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A Nutrition Coach's Easy & Healthy Meal Ideas

A Nutrition Coach’s Easy, Healthy Meal Ideas

by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

With my Nutrition Coaching clients, I’ve found that most of us are wanting and needing more healthy meal and snack ideas for ourselves and our families. So, I’ve put together a list of easy, quick and healthy ideas for each mealtime.

First, I believe in moderation and portion control. You should never completely deny yourself of anything, because when you do, you will most likely binge on it later.  If dessert calls your name weekly, feed your craving in a controlled way!

Second, it is important to always combine your macronutrients, meaning always eat a carbohydrate with a protein, or a fat with a protein, etc.  It’s just like working several muscle groups at one time in a workout by doing compound exercises — make sure to “compound” your diet!  And, of course, the more colorful your plate, the better.


  1. Toast (bread of your choice, but preferably whole grain, or gluten-free if you have an allergy) with mashed and spread avocado, scrambled eggs and salsa on top
  2. Breakfast taco on a corn or spelt tortilla with scrambled eggs, avocado, any and all vegetables of your choice and salsa
  3. Smoothie with 1 banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen cherries, frozen blackberries, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, a little drizzle of honey and almond milk
  4. On-the-go: Oatmega Bar (several flavor choices exist and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods). If you eat this before a workout or before heading to work, make sure to eat a good protein-filled snack again around 10:00am


  1. Half of a sandwich loaded with greens and vegetables and your choice of protein with side choices of: vegetables and hummus (if not having for a snack that same day), handful of corn chips and salsa, or side salad
  2. Power bowl (inspired by Maudie’s Tex-Mex): Spanish rice, whole black beans, avocado, tomato, onion, corn chips and salsa on the side
  3. Spinach salad with fresh pear, toasted walnuts, bleu cheese and topped with your choice of protein. Lightly drizzle a vinaigrette for the dressing.
  4. On-the go: homemade smoothie or small smoothie from your local healthy smoothie shop (my Austin favorite: JuiceLand)


  1. Mixed green salad with big avocado chunks, tomato and onion with the Hot Dang (any of the 4 flavors and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods) veggie burger on top
  2. Stir fry: brown rice (we use frozen and heat up on the stove), vegetables of your choice including carrots, edamame, broccoli, cabbage, etc. and protein of your choice like grilled chicken, shrimp or fish
  3. Quesadillas on corn or spelt tortillas with refried black beans, cheese, protein of your choice, avocado or homemade guacamole mentioned in the snack section, any vegetables including spinach, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms
  4. Breakfast for dinner: If you did not have eggs that morning, try making scrambled eggs with a green smoothie (1 banana, handful of kale and/or spinach, frozen blueberries, tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, almond milk) on the side.
  5. Grilled salmon with a side of roasted quinoa: Quinoa is so easy to make and you can add diced, roasted vegetables, avocado chunks and roasted walnuts.


  1. Raw vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumber) and hummus
  2. 1/2 – 1 cup (depending on hunger) of mixed nuts with almonds, walnuts, cashews, and dried fruit (be aware of the sugar content of the dried fruit)
  3. Apple slices or crackers (Nut Thins) with peanut butter or almond butter on top
  4. Homemade guacamole (avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and juice of 1/2 lime) with vegetables or a handful of corn chips
  5. One of iGnite’s Peanut Butter Protein Bars
  6. Two hard-boiled eggs — try covering them with salsa!


  1. Handful (about 5-7) of dark chocolate covered almonds
  2. 1 small scoop dark chocolate ice cream
  3. Small bowl of mixed fruit

Happy healthy eating!

Molly Daniels graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. After having worked through her own health and nutrition challenges, and drawing on her expertise in physical fitness, Molly provides a balanced and practical approach to basic nutrition coaching for women seeking guidance, accountability and overall health improvements.

Click here to learn more about Nutrition Coaching services through iGnite. 

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Neissa’s Simple Summer Arugula Salad with Maple Lemon Dressing


by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

One of the things I love the most about this salad is that it requires such minimal chopping — and who doesn’t love that?! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Neissa’s Simple Summer Arugula Salad with Maple Lemon Dressing

Makes 1 serving (1 large main salad), or 3-4 small side salads


  • 1 heaping handful of organic, undressed cole slaw mix (I find mine for ~$3 at Whole Foods)
  • 1 heaping handful of arugula
  • 1/4 c whole or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 T pepitas
  • 1 T dried currants
  • 1 T slivered or whole almonds
  • 1 serving size of your protein of choice (I prefer salmon, grilled chicken or even a turkey burger)
  • To taste: I also love crumbling up a piece of veggie-fed, antibiotic-free bacon for a little extra crunch & flavor 🙂


  • 1 T organic maple syrup
  • Fresh juice from half of a lemon


  1. Place all ingredients (minus your protein of choice) in a large tupperware container and shake
  2. Empty salad contents onto a serving dish, top with your protein of choice and enjoy!

