can prepare as suggested, or you could even use plain left over sweet potato mash. And if you don’t have sweet potatoes, try using a pumpkin puree instead!

If you buy a whole pineapple, core it, chop into pieces and freeze right away. If you’re using a vitamix you can also include the core as part of the recipe. It’ll be able to blend it up without an issue. As a short cut, you can purchase pre cut pineapple or even buy frozen pineapple.

I do recommend the maple syrup in this recipe. I usually try to eliminate all added sugars, but the small amount in this recipe goes a long way to bring out the natural flavor of the pineapple and sweet potato.

When choosing a coconut milk, you could use a version that has more fat. The recipe will work if you use a full fat coconut milk as well. We just liked the addition of subtle coconut flavor without the saturated fat.

Tools you need to make this pumpkin spice Dole whip at home

  • High powered blender like a Vitamix or a food processor. I would not recommend making this in a standard blender because the fibers of the frozen pineapple may make for a chunky whip.
  • Chefs knife or pineapple corer! I’m all about fewer kitchen gadgets, but I do think a pineapple corer is a great investment if you love fresh pineapple. They’re not expensive and you can have your pineapple on the table in under 2 minutes!

As a dietitian I love this recipe because…

  • The main ingredients are pineapple and sweet potato which makes reaching your fruit and vegetable goals much easier!
  • There is limited added sugars which could be eliminated or a sugar substitute could be used if you wanted to.
  • This is a sweet treat that I would serve to my family every day.
  • It’s a great vegan and gluten free option!!

Let me know if you like this fall inspired or the pineapple version of dole whip soft serve treat better!

pumpkin spice Dole Whip

Pumpkin Spice Sweet Potato Dole Whip

Dole Food Company
This is a fall inspired version of the classic DIY Dole Whip.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 90 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup peeled and chopped DOLE® Sweet Potato
  • 1Âľ cups chopped DOLE® Pineapple frozen
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened refrigerated coconut milk
  • Âľ teaspoon gluten free pumpkin pie spice
  • Chopped pecans and/or coconut chips for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat potato and 2 tablespoons water in a medium microwave-safe bowl, covered with plastic wrap with 1 edge slightly open to vent, in microwave oven 3 minutes or until very tender. Drain potato; cool completely.
  • PurĂ©e pineapple, syrup, milk, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and potato in a food processor on high until smooth, scraping down bowl occasionally. Makes about 2 cups.
  • Divide pineapple mixture into 4 bowls; sprinkle with remaining ÂĽ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and top with pecans and/or coconut chips, if desired.

Notes

1/2 cup serving = Fat 0g, Carbs 22g, Fiber 2g, Protein 1g.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal
Keyword Dole Whip, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Simple 3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies for the win!

These 3 ingredient banana cookies from Dole Food Company are a #momfavorite. They’re not complicated to make and they have a touch of natural sweetness that satisfies! Plus my daughter loves to get involved with making this easy recipe from start to finish – which means she’s more likely to eat them! Their wholesome ingredients are a natural fit for vegan diets making them the perfect treat. I’ve also heard them referred to as oatmeal breakfast cookies and after trying them they are like a portable and more convenient replacement for your bowl of oatmeal!! Check out the full recipe below!

While I am a full time registered dietitian with Dole Food Company, this post is not sponsored in anyway!

Jump to Recipe

On breakfast cookies as a dietitian…

healthy cookie

These cookies are a major win. They’re packed with nutrient dense foods like rolled oats, nut butter of choice and bananas! Let’s go over the nutrition benefits of each:

  • Rolled Oats – These complex carbohydrates are full of fiber which is known for slowing digestion. It also helps stabilize blood glucose levels avoiding spikes in blood sugar. Research consistently shows that fiber slows digestion and helps us feel fuller- for longer too! These carbs also help fuel the brain making these healthy cookies a perfect morning treat!
  • Nut Butter – Especially a single ingredient peanut butter is the perfect combo of fiber, protein and health promoting fats. Research suggests that those who eat peanut butter at breakfast tend to eat less for up to 12 hours afterwards! In general, when looking for peanut butter, avoid those with hydrogenated oils and added sugars.
  • Bananas – These household staples are a powerhouse for nutrition. Known for their potassium content, one medium banana provides 9% or 422mg which offers major heart health benefits and can help support a healthy blood pressure. Among other things, they also have a decent amount of soluble and insoluble fiber which support heart and gut health respectively!

