Chef Caitlin’s Corner: New Year’s Nutrition

Chef CaitlinI know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and the beginning of the new year. Speaking of the new year, how are your resolutions coming along? Already given up? I know it’s tempting to make lofty goals, but what’s the point of making a resolution you can’t possible stick with? It’s not too late to revise your resolution and make some realistic nutrition goals. First of all, start with small goals. Once you have them mastered, think about tacking on another challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to lose a few holiday pounds or if you just want to make healthier choices in 2013; healthy eating is good for everyone!

There are a lot of different approaches you can take to making healthy eating goals, and they can be food-focused or habit-focused.

Great examples of food-focused goals are:

  • Eating 2 pieces of fruit every day
  • Switching to skim or 1% milk in your cereal
  • Trying one new vegetable every week
  • Swapping white rice and pasta with brown rice and whole grain pastas.

Notice that these goals are specific and totally doable!

Examples of habit-focused goals are:

  • Eating breakfast every day before school
  • Avoiding late-night snacking during the week
  • Eating dinner with your family at least one night a week

Even though January 1st is behind us, it’s never too late or the wrong time to set small goals towards eating healthier. Keep track of your goals to help to hold yourself accountable to them, and you’ll see how much you’ve accomplished by 2014! Don’t worry if you have an “off” day – no one’s perfect. You can always start again tomorrow.

My first goal for 2013 is to eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables every day, along with a handful of nuts. Sometimes I have 4 fruits and 1 vegetable, and other days I have 2 fruits and 3 vegetables. So, the recipe I’m giving you today is one that helps me achieve my goal. It’s a quick and easy side dish that has brown rice (a whole grain), raisins (fruit), carrots and celery (veggies), and walnuts (nuts). If you’re allergic to nuts, just leave them out, it’ll still be tasty! This side would be great with grilled chicken or fish.

Brown Rice with Walnuts and Golden Raisins (Adapted from Ellie Krieger) – 4 servings


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 ¼ cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼ c golden raisins
  • ¼ c walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat
  2. Add the onion and celery; cook until softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Add rice and stir to coat in oil
  4. Add the low sodium broth and salt
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add raisins
  6. Cover; reduce to low heat
  7. Cook until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 35 minutes
  8. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork
  9. Stir in chopped walnuts and season with pepper. Enjoy!

I hope I gave you the confidence to start or revive your “New Year’s Resolution”. Just remember the three most important things when setting a goal: keep it specific, keep it realistic, and keep going even if you’re not perfect!

If you’re curious about a food or nutrition related topic, please e-mail with “Chef Caitlin” in the subject line, and I’ll address it in a future blog.

Bon Appétit!

-Chef Caitlin