MyPlate for Older Adults



Hummus and Guacamole Showdown



Kitchfix–CJK Foods

logoBy: Nikki Nies

Want home delivered meals, but want guaranteed freshness? Kitchfix has got you covered! Previously, known as CJK Foods, Kitchfix is founded by Chef Josh Katt and has made quite a name for itself in the Chicagoland area.  The concept of Kitchfix evolved after Chef Josh’s experiences in an after school cooking program in 2010 as well as a personal chef.

As a personal chef, Chef Josh had to accommodate a family’s needs for an anti inflammatory diet.This diet emphasizes the use of whole, unprocessed foods such as fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and meats, and avoids inflammatory ingredients such as dairy, gluten, soy

Kitchfix cares about:

  • Flavor: By using innovative culinary practices, superfoods work well together with a variety of flavors and textures; Chef Josh Katt is passionate about experimenting with different techniques and cuisines
  • Nutrition: the most nutrient densed foods are used in the superfood dishes; Kitchfix’s nutrition philosophy is based on progressive nutrition research and with the help of Jenny Westerkamp, Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • Animal Welfare: Use only the highest of standards for chicken, pork or poultry; ensured that beef is from a grass fed company, with no added hormones or antibiotics; opt for cage free pork and poultry, which is better for the environments and users’ overall health
  • Local Economy: supportive of local food movement; proudly working with local farms, G7 Ranch Gunthorp Farms
  • The planet: With a rooftop garden, Kitchfix is able to grow their own organic ingredients while adhering to sustainable farming, reducing  their carbon footprint; Kitchfix’s farmers adhere to environmentally conscious practices as well
  • Neighbors: With half of staff hours dedicated to employing from the Cara Program, Kitchfix is able to contribute to the growth of Chicagoland’s economy, providing employees the opportunities to escape from poverty and homelessness
  • You: By providing superfoods that meet Kitchfix’s superstandards, customers are guaranteed to receive the best nutrition with the best flavor

Still not convinced Kitchfix is worth trying? Check out the menu and ordering options! Additionally, peruse the delivery page to find out pricing !

Order Deadlines

  • Wednesday evening for Monday delivery
  • Friday evening for Tuesday delivery
  • Sunday evening for Wednesday or Thursday

Have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact Kitchfix! Have you personally ordered from Kitchfix? What was your experience like?



By: Nikki Nies


There’s a common thought process that one should do what ever it takes to maintain their size and/or lose weight.  Unfortunately, a lot of changes can include adding diet pills into daily routines, but what if I told you there is a more fortuitous, natural way to make life long changes?  With the help of FoodTweeks, not only can you make healthier changes, but for every 600 calories one slashes from meals, FoodTweeks will donate a meal to a local food bank.  Win-win, right?

Here’s how it works! Download the Foodtweeks app now and tell it what you’re planning to eat! The app then shows you various ways to choose healthier options without trading in taste or flavor!

By joining the Foodtweeks community, you are able to eat healthier snacks and meals and help a local food bank distribute the same kind of nutritious calories to someone in need!

With 3 simple steps you’re on your way:

1. Report desired food to be eaten from restaurants, supermarket and/or homemade!

2. Choose a tweek!

3. Hungry are fed!

These simple steps helps Foodtweeks help others by helping others eat in a more sustainable fashion and to help fight hunger! Know of a potentially interested food bank to help the cause? Let them know the benefits of joining in:increased awareness of food bank and the issue of hunger; new donor pipeline social media messaging and continued source of funding and support!  If your a food bank reading this, sign up today!


Guide to Vitamins



Portions ≠ Servings

By: Nikki NiesPortion-Control

Depending on where you live in the U.S. you may refer to Coca Cola or Sprite as soda, pop or soda pop.  To be honest, I still haven’t gotten used to hearing or interpreting pop as soda even though I’ve been living in the Mid West for the past year.

