Southwest Breakfast Potato Hash

Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. Our bodies use carbohydrates as energy. This breakfast hash is a great pre-workout meal before your mid-morning workout if you top it with an egg! All varieties of potatoes are much higher in energy and carbohydrates than other vegetables. I was inspired to make this when I spotted a potato medley at Trader Joe’s. Plus I had some left over Black Bean & Corn Salsa from the Superbowl so this turned out to be a win! Potato haters beware – all foods fit.

*Sponsored post

Southwest Breakfast Potato Hash


  • 1 lb potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup Black Bean & Corn Salsa
  • 1 tbsp cilantro


Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add cubed potatoes to oil then add garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Toss to coat potatoes in oil and cook until crispy about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine crispy potatoes and salsa in a baking dish. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro and serve.

Number of servings: 4 | Servings size: 1 cup
Calories: 208, total fat: 9 g, total carbohydrates: 34 g, dietary fiber: 6 g, sugars: 2 g, protein: 6 g

What is your favorite variety of potato? Tell me below! I’m into purple potatoes these days!


By posting this recipe I a entering a recipe context sponsored by Potatoes USA and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


Three Things

1. Portion sizes can be very different from serving size. Portion size is the amount of food you choose to eat and serving size is the recommended measured amount. Many people may not pay attention to the appropriate serving size and end up eating too much of certain foods. For example, the appropriate serving size for meat is 3-4 ounces although many restaurants serve up to 20 ounce steaks! Another example of this would be fruit. The appropriate serving size for fruit is one medium sized piece of fruit or one cup of fruit. Fruit is definitely a healthy choice, but as they say everything in moderation.

2. Random and incorrect diet tips can be found all over the internet. Here are a few that you should definitely ignore! Fruits and vegetables are not too high in carbohydrates if you stick to appropriate portion sizes (see above). Gluten should only be avoided if you have an allergy. Egg yolks have all the nutrients, don’t skip them. All calories are definitely not created equal. And finally, healthy fats can be your friend! Don’t forget that if you have any diet questions you can always chat with a dietitian.

3. I had a lot of fun with this quiz! I had a hard time picking which carbs would need to go. Would you nix nachos, grilled cheese or garlic bread? How about doughnuts, cookies or brownies? It’s fun seeing the results of what most people would choose to get rid of. Enjoy this little quiz today!


Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are so versatile. They can be sweet or they can be savory. There are so many herbs and spices that pair well with them. Some of my favorite combinations are brown sugar & cinnamon and garlic & rosemary. These twice baked sweet potatoes are simple and I hid a little turmeric in there as well! I listed these under Side Dishes, however I like eating these as my main dish with a salad or some steamed veggies on the side. Take your pick!

That bright orange color of sweet potatoes signifies vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene (just like carrots). They are also a great source of vitamin C, copper, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Sweet potatoes are considered a complex carbohydrate.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • Chives for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Wash sweet potatoes and poke holes around then with a fork. Cook sweet potatoes for 45 minutes-1 hour depending on their size. Let cool until you can handle them. Cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the pulp. In a bowl, combine pulp, nonfat Greek yogurt, salt, pepper and turmeric. Put mixture back into sweet potatoes evenly and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Meanwhile, cook turkey bacon until crispy. When sweet potatoes are done top with more yogurt, crispy bacon and chives.

Number of servings: 4 | Serving size: 1/2 sweet potato
Calories: 138, total fat: 4 g, total carbohydrates: 19 g, dietary fiber: 2 g, sugars: 7 g, protein: 6 g


How do you like to top your twice baked potatoes? Tell me below!


Three Things

1.  A new study suggests you should only drink water when you are thirsty. The study found that there was a difference in swallow function when drinking while thirsty versus drinking when not thirsty. Participants had an easier time drinking water when they were thirsty. I wouldn’t recommend only drinking water when thirsty because we still need a minimum amount, but it may be adviseable to refrain from chugging water just to meet your water needs for the day. Food for thought! I also talked about beverages earlier this week.