Making breakfast cookies from the culinary perspective…

Like I said, these aren’t complicated to make, but that’s what makes them so great! All you need are three ingredients, mix them together and then bake! They’re so easy to make, even a child can do it!

Do I have to used rolled oats?

There are three main types of oats. Steel cut, rolled and quick oats.

Steel cut are hearty, filling and nuttier that rolled or quick. But they will not work in this recipe. Steel cut oats are the shape of little pellets and will not absorb enough liquid from the bananas and peanut butter to make a proper batter.

Rolled are convenient and often called for in baking recipes. I like the texture rolled oats give this recipe, but quick oats will work well too!

About the bananas

  • Overripe bananas, either fresh are frozen are the star ingredient.
  • If you’re going with fresh bananas – make sure they are overripe for the sweetest cookie! In general, the more blemished and ripe the better! This is the perfect recipe to keep on hand when your bananas are turning spotted. Bananas are sweetest at this stage!
  • Use frozen! This is totally fine to do, just caution you may have a bit more liquid than if you use room temperature bananas. So if the dough feels extra sticky add 1-2T additional tbsp oats.

What are the best type of oats?

  • This recipe uses rolled oats because I think they provide a great texture.
  • You can use quick cooking oats too! They will just absorb more liquid during the baking process.
  • I don’t recommend substituting oat flour for the rolled oats in this recipe. The amounts would have to be tweaked for it to be a successful banana cookie recipe.

When it comes to the PEANUT BUTTER…

  • If you want something slightly sweeter, then use traditional peanut butter like Skippy or Jif that tend to have added sugars. Normally, I would suggest avoiding added sugars from a nut butter, but in this case the sugar makes for a great tasting three ingredient cookie!
  • If you’re trying to limit added sugar, I recommend using an all natural peanut butter. Look for one that has simple ingredients. There are many that have a single ingredient: peanuts!
  • This recipe will work with any nut butter that you have on hand. You can use creamy peanut butter or chunky varieties of cashew, peanut, or seed butter. Almond butter works well too!

Chewy vs Crispy?

  • If you want them chewier, I suggest cooking them about 12 minutes.
  • I like them a bit crispier so I go 15-17 minutes.

Optional add-ins

Get creative with your add-ins! These breakfast cookies are really delicious on their own, but they’re so easy to customize for your taste. There are plenty of options to experiment with. Try these versions!

  • Add 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips to the dough before portioning out, or just sprinkle a few on top of each one for a little hint of chocolate.
  • Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the dough.
  • Sprinkle with Monkfruit sweetener or brown sugar before baking for an added touch of sweetness.
  • Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt before baking to play up the sweet and savory balance.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pepitas.
  • Add 1/4 cup ground flax seeds to the dough for heart healthy fats.

Helpful tips

  • I don’t recommend adding sugar like maple syrup or honey as it will make the dough wetter. But you could add 1-2tsp if you’re hoping this cookie recipe will solve your sweet tooth cravings! Just be prepared with added 1-2T rolled oats.
  • If you want to make a double batch, I recommend combining ingredients separately for best results.
  • I recommend rolling these into balls or using a small ice cream scoop to get even sized cookies. Then pat them down with your fingers to get that traditional cookie shape. The cookie dough won’t spread out or flatten during the cooking process.
  • Bake cookies until the top is slightly golden. And they are quite forgiving even if you over bake them!
  • Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. When we make a batch they never last more than a day or two!

Other tools you need…

  • parchment paper – use it to line your baking sheet for easy clean up.
  • large mixing bowl – for mixing
  • cookie sheet – for baking
  • I like to mix these by hand, but you could always use a food processor if you want a fairly smooth consistency.

As a mom…

I use this recipe as a healthy cookie or activity for my daughter to make from start to finish. She peels the bananas (if we are using fresh), and then mashes away!! I help measure the peanut butter and then we add the rolled oats together. She’s able to mix everything together on her own which is a huge confidence builder!

Next, I line the baking sheet and show her how to use a small ice cream scoop to portion out equal size balls. We then pull out the mini chocolate chips for an extra special little topping as we press down the cookies to a flat disc shape together.

