It Takes Two to Mango

Did you know that more fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than any other fruit? They come in numerous sizes, shapes and colors (yellow, orange, red, and green). In many countries, giving someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship 🙂

Mangoes have a wide range of health benefits due to having high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Just 1 cup of mango contains 35% of your daily value for vitamin A and 100% of your vitamin C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights inflammation, and it also aids in brain function, skin, heart, kidney, and lung health. Vitamin C helps protect against cardiovascular disease, immune system deficiencies, eye disease, and even helps the skin. With only 100 calories in 1 cup of mango this can be a great snack and ingredient to add to your fun summer dishes.

If you are wondering how you can incorporate mangoes into your daily life, here are some fun ideas to try before the summer ends! (find recipes at the websites listed in parenthesis)

  • Mango Sorbet (Brit + Co)
  • Grilled Mango with Jalapeño (Food Network)
  • BBQ Chicken and Mango Quesadillas (Jo Cooks)
  • Mango Chia Popsicles (Jelly Toast)
  • Honey Mango Dipping Sauce (The Cozy Apron)
  • Green Mango Salad (Food for My Family)
  • Mango Salsa (Cookie and Kate)

Mangoes are so nutrient dense, they have multiple health benefits. They aid in healthy immune function, normalizing blood pressure, good vision and strong bones. Mangoes also help protect against lung, mouth, colon, breast and prostate cancers. So, next time you’re in the produce isle pick up a few mangoes and try a new recipe!


Summer Salad Meal Prep

Break out and try something new with these easy salad recipes! Summer is a great time to try a variety of light and easy meal prep options that won’t weigh you down while you’re out in the heat. Here are four summer salad recipes to try out, and the best part is they are practical and cute when you save them in a mason jar! All of these recipes are packed full of nutrient dense fruits and veggies for every occasion.

  1. Southwest Chicken Salad: 2 Tbs southwest ranch, 1 roma tomato (diced), 1/4 C cucumber (diced), 1/4 C corn, 1/2 C black beans, 1/2 jalapeno (sliced), 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1/4 avocado (sliced), 1 C chopped romaine lettuce.
  2. Greek Salad: 2 Tbs balsamic dressing, 1 tomato (diced), 1/4 C cucumber (diced), 1/2 C chickpeas, 2 Tbs diced red onion, 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1/4 C kalamata olives, 2 Tbs feta, 1 C chopped romaine lettuce.
  3. Chicken Quinoa Berry Salad: 2 Tbs raspberry vinaigrette, 1/4 C quartered strawberries, 1/2 C cooked quinoa, 1/4 C blueberries, 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts, 1/4 C goat cheese crumbles, 1/4 avocado (diced), 2 Tbs almonds, 1 C arugula.
  4. Thai Peanut Chicken Salad: 2 Tbs peanut dressing, 1/4 C red bell pepper, 2 Tbs green onion (diced), 1 carrot (shredded), 1/2 C cooked quinoa, 2 Tbs cilantro (diced), 1/4 C mango (diced), 3/4 C grilled chicken breasts (diced), 1 C romaine, 2 Tbs chopped cashews.

Notes* Add all ingredients in the order in which they are written to keep fresh

For additional details check out the recipes at




Low Cost OKC Metro Workouts

There are several events offered around the OKC metro that are free or low in cost encouraging you to be active. Take advantage of these while the weather is nice! Other free activity ideas: phone apps (example: couch to 5K), websites (example: yoga yak) or trials at a gym.

Red Coyote Running and Fitness: Free 3 mile walk or run

  • Tuesdays, 6PM @ Red Coyote Edmond location – loops through Mitch Park
  • Wednesdays, 6PM @   Anchor Down – through downtown OKC
  • Thursdays, 6PM @ Red Coyote Classen Curve location – through Nichol Hills trails

Sunrise Yoga: $5 yoga

  • Thursdays, 6:30 AM @ Will Rogers Gardens

Fitness Meetups:

  • Group Training at Energetic Wellness: Tuesdays/Thursdays mornings/evenings
  • Oklahoma City Sports Fitness: Sunday afternoons – pickup games (soccer, touch football, touch rugb,y baseball, kickball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, etc.)
  • Lake Hefner Walk Meetup: Saturday mornings @ parks around Lake Hefner – walking
  • MWC Walk Meetup: Thursday evenings @ Joe B. Barnes Regional Park


Oklahoma City Running Club – The Landrunners: free run or walk

  • Meets on the weekends in the Spring to train for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and half marathon @ OKC metro locations. Meets on the weekends  in the Fall to train for The Williams Route 66 Marathon and half marathon @OKC metro locations.

