Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 c. skim milk
nutmeg, pinch
cayenne pepper, pinch
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. whole wheat macaroni noodles, dry measure (whole box)
1/2 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, to garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over each half of squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place 1 clove of garlic in each bulb of squash.
4. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Re-set temperature to 350 degrees after cooking squash.
5. Let cool slightly, scoop insides of squash into large bowl and mash with fork.
6. Add squash and 2c. skim milk to large pot, whisking until well combined. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne pepper while stirring.
7. After a few minutes, add cheddar and parmesan cheese. Continue to stir to combine and melt cheese.
8. Spray a large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange pasta noodles evenly over bottom of pan. Pour squash/cheese mixture over noodles. Mix until well combined.
9. Spread 1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs over top of mac and cheese dish.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until warm and tender. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving):
Yield- 10 servings
Calories- 280
Carbs- 45g
Protein- 12g


Overnight PrOats


1/2 c. dry oats
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c. mixed berries
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 scoop protein powder (chocolate or vanilla both work great here)
1 tbsp. natural peanut butter

Mix all ingredients in a mason jar or tupperware container. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy cold in the morning!

Nutrition Facts:
Yield- 1 serving
Calories- 390
Carbs- 40g
Protein- 25g
Fat- 15g


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Muffins

2 c. oats
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 c. plain greek yogurt
3 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Throw all ingredients, except chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Blend until batter is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Divide batter through 12 muffin tins.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts (per muffin):
Yield 12 muffins
160 calories, 25g CHO, 5g pro, 5g fat

Student Spotlight: Shed 3 Myths in Less Than 10 Minutes by Therezia Alchoufete

Obesity and the Mind

Some research is suggesting that obesity can be associated with “addictive” qualities related to the stimulation of the reward pathway in our brains – somehow, food becomes the drug. However, to rid the body of a drug, the drug itself must be identified. It is still unclear what the exact culprit may be in the case of obesity, but here are some common weight-loss misconceptions that can be avoided by “detoxification” methods.


This idea of quitting an addiction “cold turkey” is common – but it is not effective. Usually, it will work for a short amount of time, and then old habits return. It is possible to “quit” a certain food for a few days, but you may begin to notice that you’re compensating with other types of food or constantly feeling hungry. Rather than give-up your favorite food completely, reduce your “dose”, or portion size, and train your body to eat less.


There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to weight-loss, and fad diets can create the illusion that there is a trick to seeing quick results. In reality, water-weight is being lost, and we may see the number on the scale decreasing rapidly – this makes the reward center in the brain happy. Then, suddenly, the number stops changing, and the withdrawal symptoms set in. That is when people relapse and find themselves returning to their tried-and-trusted methods of happiness – their usual diet.


It is not uncommon for obesity to “run in the family”, but that does not mean a healthy weight cannot be achieved. There may be unhealthy food habits that are ingrained since childhood, and it may take some extra work to modify these ideas in the brain. Maintain those family traditions by making small recipe modifications to reduce fat content or eat less of Mom’s famous stuffing. Rather than re-training your mind to disassociate the food with the reward, modify the food itself and keep the reward.




Therezia Alchoufete

Coordinated Master in Nutrition and Dietetics

Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition

School of Health and Rehab Sciences

University of Pittsburgh


Stuffed Peppers

5 large green bell peppers
1 lb. lean ground beef (93/7)
2 c. wild rice, cooked
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. diced tomato
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese, optional for topping

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove tops of peppers and any remaining seeds. Add to large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes to blanch peppers. Remove and lay on towel to remove any remaining water.
3. Cook wild rice according to package directions.
4. Sautee onion and garlic until becomes translucent. Add ground beef until cooked thoroughly.
5. In a large bowl, mix together rice, diced tomatoes, ground beef, and seasonings until well combined.
6. Stuff mixture evenly into 5 large peppers.
7. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Can top with cheese about 10 minutes before end of cooking time. Add tomato sauce over top if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per pepper):
Calories: 240 calories
Carbohydrates: 24g
Protein: 24g
Fat: 10g


Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

2 c. chicken breast, cooked
1 lb. rotini whole wheat pasta, dry
1c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. hot sauce
1/2 c. Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch dressing
salt and pepper to taste
Blue cheese crumbles to garnish

1. Boil pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, mix together yogurt ranch and hot sauce.
3. Drain pasta, and stir in yogurt ranch and hot sauce. Stir in chicken, and diced celery.
4. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
5. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving):
Yield- 10 servings
Calories: 240
Carbohydrates: 36g
Protein: 15g
Fat: 5g


Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

6 thick slices Canadian bacon
6 free range eggs
Non-stick cooking spray
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place a slice of Canadian bacon in each of muffin tins, 6 total.
3. Crack egg inside of each slice of bacon.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.

Nutrition (yield 6):
Per muffin – 90 calories, 0g CHO, 10g pro, 5g fat


Lighter Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 c. Skim milk
3/4 c. Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. thyme, dried

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick. Create a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of baking dish. Set aside remaining potatoes.
3. Sprinkle 1/3 c. reduced fat cheese over first layer of potatoes.
4. Dice onion into small pieces. Add to baking dish over top of potatoes and cheese.
5. In a medium sauce pan mix milk, butter, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper over medium heat, stirring continuously until well combined. Pour half of mixture over potatoes and cheese.
6. Arrange second layer of potatoes over top. Pour other half of mixture over top of potatoes. Then top with remaining 2/3 c. cheese.
7. Bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tender.

Nutrition Facts:
Yield 7 (1 cup) servings
180 calories
25g CHO
6g fat
8g protein


Low-Fat Crustless Chicken Pot Pie

2 large chicken breasts (~8 oz. total)
1 bag frozen pea/corn mix (~2 1/2 c.)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 (10.5 oz.) cans fat free cream of chicken soup
1 c. skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder

1. Sautee onion and celery in large pot over medium heat. After becomes translucent add peas and corn and continue to sautee.
2. After chicken is cooked, shred or dice into small bite sized pieces. I used rotisserie chicken for this to save time.
3. Add cream of chicken soup and milk into pot. Stir until well blended.
4. Stir in chicken breast.
5. Add spices and continue to cook on low to medium heat.
6. Let simmer for 15 minutes and enjoy.

Yield: 6, 1 cup servings
Nutrition facts:
140 calories, 15g CHO, 15g pro, 2g fat per serving.


Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

2 c. oats (1c. ground, 1c. whole)
2 scoops vanilla Daily Whey protein powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. chocolate chips

1. Grind 1 c. oats in the food processor. Mix in large bowl with 1c. whole oats, protein powder, baking soda, salt.
2. In a medium sized bowl cream together melted butter, applesauce, vanilla, egg.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Form into 12 cookies, and place on greased cookie sheet.
6. Press down onto each cookie to spread slightly.

Yield: 12 cookies
150 calories, 15g CHO, 6g protein, 8g fat each.