Tag Archives: vancouver nutritionist tips

Nutritionist Approved Spaghetti Carbonara!

I don’t think many people would argue that the merriment of pasta, oil, bacon, eggs, cracked pepper, and parmesan cheese (aka Pasta Carbonara) makes for comfort food heaven! Unfortunately, these ingredients taken together do come at a calorie cost, and quite a steep one at that! Take the Spaghetti Carbonara at The Cheese Cake Factory for example….it will cost you 2100 calories (2300 calories if you get chicken in it) and a whopping 81g of saturated fat….That is more than a whole days’ worth of calories for many women and the same amount of saturated fat as eating 2/3 cup of butter. Scary stuff, especially for our nutritionists!

But thanks to an issue of Clean Eating Magazine, we tried a lightened up version of this tasty dish that delivers just 376 calories and 3.7g saturated fat per serving. They accomplished this by trimming down on the amount of oil, parmesan cheese and egg used, swapped out the bacon for chicken breast, and then adding in fresh asparagus to bulk up the meal. The result was so delicious it was hard to believe it wasn’t the real thing. In fact, when I served this pasta at Sunday dinner, I had everyone fooled when I announced it was a ‘lightened up’ nutritionist approved version. So thanks to Clean Eating Magazine for reinventing this classic dish to fit anyone’s healthy eating plan.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

View This Recipe!

Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara


  1. 1 tsp. olive oil
  2. ½ lb. thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces (~2 cups)
  3. 2 large shallots, sliced
  4. 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  5. ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper, divided, plus additional to taste
  6. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 180g skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped to 0.5” pieces (1 very large chicken breast or 2 small)
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. ½ cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
  10.  8 oz. (226g) dry whole-wheat Spaghetti


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high, heat the oil. Add asparagus, shallots, salt and 1/8th tsp. of pepper and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
  3. Add 1/3 cup water and cook for 3-4 minutes more, until asparagus is crisp-tender and liquid evaporates.
  4. Reducing heat to low, add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic has softened, about 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer veggie contents to a medium bowl and set aside.
  6. Spray skillet with a little oil, increase heat to medium, and add chicken breast. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through.
  7. Add the chicken to the veggie mixture and set aside.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in ¼ cup cheese and 1/8tsp. pepper; set aside.
  9. To the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.
  10.  Drain & return pasta to the pot, off of the heat. Immediately, add egg mixture to the hot pasta and stir vigorously until thickened and creamy- about 1 minute.
  11.  Add the asparagus and chicken mixture to the pasta and stir to combine.
  12.  Season with additional pepper and divide among serving plates. Divide the remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese amongst each serving.
  13.  Makes 4 servings. Each serving is ~ 1 ½ cups.


  1. One serving of this delicious pasta satisfies the starch and protein portion of the plate model. For a 400 calorie meal, add 2 cups steamed veggies on the side.
  2. It is advised to reserve a little bit of the starchy pasta water, just in case you want to loosen the sauce up at step 10. The starch in the water helps the sauce ‘cling’ to the pasta, and adds body to the sauce.
  3. For variety, swap out the chicken breast for a similar amount of other lean proteins like low-fat chicken/turkey sausage, prawns, or lean ham. Using 180g prawns (~24 medium-large prawns) would trim calories to 360 per serving, and protein content would stay the same.

Check out our blog article here for more thoughts on this awesome meal! 

Nutrient Content Per serving:


Nutrition Facts

Spaghetti Carbonara Lightened Up

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 376.0
Total Fat 8.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 129.2 mg
Sodium 292.4 mg
Potassium 338.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.2 g
Dietary Fiber 7.0 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 28.4 g


Vancouver Nutritionist Tips: Light Turkey Rockwell Bake

Vancouver Nutritionist Rockwell Bake

Have any leftover turkey this holiday?  Here’s what you can do with it!

If you’re anything like me, one of the most pleasurable things about a traditional turkey holiday meal is the stuffing. Our Vancouver nutritionists have figured out a way to let all that stuffing fun continue while using up some of that leftover turkey meat.

Have you ever heard of a Rockwell Bake? It’s basically stuffing ‘pound cake’ with the turkey inside! I have given this Rockwell Bake recipe from an Anna Olsen special a nutritionist’s touch, to make it low in calories, high in fibre and with enough protein to make up both the starch and the protein part of your meal (all for about only 400 calories). Rockwell Bake is the definition of comfort food, it’s so easy to make, and it’s a great alternative to the same old turkey sandwiches – enjoy!  SEE THE RECIPE HERE!

Light Turkey Rockwell Bake Recipe

Vancouver Nutritionist Rockwell Bake


  1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 cup onion, finely diced
  3. 1 cup celery, finely diced
  4. 1 cup carrot, peeled and finely diced
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
  7. 2 tsp. Fresh thyme, finely chopped
  8. ¾ cup dried cranberries
  9. ½ cup white wine
  10. ¾ cup egg white
  11.  2 whole eggs
  12.  2 cups 1% milk
  13.  1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  14.  1½ tsp. salt
  15.  ¼ tsp. Fresh ground pepper
  16.  8 cups high fibre bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about ¾ of a loaf)
  17.  3 cups leftover turkey meat (skin & fat removed!), cooked and cut into ½ inch cubes
  18.  100 g Light Mozzarella, grated
  19.  50 g Parmesan, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan and place on a baking tray.
  3. In a sauté pan, add 1 and heat for 1 minutes over medium heat, then add 2 -4 and sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  4. In the same pan, add 5-7 and sauté for 1 more minute.
  5. Add 8-9, then simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk 10-15. Then add 16, toss to coat and let soak for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. Stir in cooled vegetables and add 17-18 into bread mixture.
  8. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle 19 on top.
  9. Bake for 50-60 min, until top is golden brown and center springs back when pressed.
  10.  Cut into 8 and serve!