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Almond Protein Balls

Almond Protein Balls

  • 2 cups raw almond butter (freshly ground is best!)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 2 cups brown rice crisp cereal (Barbara’s brand from Whole Foods)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
  1. Microwave almond butter and honey for 2 minutes and stir
  2. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stir well.
  3. Roll into balls and refrigerate 1 – 2 hrs. before serving

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Caramel

image: The Partial Ingredients

image: The Partial Ingredients

Recipe by Chef Scott Tompkins

Recipe by Chef Scott Tompkins

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 cup           Ottavio Platinum Balsamic Vinegar (available at most  HEB’s)
2 tbsp          Salted Butter
2 lbs             Fresh Brussels Sprouts *cut in half
½ cup           Golden raisins
¼ cup           Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp ea.      Kosher Salt & black pepper

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl combine halved brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss well to combine and place on a sheet pan and into the oven. Cook until just browned, about 30-45 min. (The darker the sprout, the more intense the flavor)
  3. Combine the roasted brussel sprouts with the raisins and drizzle with Balsamic Caramel (Recipe below)
  4. Balsamic Caramel: In a stainless steel saucepan (or non-reactive pot) reduce 1 cup of balsamic vinegar over low heat until liquid is reduced by half (takes about 20min over low-med heat).  Cut the heat and add in the butter and whisk until melted.  Let stand for about 5 min,  drizzle over anything.

— — — — —

Chef Scott TompkinsScott Tompkins is Head Chef & Manager at H-E-B on Farwest Boulevard in Austin, Texas and is a featured speaker at iGnite’s Intentional Renewal Wellness Retreat in February 2014 where he will give a cooking demo and talk (including recipes) on ‘Simplifying Healthy Meals for the Everyday.’  Scott runs his own kitchen and department, creates his own recipes and loves every minute of it. Join us at the Intentional Renewal retreat to get more great healthy recipes, learn more about the health benefits of incorporating different foods into your cooking, and more!


Peppermint Patties (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)

Image Source: Oh She Glows

Who knew peppermint patties could be so healthy! This recipe from Oh She Glows is gluten-free, vegan, super simple and de-lish. Sprinkle some red sparkly glitter candy on them and they become holiday peppermint patties. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3-4 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste (I used 4 tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, or for at least 2-3 hours. If your blender isn’t great at blending things smooth, I suggest soaking overnight for the best results. Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking.
  2. Add the cashews, melted coconut oil, agave, milk, and peppermint extract into a high-speed blender. Blend on the highest speed until completely smooth. This can take a couple minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grab mini cupcake/candy liners. Add a half tablespoon of filling into each liner. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you don’t have any filling left (you should get about 22-25). Freeze, uncovered, for 20-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  4. After freezing, quickly pop the patties out of the cupcake liners and set each on top of their respective liner. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up even more.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small pot over the lowest heat. When half of the chips have melted, remove it from the heat and stir until all the chips are melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for a few minutes before dunking the patties.
  5. Remove the patties from the freezer and dunk them into the melted chocolate with a fork. Tap the side to shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment paper. Do this step as quickly as possible so the patties don’t melt.
  6. Return the patties to the freezer until set, for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate coating is firm. Store leftover patties in the freezer/fridge until ready to enjoy!

*Note: you can sub in your favourite liquid sweetener for agave, if desired. Just know that the flavour will change depending on the sweetener you use.


Cranberry and Sweet Potato Bake: Perfect for the Holidays!

photo by Randy Mayor

photo by Randy Mayor

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

For at least the past five years I have prepared this delicious, healthy and beautiful dish for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner. (I like to bake it in a 1-quart casserole dish instead of in ramekins.) So I thought I’d pass it along for those of you looking for a dish for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebration —  consider trying this one out!  It’s always a hit with my family.