2. Love this fun article about what eating healthy looks like in different countries. I think my favorite style would have to be France! Small portions, full fat dairy, no processed foods and plenty of decadent options. A close second would be Greece. Mediterranean diet anyone?! Plant based foods, herbs, spices, healthy fats and of course wine. It really is shocking to realize how different we eat in the United States compared to other countries.

3. I couldn’t pass up sharing this with you all! I love carbs. I know you love carbs. We’re talking the not so healthy ones here. So this little quiz from Buzzfeed was just what I needed for a little fun. Mac and cheese, curly fries and cupcakes, oh my! Which ‘would you rather’ question was hardest for you?!


5 Tips to Rock Your Workout

If you ever feel like your workouts are becoming lackluster then I think it’s time for you to amp up your routine. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you have the option of heading out for a drink or catching up on your favorite shows. Finding new classes, working out with a friend, or simply trying a new exercise can help you get back to the right mindset. Check out my tips on how to rock your workout. I think my favorite is dressing the part because who doesn’t love new clothes!


5 Tips to Rock Your Workout

  1. Fuel appropriately. Eat a full meal three or more hours before working out. Within two hours of a workout consume carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. Avoid fat and fiber to increase the rate of digestion. Within an hour of a workout consume carbohydrates to top off glycogen stores and prevent early fatigue.
  2. Dress the part. Getting excited to wear that new dress this weekend? Use that same concept to get yourself to the gym! I always have a better workout when I love what I’m wearing. Grab a new patterned sports bra or new tank and wear it as motivation.
  3. Make it fun. Don’t force yourself into a workout that you absolutely hate. I try different classes and change up my schedule from week to week so I don’t get bored. You’ll find out what classes and instructors you like most and be more excited to sweat it out for an hour each day.
  4. Get your jam on. Take the time to find or make a playlist that truly motivates you. Each week I set aside a few minutes to find new songs that I can play while teaching my fitness classes to help people get motivated. Find me on Spotify (redmond.raquel) for playlists!
  5. Chart your progress. And follow up with your goals. Every week should bring a new set of small goals. Maybe it’s to increase your weight with one exercise or be able to do one more burpee. Anything that you can accomplish each week with give you more motivation to achieve the overall fitness goals you have set!


Black Bean & Corn Salsa

This recipe came to me a few years ago after poking around Pinterest and trying to find an easy appetizer to bring to a tailgate. Ever since it has been one of my go to recipes and it’s always gone in minutes. I promise you’ll get compliments on it!

Not only is it delicious, but it is low in calories and fat free! Eating it with tortilla chips is ideal. If you’re trying to keep it light I like Trader Joe’s Baked Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. This can also be added to chicken and fish dishes if you’re looking for a way to kick up the flavor for lunch or dinner. Corn gets a bad rap sometimes, but it is considered a whole grain. One cup of corn contains about 125 calories, almost 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 27 grams of carbohydrates. It also is high in phosphorous containing 129 mg per cup. Corn is higher in carbohydrates, but it does have decent amount of fiber. It is not a whole grain I use often, but it can fit in a balanced diet.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa


  • 15.5 oz can black beansDSC_0921
  • 8.5 oz can sweet corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, rough chop
  • 1/2 bunch scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 14 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Juice 1 lime


Drain and rinse canned black beans and corn. Add black beans, corn, red bell pepper, jalapeno, and scallions to a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and lime juice. Pour dressing mixture over salsa and stir to combine. At the end, stir in the cilantro. Let sit at least one hour for the flavors to combine. Enjoy with some blue corn or baked tortilla chips!

Number of servings: 12 | Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 60, total fat: 0 g, total carbohydrates: 12 g, dietary fiber 3 g, sugars 2 g, protein 3 g


What is your favorite warm weather salsa? Tell me below! For me it’s a toss up between this and my Summer Pineapple Salsa!


Three Things


1. The paleo or “cave man” diet is one of the many new(ish) diets that have been talked about a lot lately. This diet is low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and focused on foods eaten by Stone Age people. There are many holes and missing pieces to this diet and as a dietitian I do not support it. This article pointedly discusses genetic evolution and its relationship to food and agriculture. It supports the notion that a shift from hunter-gatherers to agriculture is not the reason for an increase in chronic degenerative diseases. If you are trying to lose weight this may not be the diet for you as it is extremely high in fat. Talk to a Registered Dietitian to find a plan for you.

