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15 Foods that Help You Meet Your Recommended Daily Iron Intake

Iron is an essential mineral for the body because it is a crucial component of hemoglobin. This is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. The recommended daily iron intake depends on your age, sex, and other factors, the NIH recommends a daily iron intake of 8 mg for males 19–50 years and 18 mg for females 19–50 years. Most individuals consume enough daily iron, however, certain conditions may make it harder for some individuals to get enough iron.

Populations that may have a harder time getting the recommended daily iron intake:

  • Individuals with heavy periods
  • Pregnant individuals
  • Frequent blood donors
  • Individuals with cancer, GI disorders, or heart failure

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal-based sources and non-heme iron is found in plant-based sources. Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body, while non-heme iron absorption can be improved by consuming it with vitamin C-rich foods. So, combining iron-rich plant foods with fruits or vegetables high in vitamin C can help enhance iron absorption.

15 Iron-Rich Food Sources

1. Beef

Lean beef is a rich source of heme iron, which is highly absorbable by the body. It’s also packed with protein, essential B vitamins, and zinc. One 3 oz serving of beef can provide up to 28% of the recommended daily iron intake.

2. Chicken

Chicken is another source of heme iron and is a versatile protein option. Grilled, baked, or roasted, chicken offers a variety of ways to maintain a balanced diet while meeting your iron needs.

3. Pork

Pork is another protein that provides heme iron. It contains essential nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and protein.

4. Lamb

Lamb is a tasty source of heme iron and offers a unique flavor compared to other meats. It’s also rich in protein and B vitamins, making it a nutritious option for those who enjoy its pastural taste.

5. Sardines

Sardines are not only packed with protein but also contain non-heme iron and omega-3 fatty acids. They are small but nutrient-dense fish that can contribute to your iron intake. One 3 oz serving of sardines provides up to 11% of the recommended daily iron intake.

6. Tuna

Tuna is another fish that provides non-heme iron and is rich in protein. It’s a popular choice for those seeking an affordable seafood option to meet their iron needs, while also benefiting from its omega-3 fatty acids. One 3 oz serving of sardines provides up to 6% of the recommended daily iron intake.

7. Eggs

Eggs are a versatile and nutritious source of non-heme iron, especially the yolk. They also offer high-quality protein, essential amino acids, and various vitamins and minerals, and can be an affordable source of iron. One large egg can contain up to 6% of the recommended daily iron intake.

8. Tofu

Tofu is a plant-based source of non-heme iron. It’s also an excellent source of protein and can be used in a wide range of dishes, making it a valuable option for iron intake. One 1/2 cup serving of tofu provides up to 17% of the recommended daily iron intake.

9. Lentils

Lentils are rich in plant-based non-heme iron, fiber, and protein. They are an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans looking to boost their iron intake. One 1/2 cup serving of lentils provides up to 17% of the recommended daily iron intake.

10. Kidney beans

Kidney beans are another plant-based source of non-heme iron. They are versatile in cooking and can be used in various dishes to increase your iron consumption while providing fiber and protein. One 1/2 cup serving of kidney beans provides up to 11% of the recommended daily iron intake.

11. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that offers non-heme iron along with other essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, and potassium. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to incorporate more iron-rich vegetables into their diet. One 1/2 cup serving of spinach provides up to 17% of the recommended daily iron intake.

12. Collard greens

Collard greens are another leafy green packed with non-heme iron. They’re also high in fiber and other vital nutrients, making them a nutritious choice for supporting your iron needs and overall health

13. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a plant-based source of non-heme iron, and they’re also rich in zinc and dietary fats. They make for a convenient and nutritious snack or salad topper.

14. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds offer non-heme iron, as well as dietary fats and protein. They are a great way to boost iron intake and provide a satisfying crunch.

15. Iron-fortified cereals and bread

Iron-fortified cereals and bread are specifically enriched with iron to help individuals meet their dietary iron needs. They are a convenient option for increasing iron intake, especially for those with specific dietary requirements or increased iron needs. One serving of iron-fortified cereals and bread provide up to 100% of the recommended DV of iron.

Using “Food Peace in Three” to Heal Your Relationship with Food

Food Peace in Three is commonly referred to as the Rule of Threes. It is a simple guide to eating three meals a day, up to three snacks a day, and about every three hours. The Food Peace in Three offers structure to help maintain consistent eating patterns and ensure a balance of all food groups. Additionally, Food Peace in Three helps you become more confident in meal preparation so that planning meals spontaneously causes less stress and anxiety.

