Meet our Newest Nutrition Expert, Michelle Voss, RDN!

Eating your best isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be down right difficult; not to mention confusing, frustrating, and lonely. That’s why we think its essential to have a nutrition expert in your corner. Someone you can answer those tough nutrition questions you have, keep you accountable, and inspire you to have a little fun with your food. After all, eating well isn’t just about the nutrients. Its about the experience too.

At Around the Plate, we have an amazing team of dietitians who are ready to help you out. From answering your toughest food and nutrition related questions here on Around the Plate to meeting up with you one-on-one, our team of nutrition experts are here to make a difference for you and your family.

A few months ago, Sarah Schuetz, RDN joined our team. Sarah is not only our West Michigan Nutrition Expert, but the Store Director at thePlate Boutique in Grand Rapids, MI. Sarah wears many hats, but you’ll often find her sharing nutrition wisdom at in-store demos and cooking classes held at thePlate Boutique in Grand Rapids once month.

Today we’re excited to welcome another amazing dietitian to our team. Meet Michelle Voss, RDN, our new Central Michigan Nutrition Expert!

Michelle Voss

To help you get to know Michelle a bit better, we asked her a few questions.

What’s your signature dish? 

“My favorite thing to make is a homemade whole-wheat pizza topped with spinach and feta cheese.”

What 3 foods can always be found in your pantry? 

“I love oatmeal for breakfast and snacks so we always have it stocked, canned beans are quick and an easy way to add protein to a meal, and I keep a stash of dark chocolate on hand for those times when I need a treat. :)”

What’s your favorite foodie locale? 

“Fresh, local food is something I am passionate about, so my favorite foodie place would have to be the farmer’s market.”

If you only had one gadget in your kitchen, what would it be? 

“Definitely a sharp chef’s knife for chopping veggies!”

When you have the day off, how do you enjoy your time? 

“I try to keep active in my spare time by going to group exercise classes, running races with friends and going for walks. I also spend a lot of time looking for and trying new recipes found on Pinterest!

Who is your perfect client? 

“My perfect client would be someone who’s goal is to live a healthy lifestyle and who is willing to try new things.”

What excites you most about working at “thePlate”? 

“To quote Around the Plate’s motto, I’m most excited about helping others “live healthy” and “eat happy.”

Michelle is currently accepting new clients and would love to work with you! You can meet with Michelle in person at thePlate Boutique in downtown Mt. Pleasant or book an online meal planning session if you aren’t from the Central Michigan area. Sarah Scheutz, RDN can also see clients online.
To book your session, please contact us today for more information! And to learn more about Michelle, follow her on Twitter at @MichelleMarieRD.



5 Facts About Olive Oil You Should Know

Olive oil is a great type of fat to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle.  Rich in mono-unsaturated fats, it has the ability to have a positive affect on your overall health when utilized properly.  Get familiar with these 5 facts to make sure olive oil is doing the best job it can in your kitchen!

Olive Oil

Fact #1: It is best to use  Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) in cold dishes, like salad dressing or drizzled over a crusty piece of bread.  Being extra virgin means the extraction process was mechanical only and involved no heat to get the job done.  When heat is applied to EVOO it’s antioxidant properties diminish.  To keep nutrition high with this oil, keep it cool.

Fact #2.  If your olive oil lives in the cupboard above the stove, consider moving it to a new home.  The way olive oil is stored plays a key role in the maintenance of the oil and its healthy power.  Both heat and light will affect olive oil negatively.  To prevent olive oil rancidity and free radical formation, store olive oil in a cool dark place and away from the stove.

Fact #3. The FDA defines Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) very leniently, but in general it means the highest quality grade virgin olive oil. By many experts standards, what is often considered to be Extra Virgin is far more limited than what is found on the grocery store shelves.  According to Tom Meuller, an EVOO expert, two gold standard choices often found at your local grocery store across the country include Corto Olive and California Olive Ranch.  So on your next trip to the grocery store, choose wisely and keep an eye out for these two particular brands.

If you are fortunate enough to be near one of our retail store locations, we’re excited to be bringing in another high quality brand of olive oil, Sutter Buttes Olive Oil Co., into the store within the next month or two as well.

Fact #4. Not all olive oils are a good choice to use in the cooking process. This is, in part, due to fact number one, but also because EVOO has a low temperature smoke point.  The good news is, refined olive oil is safe to heat and use when cooking because it has about a 465 degree smoke point, vs EVOO which tops out between 320-400 degrees.

