Nutrition Nook

Digestible Dietitian Bites

By Denice Hynd RD, MPH

Recipe and Image by Brianda Younggren, MPH 11/2022 


                                                    Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad 


                                                                                                    November is here and that means it's warm-salad season!

                                                                                                    Huh? What does that even mean? I know what you're

                                                                                                    thinking...warm lettuces? No! Well, yes, but think of the salad

                                                                                                    base as warm, wilted, or roasted greens. You can make a 

                                                                                                    salad base out of anything! Sautéed green beans, roasted

                                                                                                    broccoli, wilted romaine, stir-fried carrots and even shaven

                                                                                                    Brussels sprouts. The recipe mentioned below is adapted

                                                                                                    from Justine-Snacks, a recipe developer with a strong

                                                                                                    online community. Justine uses a handful of clean

                                                                                                    ingredients to transform pantry staples into a seasonal dish

                                                                                                    no one can resist! Of course, here at PSCNN we strive to

                                                                                                    make things our own, so we're adding a few elements to

                                                                                                    bump-up the nutrition. To this salad, you can consider

                                                                                                    adding roasted chunks of sweet potato, roasted carrots

                                                                                                    sliced on a bias, or slivered and toasted almonds for added


                        Recipe and Image by: Brianda Younggren, MPH


Why do we love this recipe and its add-ons?

Thanks to the chickpeas and Brussels sprouts this salad is loaded with fiber which helps us stay regular, the anchovies offer a serving of calcium and sodium to keep our bones strong, plus the deep pigmented orange add-ons such as the roasted carrots and roasted sweet potato offer us beta-carotene and lycopene which are high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes good vision, and boosts immunity. 


The best part? You can make the entire dish in less than 20 minutes! Consider short cuts such as shaved Brussels sprouts that are ready to eat, canned chickpeas, or they even sell pre-roasted chickpeas at health food stores such as Trader Joes, Sprouts and Whole Foods. 



Warm Brussel Sprout Salad

Recipe and Image by: Brianda Younggren, MPH 11/2022 



4 cups shaved Brussels Sprouts (or sliced thin)

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 can drained chickpeas (or 2 cups pre-roasted)

1 -2 lemons juice

½ cup tahini

Olive oil



Parmesan cheese (optional)

Dark pigmented add-ons: roasted carrots, roasted sweet potato, roasted beets



  1. Drizzle 3 - 4 tablespoons of olive oil over shaved/sliced Brussels sprouts, spread onto a cookie-sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into the oven at 375 F for 8 - 12 minutes until browned to your liking. 

  2. In a food processor, add 1 can drained chickpeas, process until the chickpeas resemble coarse pebbles (or add your pre-roasted chickpeas to the salad bowl)

  3. Once the Brussels are done roasting, remove from cookie sheet, add chickpeas, drizzle chickpeas with olive oil, salt, pepper and roast at 400F for 5 - 8 minutes until crispy. 

  4. Add Brussels and chickpeas to a large salad bowl

  5. Prepare dressing: in the same food processor, add 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 can drained anchovies, blend well. Add the ½ cup tahini, blend again. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, add the juice of the other lemon. 

  6. Toss the dressing over the Brussels and chickpeas

  7. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, toasted almonds, or any other high fiber veggie


  1. Feta cheese would be a great substitute for Parmesan cheese. 

  2. If anchovies aren't your thing, try them anyway! If they still aren't your thing, sub the anchovies with

        1 -2 tablespoons Worstershire sauce or 1 - 2 teaspoons low - sodium soy sauce!





Fall Lentil Stew

Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH 10/2022 

Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH

Soup & Stew Season Has Arrived!

