About California Dietetic Association - Orange District

California Dietetic Association (CDA), Orange District is the advocate of the dietetic profession serving the public through the promotion of optimal nutrition, health and well being.

Nutrition and Immunity

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

The season for flus, colds, and illnesses is here. So what can you do to help prevent yourself from getting sick? Fortunately, proper nutrition can stimulate and boost immune function. Making sure you eat the right foods can help you fight off harmful infections and prevent sickness. Let’s get down to it—what nutrients can specifically help towards boosting your immune system?


Protein is needed for a variety of bodily functions, one of which is immune function. Particularly, antibodies are proteins themselves, and as such, the human body needs dietary protein to replicate and replenish these stores. Strive to eat high-quality protein from whole foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps towards gene regulation and plays a huge part in the health of membranes lining the mouth, intestines, and skin (which are all opportune places for bacterial activity!). You can find high amounts of vitamin A in bright-colored red and orange foods, such as carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, as well as in spinach, kale, and foods that are fortified with vitamin A (milk being the most common). Make sure you get at least one good source of vitamin A every other day to help boost your immune system (and eye health, as everybody knows!).


Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is widely known as an anti-oxidative nutrient, and can thus fend off free radical activity. Vitamin C can also help with antibody production, making it a vital nutrient for immune health. Vitamin C is available from foods that contain citrus—oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes—and other foods such as red bell peppers, strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe.

Zinc & Folate

Zinc and folate are two minerals that can boost immune function. Zinc is widely known for its role in proper immune function as well as wound healing (which creates less opportunities for infection), and can be found in a wide variety of foods such as meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, and dairy. Folate primarily helps with cell division, and can ensure that enough immune cells are present to fight off infection. Folate can also be found in numerous foods—such as dark, leafy vegetables, meat and poultry, eggs, nuts, and beans—and was also added to enriched grains back in 1998.

Prebiotics & Probiotics

Pre- and probiotics can help foster beneficial gut microbes, which can prevent more dangerous bacteria from infecting the body. These can be found in many fermented and cultured foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and some soft cheeses.

Try and incorporate a bunch of foods that contain the above nutrients into your daily routine to help build a healthy and strong immune system!

Written by: Francis Dizon, Francis is finishing up his senior year at California State University, Long Beach and is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is a firm advocate for health and fitness, and believes proper nutrition is key in disease prevention and long-term wellness.

Balancing the Holidays

Photo Credit: Michael Hall via Flicker

Photo Credit: Michael Hall via Flicker

When the holidays hit, everyone seems to worry about weight gain and how horrible they ate at a holiday party the night before. The guilt of holiday treats almost seems to take over and make us feel like we have ruined everything.

But why? Why do we make ourselves feel so guilty for indulging when the truth is, we want to eat that chocolate, and take a bite of the pie, oh and you can’t forget the eggnog that everyone says is “a must try”. Eating treats at special occasions isn’t the end of the world…nor is it going to make you gain 20 pounds over night. We shouldn’t make food about guilt and bad decisions, it’s okay to enjoy seasonal foods.  Now, I didn’t say its okay eat everything in sight, either.

What is important is making sure we maintain a healthy and mixed diet throughout the holiday season. Eating healthy is something we strive for at every meal, whether it’s including an extra vegetable, choosing whole grains, adding a fruit, or even taking a smaller portion. The point is, indulging at a holiday party is not what defines our overall health. If you want to taste that chocolate cake, go for it…that doesn’t mean you have to eat the entire thing. Split items with your spouse or a friend. Have one special drink and then switch to water. We cannot hide from the holiday parties, and many of us don’t have the will power to say “No” to everything (that’s okay- I sure can’t). It is not to say it is okay to eat every treat and sample every food offered, but allowing ourselves a few treats is okay. We must find the balance.

Here are some things to remember during the holiday season:

  • Choose fruits and vegetables when possible
  • Stay consistent throughout the day
  • Stay physically active
  • Don’t deprive yourself
  • Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you need to eat it
  • Don’t go on fasting diets just because you have a holiday party coming up, the theory doesn’t work, and its definitely not good for your body

Enjoy the holidays for what they are, bringing family and friends together. Many people love to make food for people, as it is their way of showing love and thoughtfulness…so don’t offend them and tell them you’re too good for their food. Balance the good with the bad.

Written by: Megan McGinnis, CDA-OD Hospitality Chair. Megan is currently finishing her last year at California State University, Long Beach and will graduate with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics in May 2015.

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Winter Season

Photo Credit: Kit via Flicker

Photo Credit: Kit via Flicker

Winter is almost here and so are the wonderful tastes and spices we have waited all year long for. During this time it is easy to fall back in to old habits while the days get colder and shorter. Here are 5 easy and simple ways to make sure your hard work is not wasted on the holiday treats.

