Nathan Slinkard MS, RD, LD

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Healthy Choices Made Easy
You may ask yourself: "How am I supposed to make healthy food choices when there are so many mixed messages about nutrition today?!?" How often do you hear words like detox, keto, paleo, and alkaline thrown around and wonder what works and what doesn’t? The truth is that experimenting with fad diets on your own can range from time-consuming and difficult to downright dangerous!

The best decision is to work with experienced health professionals. When it comes to making healthy food choices, registered dietitians (RDs) are the ultimate experts at providing trusted, evidenced-based advice. Meeting with a registered dietitian can be pretty expensive, but did you know that students can schedule FREE one-on-one visits with the campus RD? Email me at or call 501-733-6854 to set up a consultation or get support achieving your goals. I am in office year round and look forward to meeting you!


Baked Tofu with Toasted Coconut Rice
6 Servings

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup yellow onion peeled and diced
1 clove garlic peeled and minced
1 1/2 cup brown rice dry, uncooked
3 cup water
1-2  whole cinnamon sticks
1-2  bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
12 ounces firm tofu drained and sliced (6 portions)
1 1/2 Tbsp Cajun spiced seasoning blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
On sheet pan, spread coconut in thin layer. Bake, stirring once, until coconut is lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
In stockpot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, garlic and rice. Saute until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add brown rice, water, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cardamom. Bring to a boil. Stir. Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer 35 minutes.
Remove cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.
Stir in coconut milk and toasted coconut. Cover and simmer 10 minutes more until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed.
While rice is cooking, increase oven to 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle Cajun seasoning over both sides of drained tofu slices.
On parchment-lined sheet pan, place tofu in single layer. Bake until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes.
To serve, portion rice on plate; top with tofu and 2-3 tablespoons grilled pineapple salsa (shown in picture).

Get the full nutrition facts for this recipe.

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April is Soy Foods Month

Soybeans are a complete protein, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids. Soy products are very nutritious and are rich in calcium, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins.

They are also abundant in isoflavones and phytoestrogens, which can act as antioxidants. In soy, these compounds can have both an estrogenic and antiestrogenic effect. Research has also demonstrated that soy can decrease LDL cholesterol.

However, soy continues to be a hot topic due to its potential effects on breast cancer, thyroid issues, testosterone changes, and cardiovascular health. More data is needed, but leading health authorities have made some recommendations.

Experts say that breast cancer patients can safely consume up to three servings of soy a day. Those taking synthetic thyroid medications should speak with their physician about diet changes, such as increased soy consumption. Also, soy does not affect testosterone levels in men who consume it in moderation. 

For more information speak with your registered dietitian.

Tips to Lower Stress

If you are feeling more stressed lately, you are not alone! Here are some tips on how to boost your mood and feel more relaxed:

  • Exercise - Physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce stress and boost your mood. Try some at-home workouts.

  • Meditate - Now may be a great time for you to try meditation and/or yoga at home. There are many free apps and online videos to help you get started.

  • Consume enough magnesium-rich foods - Magnesium is often lacking in American diets and a deficiency of the mineral can lead to increased stress and insomnia. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, Brazil nuts, avocados, and black-eyed peas are great sources.

  • Get enough complex carbohydrates - Complex carbs from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains provide a long-lasting source of energy and help the body to produce the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin.

  • Up your vitamin C intake - Vitamin C, which is abundant in citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries, boosts the immune system and can help lower the stress hormone, cortisol.

  • Incorporate more omega 3's into your diet - Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, sardines), nuts and seeds are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which may help the body better balance stress hormones.

Take a Step (Plant) Forward

Chances are you understand what it means to be vegetarian or vegan, but are you familiar with the concept of plant-forward? 

It simply means making plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes the majority of your plate.

In fact, it’s so simple that many people eat plant-forward meals without even realizing it.

“It’s all about letting vegetables and other healthy plant foods become the stars,” says Aramark Chef Andrew Bergholtz. “And there are countless delicious ways to achieve that.”Who better to teach us about plant-forward cooking than a professional chef? Knowing that this style of eating can be good for both our bodies and the world around us, we sat down with Chef Andrew to learn simple strategies for incorporating plant-forward techniques into everyday meals.

Learn more by reading the whole post on the Feed Your Potential 365 website.

About Healthy for Life 20 by 20
As part of our Healthy for Life® initiative, we are proud to be working with the American Heart Association to improve the health of Americans 20% by 2020 through healthy menu innovation, consumer and employee awareness & education and community based programs.

Visit to discover recipes, expert tips from chefs and dietitians, and more!

Nathan Slinkard MS, RD, LD
Have questions? Interested in a nutrition consultation?
Contact Nathan at or 501-733-6854