Sweet Potato Veggie Chili (2)

Sweet Potato Veggie Chili

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

October has been beautiful in Pittsburgh so far with all the leaves changing and cool weather. It is a perfect time to make your favorite chili and soup recipes. Personally, I love making vegetable chili with sweet potatoes for me and my boyfriend; it has quickly become our favorite. We add different beans for protein, but you can also add lean ground beef or ground turkey for extra flavor. All the spices remind me of fall/winter and will create a delightful aroma in your kitchen.


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium, 14 oz
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, low sodium, 28 oz
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, 15 oz
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed, 15 oz
  • 1 can corn, rinsed, 15 oz
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


What To Do:

  1. Add olive oil and onion to a large pot and heat for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and cook for 45 minutes, until softened. (Or microwave sweet potatoes for 15 minutes, then simmer in pot for 10-15 mins)
  3. Add in the spices: chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir into onion and sweet potatoes.
  4. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir and add in ½ cup water if mixture is very thick.
  5. Bring chili to a slight boil, then cook on medium-low for 25 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.
  6. Once softened and flavors are combined, remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with fresh cilantro and sprinkle cheese, or any of your favorite chili toppings. Enjoy!


This meal is great on a cool, fall day. It provides many nutrients from vegetables and beans, and you can alter it with your other favorite chili ingredients, if desired. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Try it out and let us know how it tastes! If you have questions or want to speak with a dietitian about more nutritious recipes, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

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Functional Movement Screen

Posted by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern and Future Dietitian

Hess Physical Therapy provides rehabilitation services in the west side of Pittsburgh. Their team of physical therapists uses a science-based approach to provide the utmost care for their patients. The following post is written by Jessica Homer, the Director of Operations, and her colleague about functional movement screening. Their services are similar to what Alex at Case Specific Athletics provides to the east side of Pittsburgh.



Functional Movement Screen

Written By: Jessica Homer, PT, DPT, COMT, HMS, OCS


Alex Kalmar, CSCS


What is the FMS?

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a screening tool used to evaluate fundamental movement patterns that are necessary for an individual’s optimal performance. The FMS is designed to provide an individual with opportunities to improve movement and maximize their training results.  The screen is a series of movements that highlight dysfunction where stability and mobility deficits exist. Many individuals who perform weightlifting, sports, and other activities at high levels are limited in fundamental movement, thus increasing their risk for injury. The desire to perform quantity over quality results in compensatory movements to achieve or maintain the level of performance required for that activity. The use of compensation during movement will lead to poor biomechanics. This limits gains in performance and reduces the body’s ability to remain adaptable against the risks involved in that activity or sport.


Why FMS?

FMS screening will provide an individual with a personalized report on areas of weakness, asymmetries, and movement dysfunction that correlates with their activity of interest. These results will highlight ways to optimize and improve performance, maximize results, and ultimately decrease risk of injury! If you want to learn how to improve your performance, maximize your results and decrease risk of injury, you will want to get an individual FMS score!



FMS is a great tool to observe someone’s movement quality and highlight any asymmetries they may have. A key focus to proper training is to balance out any asymmetries. This helps mitigate compensatory movements due to strength or mobility imbalances, which will hopefully improve biomechanics and limit risk of injury in all populations.


So, before you begin developing your workout program, think about FMS! 

For functional movement screening in the North and West Sides of Pittsburgh, check out Hess Physical Therapy and their team at hesspt.com

For FMS on the East Side, reach out to Alex Kalmar of Case Specific Athletics at alex@casespecificathletics.com



Back to School 5-min Breakfasts

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern and Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

The back-to-school rush is here. Whether you are getting ready for school, work, or getting your kids to school, the morning can be hectic. Often, we hear about meal prepping and meal planning, but what about a quick 5-minute breakfast? Count me in. Below are several options:

  1. Jimmy Dean’s Delights – breakfast sandwich or bowl
  1. Protein shake – enjoy your favorite protein powder in a shake with a banana and milk of your choice
  1. Overnight oats – This recipe is super easy because you combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, grab and go.

Make it unique! Here is my fav:

    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • ½ cup milk (I use oat milk)
    • ½ cup Greek yogurt
    • 1 banana, mashed
    • 2 tbsp peanut butter
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp chocolate chips

You can also add honey, hemp seeds, chia seeds, or ground flax seeds for extra nutrients.

After discussing these quick recipes, can you think of any others? If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our dietitians about more quick recipes, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com


Does Cooking Food Make It Lose Its Nutrients?

