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Summer is Just Flying By

How is it August already?! I feel like the summer has just flown by. We have been getting rain almost every day in Colorado, which has been amazing. It has kept the temperatures cool and the grass green. I don’t ever remember the grass/fields being this green all the way to August. As the summer has flown by, so has my first dietetic internship rotation. I have completed over 260 hours of the 400 food service management hours I have to do. I have improved the nutrition education programs for the dining halls, written a food allergy policy, attended chef interviews, made over 40 pounds of pasta (at one time!), learned how to ice a cake and make focaccia bread, made some gluten-free baked goods in the special gluten-free bakery, and more! I have already gotten so many great experiences, I cannot wait to see what else I end up doing in the 1,000 hours I have remaining. Since my internship is keeping me busy and somewhat out of the kitchen (I am able to eat at the dining halls for lunch), I haven’t been experimenting with new recipes as much. Instead, I have been obsessing about a few other things…

Running. In less than 5 weeks I am doing my third half marathon (second trail half marathon). I am doing the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park just outside of Fort Collins. With 13.1 miles of singletrack and close to 2,000 feet of elevation gain, I have been doing most of my training on trail with some hills. This weekend I ran 10 miles with a good friend, and next weekend I am easing up before I ramp up to 12 miles before the race. I am loosely following this training plan.


Baking bread at home. Since bringing gluten back into my diet a little under a year ago I have been thoroughly enjoying all of the things that were forbidden while I was following a gluten-free diet. I’m talking beer, bread, tortellini, and tortillas galore! Rather than wasting my gluten on store bought bread, I have been experimenting with making bread at home. And when a friend gave me a liquid yeast starter he has been keeping alive since the 80’s that really fed the fire. So far I have made a few soft breads (similar to a sweet bread), yeasted banana bread, yeasted waffles, pizza crust, King Arthur’s No-Knead Crusty White Bread, and NY Times’ No-Knead Bread. All of them need some work, but I hope to be a self-taught crusty artisan bread master sooner or later.


Chickens. After I successfully defending my Master’s thesis in May, the husband gifted me with four cute little chickens. It has been such an adventure learning how to care for them (which isn’t that hard) and watching them grow. We have an Ameraucauna (named Goose), a Red Star (Laverne), a Barred Rock (Maverick), and we used to have a Wellsummer (Shirley), but that one turned out to be a rooster. Unfortunately, roosters are not allowed within Fort Collins city limits, so we had to give her (him) up, but we think he found a good home where he can make over 30 hens real happy. As the three hens have grown, and still have more growing to do, we began to feel a little uncomfortable keeping them in the small coop we originally got for them. The husband did some research, found The Garden Coop, bought some plans, and spent a few weekends building this amazing new coop for them in our back yard. Now that we have more space we hope to get some more hens. I’m crossing my fingers for a Silkie.


Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. With the warm summer temperatures I struggle with making stovetop oatmeal or mixed grain porridge for breakfast even though it was I crave every…single…day. Instead, I have been making this Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. I enjoy it warm on the first day and cold as leftovers (mixed in yogurt or kefir). It would be a great breakfast for those that aren’t morning people or don’t have a lot of time to make a hot breakfast. Just mix it up in the slow cooker the night before and wake up to a delicious ready-to-eat breakfast.


Whole Oat Groat Porridge

Serves 4 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | http://newestobsession.com

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 8 hours

Cooking spray

¾ cup whole oat groats

¼ cup whole rye berries (or more oat groats)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

¼ cups chopped pitted dates (or other dried fruit)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1 whole cinnamon stick (optional)

4-6 whole cardamom pods (optional)

2-3 star anise seeds or pieces (optional)

Toppings (e.g. milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit)

  1. The night before, spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add oat groats and rye berries (or more oat groats).
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and pour in almond milk.
  4. Sprinkle in pitted dates (or other dried fruit).
  5. Add remaining ingredients (if using) and give it a quick stir.
  6. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
  7. In the morning, serve topped with warmed or cool milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit.

Instead of reheating leftovers try mixing them with about ½ cup of yogurt for a cooling summer breakfast.


Guess what I’m having for breakfast?!

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Approximately 17% of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old are obese (1). Teaching today’s kids to eat right is essential for the health and wellbeing of future generations to come. To emphasize the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have launched the first ever Kids Eat Right Month for the month of August. Shopping smart, cooking healthy, and eating right are all cornerstones for eating healthy.

  • Shopping smart. Getting kids involved in selecting the foods that appear at the table or in their lunch box will increase the likelihood that they will eat it. And, no, this does not mean getting them involved in choosing packaged foods and sweetened beverages—I am willing to guess they have no problem eating these types of items. Instead, take them to the produce section and allow them to choose one or a few items of their liking. If this doesn’t work out, don’t get discouraged and keep trying, kids may need over a dozen exposures to a new food to try it and decide whether or not they like it.
  • Cooking healthy. As with getting the kids involved in selecting foods in the grocery stores, getting kids involved with cooking connects them with the meal and increases the likelihood they will eat it or at least try it. Allow them to tear the lettuce for the salad, snap off the heads of broccoli, measure out and add the spices, and even stir. Make it fun!
  • Eating right. After selecting healthy foods at the grocery store and cooking a healthy meal out of them, take the time to sit down at the table as a family to eat together. Take the time as an opportunity to talk to each other about one’s day. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but try to aim to sit down for at least one meal a day together—with no TV or other distractions. Kids with families who sit down and eat meals together are less likely to be overweight or obese, eat healthier foods, do better in school, have improved psychological well-being, and reduced risk for eating disorders, substance abuse, and violence (2, 3). Aim for three or more meals together as a family each week!

The best way to develop healthy eating habits in your kids is to serve as a role model. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, low fat dairy and meat products, and drink water instead of sugary drinks. And, finally, it is all about balance – calories in and calories out. Get active with your kids on a regular basis. Exercise also helps build strong muscles and bones, decrease risk of developing type 2 diabetes, have a better outlook on life, potentially lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves sleep, and increases the ability to focus in school (4).

For those of you who know me personally or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I used to volunteer with the Growe Foundation in Boulder, CO. Their mission is to educate children about the benefits of healthy eating and caring for the environment.


While volunteering with Growe I helped teach a few nutrition lessons for myself. Read more about each one by clicking the links.





Learn more about Kids Eat Right here: http://www.kidseatright.org/. Find articles, recipes, tips, and videos for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, gradeschoolers, and teens. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. For more health and nutrition information for preschoolers, including tips on developing healthy eating habits, help for picky eaters, as well as sample meal plans and snacks click here. For nutrition related games for kids click here.

How do you get your kids right? Or how did your parents/guardians get you to eat right as a kid?

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Creamy Yogurt Smoothie

I am currently obsessed with this smoothie. No protein powder, just creamy, tangy goodness.


Creamy Yogurt Smoothie

Serves 2 | Recipe by Lauren Larson

1 cup plain lowfat kefir (Nancy’s is my favorite)

1 cup frozen mixed fruit (e.g. mango, peach, strawberry)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 teaspoons honey (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, using a tamper/turning off the blender and pushing down fruit as necessary. Add more almond milk/water to thin if necessary.
  2. Pour into two glasses and serve.


Approximate nutrition information per serving (excluding honey): Calories – 165 kcal; Carbohydrates – 17 grams; Fat – 7 grams; Protein – 10 grams.


Perfect for an afternoon snack on a hot summer day.


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