Get Out Of That Winter Slump!

For us here on the East coast, it’s been a long winter! By now most of us are feeling the effects of being stuck indoors during our free time, which can lead to a lower than usual mood and perhaps even a little weight gain from the lack of physical activity. The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel- Spring is finally here!

I had the chance to chat with Kara and Scot from Channel 3 this week about some simple foods that will help get you out of that slump….simple snacks that will boost your energy, help you shed a few of those winter pounds, and boost up that immune system so you can enjoy as many of the beautiful days to come as you can! Watch the video below to learn more!

WFSB 3 Connecticut 


Click Here for the Recipes!


As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!


Ana :)

Cheddar and Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Apple Cheddar Stuffed Chicken - bordered

Hey there gang, it’s Joe Stapleton here again with another post and recipe! I came across this one while digging through some old cookbooks, and after trying it just have to share it with you all! I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to make un-breaded chicken breasts more appetizing without going overboard on the calories, and this one certainly fit the bill. It’s essentially a lower carbohydrate version of chicken Kiev, with a prosciutto wrap replacing the breading. Even with the prosciutto wrap it still ends up being about half the calories, carbs, and fat of chicken Kiev, with more protein!. The real fun is on the inside though, where it just screams New England! It’s stuffed with a blend of shallot, cheddar cheese, and green apple, yum!

What little carbs are in this entrée come from the Granny Smith apple, so they’re the kind of carbs we like over here at Practical Nutrition. You know, the ones that come from fruits or vegetables, can be organically and locally sourced, and that come with a myriad of health benefits along for the ride! Believe it or not, that old adage popularized by Benjamin Franklin ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ isn’t all that far from the truth! Apples are high in fiber, which can increase your satiety, keeping you full longer. They are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which are powerful antioxidants that can lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Green apples have two extra benefits over their more commonly consumed red cousins: the first being their potassium content. Granny Smith apples have even more potassium than other apples, which can further reduce risk of heart disease and help to stabilize your heart rhythm! Lastly, while both red and green apples can help your teeth if you can’t brush after a meal, green apples are even better at this job! Both varieties stimulate saliva production from chewing their tough, fibrous skins, but the tart flavor of a green apple stimulates this even more, and saliva is our first line of defense against cavity causing bacteria in our mouths! Just remember to have a glass of water after an apple to wash away the sugar and acid leftover from your delicious treat!

Let’s get back to the real reason you’re reading though, the recipe! When we prepared this dish last weekend we made it with gratin dauphinoise (French scalloped potatoes) and grilled asparagus, paired with a nice Italian trebbiano and some hopeful wishes of melting snow and warmer weather. (Given the fact that it’s been beautiful all week and some actual honest-to-goodness grass is peeking out of the snow, it looks like someone out there answered our prayers, so you’re welcome!)

Oh, and for anyone using PN Rx for their macronutrient counts, one full stuffed chicken breast equals roughly 2 proteins, 2.5 fats, and only 0.5 carbohydrates. The full nutritional breakdown is in the recipe. Enjoy!

Cheddar and Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: entrée / dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 thick skinless boneless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. dried sage
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup shredded Vermont sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • sea salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly oil a small roasting pan.
  2. Put a chicken breast on a cutting board, rounded side up. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a pocket along the length of the chicken breast, cutting as deep as you can without cutting through to the other side of the ends. Repeat with the remaining breasts, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator.
  3. To make the stuffing, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, celery, and sage and sauté, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the apple and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft but not falling apart. Stir in the cheese and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the stuffing among the chicken pockets. Wrap one and a half slices of prosciutto around each breast. Then rub the tops with the remaining oil and sprinkle with pepper.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices are piping hot with steam rising and run clean with no sign of pink when the tip of a sharp knife is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 3-5 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 breast Calories: 329 Fat: 13 Saturated fat: 6 Carbohydrates: 8 Sugar: 5.2 Fiber: 1.5 Protein: 35

Maple & Toasted Coconut Breakfast Delight

Hi everyone!

By now you all know I love all things coconut. Well, I recently found (and fell in love with!) “Dang” Coconut Chips. All I can say is …Dang! If you like coconut, you’ll do what I did and find a way to sneak these into every meal/snack of the day. Although coconut is high in fat, I’m okay with it! Eating enough healthy fat actually reduces your cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates…both things we should try to avoid eating. Additionally, coconut is known for it’s immune boosting, skin enhancing, heart healthy, and mood boosting properties- so how can you say no?! 

Dang Coconut Chips come in many flavors- Sea Salted Caramel (my favorite!), Lightly Salted, Greek Yogurt, and Dark Chocolate Coated (haven’t tried this one yet, but it might be neck to neck with Sea Salted Caramel…guess I’ll have to find out!)