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN


A common question registered dietitians receive is: does how we cook food alter its nutrient content and absorption? The short answer is, yes – the way food is prepared can maintain or decrease nutrient absorption, and in this article, I’ll explain why. 

The six main nutrient groups consist of carbohydrates, lipids/fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. All of these nutrients are essential to our bodies, and it is vital to maintain the highest nutrient content during the cooking process.  

Vitamins and minerals function as antioxidants and provide many essential nutrients. Foods with a high vitamin and mineral content include meat, dairy products, egg yolk, fermented foods, and plants. There are certainly many others, so it is important to eat a variety of foods during the day.  

Cooking methods and preparation time are priorities you may have while cooking. Nutrient-breakdown is another important factor to consider during cooking because not all cooking methods are created equal. The goal is to maintain the most nutrients. For a lot of vegetables, it is necessary to cook them to improve digestibility; the softening of cellulose structure increases nutrient absorption (like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.) Boiling and cooking reduces the nutrient content, but about 75% is retained. As you know, cook the veggies until they are softened and have a bright color.  

Keep in mind, the nutrients most susceptible to nutrient loss are water-soluble vitamins. Instead of cooking, you can buy/prepare frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables that retain water-soluble vitamins. If you are trying to shop on a budget, frozen or canned produce are budget-friendly and still provide many nutrients. Frozen fruits and veggies undergo blanching (boiling and steaming for a short period of time) prior to freezing, which helps maintain the vitamin and mineral content. The USDA has a table of Nutrient Retention Factors if you are interested in the exact amount of 16 vitamins and 8 minerals maintained for around 300 foods.  

Other foods like meat and eggs are cooked to eliminate bacteria. Make sure you follow proper food safety methods and cook food to the correct temperature. For example, chicken and poultry should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When frying, roasting, or boiling chicken, 40% of folate is lost. Many other nutrients are retained, so it is not a concern. On the other hand, eggs on the stove (fried or scrambled) lose folate the most from the heat process as well as a few other vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B12. About 75-85% of these nutrients are retained, however.  

Overall, the cooking process does alter nutrients because of the heat. But, as long as you prepare food safely and for the correct time, you can maintain the most nutrients. If you’d like to speak to a dietitian about the way you prepare your food, schedule an appointment by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com. 

Food and Wine:40 Recipes From 40 Years: Kimchi Collard Greens Photography: Greg Dupree, Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero, Prop Styling: Thom Driver

Healthful Crab Cake

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

As we near the beginning of fall, we are making our last-minute favorite summer recipes. This week, I want to highlight a healthful crab cake recipe courtesy of Andrew Wade, CEO of Case Specific Nutrition. Crab cakes remind me of sitting in a restaurant near the ocean with my family, enjoying the summer breeze, and eating fresh fish caught that day.


Crab cakes can be a great addition to your plate and a great source of protein: which is great for building and maintaining muscle, curbing your hunger, and is good for your bones, to name a few benefits. Crab cakes can provide high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12 and this recipe can help you reach your nutrient needs. These nutrients help keep your heart and brain healthy, while providing energy. Here is what you’ll need and how to make these delicious crab cakes:


What You’ll Need:

    • 2 16oz containers lump crab
    • 1 cup egg beaters
    • 2 large whole eggs
    • ½ cup light mayo
    • 12 saltine crackers
    • 1 tbsp old bay


What to Do:

    1.   In a small bowl, combine egg beaters, eggs, mayo, and old bay seasoning into a bowl and whisk together.
    2.   In another bowl, stir crab and saltines. Fold mixture from step one into the bowl.
    3.   Roll into 4oz balls (size of applesauce cup).
    4.   Bake at 350 for 20-28 mins (depending on oven) until solidified.
    5.   Turn on broil for 3-5 min.
    6.   Let sit for 5-10 mins to cool.
    7.   Enjoy!


For more recipes, check out our blog or schedule an appointment to speak with a dietitian at scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com!



Upcoming at CSN…

Andrew Wade, MS, RDN, LDN, CSSD is hosting a talk on Thursday, August 25th at 7 pm free on Zoom! He will be discussing how to untrained your brain from the GRRRRR Cycle (Click the link to learn more!)

