All Posts By Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T.

Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., is a registered dietitian nutritionist, yoga teacher and self-proclaimed foodie. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, writer and spokeswoman. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more mindfulness and yoga into your life.

Want to Eat More Mindfully? Yoga May Help

by in Fitness, Wellness, May 18, 2017

The practice of yoga is nothing new; in fact, it’s been around for over 5,000 years, but only recently has it gained popularity in the United States. A 2016 Yoga in America market research study, conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, found that the number of yoga practitioners in the U.S. had increased to 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012. The awareness of the practice has grown as well; today, 95% of Americans are aware of yoga, up from 75% in 2012. Why the explosion of an ancient practice in the past four years? There’s a rising interest in health and wellness and consumers are looking for alternative therapies. And let’s face it — stress levels are at an all-time high and yoga has been shown to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety. But what if there were other reasons to hop on your yoga mat beyond improving flexibility and reducing stress? What if yoga could help heal your relationship with food? Preliminary research shows that this mind-body practice may support mindful eating and disordered eating treatment. Read more

4 Delicious Ways to Start Eating More Vietnamese Food

by in Food News & Trends, May 6, 2017

While Thai food has become mainstream in the U.S., we often overlook the fresh, colorful and healthful cuisine of another Southeast Asia country, Vietnam. Sure, many Americans have at least heard of or tried pho (a Vietnamese rice noodle soup) so it’s not uncharted food territory. But we’re still not fully aware of the cuisine’s staple ingredients, cooking methods, dishes and nutrition benefits. Having recently taste-tested my way through Vietnam, I discovered a refreshing food culture that’s abundant in fresh herbs and vegetables, clean flavors and light, nourishing dishes.

 

A Unique Food Culture

“What I like about Vietnamese food is its very clean flavors. Other cuisines in the [Southeast Asia] region may use similar ingredients, but are doing different things with them,” says Marc Lowerson, Owner of Hanoi Street Food Tours in Vietnam. Lowerson explains that it’s rare to find in a dish in Vietnam that tastes rich, too spicy or overly sweet. “The Vietnamese are not pounding their own curry pastes or using coconut milk in savory dishes like the Thais do. There is little use of dry spices: the level of hot spice in the food is rarely in the cooking process, and is most often managed by the individual with condiments on the table.” Read more

Middle Eastern Spiced Quinoa Salad with Eggplant and Pomegranate

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 13, 2016


When I think of delicious Middle Eastern food, I think of the Israeli-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi captured my heart and taste buds years ago with that gorgeous photo of roasted eggplant with buttermilk and pomegranate on the cover of Plenty, and now my kitchen shelves are lined with his cookbooks. That eggplant dish was the first recipe of his I made, and it was the first time I’d ever used za’atar spice.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice made up of dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Deliciously nutty, it’s perfect sprinkled on roasted vegetables and meats or on yogurt or olive oil as a dip for pita.

Inspired by Ottolenghi and the upcoming holidays, I decided to make a Middle Eastern spiced quinoa salad, complete with eggplant, pomegranate and pistachios, topped with a lemony za’atar vinaigrette. This dish is vegan friendly and gluten-free to accommodate all your holiday guests. Looking for a creamy, salty component to round out the dish? Add some crumbled feta cheese on top for a vegetarian version.

Your family and friends will appreciate this flavorful, lightened-up holiday side dish. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like vitamin C, this salad is brimming with nutrition and flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make the day before to save you time and sanity on the actual holiday. Read more

Kung Pao Eggplant

by in Healthy Recipes, Vegan, July 13, 2016

Who doesn’t love a good Chinese takeout meal? The savory, umami flavors and bit of heat have us crawling back each and every time. But what if I told you that you could easily re-create Chinese takeout at home for a fraction of the calories and fat?

That’s right: Today I have a recipe that will be ready in less time than it takes to wait around for takeout. Enter Kung Pao Eggplant. Substituting eggplant for chicken, you add another serving of vegetables to the plate, not to mention additional nutrients like fiber. This version is vegetarian (and vegan!) friendly and can be made gluten-free by using tamari in place of soy sauce and arrowroot flour instead of cornstarch.

This recipe is bursting with flavor — it’s rich and savory with a hint of spice from the ginger and a kick of heat from the dried chiles. It’s so tasty that you can toss out the takeout menu stuck to your fridge for good. Read more

Mango Turmeric Lassi Ice Pops

by in Healthy Recipes, June 26, 2016

It’s that time of year: The weather is getting warmer. The grills are being uncovered. The pools are being cleaned. And the ice pop molds are being dusted off.

Last year when I made my roasted peaches-and-cream ice pops, I raved about how my purchase of ice pop molds was a total game changer. This year I’ll spare you the soapbox, but I have to tell you how much I love this new ice-pop recipe.

I’m on a mango turmeric kick right now. I just made mango turmeric overnight oats, and I was on a mission to find another recipe to combine these two powerful flavors. Mango is sweet and juicy and beautifully contrasts with turmeric’s bitter, peppery flavor. Plus, they both impart a gorgeous, vibrant orange-yellow color that makes your food just pop!

And then there are the nutrition benefits of this win-win combo. Both mango and turmeric are high in antioxidants; specifically, mango is packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C. And that’s not all. Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals — talk about a superfruit!

Cool down this summer with this refreshing recipe for Mango Turmeric Lassi Ice Pops. Making ice pops at home is super quick and easy and allows you full control over the ingredients to make sure your family and friends are getting a nutritious treat. Read more

Blood Orange Whole-Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

by in Healthy Recipes, February 23, 2016

I grew up on pancake mix. And I must tell you my grandmother made some pretty darn delicious pancakes out of that mix. They were always fluffy but brown and crispy on the edges. I never felt slighted in any way that we didn’t make homemade pancakes growing up, because … well, that was all I knew.

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No-Bake Mini Gingerbread Cheesecakes

by in Healthy Recipes, December 25, 2015

Cheesecake was my favorite kind of cake when I was growing up. In fact, every year on my birthday, my family would get two cakes — a yellow or chocolate cake for the normal birthday partygoers and a mini cheesecake for moi.

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No-Bake Caramel Apple Pie Bars

by in Healthy Recipes, October 3, 2015

Apple pie. Apple crisp. It’s all been done before. And while I’d never pass up a slice of warm apple pie, there must be an easier alternative to rolling out crust and turning on the oven. Enter No Bake Caramel Apple Pie Bars. Not only are they easy to make, but they also contain mostly natural sugar from dates and are dairy-free and vegan-friendly. Read more

Raspberry and Coconut Cream Nutella S’mores

by in Healthy Recipes, July 29, 2015

S’mores are the quintessential campfire treat: a marshmallow roasted over the fire, sandwiched between two graham crackers and a chocolate square. The heat from the marshmallow makes the chocolate all melted and delicious, and the ooey-gooey marshmallow contrasts with the crunch of the graham cracker. Read more

Roasted Peaches and Cream Ice Pops

by in Healthy Recipes, June 21, 2015

Ice pop molds are a life changer.

I must be a little late to the summertime treats party, because I just got my first set of ice pop molds this year. And as soon as I used them, I had one of those “aha” moments like, “Where has this genius tool been all my life?” I suddenly realized that all of my summers prior to this year had been so deprived. Deprived of homemade ice pops, that is. No kid — or adult, for that matter — should go a summer season without some homemade frozen treats. If there was a book of foodie commandments, I’m pretty sure that one would be in the top 10. Read more