2. Speaking of chronic diseases, “ultra-processed” foods are contributing to obesity and heart disease. These foods contain manufactured ingredients that aren’t used when cooking from scratch. Think: artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives. Many of these ultra-processed foods are also high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. These components add to the risk for obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure, and diabetes. Your best bet to avoid these foods, such as soda, packaged snacks, processed meats, and instant soups, is to eat fresh! Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store and get as many fresh ingredients as possible.

3. In the world of sports nutrition, a new study has looked into a “sleep-low” sports diet. This entails a low carbohydrate dinner so the next day any workouts would force the body to use fat as fuel. The study showed that athletes following the sleep-low diet performed better after training. Examples of a sleep-low diet dinner would be a lean protein (e.g. chicken, fish, turkey, beef, pork) and tons of nonstarchy vegetables. Some smart complex carbohydrates that could be included would be legumes and quinoa.


Fuel With a Purpose

Fueling with a purpose is extremely important! My lovely friend and fellow Registered Dietitian, Abby was previously a sports nutritionist at George Washington University in Washington DC. I hope you all find this post helpful in understanding proper pre and post workout fuel.


Pre and post exercise nutrition is a popular nutrition topic. Exercise is directly affected by how you fuel your body. Finding the right balance can help optimize performance and recovery. Having adequate energy stores in your muscles will give you the ability to have a productive workout. It will also reduce the likelihood for muscle soreness, allowing you to have better workouts each day. Let’s begin talking about the macronutrients and why they are important in “fueling” ones body.


Nutrition basics

CARBOHYDRATES: Your body breaks down carbohydrates and uses them for energy in the form of glucose. Complex carbohydrates are not as processed and contain fiber, so they are digested more slowly and energy levels stay high. The major source of energy used during exercise is carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen. The greater your glycogen stores, the longer exercise can be sustained without exhaustion. It is important to keep these stores of glycogen high when you are an avid exerciser and during exercise, so you are able to have optimal performance.

PROTEIN: Protein is broken down into amino acids, which your body utilizes to rebuild muscles and repair tissues. Lean meat, skim milk, eggs, and Greek yogurt are great sources of essential amino acids to recover after weightlifting and workouts.

FAT: In general, fat intake should be around 20-30% of daily calories. Avocados, almonds, walnuts, peanut butter, and even salmon provide good sources of healthy unsaturated fat.

FIBER: Fiber is important to properly digest food that you eat and help maintain a steady blood sugar level. Aim for 20-35 grams of fiber per day.

WATER: Hydration is necessary during workouts because you are losing water and electrolytes through sweat. Dehydration can hinder athletic performance and it can be dangerous to your health. Make sure to drink water throughout the day and try to fill your glass or water bottle up at least 6-8 times a day.

Pre-exercise fuel:
1 hour or less: This should be mainly carbohydrate consumption. Carbohydrate consumption prior to exercise is key to top off glycogen stores and prevent early fatigue. Think sports drink, water, sports gummies, gel, a sports bar, piece of whole fruit, berries, or jam sandwich.

2 hours: Carbohydrate consumption with a small amount of protein constitutes an optimal pre-exercise snack. Limit fat and fiber consumption for better digestion and avoid processed foods.

3 + hours before exercise: A FULL MEAL. This should consist of a good amount of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles.

  1. Oatmeal with berries, almonds, and sugar, paired with a glass of milk
  2. Turkey Sandwich with whole grain bread, avocado, paired with a piece of fruit, glass of water
  3. Yogurt with berries, glass of 100% orange juice, handful of almonds, glass of water
  4. A salad with low fat dressing, whole wheat roll, apple with peanut butter, glass of water

During exercise fuel:
60 minutes or less, water is efficient to continue hydration. Greater than 60 minutes of exercise, carbohydrate intake is important to maintain glycogen stores.

Consume Gatorade or other sports drink with water. This helps relieve any GI distress from carb intake during exercise. Always consume water with your carbohydrates, protein, and fat to help aid in digestion. An orange or apple is also a good example, and sports gummies. Nutrition during prolonged exercise requires the proper mix and timing of fluids, carbohydrate, and electrolytes. Too little fluid or too much carbohydrate can result in cramping and other intestinal problems.