While soda and pop are synonymous, the same can’t be said about portions and servings.  Yes, it’s understandable how servings and portions could be used interchangeably, but it’s important to recognize the difference and not fall into the pitfalls of “sameness.”

Portion: amount of food we choose to eat

Serving Size: amount of food  recommended by the Dietary Guidelines

If you’re familiar with the Dietary Guidelines then your portions may be line with the suggested serving size.  However, too many people do not discern the difference.  Let’s use some practical application.  The Dietary Guidelines state a serving of pasta, rice and/or couscous is 1/3 of cup.  However, it’s common practice for one to fill the plate up with pasta, which can easily be at least a cup.  In essence, someone’s who’s eating a cup of pasta is eating three servings.

Notable serving sizes:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 6″ tortilla
  • 1/3 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or raw
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable or fruit juice
  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or  pear
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
  • 1 cup of milk or yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese (i.e. Cheddar)
  • 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
  • 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1/2 cup of tofu counts as 1 ounce of lean meat
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter  or 1/3 cup of nuts counts as 1 ounce of meat

My point is that it’s not a BAD thing to be eating grains, but to make sure you’re aware of how much you’re eating and how much in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines.  The issue that often comes up is that people are eating several servings for several or all their meals on a regular basis.

Motivated to decrease your portion size, but not sure how to start? The best way is to pull out your measuring cups and spoons.  We often times “eye” the amount of food we serve ourselves, but when making these portion changes, it’s good to have a good baseline.   Additionally, join the Smaller Plate Movement, which as its name suggests promotes the use of more appropriately sized plates, bowls and cups.

Worried that you’ll be starving with smaller portions? I wouldn’t worry yet! You might be surprised that you’re actually more satisfied with your meals with smaller portions because you really got to enjoy the meals.

I’ve written a lot about portion control on this blog, how portions have changed over the years to what a portion is, but all this information is relevant and important to know to make those permanent healthier lifestyle changes! What progress have you made lately?

Photo Credit: High Heeled Life


High Fiber Musts

By: Nikki Nies

High fiber diets are always tooted as a lifestyle must! What does high fiber mean, you ask? It means consuming a diet of at least 21-25 g of fiber for women and 30-38 grams of fiber for men.  If meal planning isn’t part of your daily routine, it’s easy to let the days go by and not fulfill the daily fiber recommendations.  Gradually increase your fiber intake as a quick surge in fiber can lead to bloating and gas.

The best way to consume a high fiber diet is to eat more foods that have a higher fiber content! Can you guess what tops the list of the highest fibrous foods per serving?


  1. Corn bran, raw: 1 oz.=22 g of fiber
  2. Navy beans or white beans: 1 cup=19 g of fiber
  3. Yellow beans, cooked: 1 cup=18 g of fiber
  4. Adzuki, French, or black turtle soup beans: 1 cup=17 g of fiber
  5. Split peas, cooked: 1 cup=16.3 g of fiber
  6. Kidney or cranberry beans: 1 cup=16.0 g of fiber 
  7. Mung or pinto beans: 1 cup=15 g of fiber high-fiber-diet
  8. Lentils, cooked: 1 cup=15.6 g of fiber
  9. Black beans: 1 cup=15.0 g of fiber
  10. Oat or wheat bran, raw: 1 oz.=12.0 g of fiber
  11. Lima beans: 1 cup=13.2 g of fiber
  12. Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked:1 cup=10.4 g of fiber
  13. Artichoke, cooked: medium=10.3 g of fiber
  14. Green peas, cooked: 1 cup=8.8 g of fiber
  15. Raspberries: 1 cup=8 g of fiber

A high fiber diet + adequate fluid intake is the right combination for smoother digestion, lower one’s risk of obesity, heart disease and/or cancer.  Furthermore, since fiber isn’t digested, it moves through the body quickly, helping to aid in constipation.

Have you added more fiber into your daily diet?  What changes have you seen accompany these fibrous additions?