Healing your relationship with food means moving away from rigid meal planning and prepping, however, the thought of healing your relationship with food and having “intuition” around hunger and fullness cues can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety. Food Peace in Three’s approach ensures regular, balanced meals and snacks. This guidance normalizes regular eating patterns while also providing a sense of predictability.

Nutritional deficiencies, such as calcium deficiency, are associated with disordered eating and eating disorders and can take a serious toll on health. Food Peace in Three can address these deficiencies by consistently providing essential nutrients and supporting body functions like digestion and hunger cues.

What is Food Peace in Three?

Simply put:

  1. Aim for three meals a day
  2. Aim to eat up to three snacks a day
  3. Choose at least three food groups for each meal (and two for snacks):
    • Calcium
    • Complex Carbohydrates
    • Fruit or Vegetable
    • Protein
    • Dietary Fat
    • Joyful Food (optional)
  4. Allow no more than 3-5 hours between meals and snacks

Food Groups with Food Peace in Three

Every nutrient offers unique benefits for health. Including a variety of food groups (i.e. nutrients) supports healing your relationship with food as well as renourishment.


Calcium is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It plays an important role in muscle contractions, including your heart. Calcium helps transmit nerve signals throughout the body.

Sources: Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), fortified plant-based milk (almond, soy), leafy green vegetables (spinach, broccoli), and tofu.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. They contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer. They help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Sources: Whole grains (oatmeal, whole wheat bread), legumes (beans, lentils), vegetables, and fruits.

Fruit or Vegetable

Fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health. They provide dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect the body from harmful free radicals.

Sources: Fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, carrots, spinach, and bell peppers.


Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Protein helps in the production of important hormones and enzymes.

Sources: Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Dietary Fat

Dietary fat provides a concentrated source of energy. They help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Fat is vital for building cell membranes and supporting brain function.

Sources: Avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish (salmon, tuna).

Benefits of Food Peace in Three

  1. Consistency
    • This is key in normalizing hunger and fullness cues, helping your body develop a regular eating pattern. By eating at consistent times each day, you retrain your body and improve your ability to recognize when you’re genuinely hungry or full. This is especially beneficial for those recovering from eating disorders, as it helps stabilize eating habits and promotes a sense of routine.
  2. Variety
    • This supports overall health and aids in recovery by providing a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. Incorporating different food groups—such as calcium, proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fats, fruits, and vegetables—ensures that you receive a mix of nutrients, which is crucial for physical and mental well-being.
  3. Lessens Anxiety
    • Having guidance can reduce decision fatigue, lessening the anxiety and stress associated with making food choices. When you know what to eat and when to eat it, you can focus more on enjoying your meals and less on planning them.

Example of Food Peace in Three

  1. Three Meals a Day
    • Breakfast: Yogurt, peanut butter, and a banana
    • Lunch: Turkey sandwich on wheat bread with string cheese
    • Dinner: Salmon, cauliflower rice, and milk
  2. Three Snacks a Day
    • Mid-Morning Snack: Yogurt (calcium) with granola (complex carb)
    • Mid-Afternoon Snack: Apple (complex carb) with peanut butter (protein)
    • Evening Snack: Cheese (calcium) with crackers (complex carb)
  3. Three Food Groups in Each Meal
    • Breakfast Example: Yogurt (calcium), peanut butter (protein) and a banana (complex carb).
    • Lunch Example: Turkey sandwich on wheat bread (protein, complex carb) with string cheese (calcium).
    • Dinner Example: Salmon (protein), cauliflower rice (complex carbs), and milk (calcium)

Sweet & Spicy Airfryer Sweetpotato Bites

Looking for a simple starter that will impress your guests? Look no further than my Sweet & Spicy Airfryer Sweetpotato Bites! This sweetpotato starter is perfect for parties or any other occasion. Best of all, it’s simple to make!

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

February is National Sweetpotato Month and also my favorite month because it’s my birthday month! Since it is the shortest month of the year, it seems like a free pass to celebrate the entire month, don’t you agree? Sweetpotatoes are one of my all-time favorite vegetables. From sweetpotato pies to pancakes to fries and everything in between, I love sweetpotatoes and can eat them anytime, anywhere.

I want to show sweetpotatoes some love this year. Let’s start by recognizing that sweetpotato is one word. It is. A sweetpotato is far different than “a sweet potato”, which sounds weird when you think about it. Sweetpotatoes are also so different from potatoes in a lot of ways, especially when it comes down to cooking. Sweetpotato starch is similar to cornstarch, which means it’s more stable when cooked. Sweetpotatoes also contain an enzyme that when heated converts some of the starches to sugars, giving them that deep, sweet flavor.