Fall is here which means it’s time to dust off the ol’ slow cooker and let the warm flavors of fall heat
your home and your spirit! This month we’re showcasing the very valuable yet humble lentil! Lentils are
one of the most nutrient dense legumes and they’re incredibly affordable!
Lentils are rich in fiber which promote healthy gut motility which in turn boosts our immunity. The fiber
in lentils promotes cardiovascular health through helping the liver find and bind low-density-lipoprotein
(LDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is also known as our “lousy” or “lethal” cholesterol, and we want these
values to be “low”.
Lentils are also rich in iron! Iron is best absorbed in the presence of ascorbic acid, or better known as
vitamin C. When serving cold, warm, or hot lentil dishes it’s imperative to squeeze a wedge of fresh
lemon or lime over the dish to allow the iron to become greater absorbed by the body. We increase our
bioavailability of specific vitamins and minerals with the support of complementary vitamins and
minerals, a win-win! Proper iron intake also supports immunity and helps combat anemia.
Lastly, lentils are an excellent source of plant protein. Plan proteins have the benefit of not containing
any cholesterol, because remember, cholesterol only comes from animals; and lentils also don’t
contribute any saturated fat which protein from beef and pork do.


Fall Lentil Stew


1 pound dried green or brown lentils, rinsed
1-quart low sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can stew tomatoes
1 15-ounce canned tomato sauce
2-4 carrots chopped
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small onion of choice, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 lemon, quartered
¼ cup cilantro for garnish

Sauté carrots, celery, onions, garlic on low to medium heat until caramelized.

In a 6-quart slow cooker, add dried and rinsed lentils, the sautéed vegetables, broth, tomatoes and sauce. Cook on low until lentils are tender, approximately 4 hours. Serve with chopped cilantro, and a wedge of lemon.

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Powerhouse Pumpkin Muffins/Bread

Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH 09/2022 

Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH



4 mashed bananas

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix)

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups white or whole wheat flour

1 cup full fat greek yogurt (plain)

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup oil (vegetable/canola)

3 eggs

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 Tablespoons flax meal

2 Tablespoons pumpkin-pie-spice

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt



Mix the wet ingredients together and set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray, or if making bread, spray a 13x9 or several bread pans with nonstick spray.


Designer tip: sprinkle a few rolled oats over the tops of the muffin batter to give a coffee-house "oooh-lala" look! 

Bake at 350F until set, approximately 25 to 35 minutes.

Serve with coffee, and a book!


Why we love this recipe:

Grab-and-go items such as quick breads are practical, affordable and can be nutrient dense if done correctly. Here, we use chia seeds and flax meal to boost the omega-3 fatty acids, a natural free radical fighter helping us reduce inflammation. The Greek yogurt provides protein and probiotics, and the oats provide the pre-biotic fibers for the probiotics to digest and ferment - ultimately supporting a healthy gut. Lastly, the pumpkin spice provides the comfort of fall and warm sweaters.



If you don't have pumpkin spice, use a mix of Cinnamon, ground ginger, ground all spice or clove and a sprinkling of nutmeg. These muffins/bread freeze extremely well - reduce food waste by taking a handful of muffins out of the freezer every few weeks throughout the fall season. 

Digestible Dietitian Bites

By: Denice Hynd RD, MPH

August, 2022

Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH

Throughout our lifespan, constipation can occur due to changes in our diet, changes in our emotional regulation, the intake of medications, through a decrease in movement and through an overall decline in muscle strength and gut motility.  

Although there are hundreds of prescribed stool softeners and laxatives available to us, it is best to identify all possible natural therapies before opting for a prescription or over the counter regimen. Specifically, in PD, we have a systematically decrease in nerve function, which also affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Consider these changes in your diet and lifestyle prior to seeking medical treatment.

Fiber from Food

Fiber! It’s our favorite “F” word in the nutrition-world! Fiber is the non-digestible portion of plant materials. Fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds all contain naturally occurring fiber. Some of the greatest contributors of fiber include artichokes, prunes, pears, avocado, lentils, flax, and chia seeds. Prunes are often the celebrities of relieving constipation; this is due the natural presence of sorbitol – a sugar alcohol that offers mild laxatives affects.

Fiber from food is the gold-standard in terms of fiber choices. Of course, the supermarkets flood their shelves with manufactured fiber containing snack foods such as fiber bars, fiber chips, fiber crackers, fiber cereals, and new on the menu: fiber beverages! Along the supplement aisle you’ll also find fiber supplements in capsules, pills, tablets, powders, effervescent tabs, shakes and liquid shots.