Yoga in the Park – Oklahoma: Free yoga @ parks around the OKC metro. Facebook Groups

  • Yoga in the Park – Edmond: Thursdays, 6:30PM & Saturdays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Downtown OKC: Sundays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Northwest OKC: Saturdays, 10AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Moore: first Saturday of the month, 9AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Norman: Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays, 6PM & Saturdays, 9AM
  • Yoga in the Park – Midwest City: Wednesdays, 7PM

Fire Up the Grill

Here is my go-to meal when I’m not sure what I want to eat. It’s easy, nutritious, and tastes amazing!

Grilled Pork Chop with Green Beans & Red Potatoes


  • 1 small/thin cut pork chop (3 ounces)
    • (I add a dash of salt, pepper and smoked paprika to mine!)
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 1 cup diced red potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (divided use)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Preheat grill over medium heat (350F-400F)
  • In a bowl combine one tablespoon of the olive oil with potatoes & season to taste
  • Stir to make sure all potatoes are evenly covered
  • Prepare grill pan and add potatoes
  • Cover grill and allow potatoes to cook for 12-15 minutes, occasionally stirring
  • Meanwhile, combine green beans with one tablespoon olive oil & season to taste
  • Add green beans to grill pan and stir gently, continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes
  • Prepare pork chop and grill for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until fully cooked

That’s it! Enjoy, and let us know how yours turned out on our Banister Nutrition Facebook page.


You Had Me at Avocado

Avocados are IN. The major fat in avocados is monounsaturated, which is considered a healthy fat when eaten in moderation. Monounsaturated fats have shown to reduce cholesterol, known to be a main contributor to heart disease. It also reduces the risk of a stroke. This type of fat is satisfying and leaves us feeling full. So how often is it okay to eat avocados and what does the food label tell us? Keep in mind that moderation is key when choosing what to eat, as there is no perfect food.

One serving is about 1/3 of a medium avocado, containing around 80 calories. The serving size seems small, but an avocado is extremely nutrient dense and high in calories.

Avocados contain almost 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Fiber helps protect against heart disease, regulate bowel movements and contributes to the feeling of satiety.

FUN FACT – Avocados have more potassium than bananas. At the recommended daily intake of 3500 to 4500 mg per day, potassium helps prevent cramps, stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

They are also extremely versatile, here are 5 ways to incorporate avocados into your diet:

1) In smoothies

2) In salad dressing

3) In hummus

4) As a topping

5) As a replacement for mayonnaise

Avocados are also high in vitamin E, C and A. Vitamin A is critical for vision health while vitamins C and E boost immune health. Along with being high in fiber, good fats and vitamins, avocado’s help the body absorb nutrients more efficiently. Moderation is the key factor to consuming a healthy amount of avocado’s every day, and when moderation is achieved avocado’s and heart health are the perfect ‘avo-couple’.


Convenient OKC Metro Meal Ideas

Fast food is not your only option if you are lacking time or energy. Convenience is usually the main reason my patients are eating fast food or snacking on junk food. If this is your challenge, there are healthy options available to you. Here are a few ideas around the OKC metro that can save you time and energy while still meeting your nutritional goals:


  • Easy Freezy Freezer Meals: They offer a variety of menus to choose from including Keto, Plus, Vegetarian/Vegan, Regular and Whole30. They provide meals that can be put in the freezer. All you need to do is add the meat.



  • PREP’D: Known for “healthy eating on the go.” You can stop by the store to pick up an individual meal(s) or you can place a bulk order of pre-prepared meals. They offer gluten free, vegetarian, paleo and customized options.



  • Crockstar Dinner Club LLC: You are able to order one or as many meals as you would like per month. Each meal feeds 6-8 people. They offer gluten free, low carb or keto meals.



  • Clean Slate Kitchen: You will meet with a chef who will cater to your nutritional needs (likes, dislikes, allergies, food intolerances and other dietary restrictions or constraints). Made-to-order entrees and side dishes are developed from this meeting.


Crockpot Flock and Dinners that cROCK: Follow these facebook pages for available crockpot meals. You just need to add the meat to these meals.


