All Things Fit With Food

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Photo by Kate Sayre
Photo by Kate Sayre

As we prepare to welcome our first child in the next few weeks, I am spending a fair amount of time thinking of how to nourish him or her. I am a dietitian after all, so food is always on my mind. Like any parent, I want what is best for my child, both physically so that he or she meets her nutritional needs, and mentally as what we eat is always about more than just the items on our plates. I want our little one to know how to eat balanced and feel good about providing nutrition for a growing body. For my family, this means promoting an “all foods fit” approach and encouraging variety of all types. What this looks like in our household may be a Meatless Monday one night where we prepare Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers, and then grabbing a Carne Deshebrada (shredded beef) burrito from Carrburritos a few nights later. As I tell all my clients, what works for one person or family may not be what is best for another, so personalizing our diets is important.

Not only is variety palate pleasing, but it also helps us to meet our nutritional needs. I encourage you this fall to find a couple of new recipes to try and maybe even step out of your comfort zone. You may try a vegetarian or vegan meal, go to the farmers’ market and purchase food that is in season and local, or taste a cultural cuisine that differs from what you are accustomed to. Visiting a Registered Dietitian to assess your needs is always a good option, too!

Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Recipe from Minimalist Baker
Serves 4


●      12 cups (2880 ml) water
●      1 cup (185 g) uncooked brown rice
●      1 Tbsp. (15 ml) grapeseed oil
●      1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced (55 g)
●      1/2 tsp. ground cumin
●      1/4 tsp. sea salt
●      1/3 cup (85 g) chunky red or green salsa, plus more for topping
●      1/4 cup (15 g) cilantro, plus more for serving

●      4 poblano peppers, skin on
●      1 tsp grapeseed oil

●      1 15-oz. (425 g) can pinto beans, lightly drained
●      1/4 tsp. ground cumin
●      Sea salt to taste

Toppings, optional
Vegan Green Chili Queso (we tried this and really liked it)
● Hot sauce
● Fresh cilantro
● Sliced avocado


  1. Add 12 cups water to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add rice and cook for 30 minutes. Then drain for 30 seconds, return to pot off of heat, and cover for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, preheat oven to high broil and place a rack at the top of your oven.
  3. Lightly brush whole poblano peppers with oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil on high for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until lightly blistered.
  4. Turn oven off broil and preheat to 375 F.
  5. Once peppers cool, peel away any blistered skin and use a paring knife to cut out the stem. Also cut a slit down one side of the pepper and use your hands or a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Set aside.
  6. Heat a large metal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp. oil and onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  7. Next add cooked rice, cumin, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, salsa and cilantro. Stir to combine.
  8. In a separate small saucepan over medium heat, add pinto beans and season with cumin and sea salt to taste. Once bubbly and hot, remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Place peppers in a lightly greased, large baking dish (9×13-inch is best) and scoop generous amounts of the rice filling into each pepper using a spoon. Top with beans and a bit more salsa and cover the dish with foil.
  10. Bake peppers at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes uncovered. The longer they bake, the more tender the peppers will become.
  11. Let cool slightly before serving with desired toppings.

Thanks for reading! This is my last blog for a bit as I am taking a leave of absence to learn the ins and outs of being a new mom. I look forward to blogging again later this fall. -Kate


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Kate Sayre

Kate Sayre is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients through her private practice and works in the Department of Nutrition at UNC. On the 1st and 15th of every month, she guest blogs here. 
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