We made these cookies just this past weekend. It was raining and I think we had all had reached our limit for screen-time and just needed a change of scenery. I knew I had bananas that needed to be frozen or used, and we always have some kind of nut butter and oats, so we were golden. Twenty minutes later we had cookies (and breakfast for tomorrow!). It’s really the perfect activity for kids. The total time commitment is very low!

Tracking Macros?

  • Be sure to divide batter into 12 even cookies.
  • Each cookie has 106 calories, 6g Fat, 10g Carbohydrate, 3g Fiber and 3g Protein.

I feel like the coolest mom when Jules exclaims “I can’t believe we’re having cookies for breakfast!”

When do I make 3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies?

  • Make them for a quick breakfast (EVEN DURING THE WEEK) to enjoy at home or on the go! They’re the perfect portable version of oatmeal.
  • They’re my go-to guilt free after dinner treat especially when we top them with dark chocolate!
  • When the kids are looking for something sweet and I want them to have a healthy dessert.
  • Make them with sun butter for an allergy friendly lunch box snack.
  • Anytime we need a quick healthy snack.
Banana Oatmeal Cookie

3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Dole Food Company
Developed by Dole Food Company, this recipe is one of my favorites!!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 12
Calories 106 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 each bananas
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Mash bananas in a medium bowl with the back of a fork; whisk in peanut butter. Stir in oats and optional add-ins, if desired; using 2 small spoons, drop about 1 heaping tablespoon dough 2 inches apart on prepared pan.
  • Bake cookies 12 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 12 cookies.
  • Tips: You can add mini chocolate chips, chopped fruit or nuts or even ground cinnamon to make these a bit fancier!

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal
Keyword banana, easy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

28 Reasons why I love the FASTer Way to Fat Loss as a Registered Dietitian (updated for 2024)

I first learned about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, (FASTer Way or FWTFL for short) in 2018. I must have noticed it in someone’s IG profile and thought – what is FWTFL?

As a foodie and a registered dietitian mom, following anything related to health, wellness, restaurants or food is up my alley. It’s my business to be in-the-know.

And on my road to becoming a dietitian, I tried every diet out there – weight watchers, atkins, keto, vegan, Mediterranean, beach body and my personal favorite and Gweneth Paltro recommended unsustainable fad – The Dr. Joshi Diet. I mean, the crazier and more limiting they are, the better right?

As every health professional worth their salt already knows – that is not the case!

As much as diet culture pushes a calories in, calories out one size fits all approach, lets face it – most of the time these are quick fixes, and unsustainable for the long term. So when I saw FWTFL, I had to investigate.

Melanie Marcus RD

Initial Research

My initial google search in 2019 rounded up mostly influencer recommendations for the program but very few health professionals had weighed in. I did find one dietitian who called the program out for being too complicated. She described it as throwing everything at the kitchen sink and totally overwhelming. Which could be true if you try to piece it together from the FWTFL website and implement on your own. That said, I just kept following The FASTer Way on IG and continued my research. I checked out the blogs, looked employees up on Linked In and learned several dietitians were on the leadership team and helped develop the program. I also took to Pinterest to see what resources I could find there. And then I found the coaches.

The FASTer Way’s key differentiator are the coaches.

Men and women, nurse practitioners, dietitians, physicians, moms, dads, teachers and more – all who live the program day in and day out, sharing their experiences, motivating new and potential clients in online but also in everyday life.   FASTer Way has a certification for coaches who then facilitate the program.    

Next, I started to follow a few.  They shared their meals, grocery hauls, weekly meal plans and recipes.  They shared what they fed their families, and what their portions looked like. It all seemed pretty normal.  They talked about FWTFL strategies like intermittent fasting and carb cycling and they were living examples of how busy moms and dads, grandmothers and professionals, no matter their stage of life (even during pregnancy) were incorporating the FWTFL into their daily lives. 

I even called my dietitian friends to see if they’ve ever heard of it.

After over a year of scoping it out, I bit the bullet, paid the $199 (at the time) and enrolled in the new client experience with the coach that resonated with me – Liz Baynard. She was a post partum, doing her thing, fitting workouts in daily, feeding her family well and she was reaching her health goals. Nothing crazy, nothing unrealistic – totally attainable.