New GF Food Labels

ALDI_blog_cover_05_GlutenFreeBy: Nikki Nies

I’ve written a lot about gluten free (GF) products lately, with my food demos of GF Pasta to talking about the hype surrounding the GF Frenzie. As an active future health professional, it’s important to know the leading health trends.  In addition, being aware of the new GF Food Labels is also important to understand and be able to interpret.

The FDA has been working tirelessly to better define the term gluten free.  With the crossbreeds of many grains (i.e. rye and wheat), it’s become necessary to eliminate any confusion regarding how food producers may label products and to assure those that need to avoid gluten that those products labeled as GF are indeed GF and are enforced by the FDA.

As of August 5th, a new rule states products that are advertised as GF can not contain more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.  This change provides increased certainty of what one’s consuming and provides comfort for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity that their food is safe to consume.

With the “trend” of switching to a GF diet as led to an increase in GF products, a product doesn’t necessarily have to state it has gluten as an ingredients like nut or dairy allergy.  What’re your thoughts on the new label change? Do you find it hard to decipher food labels and/or packages?


Food Waste Solutions

By: Nikki Nies

I realized I’ve picked the right career path when I acknowledged most of my hobbies and interests are further subbranches of food and/or nutrition.  This includes my #1 pet peeve: wasted food.  Within the last couple year’s that I have had the privilege to enter many facility’s kitchen’s I have been shocked, almost dismayed at the amount of food wasted.  One time, I was volunteering in a hospital cafe kitchen and they threw out the heels of the loaves of bread! Whenever I saw the heels tossed in the garbage, I had to hold back my natural instinct to dive into the garbage to save those heels! Couldn’t they make homemade croutons or something?!?

It’s not just food establishments either.  I recognize it’s one prerogative to eat as much or little as they want.  Yet, this past July 4th, I was throwing my garbage out and I saw laying on top of the trash can an untouched Big Gulp! I couldn’t believe my eyes! That is one of many stories that has shaped my sadness attached to wasted food. Picture-12

Astounding stats: Americans waste 10x as much food compared to someone in Southeast Asia; 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S., which is 20 lbs. of uneaten food for  each American per month!  This equivalent to throwing out more than $165 billion! Literally! All this waste contributes to 25% of the already overfilled landfills.

Just think what we could do with all this extra wasted food! It’s been calculated that instead of the garbage, this food could feed an additional 25 million Americans annually.  That would be a huge help, at a time when 1/6 of Americans are food insecure.

What can we do? Get creative and increase our efficiency. We can also look to our European neighbors and take note of the steps already initiated.  In the UK, an extensive campaign, Love Food Hate Waste, has been running for the past five years with food retailers and brands partaking in this resolution.

Why does the U.S. lag in more sustainable farming? Unfortunately, food represents a small portion of the average American budget.  Too many highlight the convenience of the waste, not recognizing the long term ramifications.

We can’t expect to change things over night, but with small changes, the solutions will come!

  • Whether you’re a family, business or whole city! A Food Waste Assessment must be done! It’ll give you a better idea of the amount, type and reasons for wasted food.  This will also help in creating prevention strategies!
  • Reduce the over purchasing of food by starting more “just in time” purchasing
  • Consider prep waste causes and potential modifications: improve knife skills; purchase pre-cut food if needed; reduce batch sizes (i.e. soups)
  • Think creatively how to use the food “again”: i.e. instead of tossing old bread, make croutons; whip up fried rice from excess rice; add leftover fruit to yogurt; save vegetable trimmings for soups, stocks and/or stews
  • To reduce spoilage, store food at proper temperatures and stock First In, First Out (FIFO)
  • Use smaller plates will help cut down on the amount of food initially served!  It’s be hardly noticeable!

There’s a reason the U.S. is called the land of prosperity.  Let’s be prosperous in health, education and character, not waste! Who’s with me?


How the US Loses 40% of Our Food: Problems & Solutions