Author Archives: Realistic Dietitian

About Realistic Dietitian

Welcome to CohenNutrition. I am a registered and licensed dietitian in Texas. I enjoy recipe experimenting, sports (watching and playing), cooking/baking, and of course eating! I consider myself a realistic dietitian and enjoy all foods.

Making the Most with Fast Food

Last week I did a post about making wise choices from a vending machine. This week, it is all about the fast food. Some of us don’t have any choices, and we have or even want to eat at a fast food restaurant. While I was working on this post, I found a website which had some great information about the good, the bad, and the ugly about certain fast food restaurants.

The main thing to remember is that even though you are in a fast food place doesn’t mean you can’t make wise decisions. Pay attention to portion sizes and food choices. Several restaurants are now beginning to cater to healthier lifestyles so it is important to do your research.




































Super Salad….or not?

When I was growing up, I always thought salads were healthy because it’s a salad right? Right. Well, needless to say I was wrong. Very wrong. Adding just a few ingredients in a salad can make it from nutritional balanced to “I should have had a super-sized hamburger meal instead.”


Not all salads are bad, but not all salads are great for you either. So, always be aware of what type of salad you are eating but also how much. Sometimes you are better off making your own salad or ordering something else off the menu which is more nutritionally balanced. Next time you want a salad, just remember these tips:

High Calorie Items To Look Out For:




Fried Meats

Deli Meats/High Fat Meats


Dried Fruit

Buttered Croutons

Tortilla Strips

Fried wontons

Fried Onions

Creamy Dressings

Many salads at restaurants can range from calories from 1000-1500 and more! That is most of our daily calories in one meal….and it’s a salad! Be careful of what you order and how it comes prepared. Try to limit the high calorie toppings and stick to fresh toppings such as: cucumber, tomato, lean grilled meats, legumes, seeds, fresh fruit, bell pepper, carrots, avocado, onions, broccoli, and other fresh vegetables. Also choose lettuce which is dark and leafy. The deeper the color of the greens, the better it is for you. Choosing a vinaigrette dressing is better than a creamy based dressing. Also, make sure you ask for it on the side! 😉

If you are concerned about calories and how many are in your salad, then be aware of what you are eating and how much. Be educated and remember, just because it is a salad doesn’t mean it is healthy.


10 Best and Worst Vending Machine Snacks

We have all done it. We have all eaten snacks or sometimes try and make a meal out of food from a vending machine. I know there have been several times while I have eaten from the machines. Yesterday, I was reading an article in Fitness Magazine about the 10 best and worst snacks to get from a vending machine. I was extremely interested because reality is I will most likely eat from a vending machine again some point in my life. And many vending machines I eat out of look like this:



and NOT this:



So I wanted to know which foods I should choose to better benefit me if I am going to eat out of a machine. I am only assuming I am not the only person who buys from a vending machine so this information can be helpful to all of us. You might be planning to eat your lunch or three o’clock snack from the vending machine today…so read on and make wise choices. 😉

All information is provided by Fitness Magazine.

10 Worst Snacks from a Vending Machine:

1.    Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie: 
440 calories, 27g fat, 7g sat fat, 8g trans fat
. The Bottom Line: Nutritional nightmare (the worst pick!!)

2.    Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Cheese:
210 calories, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 4g trans fat
. The Bottom Line: A trans fat fest.

3.    Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry: 420 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 40g sugar
. The Bottom Line: For sharing only

4.    Doritos:
250 calories, 13g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: “Nacho” best option.

5.    Skittles: 250 calories, 2.5g fat, 2.5g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: More calories and fat than Twizzlers.

6.    Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers (27):
 160 calories, 8g fat, 2g sat fat. The Bottom Line: No fiber, no protein.

7.    Ruffles Original:
 160 calories, 10g fat, 3g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: Nothing but empty calories.

8.    Cheetos Crunchy:
 160 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: Not great, but could be worse.

9.    Twix:
 280 calories, 14g fat, 11g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: More “bad” fat than a Snickers.