Make broth based soups instead of cream based

Soups are a staple of the winter season, but it could also damage or hinder your weight loss. It is easy to overindulge in the simple pleasure that warms your heart and stomach. By making soups that are broth based you are automatically reducing the calories by at least ¼. If the think and hardy soup is what you are craving then try to puree your vegetables. This gives the soup a thick texture and the sensation will be satisfied.

Stay Active

Yes this one may seem too simple or redundant but it is true. It is easy to stay under your warm blankets instead of going out into the brisk morning air. If you look at it this way, you have to get up eventually. . .Why not make it now? Once outside and performing your workout your body will naturally warm up and your mind will all forget the cool breeze.

Drink Tea instead of high calorie coffees.

This is not saying that all coffee is bad, but those mochas and pumpkin spice lattes can through anyone off the wagon. If you want that spice or pick me up reach for a tea with a cinnamon spice flavor. You mentally get the satisfaction you were craving without ruining your daily diet plan. But, what if you don’t like tea? Try getting a flavored coffee. A lot of the coffee vendors offer a variety of seasonal flavors, or ask for one pump of the sweetener you want in a regular cup of coffee.

Modify seasonal treats for healthier ingredients

Pumpkin bread, muffins, and cookies. . .O MY! Yes these treats seem so much better this time of year. Like with anything else the increase of treat intake will also give you an increase on your body. It is hard to swear off all fall treats, but there are ways to modify and control how much you consume. There are many different website and blogs that offer great alternative recipes. They taste yummy and loaded with natural nutritional value.

Keep the Holiday Candy Out of Sight.

A fun size of M&M’s here, and a Twix bar there can all add up. Unaware snacking can ruin any diet in a short period of time. You may be planning ahead for little visitors and guests, but that does not mean you have to test every piece of candy. Once you buy the candy put it in a place where you are not tempted to get it. Somewhere inconvenient to get to when you have that sudden urge.

Written by: Christine Padilla, the CDA Orange District Student Representative for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition, with an option in Dietetics.

November: Diabetes Friendly Dessert

The holiday season is underway! As we dive neck deep in delicious sweet treats some of us step back and worry about how we are going to maintain our health over the next few months. What If I told you managing your blood sugar involves balancing your carbohydrates, not restricting them? What if I told you taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean duck taping your cabinets and sucking on sugar-free Werther’s?

How does crustless pumpkin pie sound? Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A! Add a little sugar, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract and voila – mmm mmm good. That’s not even the best part. By skimping on the crust, each slice is just 2 carbohydrate exchanges (~30 grams). Your welcome ☺.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs (or egg white substitution)
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add eggs; mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, milk, vanilla and cinnamon if desired; mix until well blended.
  2. Pour into a greased 9-in. pie plate. Place pie plate in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; add 1/2 in. of hot water to pan. Bake at 350°F for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean
  3. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 8

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Total Carbs: 28g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 25g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Vitamin A: 130%
  • Calcium 15%

Written by: Nicole Miller, RD  –   Nicole works as a consulting dietitian at Eat Freely Nutrition. Nicole believes strongly in mind-body awareness and that the long-term health is achieved through an individualized approach to nutrition that is both sustainable and enjoyable. Nicole aspires to empower people with confidence and education, allowing them to live freely and thereby Eat Freely. In other words, let’s cheers to dessert.

Bran Muffins

I know this sounds so cliché coming from a Dietitian, but I love bran muffins. I have always loved them. My love for bran muffins originates in my childhood because my mom frequently made them while I was growing up. To this day, she still uses the same recipe and I love them just as much. I’ve had them from bakeries and they just aren’t as good. Bakery muffins are usually too big, too sweet and just a cupcake without frosting. Thus, I am in the habit of making my own muffins at home.

I use Kellogg’s The Original All-Bran recipe to make bran muffins. The recipe is simple and the muffins are delicious. The great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be modified. Now that Autumn is here and apples are in season, I couldn’t resist adding apple chunks to these muffins.

Kellogg’s The Original All-Bran Muffins

photo 2

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Original cereal
  • 1 1⁄4 cups fat-free milk
  • 1egg
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS  (Preheat oven to 400° F)

1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN cereal and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and oil. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° F about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

You will need two bowls, one medium and the other large. Start by combining all the dry ingredients from step one in the medium bowl. I added 1⁄2 a teaspoon of cinnamon to the recipe because, well, cinnamon makes almost everything better and it especially goes well with apples. You could also use apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice if you happen to have one of those in the cupboard.

