As Spring Emerges, Health It Up!
With Danielle Omar, Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant, and Founder of foodconfidence.com
Danielle Omar was inspired by food at a young age. “My mother is from the Bay of Naples, in Southern Italy, and we were always surrounded with delicious, nutritious food when I was a kid,” recalls Danielle. At the age of 16, Danielle’s mother gave her the responsibility for preparing family dinners, and that’s when her creative spark turned to flame.
“I never opened a cookbook, I’d just open the refrigerator, see what was inside, and go from there,” recalls Danielle. Her mom might leave her a chicken as a starting point and Danielle would literally throw anything on that chicken – condiments, mustard, herbs, whatever. “I learned it was hard to mess it up,” she recalls. “And the more I experimented, the more my confidence grew.” That feeling of confidence is what inspired me to become a registered dietitian and start my blog, foodconfidence. I wanted to share my passion with others and help them in their journey to preparing and eating healthy, tasty meals.
Today, as author of a leading food blog, and with featured appearances on The Food Network, NBC and Fox, Danielle opens a cookbook fairly regularly (and shares a ton of great recipes on her popular blog) but her spirit of invention has not waned.
“I get really passionate about pumping up the nutritional value of standard recipes,” she says. “I’m also a vegetarian now, so I eat more vegetables than the average American.”
Here are some of Danielle’s suggestions to Health-Up a Recipe:
- Add more fruit and veggies to your cheese and hors-d’oeuvre platters
- When making tacos or quesadillas, try substituting that flour tortilla with a collard leaf
- Add seeds to your salads
- Instead of mayo or mustard, use hummus
- Instead of tropical fruit, use berries, such as Wild Blueberries or raspberries
- When making muffins or pancakes, substitute ground oats, flax seeds, shredded coconut or chia seeds for some of the flour
- In baked goods, use applesauce instead of oil
- In baked goods, substitute fruits like pureed banana, apple, or Wild Blueberries for traditional sweeteners (or a combination of them all)
- Substitute standard noodles or white rice with quinoa
- For Italian dishes that use pasta or spaghetti, use veggie pastas, penne or rotini, which are made with freshly pureed in-season vegetables
- Always add more vegetables to your pasta meals to increase nutrition
- Add dried fruit or frozen fresh Wild Blueberries instead of sugar to hot cereals like oatmeal
- Stay away from sweetened yogurts. Use whole plain yogurt instead and sweeten with raisins, nuts and dried or frozen fruits
- If a recipe calls for fruit, try substituting frozen Wild Blueberries – they are lower in sugar and have extensive health benefits
- Try adding frozen Wild Blueberries to salad dressing recipes (check out Danielle’s recipe for Miso Salad Dressing we’ll be sharing next week!)
Danielle regularly shares her passion for food in the Wild Blueberry Blog. See her recent recipes and be on the look out for her new recipe for Wild Blueberry Miso Vinaigrette.
Wild Appetizers (for Super Bowl, but good any time of the year.)