Did you know?

Sweetpotatoes offer a range of benefits that contribute to overall heart health. One cup of cooked sweetpotatoes contains:

  • 120% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A

Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for heart health. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, which are both associated with heart disease.

  • 30% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C

Vitamin C helps supports the synthesis of collagen, which is important for healthy blood vessels.

  • 30% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is involved in various metabolic processes, including regulating levels of homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of stroke. Additionally, vitamin B6 supports the formation of red blood cells, which are essential for oxygen transport.

Why you’ll love these Sweet & Spicy Airfryer Sweetpotato Bites:

  • Flavor Combination: They offer the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness. The natural sweetness of sweetpotatoes combined with the kick of spices creates a taste you can’t resist.
  • Crispy Texture: Thanks to the air fryer, your sweetpotato bites achieve a crispy outside while maintaining a tender and fluffy inside.
  • Simple and Convenient: This recipe is accessible to a wide range of individuals, especially those with busy schedules or limited cooking abilities.

Sweetpotatoes are best paired with a little bit of spice. While there is plenty of hot honey on the market, whipping together this homemade hot honey in less than 5 minutes is a surefire way to impress your guests.


  • Food processor
  • Parchment paper
  • Small saucepan 
  • Two shallow baking dishes
  • Large baking sheet
  • Small scoop
  • Air fryer

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make Sweet & Spicy Airfryer Sweetpotato Bites:

  • Sweetpotatoes. Look for firm sweetpotatoes that are free from signs of decay. Select similar-sized sweetpotatoes for more uniform cooking and cooking time.
  • Hot sauce. Use your heart to choose your hot sauce. I love buffalo-style hot sauce.
  • Smoked paprika. There’s something about smoked paprika that is perfect for this recipe. Regular paprika will work, however, smoked paprika is *chef’s kiss*.
  • Honey. I used local honey.


Please let me know by leaving a review below. If you snap a photo, please share it on Instagram; be sure to tag me @themotherroaddietitian


Sweet & Spicy Air Fryer Sweetpotato Bites

Looking for a simple starter that will impress your guests? Look no further than my Sweet & Spicy Airfryer Sweetpotato Bites! This sweetpotato starter is perfect for parties or any other occasion. Best of all, it's simple to make – just follow these easy steps.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword easy, gluten-free, simple, sweetpotatoes, vegetarian
Servings 24 bites


  • air fryer
  • Food processor
  • Large bowl
  • Potato ricer or masher
  • Small scoop
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper 
  • Small saucepan
  • Two shallow dishes


  • 2 medium sweetpotatoes (about 2 cups mashed sweetpotatoes)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 ½ cups cornflakes
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • cooking spray

Hot Honey

  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh parsley to garnish


  • Preheat airfryer to 370 F.
  • Use a fork to poke holes into the sweetpotatoes, and set them on the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry for 35-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  • When sweetpotatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and pass through a ricer into a large bowl.
  • Once completely cooled, mix in 2 tablespoons of hot sauce and 1 egg until combined.
  • Use a small scoop to measure sweetpotato mixture into balls (about 1 tablespoon) and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for 15-20 minutes until slightly firm.
  • For Cornflake Dredge: In a food processor, add cornflakes, parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until you have fine crumbs. Pour into a shallow dish.
  • In another shallow dish, beat 2 eggs until well combined.
  • Once the balls are chilled, remove them from the freezer. Dredge sweetpotato balls, covering fully. Place back onto a baking sheet and return to freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Place in air fryer about 1 inch apart. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Air fry at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • For Hot Honey: In a saucepan, warm together the honey, hot sauce, cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Garnish with hot honey, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Seve warm.

Budget Friendly Frozen Foods that are Dietitian-Approved

These freezer essentials not only taste delicious but also provide a convenient solution for quick meal preparation while remaining budget-friendly.


A bag of frozen berries is not only budget-friendly, costing half as much as fresh ones, but it also retains high levels of fiber and antioxidants. Although their texture and appearance may change when thawed, they are perfect for adding to smoothies, cereal, yogurt, or baked goods.

Frozen Garlic & Ginger

Elevate your dishes with the convenience of frozen garlic and ginger, offering a cost-effective alternative to fresh options. The time saved in preparation makes these aromatic ingredients even more appealing. Add them directly to your recipes without the need for peeling or chopping, enhancing flavors effortlessly.


Frozen spinach is not only approximately half the cost of fresh spinach but is also available in pre-chopped form for added convenience and budget-friendly. This green leafy vegetable serves as a low-calorie source of fiber, potassium, iron, and Vitamins A and C.