  • Try “European Bakery” Ukrainian Rye or Barley Bread in this recipe – just delicious and wheat free!
  • You may want to reserve some of the milk in step 6.  The bread mixture should be fully covered and wet, but milk should not be pourable after soaking.
  • This dish makes a perfect ‘plate’ when served with a green salad, grilled or sautéed veggies – enjoy!
  • Check out the blog article about this recipe!

Nutrient Content Per serving: 

Nutrition Facts

Rockwell Bake

8 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 424.5
Total Fat 10.7 g
Saturated Fat 4.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Cholesterol 100.7 mg
Sodium 787.4 mg
Potassium 457.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 52.5 g
Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
Sugars 12.1 g
Protein 28.5 g

Lose Weight With Pasta That Won’t Ruin Your Diet Plan!

Are you working hard to lose weight?  This doesn’t mean you have to cut out pasta completely from your dieting plan!

Bean Pasta is all the rage these days…why?

New and innovative products are NOT hard to come by, especially with the whole world on a gluten free craze – it makes for some exciting finds at the grocery store!

At Spectrum Nutrition Vancouver, our nutritionists are only looking for products that follow our guidelines to a healthy diet, and will help our clients stay full longer, while keeping them on track with their diet plan.

Today’s product of choice is bean pasta!  Companies now are making pasta from beans instead of grains!  This is actually not at all new – I remember eating bean pasta about 12 years ago, but nobody was going gluten free back then and the products were pulled from the shelves.  Now, there are all sorts of options to choose from to add into your diet plan!

Beans are actually the protein part of the plate, but I find if you eat this type of pasta in the right proportions with vegetables – you can get away with calling it both the protein *and* the starch part of the plate!  Lose weight while eating pasta, very convenient and tasty!

There are many companies embarking on this trend at the moment, but one brand in particular that sticks out to me is Tolerant Foods:

Tolerant makes  a Red Lentil as well as a Black Bean Pasta that comes as Penne, Rotini or ‘Mini Fettuccine’ (I’m still not sure what that means!)….both types are absolutely delicious and the texture…we’ll you’d never know you weren’t eating regular old wheat pasta.

Other Brands you can pick up locally:

There are of course other brands of bean pasta that you can pick up locally in Vancouver.  Have a Costco Membership?  They sell a HUGE box of black bean spaghetti.  The texture is a little coarser and flavor is a little more ‘beany’ than the Tolerant Foods brand, however it’s WAY more economical and it goes perfectly with out diet plan friendly Soba Soup recipe, check out our recipe here: Japanese Soba Soup

Vancouver Nutritionist Recipe Tips: Christine’s Caesar Salad Dressing

vancouver nutritionist tips light caesar dressing

Lightned Up Caesar Salad – The secret? Light silken tofu!

I want to share with you my nutritionist approved recipe makeover for the oh-so-popular Caesar salad. Many of our clients have written Caesar salad off their diet plans because of its reputation for being laden with calories and fat. And rightfully so….As we have previously mentioned, the Chicken Caesar Salad at Earls (with dressing) contains 1120 calories-Almost ¾ of a day’s worth of calories for the average woman!

So how does a salad of so few ingredients (typically romaine lettuce, dressing, croutons, and parmesan cheese) amount to so many calories? Look no further than the dressing…..Half of the calories in the Earls Caesar salad above (as with most Caesar salads) come from the egg yolk and too much oil.

So what do I recommend? A flavourful, creamy, traditional Caesar with a kick, and all for 22 calories per tablespoon! With the help of soft tofu and light mayo, this recipe is a way to ‘indulge’ in a lightened up caesar salad. Enjoy!

Click here to see the recipe!

Nutritious Lightened Up Caesar Salad Dressing

vancouver nutritionist tips light caesar dressing recipe


  1. ¼ cup soft tofu
  2. 2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
  3. 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  4. 1 Tbsp. Frank’s hot sauce
  5. ½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2-3 cloves garlic
  7. ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  8. ½ tsp. anchovy paste
  9. 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  10. Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or magic bullet and blend for about 20-30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and nectar-like consistency is reached.
  2. Yield: 150 mL (or ~10 Tbsps.) – serves 4


  • To use this dressing as part of a 400 calorie meal: Mix 3 cups Romaine lettuce with 3 tbsp. of the dressing above and 2 tbsp. of finely grated parmesan cheese. Toast 1 slice of whole grain bread such as “Silverhills” and cut into ‘croutons’ and toss with salad. Add 1 grilled chicken breast and you have yourself the plate model and a delicious meal! 
  • See the blog article for more discussion about this dressing

Nutrition Facts

Lightened Up Caesar Salad

10 Servings (1 serving = 1 tbsp)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 22.3
Total Fat 1.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 1.9 mg
Sodium 68.5 mg
Potassium 21.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 1.0 g