Cranberry & Sweet Potato Bake
from Cooking Light Magazine

  • 2 (15 oz) Cans of sweet potatoes, drained or two to three large boiled sweet potatoes
  • 1 (8-oz) Can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 2 T Butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 (16 oz) Can whole-berry cranberry sauce Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes and pineapple in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher.
  3. Stir in butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and egg.
  4. Swirl in 1 cup cranberry sauce.
  5. Spoon 1/3 cup sweet potato mixture into each of 8 (4-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Top each with 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce.
  6. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

*Note: A 1-quart casserole may be substituted for ramekins. (Bake at 350º for 40 minutes)



Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Balsamic Vinegar


Who doesn’t like brussels sprouts?  Actually… we know that most people do not enjoy them; however, cooked the right way and with balsamic vinegar, they are easy, de-lic-ious and filled with a healthy amount of fiber! We love this recipe from WhiteOnRiceCouple.com:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar


1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
3 tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil (don’t use the cheap stuff. The tastier the oil, the tastier the dish)
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar Sea Salt, to taste Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to roast at 375°F.
  2. Peel the outer, beat-up layers of the brussels sprouts off. Trim the end, then cut brussels sprouts in half.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Then add the brussels sprouts and toss evenly with the oil mixture.
  4. Lightly oil a sheet pan, then spread out the brussels sprouts, cut side down. Roast in oven for 15 min., flip the sprouts to cut side up, then roast for 10-15 minutes more or until gently browned.
  5. Serve warm.

That’s it. If you want you can serve them with a little creme fraiche, or maybe toss them with a touch more oil & balsamic for an extra tang. These make an excellent easy side dish, or a nice little munchie.



A Tasty & Cool Green Smoothie for Summer

by Catherine Hearn

by Catherine Hearn

In this sweltering summer heat, not much sounds better than a cool and delicious summer treat. Try out this green smoothie recipe brought to you by Health Coach Lisa Hildebrand on a hot summer day to cool you down and give you a healthy boost of nutrients and veggies. Don’t let the green scare you off, the natural sweetness of the pineapple makes it pretty tasty!

Pineapple Popeye Green Smoothie (serves 2)

1 ½ – 2 cups Coconut Water (or filtered/spring water)

2-3 Parsley sprigs

1 Celery stalk ½ Cucumber (organic)

1 – 1 ½ cups Fresh or Frozen Pineapple (if fresh, use the stem!)

Juice from ½ of a Lemon

1-2 cups Organic Baby Spinach or Frozen Organic Cut/Chopped Spinach

1 cup Ice

Blend well and enjoy!

Try it out and let us know if you liked it by leaving a comment below!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

We LOVE these protein bars. They are a delicious, filling, nutritious and balanced (great carbohydrate / fat / protein ratio) snack that is perfect whether after a workout or when you need a bite between meals.  They can even be a great meal replacement if you double or triple (depending on gender and activity level) the serving size.  Best of all, once you have your ingredients together they are quick and easy to make.   We know you will love them as much as we do!

Recommended for all ages, unless you have a peanut allergy.

Makes: 32 square bars; Serving Size: 1 square bar


2 c              Organic Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 c          Local Honey
2 & 1/2 c   Gluten-Free Old Fashion Rolled Oats (we love Bob’s Red Mill)
1 c               Gluten-Free Rice Crispies
4 scoops    Jay Robb Chocolate Egg White Protein Powder
1/2 c           *Optional* Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (gluten, dairy, nut and soy-free)


  1. Microwave peanut butter for 60-90 seconds
  2. Add honey and microwave for an additional 30 seconds
  3. Stir oatmeal, rice cereal and protein powder together before adding peanut butter and honey. Mix will become sticky and thick when together.
  4. Add chocolate chips (optional)
  5. Pour mixture into a 9×13″ pan and spread until even
  6. Refrigerate, cut into 32 equal squares and enjoy!


  • Calories:                172           (191 w/choc. chips)
  • Fat:                          8.6 g       (9.8 w/choc. chips)
  • Carbohydrates:    15.8 g      (18 w/choc. chips)
  • Protein:                   8 g          (8.4 w/choc. chips)
  • Fiber:                       2.3 g       (2.5 w/choc. chips)

Momma’s Granola Recipe

If you like the taste of granola, but don’t like the high calories and fat grams that it typically comes with, Momma’s Granola is a great alternative.  It’s unprocessed grains, healthy fats and low sugar content make it the perfect and healthy go-to snack.   Enjoy this delicious and high fiber food by adding it to your cup of low fat milk or sprinkled on your high protein Greek yogurt. Guaranteed you won’t be disappointed!

Momma’s Granola

Momma's Granola


  • 5 c Rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal)
  • 1/2 c Walnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 c Sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c Sliced almonds
  • 1/2 c Cashews (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 c Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c Flax seeds
  • 1/2 c Maple syrup
  • 1/2 c Honey
  • 1/4 c Canola oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 c Raisins

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Mix together syrup, honey, oil and vanilla and pour over dry ingredients, coating thoroughly.
  3. Place in large shallow pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until browned.
  4. Add raisins. Allow to cool and refrigerate in air tight container. Keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Serving Size: 1/4 c Granola

Amount per Serving:

  • Calories: 129
  • Fat : 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g


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