Chicken quesadillas



Chicken quesadillas


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each 4 ounces
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup smoky or hot salsa
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 flour tortillas, each 8 inches in diameter
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Chicken quesadillas

Dietitian’s Tip: Quesadillas can be filled with cheese, cooked meat, refried beans or veggies — or any combination of these ingredients. This version uses chicken and cheddar.

Heat oven to 425 F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut each chicken breast into cubes. In a large, nonstick frying pan, add the chicken and onions and saute until the onions are tender and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the salsa, tomatoes and cilantro.

To assemble, lay a tortilla flat and rub the outside edge with water. Spread about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto the tortilla, leaving about 1/2 inch free around the outer rim. Sprinkle with a spoonful of shredded cheese. Fold tortilla in half and seal. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Lightly coat the top of the tortillas with cooking spray. Bake until the quesadillas are lightly browned and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving)

Calories 298

Protein 27 g

Carbohydrate 25 g

Total fat 10 g

Saturated fat 5 g

Monounsaturated fat 3 g

Cholesterol 70 mg

Sodium 524 mg

Dietary fiber 6 g

Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid Servings
Vegetables 1

Carbohydrates 1

Protein and dairy 2


Teen: Nutrition

Growth and development are in high-speed during teenage years and the demands for calories during this period in early adolescence is more than at any other time of life.  A number of physiological, physical and behavioral changes occurs and these changes requires an increase in the amount of nutrients.  The taller kids and those who involve in sports activity will still need increased amounts of energy into late adolescence.

Though it is obvious that adolescents need sufficient energy and nutrients for their growth and development, some are inactive and eat more than they need and become overweight. If they don’t show interest to reduce their weight by controlling their intake, obesity will take over them.  Lifestyle changes will improve their weight in the long-term.


Protein is an essential micro nutrient for growth, and tissue repair. An athlete performance depends on muscle strength and these muscles are made of protein. It is not just the protein consumed in one sitting aid in muscle strength.  Regular exercise along with high biological value proteins that is spread all throughout the day will help build up muscles. Young people should do regular exercise at least for 60 mins of moderate intensity activity (walking, cycling, dancing) every day.  Protein recommendation per day for 11-13yrs is 34g and 14-18yrs is 46g. Athletes require a higher amount of protein than recommended, which is calculated by a sports physiologist/nutritionist, based on the intensity of the activity.

Teens needs carbohydrates that is vital to their health for various reasons. Carbohydrates are main source of energy. They help fuel the brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. It is the main fuel source of energy. But not all carbohydrates are equal.  Eating breakfast made with “slow-release” of carbohydrates, like oatmeal 3 hours before exercise will help burn more fat efficiently.

  • Whole grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates that takes longer time to digest and are high in fiber, selenium, magnesium and potassium than refined grains and products.
  • Whole fruits and vegetables add water, fiber and bulk that are packed with fewer calories and at the same time it helps to feel fuller.

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In order to maximize the amount of nutrients you take in, consume nutrient dense foods that is naturally  lean and low in solid fats, sugars, refined starches and sodium.  Beverages account for almost 40-50% percentage of added sugars consumed by teenagers. Desserts like cakes, pies, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, ice cream, frozen desserts and puddings, candies, syrups makes more than 75% of intake of all added sugars. Shift to reduce sugars consumption to less than 10 percent of calories per day. Choose beverages with no added sugars in place of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Mixed dishes (made of cheese, meat or both and sodium) like burgers, sandwiches, pizza, tacos, rice, pasta are major source of saturated fats. Shift to reduce saturated fats intake less than 10 percent of calories per day. Shift from high saturated fats to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Read the food labels and choose lower fat forms of foods. Best option is to change ingredients of the mixed dishes to healthier choices like vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and low-fat cheese, in place of fatty meat and cheese.