10. 3 Musketeers:
 260 calories, 8g fat, 5g sat fat, 40g sugar
. The Bottom Line: Lower fat, but still candy

10 Best Snacks from a Vending Machine:

1.    Planters Sunflower Kernels (1/4 cup): 
160 calories, 14g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Full of healthy fats (Top Pick!)

2.    Baked! Lays Original: 
210 calories, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Surprisingly fiber-full.

3.    Sun Chips Original
: 140 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Made of whole grains.

4.    Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels (20): 
110 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat.
 The Bottom Line: Naturally fat-free.

5.    Smartfood Reduced-Fat Popcorn
: 120 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Low fat, and has fiber!

6.    Peanut M&M’s
: 250 calories, 13g fat, 5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Just don’t go nuts.

7.    Fig Newtons
: 190 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: It’s fruit!

8.    Nature Valley Granola Bar, Oats & Honey
: 180 calories, 6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Beats hunger.

9.    Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts (39)
: 160 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 6g protein
. The Bottom Line: High in protein

10. Quaker Chewy Low-Fat Granola Bar, Chocolate Chunk: 
110 calories, 2g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 1g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Guilt-free chocolate

Next time you go to the vending machine…remember about your choices and pick what is best for you and your body!

Sausage Balls Lightened Up!

I can’t believe Monday is already here…where did the weekend go?! Since it is Monday, that means it is time for a new recipe! YAY!

So today I decided to lighten up on of my favorite snacks/appetizer….sausage balls! I love these things. My mom used to make them growing up when we would have youth group parties, birthdays, and holiday get togethers so of course I still cook them. I am sure I could and would eat an entire bowl of these so that’ s why I decided to “lighten” them up. These are fantastic and I hope you enjoy!

p.s. I personally do not like a lot of Bisquick in mine, so I only use 1 1/2 cups.

Sausage Balls

1 lb of Jennie-O Breakfast Ground Turkey

1 cup of shredded 2% milk mild cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 cup of shredded fat free cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 1/2 cups of heart healthy Bisquick

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Microwave the mixture until the cheese is melted. Mix well. After mixing, roll out the sausage balls and placed them on a greased pan. Cook for 15 minutes at 350.


I rolled out 35 sausage balls which made each one only 57 calories. The original recipe made with regular sausage, regular cheddar cheese, and regular bisquick comes out to be 75 calories per sausage ball. 🙂

Jump Roping = Mega Calorie Burn

Jump roping is no longer for elementary school. Jump roping can be extremely beneficial and a great workout for your body. Not only are jump ropes cheap, but you can don’t have to go to the gym to exercise. You can do it right at home!  Jump rope can help increase muscle tone in your legs, arms, improve cardiovascular function, as well as promote weight loss. Research has shown that jump roping can be just as effective as running. So for those of you who don’t like to run or are tired of it, then I would suggest getting your jump rope out and start jumping!

There are several things you can do to maximize your workout with a jump rope. You can buy a weighted rope, change feet position, and or speed. I have listed 15 different moves you can do with your jump rope to change up and maximize your workout.

Try these moves in your jump rope work out to help increase intensity and calorie burn! Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can burn up to 130 calories in 10 minutes of jumping.

Jump Rope

1. Forward & Back: While jumping, imagine a line and jump back and forth from it.

2. Crossed Arms: While jumping, cross your arms and jump through the loop you made (I am pretty sure we all did this in the 3rd grade).