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In the larger bowl, combine the bran flakes and milk. As step two says, let it sit for a few minutes until the cereal is soft.

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This is a good time to dice the apple.

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Stir the cereal and milk around to make sure all of the flakes are getting soaked by the milk. It may help to mash some of the flakes with the back of a large spoon. Then add the egg and oil, beat well.

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Next, add the dry ingredients and stir only until combined.

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Fold in the apple chunks. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non- stick spray. It is important to put an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup in order to have muffins that are evenly baked. Now, I am going to let you in on the big secret about how to do this – ice cream scooper!

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Once they are all scooped, slide them into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The muffins should be dry and slightly golden on top when they are done.

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This is a versatile muffin recipe and luckily, they freeze well making them a great option for a quick breakfast or impromptu brunch. Smear some nut butter on a bran muffin, grab a piece of fruit and you are out the door. Consider making a batch now with fresh or dried cranberries and stashing in the freezer until Thanksgiving morning. These muffins also make a nice afternoon snack with a cup of tea. In the summer time, I suggest adding diced peaches instead of apples. Any combination of dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, apricots or cherries would add a nice touch of sweetness. Don’t forget some heart healthy fat from chopped walnuts!

Enjoy experimenting with this recipe in your own kitchen.

Written by:  Katy Dyer, RD.  CDA Orange District Past President.

Eating for the Season

What runs faster? –Hot or Cold

Hot, Everyone can catch a cold! ☺

As our hot summer days are coming to a close we can welcome the cool windy days of autumn. The beginning of the fall season is an exciting time to eat the new seasonal produce. Eating seasonally allows you to get the best “bang for your buck” especially when shopping at your local farmers market. Since fall produce contains a variety of colors this will provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to build your immunity to the ever-approaching flu and cold season.

Looking for a local farmers market? Try these links:

September Produce:

Fruit: Apples, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Lemons, Nectarines, Passion Fruit, Peaches, Pears, persimmons, Pineapple, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Lemons, Oranges

Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Basil, Beets, Black-eyed Peas, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Chard , Chili Pepper, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Green Beans, Green Onion, Kale , Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mushroom, Mustard, Onions, Peppers, Persimmons, Potatoes, Sapote, Spinach, Summer squash, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnip, Winter Squash

Seasonal Recipe:  Butternut Squash Burritos

Yield: 4 burritos


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted
  • 1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice (yields: 1.5 cups cooked)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • One 15-oz can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)


1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Roast butternut squash for 45 minutes.

2. Cook brown rice 

3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil and onion and sautee for about 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and salt and stir frequently.

4.  Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and rice and sauté for another 10 minutes. on low.

5. Add cup and a half of butternut squash to the skillet and stir. Add feta cheese and heat another few minutes.

6. Add bean filling to tortilla, wrap and serve. 

Written by: Olivia Ostunio, CSULB Nutrition & Dietetics Student and CDA-Orange District Student Co-Historian

School Lunches Kids and Moms Will Love

Well it’s back to school and the children are leaving home with packed lunches again. Packing a school lunch that is delicious, nutritious, and fun to eat can be a challenge for any parent, especially in the morning. But you succeed if you keep these tips in mind, and with practice, preparing the best school lunches can be as easy as reciting your ABCs.

Make it balanced. Make a list of your child’s favorite foods from the 5 food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups. To score a good grade, supply at least one choice from each food group in their lunch. Be sure to rotate through a variety of choices from the food groups to pique your child’s interest in exploring what’s for lunch each day.

Fruits. Consider some dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, mango, and boxed raisins. Unsweetened applesauce is sweet enough, but different fruits or cinnamon are also blended now with the apples. Many stores even sell apple sauce crushers that blend apple and carrot purees that are perfect for freezing and defrost in their lunch sacks in time to be enjoyed as a chilled slush at noon. Kids also love grapes, mini bananas and those small, easy-to-peel seedless oranges. Cut fruit into small pieces to avoid choking risks. You can opt for boxes of 100% fruit juice, but skip the beverages labeled fruit “drink”, “ade” or “punch”. 

Grains. Whole wheat bread, bagels, crackers, bread sticks, pretzels, soft tortillas or flatbreads, baked muffins, crispy rice or popcorn cakes, toaster waffles, or cooked pasta, steamed rice, or leftover pizza are all good choices

Protein foods. Lean, sliced meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef or leftover meatloaf, barbecued or grilled chicken legs, hard boiled eggs, chili with beans, bean or lentil soups, or the ever popular peanut butter might be what your child wishes you’d pack for them.