3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

It can be intimidating to schedule an appointment with your new healthcare provider. You are wondering what a registered dietitian (RD) can do. Rest assured that the RDs at Case Specific Nutrition (CSN) are here to help. To prepare for your first visit, here are a few things your RD wants you to know:

    1. You are courageous. I’m proud of you for realizing that you can’t do this alone and seeking out an expert health professional, rather than trying the trendy diet you saw on TikTok. It takes bravery to reach out, schedule an appointment, show up and be vulnerable because, let’s face it, food is personal.
    2. You won’t be judged. Dietitians are not the food police. I won’t judge you if you eat fast food every day or even if you want to KEEP eating fast food every day. If you’re not sure if you want to give up your current diet like keto or beach body, I will meet you where you are to help you achieve YOUR goals. I will give you my honest opinion, but you decide where we go from there.
    3. Your life is about to change forever. Once you start working with a dietitian, you’ll relate to food in a whole new way and finally understand the root of your eating behaviors. You’ll have an arsenal of knowledge and tools that you will be able to use to make informed food decisions for the rest of your life!

Working with an RD can be very impactful and bring peace to your body and mind. Whether you are struggling with food intolerances/allergies, disordered eating, or wanting peace with food, CSN has a dietitian that is right for you. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

Upcoming at CSN…

RDN Devon Kroesché and Dr. Sobel are hosting A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 11th at 7pm on Zoom! They will be discussing seasonal plant-based meal prep that is both affordable and easy for a busy household. Click the button to join the Zoom.

Picture from https://www.simplyhappyfoodie.com

Summer Protein Pasta Salad

Summer Protein Pasta Salad

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

Picture from https://www.simplyhappyfoodie.com

We must challenge the perception that pasta is unhealthy or heavy. It can be very nutritious and a great option for meal prep or an easy-to-pack lunch. This simple yet nutritious recipe is perfect as a side dish or the star of a meal with family and friends. Using fresh vegetables that are in-season will pack the pasta salad with more flavor and brighter colors. Add more protein by using Banza chickpea pasta or Barilla protein pasta.

Growing up, I always craved pasta salad in the summer. I have a core memory of getting dropped off at a friend’s house in the summer after fourth grade and enjoying her mom’s “famous” pasta salad. Since then, I have asked my mom to create a version of it and now that I am older and cook for myself, I try to perfect the flavors. This recipe is very delicious, and you should add it into your summer rotation like I did.


What You’ll Need:

1 lb barilla protein pasta or Banza chickpea

lite or fat free Italian dressing, to taste (~1 cup)

¾ cup turkey pepperoni

1 cup mozzarella balls

1 cup each celery, cucumbers, peppers, onions, chopped


What to Do:

  1. Boil a pot of water and cook pasta as instructed from the package. Drain paste and rinse under cold water.
  2. Chop the vegetables and cheese. Also, chop the turkey pepperoni if desired.
  3. Add the dressing and turkey pepperoni, mozzarella, and vegetables to the pasta. Mix and add additional seasoning if necessary.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes then serve.


Adding extra protein to your day can be helpful to meet your daily protein requirements. This recipe is protein-packed and will help you keep your muscles healthy, recover after exercising, and satisfy your hunger.

Please share with us your Summer Protein Pasta Salad on Instagram or Facebook and tag us @casespecificnutrition! As always, if you’d like to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our dietitians, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.



Mindful Eating & Slowing Down

Picture from: https://www.ecommunity.com/healthminute/2021/20-foods-your-heart-loves

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

The Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.” When applying this to the eating process, slowing down and concentrating on the food you are putting into your body can help you connect with your thoughts and bring you peace. Mindful eating can improve mental health by lowering disordered eating thoughts and anxiety, while also improving digestion and reducing overeating. It is important to focus on a few aspects while practicing mindfulness which lead to healthful benefits.

To begin, a few steps that you can take to practice mindful eating include getting rid of distractions. Check in with your senses: chew slowly, remain aware of each bite’s taste and texture, and imagine the food nourishing your body. Also, checking in with your hunger and fullness cues can help keep you satisfied. All these steps can help you slow down and really think about the food you are putting into your body. When you take a bite, do you feel the texture on your tongue? How does it taste? Do you connect with any memories associated with that bite? Are you slowing down?

Slowing down and practicing mindful eating can increase your natural awareness of hunger and satiety. A meal or snack with at least two food groups can help you feel satisfied. Nourishing your bodies with carbs, proteins, and fat will fulfil your appetite and promote satiety at mealtimes. Don’t forget to check in with your thoughts and make peace with food.