Frozen Protein

Frozen protein options like beef, chicken, tofu, or fish are a cost-effective and reliable choice, often priced at a quarter of the cost compared to fresh options. Convenient and versatile, they provide essential nutrients, including omega-3s and vitamins A and D.

Frozen Peppers & Onions

Enhance your dishes with the convenience of frozen peppers and onions, which not only save you time but also more budget-friendly than buying fresh produce. These versatile additions bring flavor and nutrition to your meals without the hassle of chopping and sautéing from scratch.

Frozen Meals

Frozen entrees serve as a reliable go-to option for those times when ordering takeout or cooking from scratch seems impractical. They are not only convenient but also budget-friendly compared to buying individual ingredients or opting for weeknight meal delivery.

King Cake Donuts

Laissez les bon temps rouler! with these homemade King Cake Donuts, a delightful twist on the traditional Mardi Gras treat. Infused with warm cinnamon notes and topped with vibrant purple, green, and gold sugar, each bite transports you to the lively streets of the French Quarter. Don’t forget the baby! Share the joy of Mardi Gras with family and friends as you recreate the magic of New Orleans in your kitchen.

There’s a city that holds a special place in my heart, a city that exudes good vibes, rich culture, and a culinary scene that’s nothing short of magical – New Orleans. One of the many things that made me fall in love with this city is the tradition of King Cake.

I celebrated my 25th birthday in the French Quarter. New Orleans is a city filled with jazz music, the distinct aroma of Creole spices, drive-thru daiquiri huts, and the warm smiles of the locals created an atmosphere like no other. However, the introduction to the iconic King Cake truly stole my heart during that visit.

The concept of the King Cake is believed to have originated in France during the Middle Ages. The cake was baked to celebrate the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem, and a bean or small trinket was hidden inside the cake to represent the baby Jesus. The person who found the hidden token would be crowned the “king” for the day, symbolizing good luck and prosperity. It’s a symbol of the city’s joie de vivre (joy of living). From the first bite, the combination of cinnamon-infused dough and the surprise of a hidden trinket had me hooked.

When the French settlers brought their traditions to the New World, the King Cake evolved with regional influences. In New Orleans, the King Cake became associated with the Carnival season, which kicks off on Twelfth Night and culminates in the grand celebration of Mardi Gras.

The modern King Cake in New Orleans is a sweet, braided cinnamon-filled pastry decorated with vibrant icing in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold, symbolizing justice, faith, and power. The hidden trinket has evolved into a small plastic baby. Following tradition, whoever finds the baby in their slice is responsible for hosting the next King Cake celebration or providing the next cake.

As my 37th birthday approaches, I find joy in recreating the magic of King Cake. Inspired by my fond memories, I’m excited to share these King Cake Donuts. These donuts combine the flavors of the traditional cake in a more portable form, making them perfect for sharing the love of New Orleans with friends and family.

In every bite of these King Cake Donuts, I am taken back to the place where the music, laughter, and aroma of King Cake filled the air. New Orleans has a way of leaving an indelible mark on your soul, and for me, that mark is sweetened by the celebration of a milestone birthday in a magical city.


Please let me know by leaving a review below. If you snap a photo, please share it on Instagram; be sure to tag me @themotherroaddietitian


King Cake Donuts

Laissez les bon temps rouler with these homemade King Cake Donuts, a delightful twist on the traditional Mardi Gras treat. Infused with warm cinnamon notes and topped with vibrant purple, green, and gold sugar, each bite transports you to the lively streets of the French Quarter. Don't forget the baby! Share the joy of Mardi Gras with family and friends as you recreate the magic of New Orleans in your kitchen.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword holiday
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 13 donuts


  • Stand Mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Ruler
  • Heavy-bottomed pot
  • 2 1/2" cookie cutter or round glass
  • Plate


  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ½ cup warm water 100-110 degrees F
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons shortening melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • plastic baby dolls
  • purple, green, and gold sanding sugar


  • Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Add buttermilk, shortening, sugar, cinnamon, and 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.
  • Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead several times.
  • Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter.
  • Place doughnuts on lightly floured surface, cover and let rise 45 minutes or until double in siize.
  • In a heavy bottom saucepan or pot, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 360 F.
  • Drop in 4 or 5 doughnuts at a time.
  • Cook about 2 minutes or until lightly golden in color, turning once.
  • Drain well on paper towels.

