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April 5, 2022

Food Doesn’t Need to Be Tasteless

Table of Contents

Grab a few of my favorite recipes that can be scaled to meet YOUR macro’s and unique calorie needs, just ask!

RECIPE 1: Baked Empanadas

Photo Creds: Christa Brown

Serves: 4 (2 empanadas each)

  • 8 frozen empanada discs, defrosted (I used Goya)

For Filling:

  • 1 lb. raw ground beef (97% lean)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato sauce, all natural, no sugar added
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 medium egg


  1. In a preheated, medium sauce heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Add all the vegetables and cook through for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and brown until cooked through. Then, add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add water to the pan and mix through. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes before stuffing the empanadas.
  5. Preheat oven to 350’F.
  6. Grab a large sheet pan and lay out the 8 discs. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush the one-half of the with the egg wash.
  7. Portion out about 3-4 tbsp of the beef mixture on the 1/2 of each empanada round and roll over- by pinching and folding.
  8. Take the remaining egg wash and brush on top of each empanada.
  9. Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly crispy.
  10. Enjoy with a small salad and your favorite chipotle sauce.

Per serving: Calories: 540, Protein: 35 g, Carbohydrates: 58g, Fat: 17g, Sodium: 678 mg, Cholesterol: 68 mg

RECIPE 2: Honey Sirracha Glazed Salmon

Photo creds: Christa Brown

Serves: 2- 5 oz. Salmon Filets (1 each)

  • 2- 5 oz. cuts of fresh salmon filets
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


  1. Heat up for grill to 350’F and lightly coat with olive oil spray.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients. Then, wash your salmon filets in lemon juice and water (this helps to tenderize your salmon!) Allow to drain on a paper towel for about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together your sriracha sauce and honey
  3. Evenly season your salmon filets with spices and evenly rub on the salmon.
  4. Then spoon out the sriracha/honey mixture and coat the salmon.
  5. Place on the grill seasoning side down and keep it cooking for 15 minutes on one side to sear and lock in the flavor.
  6. Enjoy alongside fresh steamed green beans!

Per serving: Calories: 307, Protein: 25 g, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Total Fat: 17 g, Sodium: 850 mg, Cholesterol: 65 mg

RECIPE 3: The Umami Burger

Photo Creds: Christa Brown

Serves: 4 (1-burger each)

For burgers:

  • 1 lb. ground beef, 95% lean
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (shiitake and cremini)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 tbsp. Italian bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 whole grain burger buns

For toppings:

  • 1/2 cup Roasted red pepper
  • 2, large Portobello mushroom cap


  1. In a large bowl, mixture together all of the ingredients until well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat your grill to 350’F.
  4. Evenly divide the burger mixture into 4 equal patties.
  5. Take your portobello mushroom cap and fill with the roasted red pepper. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper and salt to taste.
  6. Place your burgers and portobello caps face up on the grill. Separately from one another. Cook the burgers for 10 to 12 minutes and portobello caps for 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the grill and slice the portobello mushrooms
  8. Serve alongside baked fries and spinach salad.

Calories: 324, Protein: 26 g, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Total Fat: 8 g, Sodium: 444 mg, Cholesterol: 71 mg

RECIPE 4: Cool Runnings Smoothie Bowl

Photo Creds: Christa Brown

Serves: 1 (8 fl. oz. smoothie bowl)

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (you can use
  • 1/2 frozen large banana
  • 1 açaí berry packet (they are found in the frozen fruit section)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop favorite protein powder
  • Dash ground cinnamon


  • 2 tbsp. flax granola
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut shreds


  1. In a high speed blender add the frozen fruits, unsweetened almond milk and protein powder.
  2. You may have to

Calories: 407, Protein: 25 g, Carbohydrates: 43 g, Total Fat: 15 g, Sodium: 350 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

RECIPE 5: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thighs

Photo Creds: Christa Brown

Serves: 4 (2 thighs each)

  • 2 Tbsp dried shallots
  • 1/4 tsp. Habanero (or add more if you want super spicy)
  • 1 Tbsp. Jerk Seasoning (I used Busha Browne)
  • 2 Tbsp. Tamari, Low Sodium
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 8 chicken, drum sticks


  1. In a shaker container, add all of your ingredients and shake until well combined. Allow to rest fo
  2. In a glass container lay out your chicken legs and pour over the Jerk Chicken marinade and cover for 24+ hours in the fridge. The longer the better!
  3. When ready the following day, preheat your grill to 350’F. Pull your chicken out and allow to rest for 20 minutes, this allows the chicken to cook evenly.
  4. Grill the chicken, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Brush with any remaining marinade while cooking during the last 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Enjoy this meal with your favorite rice and bean mix and dark green leafy’s.

Calories: 338, Protein: 50 g, Carbohydrates: 12g, Total Fat: 13g, Sodium: 840 mg, Cholesterol: 217 mg

Story Behind the Recipe

It was time to try out a different recipe! And one that includes some of my favorite spices. Plus, I was inspired to attempt this recipe since my husband is from Jamaica. Now, I’m not saying he is biased or anything BUT he said it was so incredibly good and wish I made more!

Anywho, on another note – the Jerk Seasoning, believe it or not provides gut health benefits to our microbiome (Microbiome means the home of our healthy and bad bacteria). Did you know that many of the spices that are included in the Jerk sauce provides anti-inflammatory benefits and even builds up the healthy bacteria within your gut?

Two of the spices that I admire within the Jerk Seasoning is Cardamon and All Spice. They both are jam packed with polyphenols that have antioxidants in them to help reduce inflammation. All Spice may even be able to ease GI bloating!

If you’re wondering how to get the best flavor out of cardamom, get them in the pods, then crush the seed pods right before cooking. And that also goes for the All Spice ! You’ll get massive flavor and a really punch of potent nutrients.

Christa is a media dietitian and nutrition consultant in the New York City area. She works with various brands and has been featured in dozens of outlets such as Women’s Health, EatingWell, and Peoples Magazine as a nutrition expert. Being a fact checker for EatingWell Magazine and a Medical Reviewer for Nourish, she brings her extensive experience within the field to provide compassionate, inclusive care using science for intimate and personalized messaging.

Christa brings warm laughter, joy, and medical expertise to any conversation allowing for honest science-based discussions with authenticity at their core.

In her private practice, she works with men and women suffering from emotional traumas that cause binge eating disorders exacerbating their type 2 diabetes, PCOS and insulin resistance.

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