Doc Cooks–Spaghetti Putanesco

Doc Cooks…………yes, physicians do cook, and, per the dietitian here—quite tasty and healthy! I recently enjoyed “Spaghetti Putanesco”, salad, wine, and great conversation with friends. An interesting addendum to the story, he (MD) manages his diabetes and a few cardio issues with cooking healthy, walking 4 miles regularly, managing his weight and fitness with lifestyle—a great example for everyone.

I love being introduced to new healthy, quick and convenient meal ideas. Putanesca is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid 20th century. The ingredient list is short and no meat except the anchovies which are definitely not detected in the dish.


Spaghetti Putanesco


  • 1 lb dried pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 handful capers, soaked in water and drained
  • 2 handfuls black olives, large pitted
  • 12 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1-3 dried red chilis, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper


Cook pasta in salted water to aldente. Meanwhile, sauté garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chilis, and oregano in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Add tomatoes—simmer 4-5 minutes until a lovely tomato sauce consistency develops. Remove from heat. Pour over cooked pasta and toss. Rip fresh basil leaves over it; salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil.


A closer look at the milk shelves

Dairy, non-dairy…coconut, almond, soy… what’s the best option? Let’s take a look:


Type of Milk

Calories Carbohydrate Sugars Protein Fat

2% Dairy

120 12 12 8 5

Almond, Original

60 8 7 1


Coconut, Original 80 7 7 0


Soy, Original 110 9 6 8



At first glance, it may be tempting to narrow in on the “calories” column. If we only look at these numbers, we could of course say that dairy milk is the “worst” for you. However, the other categories should be examined alongside the calorie information. Coconut and almond milks come in better with carbohydrates and fat, followed by soy and lastly dairy. However, dairy and soy milks take a mighty leap to the front when examining protein content. Additionally, the proteins in dairy and soy milks are complete proteins, providing all the essential amino acids together. Other dairy alternatives either contain no protein or incomplete proteins.


Where does that leave us? It depends on what you need.Regular ole dairy milk often gets a bad rap nowadays, but why? Well, the current trend is geared toward non-dairy milks. There is nothing wrong with dairy milk; our ancestors certainly survived while drinking dairy milk—thus, if it was as harmful as some sources may claim, we certainly wouldn’t be here today. If you are lactose intolerant, then by all means, go for a non-dairy alternative, or try a lactose-free dairy option like Lactaid.


The bottom line is to consider what is best for you. Are you looking for a quality recovery option from a workout? Choose regular dairy, as it has been shown to stimulate protein repair and synthesis and replenish energy stores in the muscle. Soymilk is a good alternative in this situation if dairy is not an option for you. If you have a valid reason to not consume dairy milk, go for it. Simply be careful that you are not consuming extra of a non-dairy milk due to trendy news saying it is better for you. Each kind has its time and place.



Baked Parmesan Zucchini


  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.



*Recipe & photo by Chungah Rhee

Family Meals Benefit Childrens’ Long-Term Health

We recently moved.   Our new home has a larger dinning area which means it is time to upgrade our table.  My husband and I bought our dinning room table in 2001 while living in Oklahoma.  During the past 17 years that table has been moved six times in 5 different states.  It is the table that our children learned to eat at; it is covered in water stains and scrapes.  It has been the home to thousands of family meals.  I may have shed a few tears watching the young couple we gave it to load it up in their truck.  I could have possibly told the couple where all it has been and how long we’ve had it.  Our 10 year old told me I was being a little ridiculous when I became teary-eyed.  I can’t think of any other thing we have ever gotten rid of that I have missed.
The table meant so much because the family meals mean so much to me.  So when I came across this recent study published in Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics regarding family meals it really hit home.  It was the first to look at whether family meals created healthier kids or was it just a coincidence that healthier kids just so happen to eat more family meals.  The study followed children from when they were 5 months old to 10 years old.  They then compared their study results of those that did have more family meals to those who didn’t while able to account for preexisting traits of family dynamics.  Children that ate regular family meals where more fit, drank less sodas, had better social skills, were less aggressive and missed fewer days of school.
From a nutrition perspective family meals help increase fruit and vegetable consumption, improves a child’s variety of foods in their diet and helps with eating habits like eating slowly and not overeating.  Even if the food you are eating is take-out, put the phones down, turn off the TV and ask someone how their day was.  You will be so glad you did and so will they!  – MK