Donut Glaze

  • Combine powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and lemon juice and stir until smooth.
  • Dip each doughnut in glaze while still warm; allow excess glaze to drip off.


  • Pour sanding sugar on a plate, alternating colors (try not to mix the colors too much)
  • While glaze is still wet, gently place one donut at a time, glaze side down onto sanding sugar. Gently press donut in a twiusing motion so that the sanding sugar sticks.
  • Place baby on top of each donut
  • Cool on wire rack or serve warm.

Is it Bad to Emotionally Eat?

Emotionally eating is complicated.

Everyone experiences emotional eating because it is a safe coping mechanism.

When it begins to impact your overall wellbeing, it can pose challenges because eating doesn’t address the root cause of your emotions. Your body naturally craves food for survival, and the act of eating can activate your brain’s reward system, providing a sense of well-being. Eating releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Food cannot permanently resolve feelings of stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, sadness, or fatigue. For some, turning to food can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, adding another layer of complexity.

Food is woven into various aspects of our lives.

Food is a part of celebrations, a gesture of care during tough times, and a means of social connection.

Food can sometimes play a role in dealing with intense emotions, however, it’s important to recognize if and when a more effective coping mechanisms is more appropriate.

Emotional eating can be triggered by a variety of external factors such as:

  • Work
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationship
  • School
  • Globally issues

Emotionally eating can stem from various reason. The food insecurity and/or food accessibility can also contribute to emotional eating.

Emotional eating, on its own, is not classified as an eating disorder, although it can be an early sign of disordered eating patterns that may escalate to an eating disorder.

We all have different coping mechanisms, and it’s okay if eating is one of yours. Eating shouldn’t be the ONLY one. Adding more coping skills to your toolkit such as, movement, writing, listening to music, calling a friend, meditation, or engaging in activities that bring joy, can be helpful in managing emotional eating. If emotional eating becomes a concern for you, seeking support can be beneficial.

Lastly, building meals using my Joy Full Plate Method, which includes a variety of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber can help you to build a healthier relationship with food.

Pecan and Plum Cheese Ball

Looking for a new spin on your festive holiday cheese ball? Look no further than this delightful dried plum and pecan cheese ball. This perfect crowd-pleaser can be prepared in under 20 minutes and requires no fuss. Simply pair it with a box of crackers, and your appetizer is ready to go!

I think cheese balls are one of my all-time favorite holiday appetizers. They are so simple to make and so customizable. Odds are, you probably have everything you need on hand. Because cheese balls are so customizable, I decided to make this cheese ball using dried plums aka prunes.

Plums pair well with goat cheese, honey, and ginger if you want to make a dessert cheese ball.

Did you know that prunes support digestive health. They do this by allowing more water to enter the body – which increases moisture and ultimately helps regulate digestion.

The base of is an 8 oz block of cream cheese. Simply add in shredded cheddar, green onions, chopped dried plums, chopped pecans and some garlic powder.

Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl and shape them into a ball with your hands. Then, roll the mixture in a blend of chopped pecans, dried plums, and green onions. Serve it with crackers.

Cheese balls can be a beautiful centerpiece. You can form into a pumpkin, snowman, or any shape you desire.


Pecan and Plum Cheese Ball

Looking for a new spin on your festive holiday cheese ball? Look no further than this delightful dried plum and pecan cheese ball. This perfect crowd-pleaser can be prepared in under 20 minutes and requires no fuss. Simply pair it with a box of crackers, and your appetizer is ready to go!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword cheese ball, dried plums, holiday, pecans, recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped dried plums, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ½ pecans, ½ cup dried plums, and green onion, and garlic powder until well combined.
    8 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup chopped dried plums, divided, 1 cup chopped pecans, divided, 1/4 cup chopped green onions, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Form mixture into a ball.
  • Just before serving, combine remaining ½ cup pecans, ½ dried plums, and 2 tablespoon green onions on a flat surface or cutting board. Roll cheese ball in dried plum-pecan mixture.
    1 cup chopped dried plums, divided, 1 cup chopped pecans, divided, 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • Serve with crackers


If cheese ball is not being served right away, after forming cheese ball into a ball and wrap in a piece of plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to serve. Once ready to serve, roll in dried plum-pecan mixture.