3. Double Jump: While jumping, jump high enough to where you can turn the rope twice under your one jump.

4. Boxer Jump: When jumping, put one heel out in front of you and then switch.

5. Side to Side: Just like the ski down exercise move, “ski down” (side to side) with each jump.

6. Squat Jacks: Try squatting with each jump to help maximize your quads and glutes.

7. Single Leg Hop: Jumping on one leg and alternate feet every few jumps.

8. Half Turn: While jumping, try turning 180 degrees a few times during the routine.

9. Arms Out: To help increase lean muscle in your arms, try holding your arms further out from your body while jumping.

10. High Knees: While jumping, bring each knee (one at a time) up at a 90 degree angle toward your chest.

11. Heel to Toe: While jumping land on your heels and then your toes on the next jump.

12. Running: Act as if you are running in place while jumping.

13. Scissors: Do the scissor move while jumping (Scissor Run).

14. Butt Kicks: With each jump, kick your feet back towards your rear.

15. On foot Side to Side: On one foot, jump side to side (alternate feet).

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This dip is incredible! Plus, it is low calorie and delicious! You can’t go wrong with making this dip. I did a post on using Greek yogurt as a substitute in recipes last Monday and told you I would share my favorite. Well, this is it.

I am not a huge vegetable eater so for me to like this dip says a lot! I replaced the mayonnaise and/or sour cream with a nonfat Greek yogurt. The yogurt provides more protein and fewer calories than the alternative.

So, I hope you try it and enjoy. I broke down the serving size to 1/4th cup. Each 1/4th cup is only 46 calories. This dish makes about 11 servings.

Craig likes to eat his dip with pretzels, but I prefer tortilla chips. I usually eat mine with the multigrain tortilla chips. 🙂


Spinach and Artichoke Dip

14 oz. can of artichoke harts (packed in water), drained

1 1/4th cup of spinach

5-6 small green onions

1 tsp. of minced garlic

8 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to season

Preheat over to 375.

Chop the artichokes (I use a small food processor). Chop the green onions. Place in a medium bowl together.

Add all the remaining ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray an oven proof pan with spray oil and place all ingredients in the pan. Place pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Make sure the dip is hot and the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!

15 Minute Workouts for Traveling

We have all been there when we travel. We go down to the hotel gym to workout and every cardio and weight machine is being used. Or, you decide to sleep in a bit but then feel guilty you didn’t get up. So what do you do? You don’t have time to come back, you can’t wait for a machine, and you don’t have an extra hour in the day to workout. You do an effective hotel room workout. In other words, a short high intense circuit workout.

The beauty about these 15 minute circuit workouts are that you don’t even have to leave your room. Put those sneakers on and get to sweating. These workouts don’t need a lot of equipment and if they do, it is already in your room. Score!

While I was reading my Oxygen workout magazine, this specific issue highlighted some effective short workouts. I have incorporated some of their exercises with my own. If you are unclear what the move is, just click on the exercise and a demo video will open-forgive my husbands fingers and my dog in some of them. 😉

So next time you sleep in, can’t find a machine to workout on, don’t have time to workout later on your hotel stay, then I encourage you to try one of these 15 minute exercises. If you happen to get a treadmill at the hotel and want to do a HIIT then check out this post here.

I have listed three different workouts. Which means, you can do a different workout three different days. The rules are, you have to preform each exercise for 30-45 seconds (no breaks unless you absolutely need one). After you finish with all the exercises in that workout, take a 30 second break and repeat the same set you just did. You will want to do a total of three sets.

P.S. I actually had my twin sister do this while we stayed in a hotel back in Feb and it kicked her rear. She almost threw up. SO YOU CAN DO IT!!!! 🙂


Workout #1

Squat Jacks

Towel Jump

In and Out

Hip Dips

Tricep Dips

Mountain Climbers

Squat Kicks


Workout #2

Jump Lunges

Ski Downs


Scissor Run

Plyo Jumps

One Leg Tricep Dip remember to switch legs!

Side Plank Under and Over remember to switch sides!


Workout # 3

Prisoner Squat

Side lunges – No video here, just lunge to the left and then right.

Push Ups- No video here. You can also do these on your knees as well.

Side In & Outs


Basketball Jumps

One Leg Tricep Dip remember to switch legs!


Good Luck and get your workout on!