Fact #5.  Non-stick pans, even ceramic, don’t play well with EVOO.  EVOO and cooking sprays alike should not be used on these sort of pans as it can diminish the non-stick properties of the kitchenware by leaving a carbonized layer on top of the non-stick coating.  To keep non-stick pans in top notch condition think about using a refined olive or canola oil instead.

What sort of questions do you have about olive oil? I’d love to help you out! 

Infographic: Oats My Gosh!

Oats My Gosh! Infographic

Brought to you by: Pollock Communications in collaboration with Quaker Oats Center of Excellence

Let’s talk about oats, shall we? As a versatile whole grain, they can add a lot of nutrition to your plate and even make it easier to incorporate other nutrient-foods into your day. Take a simple bowl of oatmeal for example. Nuts and nut butters, seeds, fruit, and even veggies and lean proteins can be mixed in to your bowl. Its such an easy way to bring multiple foods together and enjoy a super hearty dish.

Related: 3 Creative Ways to Add Oats to Your Day 

But oats on their own are also a nutrient powerhouse. As the infographic above explains, adding oats to your day can increase your fiber, magnesium and iron intake for the day. Oats also contain some of your B vitamins too.

Given the many different types of oats available, it may seem as though some may offer more nutritional benefit than others. In reality though, all types of oats provide pretty similar nutritional benefit. When it comes to instant oats; consider purchasing unflavored varieties. Flavored instant oatmeal packets can often have added sugar and ingredients that you may not necessarily want. If you are worried that plain oats will be too drab, no worries! Remember, its easy to add flavor and nutrition with all sorts of delicious ingredient add-ins!

Related: Oats of Steel 

Personally, I’m a steel-cut oats type of girl. Sure, it takes a little bit longer to prepare, but I think its worth it. And a bowl isn’t the only place for your oats to go. Adding them to your favorite yogurt, topping off your favorite fruit and adding a dash of cinnamon, incorporating them into your homemade granola, or making those oh-so popular protein balls… really, the possibilities are endless!

So get ready to say “Oat My Gosh!” this month and do your heart a favor by giving oats a go. You may just find that incorporating oats into your day is a easy way to start creating more meals at home this year.

Do you enjoy oats? What’s your favorite way to incorporate them into your day? 

Be KIND to Yourself this New Year & Enter to Win a Box of KIND Bars!

How are those New Years resolutions going? Well, if you are like most people, the excitement may be starting to wain. In fact, this weekend could very well be called the make or break weekend; after all, today is “Ditch the Resolution” Saturday. Yep, its a thing. I looked it up.

We don’t want you to ditch your healthy eating goals though. No, this will be the year you are successful! Why? Because you have us on your team and we’re pretty good at seeing things through.

Change is hard though and there are often many reasons we don’t see resolutions through. Perhaps the goal set was unrealistic or perhaps the steps to get there were hard to implement. Or perhaps our expectations on how quickly the resolution would change our lives was inaccurate. After all, New Years resolutions are often pretty lofty goals that sound really great when we write them down or say them out loud, but when it comes down to implementation, they often require not just one change, but multiple changes that require consistency, dedication, and hard work. And while you are making those changes, its easy to be unprepared – especially if your new plan involves giving up certain foods you love!

I like to call this “phantom change;” where one positive change results in a compensatory change to make up for that food or foods you’ve given up and its not always a change for the good. This change is a secondary, possibly even unconscious one that is important to address. Because if you aren’t prepared for it, odds are good you’ll end up back where you started.

So how do you address phantom change? Well, when it comes to food, I think its important to set goals that don’t focus on elimination or deprivation. Instead, look for ways to enhance your meal plan by incorporating more of the foods your body needs that might be lacking. This way you are less likely to try and compensate for those foods you gave up. As you make changes to the way you eat, its also important to have super simple back ups so that you don’t get stuck eating too little and know that your diet is adequate no matter what. This is where back up foods become incredibly important. Perhaps its always having a piece of fresh fruit available on your counter or in your car. Or maybe its ensuring your fridge is always stocked up with a few of your favorite veggies or yogurt. Or maybe its even having a nutrient-rich snack bar in your bag at all times just in case you get hungry in between meals. Now many different bars on the market would work well for this purpose, but I was recently sent a box of KIND bars to review, and these really would make a great choice. They have a nice mix of healthy fats, protein and fiber to ensure your hunger is satisfied. When choosing a snack bar, this is important. You also want to make sure quality ingredients make up most of the ingredient list (think nuts, fruits, seeds, etc) and minimal sugar has been added. I like to be able to actually see real food in my snack bar, and KIND bars do a great job at that – just look at all the fruits and nuts in each one!  Snack bars really can be a way to conveniently keep on track while you’re picking up steam on meeting your overall healthy eating resolution.


