Eat Right Georgia

Dietitians in the Kitchen. . . Connecting your Community to Cooking

Dietitians in the Kitchen- Tara Snow, RD, LD, GAND State Media Representative

Despite the growing popularity of television cooking shows/contests, food-related magazines, and cooking blogs, it still is shocking the small amount of families that actually COOK!! The days of families gathered around the dinner table for a home-cooked meal and conversation seems to have gone by the wayside.  When I was growing up in my small Nebraska farm town, I could count on one hand the number of times that we did not sit down to a home-cooked meal as a family (which usually included home-grown veggies). This shift is not at all surprising, as most families now have busier schedules related to a variety of activities within schools, sports, church, and even the workplace.  Convenience foods have become the norm, as it’s quick and easy to rip open a box, pop in in the microwave, and enjoy the zapped meal in a matter of minutes, or worse yet, swing by the drive-thru on the way home.


Research has also shown that people who eat most of their meals away from the home, consume more calories, and have a higher intake of sugar and fat than those who frequently cook meals at home six to seven days per week. So how can we get folks back in the kitchen? Cooking demonstrations are an excellent way for dietitians to spark the interest in preparing meals at home, while sharing the nutritional benefits of fresh ingredients.  Partnering with a chef can elevate the engagement through teaching healthier preparation techniques, as well as time-saving tips.

5 Steps for an Engaging Cooking Demo

  1. Know your audience. Busy moms, school-age children, senior citizens?  Be sure to connect to your audience through recipes and targeted talking points from a nutrition and culinary perspective.

  1. Entice your audience through healthy and flavorful recipes. Dietitians often get a bad rap by talking about healthy food”, which people automatically think “bland food”. We need to sell them on flavor first rather than only communicating the healthy aspect of foods.

  1. Choose a recipe that uses seasonal ingredients.  Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season and cost less per pound (these will also be more flavorful!). Choose grains or spices that are available in larger packages for a lower unit cost.

  1. Avoid using expensive ingredients that are not easily accessible to participants. Keep in mind where participants shop. Ingredients only found in specialty stores may be difficult to find and more expensive. Have food packages available during the demo to show the audience what a product looks like.

  1. Quick, clear, concise! Most of our participants have busy lives! Encourage them to cook at home by showcasing recipes that can be made in a reasonable amount of time on a busy weeknight. Aim for 30-60 minutes, including both prep and cooking time.

Latin Bowl with Spicy Black Beans

Makes 4 Servings

This tasty rice bowl packs a punch!  It is loaded with whole grains and lean protein, and provides a variety of nutrients as well as fiber. Try substituting different whole grains in place of rice to create a different textures and flavor.

For the Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

2 -1/3 cup water

1-1/3 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

To Serve:

8 eggs

1/4 cup diced fresh avocado

1/4 cup purchased roasted tomato salsa

For the Spicy Black Beans

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 tablespoons chopped onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle peppers

2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

For the Cilantro Lime Brown Rice: Combine water and rice in sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, add rice, cover and simmer on low until tender, about 40 minutes. Fluff rice and stir in gently lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro. (This may be done in advance and reheated when needed).

For the Spicy Black Beans: In medium sauté pan heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until onions begin to color. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans and cook for 10 more minutes.  Finish with fresh chopped cilantro.

To Serve: Prepare the eggs in your favorite style (i.e. over medium, poached, or scrambled).  Use a misting bottle filled with canola or olive oil to lightly mist the pan before cooking.  While the eggs are cooking prepare the rest of the bowl.

Place 1 cup rice and 1/4 cup beans into each the bowl.  Add 2 finished eggs to each bowl and top with 1 tbsp. avocado and 1 tbsp. salsa.

Nutrition Facts: Per serving

Calories 460; Protein 21g; Total Fat 13g; Saturated Fat 3.5g; Carbohydrates 65g; Dietary Fiber 8g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 449 mg

Recipe provided by Morrison Healthcare in Atlanta, GA.

Need additional recipes ideas? Be sure to check out for healthy and delicious recipes developed by registered dietitians!

Tara Snow, RDN, LD is the State Media Spokesperson for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and is the Corporate Health & Wellness Manager for Morrison Healthcare.


  1. Julia A Wolfson, Sara N Bleich. Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition. 2015; 18: 1397-1406. doi:10.1017/S1368980014001943.

  1. Website.  Accessed February 29, 2016.



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