Are you Anti-Diet curious? List of Anti-Diet/Intuitive Eating Resources


Some of my favorite podcasts from Anti-Diet/Intuitive Eating Dietitians and Experts

Food Heaven Podcast with Wendy Lopez, RDN and Jessica Jones, RDN

Body Kindness with Rebecca Stritchfield, RDN

Food Psych Podcast with Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CEDRD

Dietitians Unplugged with Aaron Flores and Glenys Oyston


Some of my favorite books from Anti-Diet/Intuitive Eating Dietitians and Experts

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works By Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food By Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

Social Media Accounts to Follow

Some of my favorite accounts from Anti-Diet/Intuitive Eating Dietitians and Experts















You can find additional resources that I recommend to all of my client here

11 Kitchen Staples You Should Always have On-hand


Milk is a kitchen staple that deserves a permanent place in your fridge. Its versatility is unmatched. It’s often the key ingredient in baked goods like cakes and muffins, and the base for comforting hot cocoa. Milk is a must-have for both nutrients and flavor in your kitchen. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Adequate calcium intake can help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.


Eggs are the G.O.A.T of kitchen staple. Omelets, scrambled eggs, and egg cups are just the beginning. In baking, eggs serve as binders, helping to create structure and texture in cakes, cookies, and more. They can also be transformed into satisfying dinner dishes, such as stir-fries and frittatas. Eggs are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin B6, choline, and selenium. They contribute to overall health and well-being.


Bread is a staple. It’s versatile and satisfying. From classic PB&Js to grilled cheese sandwiches, bread is a reliable for as a quick and satisfying source of carbs, it’s a go-to option for making simple meals feel substantial. Some breads, particularly those made from enriched flours, are a source of folate. Folate is crucial for cell division and is particularly important for pregnant individuals.


From its starring role in mac ‘n’ cheese to its supporting part in sandwiches and salads, cheese adds a creamy and salty dimension to countless dishes. It’s the “not so” secret ingredient that can elevate even the simplest recipes. Cheese offers a variety of flavors and textures to explore, making it a must-have for any kitchen staple. Like milk, cheese is rich in calcium, which supports bone health and can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.


Potatoes are the overlooked hero of vegetables. They’re a reliable source of carbohydrates and can be prepared in numerous ways. Whether you’re mashing them into creamy goodness, air-frying them to crispy perfection, or simply tossing them in the microwave, potatoes are a fundamental and adaptable. When consumed with the skin, potatoes provide dietary fiber and vitamin C, which supports digestive health and the immune system.


The ultimate comfort food. Its quick cooking time and ability to soak up a range of sauces make it a go-to for busy weeknights. Whether you prefer classic spaghetti with marinara or more adventurous dishes like carbonara, pasta offers endless possibilities. With its shelf-stable nature, it’s a handy pantry item for whipping up satisfying meals when you’re short on time. Pasta is naturally low in sodium and cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy choice when paired with low-sodium sauces and ingredients.

Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is a lifesaver for any time of the year. Whether you’re blending up a smoothie or making a fruit compote for desserts, frozen fruit brings the flavors of summer to your kitchen year-round. The added benefit is that it minimizes food waste, as you can keep it on hand and use it as needed. Frozen fruits are often picked and frozen at their peak ripeness. They are a great source of essential vitamins and antioxidants.

Salad Kit

Salad kits are the ultimate kitchen staple. They come pre-packaged with fresh, pre-washed greens and often include extras like salad dressings, croutons, and cheese. These kits are a time-saver, making it easy to whip up a flavorful salad without the hassle of washing, chopping, and assembling all the ingredients. They’re perfect for busy days when you want a salad without the fuss. Salad kits typically include a variety of fresh vegetables that are high in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Canned Beans

Canned beans are a kitchen staple that can transform simple recipes into hearty, protein-packed meals. Whether you’re making a chili, a quick bean salad, or adding them to soups, canned beans offer convenience without sacrificing nutrition. They’re a versatile source of plant-based protein and fiber that can be stored in your pantry for months, ready to lend their delicious creaminess and texture to your meals. Canned beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, are rich in both protein and fiber. They support digestion and managing blood sugar levels.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter. Need I say more? Beyond the classic PB&J, peanut butter can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s a protein-rich addition to smoothies, a key ingredient in energy bites, and a versatile component in savory sauces and marinades. With its rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture, peanut butter is a tasty way to add depth and nutrition. Peanut butter contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.


Oatmeal is a versatile and nutritious food item that can be a valuable addition to your kitchen. It’s a good source of fiber, providing a feeling of fullness and sustained energy throughout the morning. It’s customizable to suit your taste and dietary preferences. You can add a variety of toppings such as fruits, nuts, honey, or even savory ingredients like eggs and nori. Oats contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Behind The Binge-Restrict Cycle: Undereating Causes Overeating

You might think that undereating and overeating are two entirely separate issues, but the reality is: they are connected in a cycle known as the The Binge-Restrict Cycle. It’s a paradoxical relationship, where undereating often causes overeating. This can be a distressing pattern that affects both your physical and emotional well-being. Restricting your food intake, whether through energy intake or food groups, can lead to feelings of loss of control, overwhelming cravings, and a sense viewing food as the enemy.