Get Your Greek On

When I am cooking and/or baking, I am always trying to figure out how I can cut calories in my dishes. It is like a game to me so I am always trying to swap out the higher calorie ingredient for a more nutrient rich one. There is one ingredient now that I use in a majority of my recipes….Greek yogurt!

The beauty of Greek yogurt is that it is lower in calories than mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, and much more. It also provides extra protein which is definitely a bonus! You can’t go wrong with substituting greek yogurt in recipes, trust me.

I don’t have a recipe this week, but I will be cooking one of my favorite recipes for next Monday. It has greek yogurt as a substitute and I know you all will enjoy it! If you have not tried to substitute Greek yogurt before, you should try it and see what you think. Nothing is better than switching out an ingredient in a recipe for something that provides fewer calories, more protein, and more nutrients.

Here is a conversion chart Chobani has came up with to help use Greek yogurt in place of other ingredients! I hope you enjoy and try making the switch!


Nike Giftcard Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who shared and entered in the giveaway. I drew names and the lucky winner is Danielle James! Congrats! If you send your address to, I will ship your gift card to you.

Thank you for all who entered! I appreciate it!

When Should You Change Up Your Workout Routine?

I know in the beginning when you decided to make changes to your lifestyle it was easy to get up or make time for exercise. You were motivated and so exercising was fun and new. Then, over time things started to change. Maybe you don’t get up as often to workout, maybe you decide you need a break from working out, or maybe you just don’t “feel” it anymore. Whatever the reason is, it is most likely your workout needs a change. Something new, something different, something fresh. Here are a few signs for when it is time to add variety and change up your workout.

1. Your workout becomes boring.

Workouts should be challenging and keep you engaged. You should never dread a workout (well, you might dread it because it is going to kick your rear), but you should never dread it because you are bored with it. If you are bored with your routine now, then change it. Add more resistance in weight training, work out in a group class, take a friend walking with you, add more incline into your walks, speed up your walking/jogging pace, or add music to your workout. Sometimes, changes as these are not enough. If you have tried some of these changes and are still bored, then I would recommend trying an entire new activity. Go to a new gym class, try something you have never done, or just do something different. Whatever you do, it shouldn’t bore you-remember to keep it fun!

2. Your workout is not challenging.

Workouts are made to make you sweat and give it all you have. You should feel different after your workout. If you don’t feel challenged in your workout, then try to intensify it. During your workouts, you want to increase your heart rate. If your heart rate is not in it’s target zone, then you are not challenging yourself and you will most likely not see the results you want from your workout routine.

3. You are not seeing the results you want.

Some of the reason while you are working out is because you want to lose weight and or maintain your weight. Some of you may workout because you want to build more muscle or for overall health benefits. However, when you still watch what you eat, stay within your appropriate calorie range, and exercise, but not see the results you want; then it may be time to change up the exercise routine. You are more likely to plateau with your weight when you don’t have variety in your workout. Just like we get bored with things in life, your body get’s bored with the same routine over and over again. Once your body gets used to the same workout it is not a challenged so it stops changing. It stops responding like it used too. So add some new variety to your workout. Try different intensities, ranges, classes, inclines, HIITs, etc. Variety is key to fight through plateaus and get the results you desire.

4. You are weak and tired.

Exercise should make you feel better. You should feel energized after your workouts. If you aren’t and you feel weak, then you are probably overtraining. Take some time to rest and recharge. This is completely normal and happens frequently. Everyone needs a break so make sure you take one. You need to be physically and mentally ready to commit to your new workout when the time is ready. Remember, you should feel good after your workout, not like you need to nap.

If you think any of these apply to you, then you should reevaluate your workout routine and see how you can add variety to it. Workouts should be challenging, hard, and leave you energized. You are working hard to get the results you want so do yourself a favor and change things when they stop working for you. You deserve it.

Challenge You

I had my husband pick a number and the lucky winner for the giveaway is Danielle James! Just send me your address to and I will ship the card to you!

Thank you for those who entered! I appreciate it!!