Post exercise fuel:
Your MAIN FOCUS should be consuming a good portion of carbohydrates and protein after exercise to rebuild and replenish your glycogen stores in the muscle. Replenishing your electrolytes lost through sweat is another important factor with recovery fuel. Provide protein to aid in repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate development of new tissue. Fifteen minutes to one hour after exercise is the “window of opportunity.” A snack or meal with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal. If you do not have an appetite following a training session, choose liquid foods that meet your recovery goals (sports drinks, chocolate milk, 100% fruit juice).

Snack ideas: Chocolate milk, banana with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with granola, smoothie with fruit/veggie and some Greek yogurt of protein powder, and graham crackers with peanut butter + fruit.

Meal ideas: Whole wheat pita with hummus or turkey/chicken, whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies + pretzels + low-fat milk, rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado + whole grain tortilla chips or whole wheat tortilla, stir fry with lean steak, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots + brown rice.

Eat Well, Live Well,


Three Things


1. Do you know your nutrition facts from fiction? Let’s set a few things straight. Sugar does not cause diabetes. The main risk factors for diabetes are overweight/obesity, inactivity, and family history. Fats are a necessary part of our diet. Yes, some fats are better for you than others, but they are important. Unsaturated fats promote heart health. Low carb diets may help you lose weight, but this is mainly due to the fact that you are also restricting calories. Carbohydrates are found in most foods, fruits and dairy products included! So it is not possible to avoid carbs altogether. “Cleanses” do no cleanse your body. Your liver and kidneys will do the work for you!

2. Coconut oil has become recently become popular due to some diets promoting its use. Coconut oil is high in saturated fatty acids. This type of fat can increase your risk for heart disease. The positive side of coconut oil is the medium chain triglycerides which are easier to absorb. This can be helpful in people with absorption issues. Coconut oil can be good for baking, but in general I recommend using other types of oil, such as olive oil, for cooking.

3. Apparently, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady stick to a very restrictive diet. Their private chef has spoken out and shared what the couple eats. The diet consists of 80% vegetables and 20% lean protein. They don’t eat white sugar, white flour, MSG, coffee, caffeine, fungus, dairy, and fruit. Sounds like it takes a lot of work to be a supermodel… I’ll keep my occasional cupcake and slice of pizza.


American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a group of diseases that affects how the body uses blood glucose. There are two main types – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as a condition called prediabetes. Almost 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and 86 million people have prediabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance or insufficient production of insulin. This type of diabetes can be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes or a combination of medication and diet. Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to allow glucose to enter cells in order to be used for energy. Without insulin glucose builds up in the blood causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) which can be dangerous. Long term effects of uncontrolled diabetes include cardiovascular problems, neuropathy, kidney disease, retinopathy, skin conditions, and other complications.

monica beach

There are many reasons why I decided on a career in nutrition and my connection to diabetes has confirmed my decision. In December 2014, my younger sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. A routine blood test found that her fasting blood glucose was extremely elevated. She was taken to the hospital and was admitted with diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a complication that occurs when the body produces high levels ketones from having high blood sugar for an extended period of time.

Seeing my sister go through the experience of being diagnosed with diabetes has been eye-opening. I am extremely proud of her as she has learned to navigate her disease and keep it under control. Type 1 diabetes can be controlled with insulin, but there is still an important nutrition component which is even more important in type 2 diabetes. I enjoy teaching people how they can help themselves through food.

There are three main types of carbohydrates that elevate blood glucose. Starchy foods such as breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, legumes, and winter squash break down into glucose. All fruits contain fructose (fruit sugar) and all dairy products contain lactose (milk sugar). These carbohydrates need to be monitored throughout the day. In addition to those types of carbohydrates, desserts made with sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, and any sweeteners such as honey, agave, and maple syrup will raise blood glucose levels. Animal protein and non-starchy vegetables do not elevate blood glucose. The basics are simple! People who are educated about proper nutrition are able to control their disease. American Diabetes Month is all about being educated and helping to prevent diabetes.