Most sodium consumed by teens comes from salts added during commercial food processing and preparation. Commercially processed or prepared mixed dishes and soups account for almost half of their sodium consumption.  Reading food labels to compare sodium content of the product will help choose the product with less sodium. Limiting sauces, mixes and instant products like flavored rice, instant-noodles, ready to eat pasta will help reduce the sodium consumption.  Garnishing the food with herbs and spices is another better option that curbs the salty desire.  High sodium intake will increase blood pressure and cause calcium losses that leads to bone demineralization that increases the risk of osteoporosis causing fragility and breakages even in young people.

Calcium rich foods like low-fat dairy products, green vegetables like watercress, broccoli, almonds, fish with bones will help to increase the bone mass in young people.  A combination of protein, calcium and vitamin C together help form collagen. So, balancing the meal is the key.

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Iron requirements increase during adolescence to help with growth and muscle development. Girls need more iron to replace their menstrual losses.  So, teens should focus more on iron rich foods. Iron from meat sources are readily absorbed by the human body. Though meat is a good source of iron, teens should go for lean protein that is low in saturated fat.  Nuts, wholegrains, dark green leafy vegetables, figs are also loaded with iron. Iron in egg and vegetarian sources are not easily absorbed by the body. Vitamin C from fruits will help absorb the iron from these sources. So, it is wise to take fruits rich in vitamin C along with these foods. For example spinach and egg salad garnished with orange slices and lemon & mint dressing is a good, colorful and natural shot of iron. In addition it is also loaded with vitamins & minerals and fibers.

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Adolescents should focus on fiber too. Fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion and keeps cholesterol in control. Fiber latches onto your food and chauffeurs it through your body. Fiber is a natural laxative that promotes the movement of material through the digestive system and benefits those struggles with constipation.  Teens should aim to have 25-30g of fiber every day.

Eating disorders are seen in many teen girls, particularly those aged between 12-18yrs. During middle and late adolescence, girls eat roughly 20-30% fewer calories per day than boys. Anorexia nervosa is an illness where girls tend to keep their body weight low either by consuming less,  Some vomit after eating and some refuse to eat!  Some girls use laxatives or overdo the exercise to keep their body weight low. Bulimia nervosa is another illness where the sufferers are obsessed with the fear of gaining weight. They lack self-control and have a recurring pattern of eating large food, followed by self-induced vomiting. Some have emotional overeating like eating large quantities of food in response to negative emotions. Few teenagers are binge eaters where they eat large quantities of food in faster pace than normal.

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They are more likely to have vitamins & minerals in a scant amount. Lesser the amount of food consumed than recommended, lower the availability of vitamin A, zinc, iodine, and folate in some girls. Unless a doctor evaluation states a specific deficiency, it’s preferable to obtain nutrients from food instead from dietary supplements. Some teen boys too have eating disorders!

Awareness of food & exercise will help teens to avoid mistaken attitudes about food, weight and body shape. “A balanced meal” is the key to prevent eating disorders and regular exercise will help improve their moods!



Make your food healthier

Everyone love pizza and it is not a junk food at all if it is baked with more vegetables, wholegrain dough, and cheese with less fat, like mozzarella.

Load up the whole grain crust with seafood (16 shrimps) or minced meat (200 g minced chicken or beef)  with more vegetables & fruits (200 g) like tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, basil, olives, pineapples, kiwis. The more the vegetables, at least five vegetables and two fruits with minced meat, the healthier your pizza is. The fiber form the vegetables will keep you full with just one slice of the pizza but the taste remains in for a longer hours.


With the above basic ingredients, a piece of 12” wholegrain pizza:

  • Seafood (2 shrimps) will give you 218 calories
  • Minced beef (25 g) will give you 273 calories
  • Minced chicken (25 g) will give you 264 calories

Looks great and sounds healthy!

Barley fried rice is an excellent dish that controls the insulin spike. Swap white rice for barley and enjoy the dish with chicken or beef or chickpeas. One serving of barley is cup-cooked (157 g) gives 193 calories. A teaspoon of olive oil or sesame oil adds a great flavor.

1 cup of cooked barley with:

  • 30 g beef and 50 g vegetables gives you 375 calories
  • 30 g chicken and 50 g vegetables gives you 354 calories
  • 30 g of chick peas and 50 g vegetables gives you 329 calories.