Mindful eating is important because we live in such a fast-paced world where everything is available at our fingertips. Some carry that mindset over to mealtime. Maybe you are watching an episode of your favorite show to relax during breakfast. Maybe you have a 30-minute lunch break and eat super quickly so that you have extra time to use the restroom or take a coffee run. Maybe you will eat dinner quickly so you can meet up with your friends in town for a few drinks. All of these scenarios are normal for most people, but peace with food can be lost along the way. By attempting to follow some of the steps I previously mentioned, there can be a positive impact on both your mental and physical health.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians to talk about mindful eating and making peace with food, please email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.


Crawfish Boil

Summer Crawfish Boil

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

As we continue to kick off summer, I decided to share a crawfish boil with you all. This recipe is perfect for a cookout with family and friends or for a grad party. When I think of summer cookouts, I think of eating a big bowl of lobster that my family makes with black beans and rice, after going lobster diving in the Florida Keys; or I picture the burgers and dogs my uncle cooks on his smoker in the backyard. Whatever you picture when you think of a summer cookout, this recipe may be the perfect addition.

Picture from seafoodnutrition.org

First, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill weed
  • 6 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 5 gallons water
  • 10 lbs live crawfish, rinsed
  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, washed and cut
  • 3 oranges, halved
  • 8 ears corn, halved
  • ½ lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 heads garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces


Next, follow the steps to prepare the dish:

  1. Fill up a large pot (40-qt) with 5 gallons of water and add the salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, mustard, dill week, and bay leaves. Cover and boil over high heat for about 40 minutes.
  2. While the water is boiling, rinse the crawfish thoroughly in cool water.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add the potatoes, oranges, corn, green beans, garlic, onions, and sausage. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Next, add the crawfish, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat after the crawfish is cooked and allow the pot to sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the water then serve and enjoy!


The crawfish boil can provide a lot of nutrition. For example, crawfish are a great source of lean protein to keep you fueled and sustained throughout the day. Lean protein has less fat, but a high protein content. Crawfish are also a good source of B vitamins, selenium, and iron. These micronutrients are needed by the body. Also, the vegetables added to the boil also provide fiber and key nutrients your body needs throughout the day. Another trick is to use less salt to lower the amount of sodium in the dish. Using other seasonings can provide flavor without having to go overboard on the salt.


You can also swap out or add any additional vegetables to your liking. Have fun with the cooking process and let it nourish your body!

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Why You Don’t Actually Need to Cut Out Carbs

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

Carbs often get a bad rap. They are described as “unhealthy” or “bad” for you. Let’s clear up this confusion because carbs nourish your body. Read that again, please. Carbs are nourishing to the human body for many reasons. For example, carbohydrates are turned into glucose to use as energy for your body.

It can be misleading on social media or by word-of-mouth when someone says you should cut carbs out of your diet. However, they are one of the five major food groups and an important macronutrient (others include fat and protein). It is vital to balance your dietary intake and eat from all the major food groups. First, I will discuss the distinct types of carbs. Then, I will emphasize the importance of eating the rainbow and having a variety of nutrients in your diet.


Types of Carbs

To begin, there are two distinct categories of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs consist of sugars, whereas complex carbs consist of starches and fiber.


Sugars are simple carbs that include natural sugars and added sugars. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body and give us quick energy. Furthermore, natural sugars include those naturally occurring in whole foods like fresh, whole fruits or in milk. Added sugars are added to foods for flavor and include things like canned fruit or fruit juice, ice cream, and baked goods.

Tip: Limit foods that are refined and high in added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and white flour and instead focus on getting a healthful balance of natural sugars from whole fruits and milk products.


Starches are complex carbs that include fruits (watermelon, raspberries, apples, etc.), vegetables (corn, potatoes, beets, etc.), whole-grains (oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice), beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc). Complex carbohydrates break down longer in the body and provide energy, as well as helping us to feel fuller for longer. Most starches provide vitamins and minerals to our body.


Fiber is a complex carb found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our body can’t digest fiber, but it aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar. Additionally, fiber keeps you fuller for a longer period. The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and soluble fiber gives bulk to the stool. Both types of fiber are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whether eating simple or complex carbs, they are fuel for our bodies. MyPlate is a great estimate to ensure you are eating enough carbs in a day. This recommendation says to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with protein. Another tip is to replace half your grains with whole grains each day, to include fiber and complex carbs. Eating should include a balance of foods from all the food groups and nourish your body and mind.

If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch with our dietitians, please email us at scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com to schedule an appointment!