Restriction, whether it’s limiting specific foods, food groups, or overall intake (intentionally or unintentionally) has potential consequences. It creates the sense of scarcity, followed by intense cravings and obsessive thoughts about food. This can further lead to the feelings of being out of control around food. Thus, perpetuates the cycle of restricting and bingeing.

What is The Binge-Restrict Cycle?

1. Restriction

This can lead to a host of problems, including nutritional deficiencies, reduced energy levels, and negative effects on physical and mental health. When you cut out nutrients or limit our food intake, your body can feel the consequences. Not just physically. Restriction also impacts you socially and emotionally. It limits your ability to participate in social events or enjoy a wide variety of foods.

2. The Sense of Scarcity

Instead of focusing on what you can eat, your thoughts revolve around what you can’t. This leads to feelings of deprivation, anxiety, and a constant preoccupation with food. The sense of scarcity can also lead to emotional scarcity, where our enjoyment and satisfaction with food are limited. Over time, this emotional scarcity may trigger emotional eating, causing us to turn to food as a coping mechanism. The Minnesota Starvation Experiment (1945) showed the emotional affects of food restriction.

3. Intense Cravings & Obsessive Thoughts

When you tell yourself, you can’t have something, it often becomes even more desirable. You may find yourself obsessing about that particular food. Your thoughts become consumed with what you’re not “allowed” to eat, leading to constant preoccupation about food.

4. Bingeing/Overeating as a Response

Paradoxically, restrictive eating patterns often lead to bingeing/overeating. When you feel deprived of your certain foods, you experience an overwhelming urge to compensate for what we think you lack. If you’ve seen the “Girl Math” trend, it’s kind of like this: “I didn’t eat the cookie, so I will eat one spoonful of ice cream. And since I ate the ice cream and not the cookie, I will eat two mini candies, since I ate the candies and not the cookie then…”, you get this picture. This results in consuming more than we usually would, leading to guilt and shame.

5. Feeling Out of Control

You oscillate between rigidity and loss of control. This only adds to the to a range of negative emotions, including embarrassment, shame, fear, and guilt.

How to Break Free From the Binge-Restrict Cycle

Ditch the “All or Nothing” Mentality

One of the first steps to prevent the binge-restrict cycle is to steer clear of the “All or Nothing” Mentality. This leads to black-and-white thinking about food, while ignoring all of the middle ground. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on consistency and variety. Remember, all foods have their place.

Examples of the “All or Nothing” Mentality may include thoughts like:

  • “If I have a cookie today, then I can’t have another one this week.”
  • “This was a bad choice, I have to make up for this immediately.”

Practice Self-Compassion

Shifting to a mindset of self-compassion is an essential part of breaking free from the cycle. Instead of punishing yourself for enjoying a foods, be kind and understanding towards yourself. Reframe “all of nothing” think in to:

  • “Eating that cookie is absolutely fine, and I don’t need to feel guilty about it.”
  • “This food may not have been what I wanted right now, but it’s just one meal, and it’s not about perfection.”

You send a different message to your body—one that promotes balance and flexibility rather than scarcity and restriction. It’s essential to find a gentle and sustainable approach to that doesn’t lead to feelings of being out of control.

How Cozy Cardio Can Improve Your Relationship with Joyful Movement

I work with a lot of former athletes. From collegiate athletes to endurance athletes and everything in between. Even though I “retired” from my sport over 10 years ago, it has taken me years to approach movement in an enjoyable way.

What demotivates us from joyful movement?

Several factors can demotivate us from joyful movement. Here are some key reasons why we may become demotivated from joyful movement:

Negative Past Experiences

Injuries, discomfort, or humiliation, can create a strong aversion to movement. These memories can make it challenging to re-engage in joyful movement. Many of my clients who live in larger bodies have expressed fear going to gyms because they fear other gymgoers may film them and post it online. Which leads me to, if you are someone who posts larger people working out on the internet to humiliate them, you are a horrible human!!!

Overexertion & Perceived Lack of Progress

Pushing yourself too hard, too fast, or setting unrealistic goals can lead to both physical and emotional burnout. Overexertion can make movement feel like a chore rather than a joyful. If individuals do not see noticeable improvements, they may become discouraged.