As far as packaged snack food goes, it’s hard to find a healthy choice…but these certainly fit the bill! With a short ingredient list of words I can pronounce- only organic coconut, coconut sugar, and sea salt,  you can’t really beat it. Throw these yummy delights on a salad, eat them plain as a snack, add to a trail mix, or put on top of a yogurt or smoothie as shown below. Check out Dang’s website for a free recipe book by clicking here (they have things like Coconut Pad Thai, Grain Free Cranberry Granola,  and Coconut Roasted Brussel Sprouts!)…I can’t wait to try some of these myself! By the way, these are available at most large grocery stores so you should have no problem tracking them down.


As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!

Ana :)

Maple & Toasted Coconut Breakfast Delight!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I like Wallaby Organic)
  • 2 Tbls Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ Cup Dang Coconut Chips
  1. You guessed it! Place yogurt in a bowl. Add maple syrup to yogurt and top with coconut chips (or do it the other way around!). Most importantly...enjoy the goodness!


Eat Like a Greek, Feel Like a God!

Practical Nutrition would like to introduce Joe Stapleton! 

Hey there everyone! My name is Joe Stapleton. I’ve been working with Practical Nutrition for a couple of weeks now and am exited to be able to contribute my first blog post! So to keep things official, I’ll start with a little about me: I’m a Master’s Student and RD to be (both to be completed in June, yippee!) with a B.S. in Nutritional Science. I’m also a NSCA certified personal trainer and love absolutely everything about health and wellness! My love of nutrition and fitness spawned from my own personal experiences in the Marine Corps, in which I learned through the rigors of military life (sometimes the hard way) just how important it is to keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level, because you never know just what life is going throw at you!

Enough about me though. Without further ado, here is some information that will hopefully help YOUR journey to optimal health  and wellness…enjoy!

One of the diets generating a lot of buzz around both the scientific and the foodie communities lately is the Mediterranean diet. Don’t let the word diet fool you though, this is no fad. The Mediterranean diet sprang from the observation that mimicking the typical diet consumed in the Mediterranean area led to a reduction in incidence of heart disease and obesity, despite the macros of the diet being high in fat and accepting of moderate alcohol (red wine in particular). Essentially, the diet consists of eating mostly plant-based foods, with the majority of grains being whole. While high in fat, the fat comes mostly from oils and nuts. Fish and poultry are emphasized over red meat, and herbs and spices are used much more significantly to flavor dishes rather than salt. The ‘Mediterranean diet Pyramid’ is shown below to give a visual representation of the relative proportions.

The one thing about this diet that we would tweak here at Practical Nutrition though would be the significance of protein. As longtime readers/clients already know, over here at Practical Nutrition we like to skew our intake a little more in the direction of lean, organically sourced (if possible) protein. Increasing the proportion of lean protein in the diet has shown benefits for the athletic population (more efficient muscle recovery), the elderly (staving off sarcopenia and bone loss), and those looking to lose or maintain their weight (through extending the period of satiety before feeling hungry again). So we love the idea of the Mediterranean diet, and the data looks great regarding its effect on many chronic diseases, but don’t forget to keep up your intake of lean protein! 

So to celebrate this fantastically simple way of looking our food, today we’re providing a recipe for a delicious chicken, green bean, corn, and farro salad with goat cheese. With the relative proportions of ingredients, the use of the ancient Tuscan grain farro, and the inclusion of goat cheese, this makes for a decidedly Mediterranean dish. Just a little aside on farro by the way: this grain reportedly was what kept the Roman Legion’s bellies full during their long marches whilst conquering southern Europe (Spartan Race fuel, anyone?), is quick to cook, and each serving provides both 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, wow! It is wheat derived, but has decidedly less gluten than other wheat products, so those that are gluten conscious shouldn’t worry (for those readers that are gluten-free or Celiac, simply swap out the farro in the recipe for brown rice, still delicious!).


Chicken, Green Bean, Corn, and Farro Salad with Goat Cheese
Recipe type: Lunch/dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: serves 4
  • ½ cup semi-pearled farro
  • 12 oz skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 12 oz green beans, cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups yellow corn kernals
  • ¾ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh marjoram
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Boil farro in a medium saucepan until just tender (about 20 minutes). Drain, set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet on medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in skillet until golden brown, roughly 8 minutes each side. Allow to cool and cut into ¾ inch cubes.
  3. Cook green beans in a saucepan of boiling water until crisp-tender (about 4 minutes). Drain and rinse.
  4. Mix chicken, farro, and green beans in a large bowl. Add corn and green onions.,
  5. Combine 2 tbsp oil, marjoram, and sea salt in a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Pour over salad, toss to coat.
  6. Sprinkle with goat cheese just prior to serving. (this recipe is great chilled or room temperature!)
  7. To really capture that Mediterranean vibe, serve with red wine. Cheers!


Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes

It’s a pretty snow day here on the east coast….which in my mind automatically translates  into “stay in my PJs all day and taste test some yummy new recipes!” Even though it’s not February yet (national chocolate month, and national heart health month!), I was looking to make something chocolatey that I would feel really good about eating (and give me some extra energy to shovel the 24 inches of snow off the walkway!).

These dark chocolate covered rice cakes really hit the spot…I used Lily’s baking chips, which contain no sugar, are certified organic, and absolutely delicious! Here in CT you can get them at TFC Health Foods in Farmington for a great price.  I also used Lundberg’s brown rice cakes, which also are certified organic, and a super “clean” grain that gives this treat a nice crunchy texture. We don’t do tons of grains here at PN, but when we do have them we like to make sure they’re gluten free, as unprocessed as possible, and consumed in a moderate portion.

When I have a treat I avoid eating something that will drain my energy or cause me to “crash” 15 minutes later- that’s why I love having unsweetened dark chocolate and treats with no refined, white sugar in them.  Having a way to nip the sweet tooth in the bud  is important…that’s why I’m planning on keeping a few of these chocolate covered rice cakes in baggies at my desk as a mid day pick me up, sure to help beat the winter blues!

Enjoy a sweet little indulgence…have an amazing week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 20
  • 10 Brown Rice Cakes (we use Lundberg brand)
  • 4 TBLS Coconut Oil
  • 1 Package Unsweetened Dark Baking Chips (we use Lily's brand)
  • Toppings as desired (sea salt, coconut flakes, nuts/seeds, cacao nibs, etc.)
  1. Line a baking pan with wax paper.
  2. Put the coconut oil and chocolate chips in a medium sized pot on medium/high heat. Stir continually until the chocolate is melted and well combined (take off of the heat as soon as it is melted).
  3. Use tongs to dip each rice cake into the chocolate sauce and lay on the wax paper lined baking pan (I broke each rice cake in half so make more servings- this is up to you).
  4. Sprinkle toppings on top as desired (I used coconut flakes)
  5. Allow to cool in fridge for about 2 hours, and then store in a plastic baggy or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Sampling while making these IS permitted.
  7. Enjoy!
PN Rx:
2 fats and 1 carb per ½ cake



Happy New Year…Read This and Celebrate You!


Happy New Year from Practical Nutrition!

We wanted to take this opportunity to encourage each and every one of you to reflect upon the past year. No matter what type of year it’s been for you, try to joyously celebrate the highs and acknowledge the lows as well. Set some time apart to be honest with yourself  thinking about what you are proud of and what you might have done differently.

“Optimal health”  is comprised of much more than what you eat or how you move your body. It’s about the way you perceive your self worth and how you value yourself and others around you. Don’t be too hard on yourself as you do some reflecting, and think past the immediate resolutions you are busy making, and focus more on new, healthier mindsets you want to carry with you into the new year. We love this list of “20 Resolutions Everyone Should Make” from

  1. Release what no longer serves you.
  2. Live less out of habit and focus on intent.
  3. Raise your standards.
  4. Look for the good in others instead of focusing on the bad.
  5. Be OK with not being OK.
  6. Look in the mirror and like what you see.
  7. Be kind to yourself when you’re learning something new.
  8. Be OK with not knowing. Learn to love the journey.
  9. Stop apologizing.
  10. Let love guide you.
  11. Stop rushing things that need time to grow.
  12. Know the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. Let enough be enough.
  13. Travel to that place you keep thinking about. It’s in your heart for a reason.
  14. Trust yourself more.
  15. Let go of who you think you are so you become who you want to be.
  16. Be thankful for today.
  17. Don’t worry about how your life looks. Instead, focus on how it feels.
  18. Invite your inner child out to play daily.
  19. Let yourself be you.
  20. Stop trying so hard to get to where you think you should be and see you are exactly where you need to be.

 Click here for a printable version of these great resolutions, and a list of “2014 Questions for Reflection” from These are fun to bring to a gathering or answer yourself as you reflect on the past year.

Also, it’s not too late to sign up long distance or in person for the “New Year, New You” detox program! Click here to learn more!

We look forward to being in touch with you all in 2015….we have so much to be excited about!

Have a happy and healthy New Year…

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)









PS- For any existing or new client, mention the code “healthy2015″ on your next order or Practical Nutrition service anywhere from January 1st-january 15th and receive an extra 10% off your order or service!

Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)

lemon cookies

Are you looking for a healthy holiday treat to share with family and friends that isn’t packed with sugar? I recently made these AMAZING lemon cookies. I grew up eating the lemon squares made from the box that were absolutely delicious so I have always had a soft spot for lemon desserts. I decided to attempt a lemon cookie using almond flour, eggs, and lemon juice/zest and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I brought these cookies as a dessert on Christmas Eve and my entire family loved them. Not to mention they are super simple and easy to make. These will definitely be a holiday staple! Enjoy!


Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12 cookies
  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • 2 large Organic Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Xylitol
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined. It will make a thick cookie dough-type batter.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and separate batter into 12 cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 130 Fat: 11g Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 5g


Dark Chocolate Cherry Holiday Parfait

Everyone loves sweets during the holidays- and most of us love chocolate! It’s normal to crave a little something sweet, even after a healthy meal. Our bodies need certain minerals found in natural sweeteners, for example, magnesium found in unsweetened cocoa and zinc in maple syrup. It’s important to eat natural, unprocessed sweets that satisfy your taste buds, unlike white, refined, packaged, sugary foods that are hard to stop eating once you start. Having some of these basic sweeteners on hand is a must for me:

  • 100% real maple syrup
  • Raw, local honey
  • Fresh/frozen fruit
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 70% or darker chocolate
  • Stevia
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes (even though they don’t have a direct sweet taste, they contain minerals and healthy fat that can help combat a sugar craving)

Honoring your bodies nutrient needs with whole foods and not depriving yourself what your body is looking for is key to succeeding in your overall wellness. Check out this delicious recipe for a quick, simple, and visually pleasing dessert option for yourself or your guests this holiday season.


Ana and Amanda

Dark Chocolate Cherry Holiday Parfait
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 serving
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (sweetened with stevia- or use plain and add 1 packet stevia, or 2 tsp maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the cherries and cacao nibs. Combine well until a thick, pudding-like texture is reached. Add more almond milk if the mixture is too thick and more coconut flour if it's too thin.
  2. Add a layer on the bottom of a parfait cut, followed by a layer of dark frozen cherries, and continue to do this until the mixture is used up. Top it off with a layer of dark cherries, cacao nibs, and a pinch of coconut flakes as a "snow like" topping for winter. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
PN Rx: 2 fats, 1 protein, 1 fruit per serving

Shepherd’s Pie

Hi Everyone!

I  have gotten a lot of requests for a Shepherd’s Pie recipe after I posted a picture of it last week so here it is! This recipe is definitely under the comfort foods category. It has tons of flavor and is a deep, warm dish. The best part is that because I used mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes it leaves you feeling light and satisfied.





shep pie 2

Shepherd's Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Comfort
  • 3lb Organic Grassfed Beef ( has great discount meat)
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 5 large Carrots (I like the multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe's)
  • 4 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Green Beans
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp Organic Butter
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Chili Pepper Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add in all of your chopped vegetables and cook covered until the carrots are soft. Place vegetables in a large glass baking dish (9"x13").
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, fill the bottom of a large sauce pan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.
  4. Chop up your head of cauliflower (I like to do this over a sink because it is SUCH a mess) and place inside of a steaming basket in the large sauce pan. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until soft.
  5. Add your meat to the large pan and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan and add beef to vegetable mixture in glass baking dish.
  6. Once cauliflower is done steaming, grab your blender/food processor and in 1-2 batches (depending on the size of your machine) add cauliflower, butter, almond milk, and salt and pepper. Blend until you get a thick, creamy mixture.
  7. Before adding the mashed cauliflower to your beef and veggie mixture, add ½ a cup of Trader Joe's Chili Pepper sauce and mix until everything is coated.
  8. Spread your mashed cauliflower on top of the meat and veggie mixture. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until your cauliflower is slightly browned.

Red Curry Meatballs (Crockpot)

Tonight I will be hosting a holiday potluck at Talcott Family Chiropractic at 6:45pm. Everyone is welcome to join and bring a healthy, tasty dish. We have some people bringing dishes like beef stew, organic salad, and apple crisp to name a few. We will be talking about how to stay healthy during the holidays and sharing good food. I made these delicious Red Curry Meatballs. They are very low maintenance but absolutely delightful.

Holiday Potluck at Talcott Family Chiropractic

Location: 230 Farmington Ave Farmington, CT 06032

Time: 6:45pm-7:45pm

Everyone is welcome!

Red Curry Meatballs (Crockpot)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 3lb Organic Grassfed Beef
  • 2 tbsp Ground Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 large Organic Egg
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • Sea Salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 6oz can Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 14oz can Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Curry Powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add all ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl (except for the meat) and mix well. Add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until fully incorporated.
  3. Form the meat mixture into small meatballs and place inside a crockpot.
  4. Pour sauce on top of meatballs and cook on low for 8 hours.