Melanie Marcus FASTer Way to Fat Loss Coach

My first round of the FWTFL was October 2020. My doctor cleared me for activity after Max was born and I was ready to hit the ground running. I never looked back. Six months in, I became a certified coach for the FASTer Way and it has brought me more joy as a health expert than I could have ever imagined. Working with clients in a very personal way, nudging them towards achieving their health goals – this is why I became a dietitian.

whole food nutrition
Whole food nutrition is one of the key pillars of the FASTer Way.

28 reasons why I love the FASTer Way to Fat Loss

In the food department

1. Anyone can do it. It can be completely modified to meet you where you’re at. Whether you’re a new breastfeeding mom, or a college student trying to figure out eating on your own! If you’re recovering from a surgery and can’t work out or you just had bariatric surgery and have been told you can’t do any form of fasting. Whatever the limitation is, there’s a way to talk through it with your coach to customize the program for you.

2. It’s based in science. This is where the macro tracking, intermittent fasting, whole unprocessed foods comes in. The programming is also looked at cyclically so that you’re not always in a calorie deficit – because that’s not really effective.

FW Testamonial Macros

3. The focus is actually on building lean muscle in order to rid fat. It’s not just about becoming as small as possible. It’s about becoming strong and empowered. Teaching clients the power of their food choices and how that effects their bodies.

4. Intermittent fasting is way easier than I thought! I actually have more time! One of my favorite things is that I don’t need to worry about having breakfast. Instead, I can focus on feeding the kids, packing schoolbags, putting my makeup on and go.

5. You don’t need to purchase additional apps like My Fitness Pal to track macros. The FWTFL app has a macro tracking feature and library and makes macro tracking complete and easy. No additional apps needed!

6. Success isn’t measured by the scale. Instead we learn to look at non scale victories including measurements, photos, energy levels, how clothes fit and sleep quality.

7. You can eat out! Whether you’re traveling for work or dining out more because you don’t have time to cook – the FWTFL can work for you! We track macros (protein, carbs and fat) not just calories. Most restaurants post this info for easy tracking, plust the FWTFL app also has cool features that allow you to add personal favorites or use their library of items for stress free tracking.

8. I can still have my coffee. One of my favorite times of day is when I sit down with my cup of coffee before the rest of the house wakes up. That’s my time to get my day straight and wake up at my own pace.

9. Recipes and meal plans are delicious AND optional. People ask me all the time if I can provide them with a meal-plan for weight loss. I mean all the time. And for me as a dietitian, I love that the recipes use whole foods and are easy to put together. If you’re just not sure where to start with healthy eating, the meal plans are a lifesaver. They’re also ideal for busy people who just want to know what to eat for the week. They even come with a weekly shopping list to make your online ordering a breeze. It’s all found in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss App!

10. FOOD FREEDOM! You can eat whatever you want. And by this I mean, if it fits in your macros, log it and move on. I’m not saying you should eat a twix bar every day, but if you do choose to indulge, you can. And it’s no big deal.

11. Food isn’t emotionally charged anymore. Going through the program actually helped me undo some “diet think” that I didn’t realize I had! Food was always a very emotional, impulsive and comforting thing for me. But after truly looking at food as fuel to help my body build muscle – I’m able to enjoy foods like chocolate, bagels, and pizza without overeating, or guilt.

12. You don’t have to make different meals for yourself vs the rest of the family. Is there a bigger win for moms or dads who cook for the whole family?

FW Non scale victory

13. You don’t feel deprived or hungry. There is actually a lot of food to eat every day. I often see clients struggling to eat enough!

14. Protein supplements and collagen are not required. You can get all the protein you need from whole foods. However, the FASTer Way to Fat Loss team developed a protein supplement that provides 20g per scoop with only 90-98calories. It has little to no carbs and fat, they offer collagen too. It’s not necessary, it’s only an option if you want an easy form of protein to add to your routine.

15. The macro calculation is rooted in having you eat as much food as possible – while reaching your health and body goals! For me, food provides a lot of enjoyment, so it’s a major bonus!

About the FASTer Way to Fat Loss workouts

16. The workouts are FAST. I do not like working out. I never have. I always thought I needed to be running and doing cardio to lose weight. I hated getting red and sweaty, it was never for me. I actually do these workouts during my lunch break at home or even at the office. Each day a workout video is posted in the FWTFL app. The head coaches walk you through every exercise and suggest ways to modify up or down depending on your ability.