Fiber from food not only contains the fiber in its original form, it is also bound by water which work in sync to alleviate constipation. Food also contains minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which are all necessary to maintain immunity and to support general wellness. Lastly, food-fiber allows us to enjoy it as a part of our meals – it allows us to share our fiber-rich recipes with friends and family!

How much fiber should I have?

The current recommendation is to aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

What if I can’t eat that much fiber from food?

Chia seeds and flax seeds can be added to soups, yogurt, and shakes. They are excellent sources of fiber yet take up little volume compared to chewing several cups of steamed broccoli. If you want a supplement alternative consult with your clinicians so they can guide you towards a product that is appropriate for you.

Are there any temporary options to relieve my symptoms of constipation?

Senna tea has been used for centuries to relieve constipation through its laxative affects. Use as directed, and always take at night when you don’t have anywhere to be the next morning. It is important to know how the tea will affect you prior to making plans outside of the home.

Recommendations to avoid constipation

  • Water-water-water! Divide your body weight in half, and this will give you an average amount of water your body needs (in ounces) to function properly                                                                                            -Example: 160 pounds person/2 = 80 ounces of water/day

  • Move your lower body: walking, cycling whether stationary or outdoors are excellent activities to stimulate motility. If you’re unable to walk or cycle, consider seated leg lifts or chair assisted squats

  • Processed foods contain little-to-no fiber; avoid these as often as possible

  • Start your day with 2 tablespoons of chia or flax meal in 12 ounces of water or oatmeal

  • Belly massage, make a fist and trace a figure 8 around your belly button

  • Warm to hot liquids can assist elimination

  • Daily intake of probiotic containing foods: sauerkraut, natural yogurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh


Summer Artichoke Pasta Salad

Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH 08/2022 -  Recipe (makes 3-4 servings)












Recipe and Images by: Brianda Younggren, MPH



2 cans artichoke hearts packed in water or oil (drained)

1 bunch parsley chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced

2 cups cooked whole wheat spiral pasta

¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup prepared pesto

1-2 lemons juiced



Mix all ingredients into a bowl, serve as is or over a bed of greens!

Roasted Summer Corn Chowder

"This recipe uses leftover baked potatoes and helps clean out your pantry! During these hot Summer months having a few practical recipes is a time saver while allowing us to enjoy all the benefits of sweet summer corn. As is, this recipe mirrors a mechanical-soft texture, but you can blend completely for a full-liquid texture or add corn chips for a crunchy twist!" -Denice Hynd RD, MPH

Roasted Summer Corn Chowder

Recipe and Picture by Brianda Younggren, MPH 07/01/2022










Picture by Brianda Younggren, MPH



2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 green onions (stems and bulbs), chopped

2 cans corn (fresh works great too!), drained

2 russet potato, baked and diced

4 cups, low sodium chicken broth

1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream

Garnish optional: Lemon wedge, cilantro, green onion, chili flake 


  1. Add olive oil to a skillet, set on low to medium heat. 

  2. Sauté green onions until soft, add both cans of drained corn, increase heat to medium to high, and lightly pan-roast the corn until it begins to brown or char-broil. 

  3. To a blender add half the chicken broth, half the corn mixture, and one diced baked potato, blend until smooth. 

  4. Add blender contents to soup pot. 

  5. Add remaining corn, potato, and broth to soup pot. 

  6. Bring soup to a low boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. 

  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup Full fat Greek yogurt or 1 cup sour cream. 

  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh lemon wedge, chili flake and green onion 


Digestible Dietitian Bites

By Denice Hynd RD, MPH

Recipe and Pictures by Brianda Younggren, MPH 06/01/2022 

As we age, or with decline in motor function, we may fatigue prematurely when we eat. This can lead to reduced oral intake, which in turn can lead to unintentional weight loss, ultimately increasing our risk for malnutrition.

Chewing leafy greens, or steamed vegetables, although they are healthy for us, they offer very little calories – and they take a prolonged time to chew. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to re-think the way you prepare  and consume meals in order to maximize your nutritional intake at each bite. In dietetics, we call this style of eating, fortification, or following a fortified diet.

