Katina's Nutritional Coaching Corner: A Cornucopia of Nutrition Advice

YogurtNutrient Spotlight: Calcium                                                                                      

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and almost 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the structure of bones and teeth. Eating calcium in your diet is the best way to get it, but if your diet falls short, then supplements are the next best option. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, but it is also important for heart health, nerve transmission, and muscles. Other benefits may include preventing cancer, aiding weight management, and improving blood pressure. The daily RDA for adults less than 50 years old is about 1000 mg and for adults older than 50, approximately 1200-2000 mg.

Getting calcium in your diet is easy. Good sources of calcium at sardines, yogurt or kefir, cheese, kale, collard greens, spinach, okra, bok choy, almonds, broccoli, watercress, white beans, and calcium fortified foods such as cereal, orange juice, and oatmeal.

What’s in Season: Squash

It’s fall y’all which means it’s squash season! Squash is a healthy and nutritious vegetable that can be cooked in a multitude of ways to please just about any palette. Add in your favorite seasonings and transform squash into a beautiful main dish or an easy side on any weeknight. Those deep colors always mean that the flesh is brimming with plenty of vitamins and minerals, and phytonutrients. Pair squash with grains or pasta, and other seasonal produce such as kale, apples, pomegranate seeds, onions, and mixed sprouts for flavorful soups, stews, casseroles.

Edible squash to look for at the market:

  • Butternut
  • Spaghetti
  • Delicata  **Katina’s top pick! Eat the flesh and skin. Wash skin well before baking.
  • Acorn
  • Kabocha
  • Hubbard
  • Sugar pie and sweet pumpkins
  • Red Kuri
  • Sweet Dumpling

Nutrition in the News: Eating Organics                                           

Source: New York Times Well

A recent article published in the New York Times Well column (October 23, 2018) shares the results from a recent French study which explored the connection between eating organics and cancer rates. Seventy-thousand participants were followed for five years and researchers concluded that individuals who ate organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat developed 25 percent fewer cancers than their non-organic eating counterparts.

Katina’s take-home message: Buying organic food is more expensive and often times not in a family’s grocery budget. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List and buy foods on the Dirty Dozen list in the organic section.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili                                                  

Source: The Real Food RDs

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 6 hours


  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds grass-fed ground beef or bison
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • ½ 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz. can pumpkin puree
  • ½ – 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

** Note: Adjust seasonings to taste


  1. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and sauté the onions and peppers, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until onions start to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Add the ground beef. Use a spatula or large spoon to break it up as it cooks. Cook until meat is nearly cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer meat mixture to the slow cooker.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  6. Set heat to LOW and cook for 6-7 hours.

Serve with desired toppings: sliced olives, sour cream, shredded cheese, or avocado.

Popular sides: tortilla chips, corn bread, and grilled cheese sandwich

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