17. Every workout can be customized. You can challenge yourself up modify down every and that’s OK! I was always completely intimidated at the gym and didn’t know the first thing about lifting weights. With the FWTFL workouts, I was able to try workouts in the privacy of my own home, modify as needed while gaining strength and confidence.

FW NSV Food choices

18. The workouts are effective. The combination of strength training and high intensity workouts are key to keeping your body in a fat burning zone.

19. You don’t need special equipment. There may come a time when you want to upgrade your workout equipment, but you really don’t need anything to get started. Splurge for the strength bands if you want some resistance at a low cost.

20. Workouts are constantly changing. And they are strategically paired with the macro cycle for maximum effectiveness.

Maybe the most important and the most underrated things about the FASTer Way.

21. You learn the foundations at a pace that help support new healthy habits. It takes at least 21 days to form a healthy habit. Your first six week round gives you a fresh start and lays the foundation for healthy habits. Plus your coach can help you pace things out and support you with extra trainings and resources to help you succeed, the way you need to learn.

22. You have a support system – always. This is the role of your personal coach. The head coaches at the FASTer Way to Fat Loss are constantly delivering tips through the app. It’s cool because it reminds you why you’re doing this. Also, seeing my clients support each other – in many cases TOTAL strangers, is really a beautiful thing.

23. It’s sustainable! Once you start to trust the process you’ll see that you can have an off day and get right back into it without punishing yourself. It’s all about progress, not perfection.

24. I haven’t stepped on the scale in about a year. This has done wonders for my mental health. Stepping on that scale and then allowing the number to impact my mood has been awful. And I know better than anyone that one pound of muscle is way smaller than one pound of fat. But for some reason the number that all goes out the window when I step on the scale. Now, I focus on how clothes fit, energy levels, sleep quality and even how much weight I’m using during workouts as measures for success.

FW NSV Accountability

25. Macro tracking isn’t forever. This can seem overwhelming at first. But I see it as a way to collect data about how you eat. It’s a way to learn what foods you lean into, and more importantly, it’s a way to learn about the portion sizes that make you feel your best.

26. You can find the coach that is right for you. If you’re going to start the FWTFL, take the time to look up coaches and see who you vibe with. Everyone is different and we are all motivated in different ways. If you take the time to sign up with a coach who you trust and feel comfortable with, your success will be that much greater. And while it’s not the norm, you can actually contact the FWTFL, to change your coach if you feel that you need to!

27. It provides much needed structure for the person that’s tried everything. I’ve had so many clients that “have tried everything”. Like me, they wanted to make progress on their health goals, they just didn’t have the structure or support to get them there. With a good faith effort, there is no doubt in my mind, you will find success.

28. Support continues even after your 6 week new client experience. The FWTFL calls this VIP membership. It’s ongoing monthly access to the FWTFL programming through the app. You’ll keep access to daily workouts, macro cycle changes, macro and water tracking, seasonal challenges with cool prizes and your personal coach.

What is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss?

It’s a digital nutrition program that combines intermittent fasting, macro tracking, carb cycling and fitness to maximize fat loss while building lean muscle.  You learn about these topics at length with your FASTer Way Coach. It may be through daily emails, small online groups or through the FWTFL App. 

When you first sign up you are enrolled in the “New Client Experience” which will start on a specific day. It lasts for six weeks and is referred to as a “round” of the Faster Way.  As soon as you sign up you’ll get instant access to the app and your coach will get in touch with you to sort out the details.

Who is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss for?

  • If you’ve tried everything and you’re ready to put your energy into something that is sustainable and going to deliver results. 
  • If you’re a new mom and want to start regaining confidence and energy to take care of your family. 
  • If you’re breastfeeding and want to lose baby weight without sacrificing your milk supply.
  • If you just had your annual physical and you want to improve blood work and overall health. 
  • If you are at risk for diabetes and want to get your blood sugar under control. 
  • And so many more…

The FASTer Way to Fat Loss is NOT FOR YOU if:   

  • Staying accountable and in touch with your coach daily seems like too much.
  • If you like the idea of shifting your diet, but maybe you’re just not quite ready to make the change. 