The following are examples of foods with low calories, sodium and fat but loaded with more nutrients, to keep you fit.

Breakfast for busy mornings

  • Hummus, veggie and pesto sandwich
  • Grilled chicken with light mayonnaise whole meal sandwich
  • Tuna and alfalfa with avocado spread sandwich

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  • Mixed vegetable noodles
  • Whole wheat tortilla wrap with egg and cheese

Healthy Lunch box 

  • Mushroom and chicken stir fry with rice
  • Beef and broccoli stir fry with brown rice
  • Quinoa mango salad Mixed vegetable salad with lemon, mint and honey dressing with whole meal pasta
  • Black pepper chicken with bean curd with  noodles
  • Celery, bean curd, red bell pepper stir fry with chili flakes and black pepper with rice



  • Vegetable rice (1/2 cup rice and ½ cup vegetables, like carrot, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, peas, raw mango)

Dinner delights

  • Mixed vegetable and bean curd clear soup with rice
  • Rice with yellow bean and spinach
  • Mixed vegetable curry with roti
  • Okra with garlic and onion stir fry with rice
  • Steamed fish with lemon and ginger and rice

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  • Baked fish with rosemary and pepper with mashed potato
  • Whole meal spaghetti with seafood and basil
  • Eggplant sandwich with fruit salad and yogurt



To make your meal healthier focus more on whole meal, lean protein, healthy fats, fiber, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables and nuts. Cooking meat with equal amount of vegetables is a great idea to keep you full for longer. For example, French beans with diced chicken an excellent vegetable cum meat dish for dinner. For vegetarian instead of chicken either bean curd or mushrooms can make a colorful dish.

Exercise, of course every day minimum 30 mins.

To burn 130 calories, you can either:

  • walk for 30 mins or
  • cycle for 17 mins or
  • jog for 15 mins or
  • swim for 15 mins.

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Power Your Brain

Controlling the risk factors of chronic disease, like heart disease and diabetes with healthy food and regular physical activity will help us keep our brain active and healthy. Physical activity along with healthy foods will strengthen the brain cells, especially the memory and learning.

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Higher the amount of trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, higher the risk of ischemic stroke.  Besides that, excess salt intake increases the blood pressure and stroke risk.

Free radicals in the bloodstream will strike and sabotage our cells. Prolonged exposure of free radicals will reduce the flexibility and harden the arteries  that eventually elevates blood pressure. Furthermore these free radicals will damage the brain cells and impede the message transmission. It is cut-clear that free radicals will fast forward our aging process and if we don’t grapple this, we are likely to experience age-related memory loss, skin wrinkles, stiff joints and hardening of arteries.

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Fortunately we have plenty of foods loaded with powerful antioxidants, available in the market. These strong antioxidants will interact with free radicals and prevent the cell damage.  Polyphenols, named anthocyanins, found in berries and dark pigmented fruits and vegetables help slow cognitive decline through their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

People who enjoy food rich in fruits & vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fatty oils are less likely to have ischemic stroke and depression than those who consume high meat and dairy foods.

Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients will protect our brain cells from oxidation and free radical damage.

Complex carbohydrates, in starchy foods like wholegrain breads, pasta and rice releases energy slowly that helps brain to function in a stable way. For better concentration and mental performance whole grains are better than refined foods.

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Spinach, mustard greens, parsley, avocado, olives and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E. Spinach and broccoli are also rich in folate and Swiss chard is high in Vitamin E and also Vitamin C, a powerful anti oxidant. Beet is an excellent root vegetable rich in nitrates that increases blood flow to the brain.


Papaya is a good source of Vitamin A one of the powerful antioxidants. Citrus fruits, Kiwi, Mango and Strawberries  are rich in Vitamin C.  In addition strawberries are rich in folate and mango is loaded with Vitamin A. Pineapple is another fruit rich in vitamin C and in addition it contains bromelain, an enzyme that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

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Fiber just keeps our brain function at its best. We all know that our brain operates on sugar. But the sugar must be delivered in a very stready stream  and in the right amount. Flooding the blood with sugar, our brain gets overwhelmed. Fibrous food will help release the sugar in our blood gradually.

Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, peas & beans are rich in fiber and in addition they are good sources of magnesium that protects from age-related memory loss.


Our human brain is 60% fat. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Omega 3 that promotes healthy heart also helps our brain. DHA, one of the omega fatty aids, is the primary structural fatty acid of the brain that promotes communication between cells and message transmission. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring, tuna sardines, can help fend off numerous brain diseases. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Processed foods and commercial chocolates, margarines, shortening, baked goods are high in trans-fat.

Look through the labels before purchasing the products.

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Tryptophan & Tyrosine

Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry brain signals. Tryptophan and tyrosine are few among the components of neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an anxiety calmer and sleep promoter and Tyrosine is a metabolism booster and anti-depressant.  Seafood, lean meat, eggs, soy, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and dairy products are good sources nuerotransmitter-building foods. Grass-feed lean red meat are also is rich in vitamin B-12 that is vital for the brain function and iron that help transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.


Be sure to drink water at regular intervals. Our mental energy is decreased even if we are slightly dehydrated . Dehydration causes fatigue and impairs memory. Drinking water, at least 2 litres every day, will keep our body and brain hydrated.  Drinking tea with low-calories will improve your arteries. The polyphenols in tea exhibits antioxidant properties. Consider sipping different types of teas like-English tea, Green tea, Peppermint tea, for both black and green provide different beneficial compounds.


Dark chocolate, as  we all know is associated with a positive influence on mood. In addition the dark chocolate help scavenge free radicals through catechin a group of plant polyhphenols.

Antioxidant-rich foods

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Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries), Dragon fruit, Dark green vegetables, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bell peppers.

Vitamin A

Carrot, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Peaches, Mangoes, Papaya, Apricots, Cantaloupe

Vitamin E

Nuts, Seeds, Wheat germ, Whole grains, Vegetable oil, Fish, Green leafy vegetables


Eggs, Chicken, Red meat, Shell fish, Whole grains, Mushroom


Tomatoes, Guava, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Guava

Regular physical activity and healthy food  help reduce inflammation, oxidative stressadn other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure all of which have a role in increasing the risk for brain and heart diseases.

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Prevent: Diabetes complications

Prevention of Diabetes complications.

Get your blood glucose checked for pre-diabetes if you are:

45yrs or older and overweight/not overweight

Under 45yrs, but overweight are at increased risk for diabetes.

Checking for prediabetes is more important because the symptoms are not obvious and you may not know that you have them and often, it goes untreated.

If you have pre-diabetes it means you might get type 2 diabetes soon or later in future and you are at high risk to get heart disease or stroke.

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Delay or prevent type 2 diabetes

Do you know that 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity along with a 5-10% weight loss produced a 58% reduction in diabetes!

If you weigh: Losing 5-10% is
150 pounds (68 kg) 8-15 pounds (3.5 kg- 7kg)
175 pounds (79 kg) 9-18 pounds  (4 kg- 8 kg )
200 pounds (91 kg) 10-20 pounds ( 4.5kg – 9kg)
225 pounds (102 kg) 11-23 pounds ( 5 kg – 10.5kg)
250 pounds (113 kg) 13-25 pounds  (6 kg – 11 kg)
300 pounds (136 kg) 15-30 pounds  (7kg -14 kg)


You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with nutritious eating, regular physical activity, and moderate weight loss and balancing them is the cornerstone of prevention.

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Nutritious eating is limiting saturated fats (butter, cheese, fatty meats), cutting back on total amount of fat (less oils, salad dressing, fried foods), eating more fiber, eating fruits and vegetables along with each meal.

Regular, moderate physical activity, 30 mins a day, will help you to reduce weight gradually. Brisk walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day), bicycling, jogging, dancing every day will keep your sugar level under control.