Negative Self-Image

Many can feel pressured by society, social media, or peers regarding body image. Self-image or a constant focus on your perceived flaws can lead to a lack of motivation. Negative self-talk and self-criticism can make you less likely to engage in joyful movement.

Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic goals or expectations can lead to frustration and demotivation. It’s important to set achievable and progressive goals. When movement driven solely by external influences and not about your personal enjoyment it leads to burnout.

Environmental Barriers

Environmental factors, such as a lack of access to safe and accessible places to move, can demotivate individuals. Limited access to resources, facilities, or a lack of suitable equipment can all be barriers.

What was is cozy cardio?

Cozy cardio is simple.

Elevate your heart rate while priortizing your comfort.

Step 1: Get Cozy

While the details will vary from person to person, it often involves setting a cozy atmosphere in your living room by dimming the lights, queuing up your favorite TV show (or catching on LIB Season 5), and slipping into your soft clothes.

Step 2: Choose Your Cardio

This could mean wheeling out your walking pad, hopping on your indoor bike, engaging in a calming yoga session, or any form of movement that feels good at this moment.

Cozy cardio challenges the wellness belief that cardio must be intense to be count. All movement is good movement. Cozy cardio is an approach to movement without added stress, pressure, or viewing cardio as punishment.

How Cozy Cardio Can Improve Your Relationship with Joyful Movement

Cozy Cardio can improve your relationship with joyful movement because it centers around engaging in movement that brings pleasure, happiness, as well as a sense of well-being. When you genuinely love and look forward to doing Cozy Cardio it brings happiness and satisfaction, which improves both your mental and physical well-being.

Cozy Cardio encourages you to move because you love your body and want to care for it, not because you’re dissatisfied with it. It encourages you to listen to your body’s cues. If you need rest, you rest. If you want to push yourself, you do so with enthusiasm, not obligation. Movement should be a source of pleasure rather than a chore or an obligation.

What Is Intuitive Eating? Helping You Listen to Your Hunger

Back in 2015, one of my preceptors asked me if I had ever heard of Intuitive Eating. I had not. Quite honestly, it wasn’t a message I was quite ready for. I was really deep in my disordered eating and Intuitive Eating wasn’t part of the curriculum. Simply stated, honor our hunger has become complicated, because we are conditioned to follow rules. 

Intuitive eating tends to bring up a lot of feelings with folks as they move through different stages of recovery from eating disorders. In my work, I find that it is a topic that can lead to some difficult conversations around food and bodies. Intuitive eating is often misunderstood on many different levels.

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating emphasizes listening to your body’s cues, rather than relying on external diets, rules, or restrictions. The primary principles of intuitive eating include:

  1. Honor Your Hunger: Intuitive eating encourages you to recognize and respond to your body’s signals of hunger. Instead of ignoring hunger, you should acknowledge it so that you can begin to rebuild trust with your body.
  2. Make Peace with Food: There are no “good” or “bad” foods. By removing guilt and judgment from your food choices allows you to enjoy all foods without shame or guilt.
  3. Rejecting the Diet Mentality: Intuitive eating starts by abandoning the diet mentality. It encourages individuals to let go of restrictive diets, counting calories, and food rules. 
  4. Challenge the Food Police: This is about dismissing the inner critic that often labels foods as “forbidden.” It’s about becoming more curiously compassionate about food.
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: This emphasizes finding pleasure and satisfaction in your meals. It encourages you to build meals that are both filling and satisfying.
  6. Feel Your Fullness: Being able to recognize your body’s signals of hunger and fullness is crucial. This doesn’t mean only eating when you’re hunger and only stopping when you’re full. This is about noticing what fullness feels like to you.
  7. Cope with Emotions With Kindness: Using food as a coping mechanism is not necessarily a bag thing. It can become problematic with food is your only coping mechanism. Intuitive eating encourages you to address emotional needs and stress by adding in addition coping mechanisms, such as meditation, movement, or seeking support from friends and professionals.
  8. Respect Your Body: Accepting and appreciating your body for what it is, regardless of its size or shape. It encourages self-compassion and body positivity.
  9. Movement—Feel the Difference: Movement should be about feeling good rather than as a way to compensate for what you eat.
  10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition: Lastly, while all foods are allowed, this principle suggests making choices that honor your health and well-being. This may require you to make informed choices around foods based on your budget, health conditions, religious, or culture traditions.

Intuitive eating is not a one-size-fits-all and will take time to discover what works for you. This may even change over time. This approach helps you break free from the cycle of dieting and leads to a more positive and balanced approach to nutrition and overall well-being.