When you start living the faster way you realize a healthy lifestyle isn’t about being perfect. It’s about enjoying life and finding a balance with food and exercise that helps you reach your goals.

FWTFL before and after photos

Start your weight loss today!

I’m excited to help you achieve your health goals! Connect with me on Instagram @miss_nutritious_eats or on Facebook @Missnutritiouseats. Share your questions, and let’s begin your journey to feeling your best today!

Melanie Marcus Selfie

Hello & Welcome!!

I’m Melanie.

I’m a chef, registered dietitian, foodie, wife and mom.

If you’re looking for quick and healthy meal inspiration that supports your health goals while feeding the rest of your family (including the kiddoes) well, then you’ve come to the right place!

Melanie Marcus Selfie

Hello & Welcome!!

I’m Melanie.

I’m a chef, registered dietitian, foodie, wife and mom.

If you’re looking for quick and healthy meal inspiration that supports your health goals while feeding the rest of your family (including the kiddoes) well, then you’ve come to the right place!

Healthy Travel Snacks for the Ultimate Trip- stress free by plane, train or on the road

If you are planning a vacation or getaway you’ll probably find yourself in an airport.  But between organizing the travel arrangements and packing your bags (and potentially your loved ones) for the journey, healthy foods that will travel well may not be top of mind – but they should be! 

wholesome food

The truth is, travel, as exciting and romantic as it is, can also be unpredictable at best.  Between delays and keeping track of luggage, navigating the crowds and passing through security checkpoints on time, a wholesome snack may be what you need to keep you satisfied, energized and away from processed snacks like chips and candy bars.  As a rule of thumb, best nutrition-packed travel snacks are minimally processed whole foods. 

DIETITIAN’S TIP: Satisfying meals and snacks should incorporate lean protein, nourishing carbohydrates (such as those from fruits, veggies and whole grains). Fats usually make their way into the diet without us thinking too much about them. Healthy travel snacks in particular should be high in fiber and lower in sugar. 

This article was modified (to add some of my personal favorites) from it’s original version published by Dole Food Company.

Healthy travel snack
Nuts and dried fruit, a sweet and healthy snack.

Here are a few healthy travel snacks to pack for your next trip:

  • Oatmeal packets – whole grain, high fiber and can easily be combined with hot water whether you are on a plane, at a rest stop or in your hotel room. I like the whole grain unsweetened packets from Trader Joes.
  • Dried fruit – familiar to hikers as a premier source of natural carbohydrates in a small package, they are super-easy to pack and don’t require refrigeration.  Whatever you do, be sure to check the ingredients list to ensure that the only ingredient is dried fruit – beware of added sugar. You could also make your own version of fruit leather ahead of your trip if you’re feeling fancy. 
  • Nuts, Jerky and Boiled Eggs – protein, protein, protein!  Portable and satisfying especially when paired with your favorite carb!  I like to boil a few eggs ahead of the trip.
  • Bananas, Apples, Oranges or any other whole fruit travels well, no refrigeration required.  They’re also an added source of much needed hydration during air travel!  Be sure to drink enough fluids too! 
  • Veggies such as carrot sticks and celery can be paired with individually portioned hummus or nut butter for a balanced bite.  Go for pre-portioned sealed containers to make it through security with ease. 
  • Dry cereal is another versatile whole grain option that travels well, is kid friendly and comes in a a variety of flavors.  Just watch out for added sugar!
healthy travel snacks
Healthy and nutritious snack boxes to go with hummus and pita, eggs and vegetables

If you have the ability to keep your food cold, or are traveling less than two hours, consider making:

  • A quick sandwich or wrap
  • Turkey and avocado or cheese roll-ups 
  • Roll a banana, peanut butter with some flax or chia in a whole grain wrap for a filling plant-based wholesome snack. 

When all else fails – here are my airport GO-TOs for healthy travel snacks

travel snacks
  • Beef Jerky
  • Apple slices
  • Unsalted almonds or mixed nuts
  • Sabra hummus and pretzels
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Applesauce cups
  • String cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Quest bars
  • Popcorn
  • Guacamole and chips
  • Electrolyte Water
  • Vitamin Water Unsweetened
  • Sparkling Water

These are my personal go-to’s for travel but MAJOR BONUS – they also work for the kids! What are your must have healthy travel snacks?