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April 3, 2020



Dear friends, I’m not even sure where to begin with this one…but here ‘goes—Yes, life is different.Yes, it bothers me to my soul that I can’t touch, hug, or stand less than 6 ft. away from my friends/extended family.Yes, people (people we may even know and love) are legitimately suffering from this virus.And YES, I miss the gym and all of you LIKE. WHOA. ☹As I continue to watch, listen, reflect and pray for our current situation, I cannot help but feel—

  1. Blessed: To have the unconditional and ongoing love and support from my family, friends, colleagues, and coaches. It’s amazing how such a detrimental time calling for quarantine can bring all of us so close together. Thank you, technology! As an RD, I also feel blessed to have the knowledge and drive to eat and drink what I know will fight and prevent disease, boost my immune system, and keep my energy at its peak.
  2. Hopeful: For all the good that this experience will bring. Call me a silver-lining optimist, but I truly believe that horrible situations like these can result in positive, life-changing outcomes. From a nutrition perspective, people are cooking more, hence likely eating less processed, high caloric foods and more nutrient dense, medicinal, whole foods. Which leads me to my last (but not least) feeling
  3. Responsible: As a registered dietitian in the community, it is my responsibility to educate, enforce, and hopefully enlighten individuals to what they can do to keep their bodies and minds in this disease-fighting mode. Eating right is attached to more than just getting a six-pack by summer or keeping that number on the scale down. Thinking about one of my favorite mantras (paraphrased): We can work our asses off for that 1-hour in the gym, but what about the other 23? What about food, and what should my food contain to keep my body protected? I’m glad you asked 😊

To support YOUR health with nutrition, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics recommends including the following nutrients in your overall eating plan on a regular basis: Protein: Plays a role in the body's immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Sources include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas.Vitamin A: Helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods labeled "vitamin A fortified," such as milk or some cereals.Vitamin C: Supports the immune system by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Sources include citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.Vitamin E: Works as an antioxidant and may support immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts and peanut butterZinc: Helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Sources include lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium and iron also may support immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style. See below for a SUPERFOOD POWERHOUSE RECIPE: One-Pan Balsamic Chicken & Veggies!(courtesy of

1-Pan Easy Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

Servings: 4 Calories: 591 kcalIngredients

  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing (fat free is great)
  • 1.25 pounds chicken tenders (or breasts)
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: fresh parsley, salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large tray with nonstick spray (line with parchment paper if your tray isn't already nonstick or the balsamic + Italian mixture will stick to it) and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and zesty Italian dressing.
  3. Place 1/3 cup of the balsamic + Italian mixture in a large bag and add the chicken tenders. Coat and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.
  4. Chop the broccoli into small pieces. Slice the baby carrots in half.
  5. Place broccoli + carrots on the prepared tray with the cherry tomatoes (like your tomatoes LESS roasted? Toss in after 5-10 minutes of the broccoli and carrots being cooked. Otherwise they are ultra-tender!), Italian seasoning, olive oil, garlic powder, and add some seasoned salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Roast the veggies for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and flip around. Section the veggies to each side of the tray (see video) and place the chicken tenders (discard marinade) in the center. Brush 1/3 cup of the balsamic + Italian mixture over the chicken.
  8. Return to the oven and cook for another 7-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. Be careful to monitor the chicken so you don't overcook it.**The cooking time will largely vary based on the size of your chicken (15 minutes at 400 degrees F is PERFECT for those thin chicken tenders!)
  9. Serve the chicken and veggies with the remaining Balsamic + Italian mixture. Top with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
  10. Great served over brown/white rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa!

To your health,

Dana Kennedy, RDN, LDN


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