Vegetables. Corn, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or roasted potatoes from dinner the night before are all great options. Creamy hummus and salsa are great ways to sneak in vegetables as dips for crispy fruits, breadsticks and pretzels. Fresh salads might be your child’s choice. It’s worth the small cost to purchase those little plastic dressing cups with fitted lids to send the low-fat dressing alongside the salad container. This allows your child to drizzle dressing over their crisp greens at lunch which prevents a soggy salad. Maybe your little ones actually enjoys consuming mini-cans of vegetable juice blends.   

Dairy. Yogurt cups or popular yogurt squeeze tubes can be placed in lunch bags frozen and will defrost by noon. Cheese sticks come in varieties such as string and cheddar. Parents can also just send coins along with their children because schools sell low-fat milk at lunchtime.

Make it fun. Taste and fun are important considerations for children. So just as important as what you pack is how you pack it. 

Skewered chunks. Who said protein has to be served between two slices of bread? You can use wooden or plastic skewers to fasten slices or chunks of meat, poultry or cheese with assorted cool, crisp fruits or vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, mushrooms or bell peppers. They’re colorful and fun to take apart as you eat.

Make a sandwich a “shape-wich”.  Cookie cutters can do double duty to transform square bread into favorite shapes. Or use them to press out favorite shapes for sliced meats and cheeses and serve your child’s sandwiches open-faced.

Mix n’ match.  Who can each just one? Send an assortment of different small sandwiches for your child to enjoy. Vary the fillings, or flavors or texture of the bread. Cut the sandwiches into halves, thirds or quarters and pack together a sampling of each. 

Get the kids involved.  Keep in mind that a lunch that appeals to you may not interest your child, and remember no lunch is nourishing if it is not eaten or traded. So if you want your child to eat their lunch, keep in mind your three Rs: Recognize, Respect and Request.

Recognize your child’s food preferences. No one wants to eat something they don’t like. For example, consider sandwiches are easy to eat which is especially nice for a child who wants to get out to recess as soon as possible.  Soups and salads are better choices for those who enjoy sitting and talking at length with their BFF.

Respect your child’s views.  Most children have to deal with peer pressure. Your child may become anxious about eating anything that could appear to be “different”, “weird” “stinky” or “geeky”, which can be almost anything depending on the pervasive school culture.  Be sure to respect this and provide foods your child feels comfortable eating in a social situation. 

Request your child’s assistance. Take them grocery shopping and set aside time to prepare lunch together the night before. This saves time and reduces stress in the morning, A child is more likely to consume what they have chosen and helped prepare.

Plus it provides an opportunity for one-on-one time for the parent and child to bond. Do you know your child’s favorite colorful vegetable or fruit? Who do they eat lunch with? What do they feel comfortable eating at with their friends at school? Find the answers to these questions and many more fun facts about your child through these casual conversations.

Keep it safe.  Packing a school lunch requires some consideration of the fact that it might be left standing at room temperature for several hours before being eaten. 

• Use a commercial freezing gel or an insulated thermos. Packing frozen individual cups of yogurt or juice cartons can help keep the perishable foods cool and prevent spoilage. Many sandwiches with fillings such as peanut butter, cheese, and meats can be packed while frozen. By lunch time these foods or drinks will be thawed and ready to be enjoyed. Just don’t freeze sandwiches containing lettuce or tomatoes because they won’t be appetizing. Pack these sandwich additions separately. 

• Be sure to wash your hands, utensils, cutting board and other work areas clean.

• Pack only thoroughly cooked perishable foods. The next day user of leftovers is acceptable, but not week old or mystery-aged leftovers.

• Always wash your child’s lunchbox and insulated tote after each day’s use. Some neoprene or other fabric sacks can be laundered in the washing machine. 

• Pack an individually wrapped hand-wipe.  Encourage your child to use it and wash their hands before eating. 

Be a good role model. What your child sees you eat is a more compelling and powerful action then what to tell your child to eat. By making smarter choices yourself, you and your child can each enjoy a healthy body, healthy mind, better mood, better focus and concentration, and better nutrition for a lifetime of learning.

 Written by:  Alicia Grabowski-Drozd, MPH, RD

Having a father with hypertension piqued Alicia’s interest in nutrition and is the reason why she became a Registered Dietitian. She is self-employed as President of Healthy U. It’s her job and her pleasure to promote health in people of all ages. Alicia is the personal chef to her two children and has lots of experience packing school lunches. Alicia also helps her students at a local community college comprehend the value of nutrition throughout the life cycle. She doesn’t miss a beat as a certified American Heart Association CPR instructor and conducts CPR and first aid classes. According to the Bee Gee’s song, her training classes are helping to increase the number of people Stayin’ Alive. Please contact her at aliciadrozd@gmail.com if you have additional questions or comments.