If incorporating more nutrient-rich foods into your meal plan is a relatively new practice for you, these back up foods can make all the difference. It takes the pressure off to always try a new recipe or meal, and allows you to have a little wiggle room as you make change happen. Remember, change doesn’t and shouldn’t happen over night. Despite that, it can be very frustrating when you start incorporating better for you foods because it may be less convenient than the way you were eating before… at least in the beginning. It will get easier as you progress, and pretty soon you’ll be wondering why you weren’t eating more good-for-you eats all along.

So this year, we hope you’ll be KIND to yourself and have a few back up foods in place so that the pressure to meet your goal automatically is reduced. DON’T ditch the resolution today. Keep at it. You’ve got this! And if you need a little extra encouragement, you know where to find us!

Fun fact: We always have a few KIND bars in our “emergency stash” here at thePlate Boutique just in case hunger strikes. Running retail, there are many occasions where we just can’t leave to go and grab lunch and, even though I pack my lunch everyday, I sometimes get a bad case of munchies right around 3pm. KIND bars are one way to ensure I don’t leave work famished or hangry!

Love KIND bars as much as I do or need a stash for when hunger strikes? Thanks to our friends at KIND, we’re going to be giving away 10 bars to one lucky Around the Plate reader. To enter, follow the directions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait to see who wins? Use coupon code KINDNUTRITION15 and take 15% off and get FREE SHIPPING on a case of KIND now through February. Limit one discount per customer.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: Kati received a free box of KIND bars for her review. She was not monetarily compensated for this post and the opinions expressed are hers alone. We just thought you should know. For a full list of our disclosure and disclaimer policies, please read our legal page


9 Easy Ways to Add Lemon to Your Day

Food versatility is super important! The more versatile a food is, the more likely you are to incorporate it into your meal plan. Not only that, but you may also find your food budget becoming more manageable when you can get more bang for your buck with each food you purchase.

When it comes to versatility, one food in particular comes to mind for me – lemons! In fact, it is one food that I typically like to see in my clients kitchens. Why? Because they are so well-suited for a variety of dishes. Not to mention how nutrient-rich they are.

Lemon Slices

Although they aren’t at their peak this time of year, they are available all the time at local grocery marts.Despite the fact that this isn’t their prime season, I think they are an especially important addition to your meal plan throughout the winter months. Primarily because of their high antioxidant content. Did you know that 1/4 cup of lemon juice can provide 31% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C? Its true! But that’s not all you’ll find in a lemon. Both lemons and limes have unique flavonoids that have additional antioxidant properties; important for boosting immune function. So with each squeeze, just imagine all you’re doing for your health.

Believe it or not though, the juice isn’t the only nutrient-containing part of a lemon. In fact, a whole lemon will also provide your meal plan with some fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and copper. So… how do you use your lemon to maximize nutritional benefit?

We asked a few of our dietitian friends how they incorporate lemons into their day. Here are a few of their amazing suggestions:

  •  Put lemon slices in warm water and enjoy in the morning to get your digestive system up and going like Jessi Boehme, RD from the Muskegon Family YMCA does! Or get more creative and add some lemon tree leaves, garlic, ginger, and honey for a soothing remedy like the one Sarah Buist, RD uses for aiding sore throats, coughs, headaches, and sinus infections.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice into smoothies and salad dressings or even add to your milk when making pancakes instead of using buttermilk like Courtney Stinson, RD from Savor Life Nutrition. She also recommends adding it to your fruits, fruit salads and guacamole to prevent browning.
  • Our own nutrition expert, Sarah Schuetz, RD recommend placing lemon wedges under the skin of a whole chicken and cooking that way to infuse extra flavor into the meat. Of course, discard the skin when its ready to eat.
  • Add lemon zest and juice to your next batch of homemade chicken noodle soup like Katie Serbinski, RD does from Foodie Babies.

And this is really just the tip of the iceberg! Many of my Facebook friends also joined in on the conversation, and here were their ideas:

  • Add it to minced garlic while you’re sauteing
  • Combine lemon juice with honey and paprika and brush it onto chicken breast. Top with slices of lemon and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Add lemons, along with cucumbers and fresh mint, to a pitcher of water and enjoy all week long!
  • Add lemon zest to your sweets too! It an be a great way to boost the flavor in your favorite muffins, for example.
  • Enjoy it in a cup of ginger lemon tea

What ways do you enjoy adding lemon to your day? We’ll have a NEW recipe headed your way soon! But we’d love to know your most handy lemony tips. Share in the comments and help our readers out!