Goal: to meet or exceed current nutritional needs in the smallest amount of volume to avoid signs and symptoms

of fullness, nausea, and weakness.


  • Sugar free

  • Diet

  • Low calorie

  • Low fat/fat free

  • Water with meals; drink water in between meals



  • Nut butters (almond, peanut, sesame, walnut, cashew, and sunflower seed butter)

  • Jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, apple and pumpkin butter

  • Hummus made with olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, and guacamole

  • Honey, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses

  • Pesto made with olive oil, avocado oil

  • Real butter, cottage cheese, block and sliced cheese, cream cheese

  • Mayonnaise and sour cream

  • Olive, avocado, toasted sesame, and canola oil

  • Creamed soups

  • Sauces and gravies

  • Barbeque sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, thousand islands, oil based-vinaigrette,   tartar sauce, French onion dip prepared with sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt

  • Apple sauce, pudding, overnight-oats, chia pudding, apple-pie filling, cherry-pie and pumpkin pie filling,        canned fruit cocktail in light syrup

  • Sweet potato, white potato

  • Edamame, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, beans, and lentils

  • Sour dough and whole grain bread, buns, rolls, wraps and pitas, white and whole wheat pasta

  • Prepared chicken, tuna, egg, potato, pasta salads; prepared spinach and artichoke dip, 7-layer dips

  • Full-fat yogurt, ice cream, cow’s milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, Kefir

  • Soy milk (almond, rice, hemp, and oat milk has an insignificant amount of protein)

  • Prepared protein shakes, protein powders

  • Electrolytes during nausea/vomiting (Gatorade, PowerAde, Pedialyte)

  • 100% fruit juice, fresh or frozen bananas



Vanilla Ensure Chia Pudding (makes 2 servings)

Recipe by: Brianda Younggren, MPH









Images Illustrated by: Brianda Younggren, MPH



½ cup vanilla Ensure (or any prepared vanilla protein shake)

½ cup full fat plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup chia seeds

Sliced bananas

Add jazz by sprinkling your favorite spices: apple pie spice, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, almond extract, the

options are endless!


Mix vanilla Ensure, Greek yogurt with chia seeds. Mix well. The chia seeds will thicken the yogurt and

the Ensure into a pudding-like consistency. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least one hour. Top with sliced

bananas, and spices of choice. Enjoy cold!



If the chia pudding is too thick for your likening, add less chia seeds next time, or add more ensure.


Fun Fact:

Did you know chia seeds are a complete protein? They contain all essential amino acids and are

packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Getting our omega-3 properties from a non-marine source such as chia

seeds allows us to skip the concern surrounding mercury intake. Lastly, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds offer 10 grams of fiber! Aim for 25-35 grams/fiber/day.

Nutritional Considerations for Parkinson’s Disease:

Keep in mind, we also want to focus on drug-nutrient interactions, this means we want to avoid eating 1-hour before and after taking certain PD medication since this will affect medication absorption. Other PD

medications require food with medication intake. Foods rich in protein should be taken separate from L-dopa as this may also interfere with medication absorption.

The recommended medical nutrition therapy for PD is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, high in antioxidants.  Severe neurologic impairment often compromises the mechanisms and cognitive abilities needed for adequate nourishments. A common result is dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Modified food textures are often required for the individual with swallowing challenges.




Why chia seeds?

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants helping us reduce inflammation. Chia seeds naturally gel and coagulate liquids similar to manufactured thickening agents sold in pharmacies. The beauty of chia seeds is that they are a natural thickener, provide fiber, antioxidants, omega 3, and a complete protein!

With decreased fluid, food, and movement constipation may also arise. The fiber naturally found in chia seeds supports gut-motility and promotes healthy gut-function.


Where do I find chia seeds?

Chia seeds are conveniently found at all major stores! Places like Walmart, Target, Food for Less, Safeway,

Kroger, Costco, Grocery Outlet and even some $0.99 stores! Often, they can be found in the baking aisle,

hot cereal aisle, or the vitamin section.

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