Regular physical activity will help lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It strengthens your heart, lung, and circulatory systems, strengthens bones, increases muscle tone and stamina and improves your sleep, decreases stress, improves blood flow to your brain and keeps you happy.

Reducing calories and increasing physical activity must go hand-in-hand. Weight loss happens when your energy output (activity) is greater than energy input (calories).

You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound (0.45kg)! A combination of meal planning and physical activity is most successful.

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Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating

  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Choose non-fat or low-fat dairy products
  • Choose lean meats
  • Remove the visible fat from meat
  • Enjoy leafy vegetables along with whole grains and lean meat or beans
  • Snack in between meals

Tips to increase your activity

  • Be active every day
  • Take stairs instead of elevator
  • Take 5-10 minute walk after each meal
  • Go dancing, cycling with family or friends

Monitor your success

  • Keep a diary of your eating and physical activity
  • Track your weight loss
  • Be patient and don’t give up

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Baked apples

Baked apples with cherries and almonds


1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped almonds
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 small Golden Delicious apples, about 1 3/4 pounds total weight
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dark honey
2 teaspoons walnut oil or canola oil

Baked apples with cherries and almonds

Dietitian’s Tip:

Any good baking apple, such as Golden Delicious, Rome, or Granny Smith will hold its shape beautifully for this dish. Serve it as a light dessert, or alongside roasted pork or pork tenderloin.


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, toss together the cherries, almonds, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.

The apples can be left unpeeled, if you like. To peel the apples in a decorative fashion, with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, remove the peel from each apple in a circular motion, skipping every other row so that rows of peel alternate with rows of apple flesh. Working from the stem end, core each apple, stopping 3/4 inch from the bottom.

Divide the cherry mixture evenly among the apples, pressing the mixture gently into each cavity. Arrange the apples upright in a heavy ovenproof frying pan or small baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the apple juice and water into the pan. Drizzle the honey and oil evenly over the apples, and cover the pan snugly with aluminum foil. Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the apples to individual plates and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving)

Calories 179

Protein 2 g

Carbohydrate 37 g

Total fat 4 g

Saturated fat 0 g

Monounsaturated fat 2 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 5 mg

Dietary fiber 5 g


Big Vs small

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Whether big or small, an egg is always loaded with vital nutrients. Egg is one among the complete protein foods (red-meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, soybean, buckwheat, quinoa), for it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for the human body.

An egg white, to a large extent, contains protein, magnesium, potassium and sodium when compared to the egg yolk that contains fats, protein (lesser amount), calcium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin A, B6, B12 and cholesterol. The yellow of the egg is because of xanthophyll pigment, a type of chlorophyll present in the plant they feed on.

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Iron in egg is considered non-heme iron that requires Vitamin C to get absorbed by the body.  Iron is a major component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. So, it is more important see that the nutrients consumed are efficiently absorbed by the body.

Toast with egg and grapes or kiwi, a delicious meal to start your day with.

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There are different types of whole eggs, like chicken, quail, duck, goose, and turkey.

Cute little quail eggs are just 1/5th size of a chicken egg. It takes much lesser time to cook the quail eggs than a chicken eggs.

Brown eggs and white eggs makes no difference in their nutritional package. It is the size of the egg that determines the amount of the nutrients, not the color. Also, there is’nt much difference in energy, protein and fat between caged and cage-free chicken. The cage-free chickens are free to move and get good exposure of sunlight. So, cage-free chicken’s eggs slightly higher in vitamin D when compared to caged chicken!


Nutrients Chicken 50g Quail 9g Duck70g Turkey 79g Goose 144g
50g 100g 9g 100g 70g 100g 79g 100g 144g 100g
Protein 6g 13g 1g 13g 9g 13g 11g 14g 20g 14g
Fat 5g 10g 1g 11g 10g 14g 9g 12g 19g 13g
Cholesterol 186








619 mg 884










Enjoy the egg along with whole grains, fruits and vegetables!

Regular exercise and variety of foods keeps you fit!