Meet the Super Fruit Sidekicks
A group of taste makers, educators, and food lovers who share our passion for enjoying a happier, healthier life.
Tara Rybicki is a registered dietician and is joining our team of fruit-loving friends, serving as our Nutrition Advisor. As a contributor to our blog, she will share recipes, cooking tips, and a whole lot more.
Q: You’ve devoted your career to nutrition. Why?
A: It’s my passion. And, after becoming a mother, I became especially passionate about teaching children and their families how to nourish their bodies.
Q: Families are busy. What advice can you offer for creating healthy snacks and dinners?
A: Hey, I get it! I’m a working mom of two little girls, so I like to keep things simple AND easy. For example, a handful of berries (fresh, frozen or dried – depending on the day) together with a handful of walnuts thrown in a bowl deeply nourishes the body and the brain and takes little time to serve.
Q: On the weekend, were might we find you…?
Foraging! My husband and I are novice foragers and love identifying and eating plants from our yard and teaching the girls what is safe to eat and what is not. I like the plant identification website www.ediblewildfood.com.
More Tara Tidbits:
Tara Rybicki is a Community Health Coordinator and Diabetes Education Coordinator at Munson Medical Center, Traverse City, MI. Tara received her Master of Science Degree in Nutrition from Central Michigan University. She’s been a Registered Dietitian since 2003 and went on to gain further credentialing as a Certified Diabetes Educator in 2011.
Revolutionary Pastry Chef With a Healthy Sweet Tooth
In 1992 I started baking my first healthy desserts and inspired by my personal story of hypoglycemia. I became the first healthy pastry chef in Mexico, one of the first in the world. I graduated with honors from the French Pastry School; since then, I have spent 26 years teaching, consulting for major restaurants, bakeries and doing recipe development for companies such as Starbucks and Bulletproof. I pioneered the first classes, workshops and healthy baking programs specializing in paleo, grain free, whole grain, vegan and keto recipes. Currently, I am creating the fist healthy baking school and bakery in the world in Austin.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Healthy
Plan ahead! Buy frozen veggies, fruits, prepare your organic veggies (wash them and store them) so you can immediately make anything. I like to prep on Monday and make a few containers of veggies, rice or cauliflower rice and salmon that I can turn into different dishes in no time. For snacks, I keep boxes of my favorite bars or organic and sprouted nuts and seeds on hand. If I need to travel or have something on the go, I just pack some in a bag so I am prepared and don’t have emergencies. This is important for me because I have hypoglycemia.
Favorite Graceland Fruit Products
I love the no added sugar dried cranberries so much! And the Montmorency dried cherries -- I put them on my salads and add them to my cookies and bars.
Instagram feed Vanessa enjoys: @thefeedfeed
When not in the kitchens, you might find Vanessa…
Exploring bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, reading recipes online, walking, traveling to cities like NYC, Chicago, LA. I love self-development, entrepreneurship, social media and nutrition and listen to a lot of podcasts.
Connect with Vanessa:
Chocolate-loving Physician Assistant With a Strong Belief That Food is Medicine
I am a full time Physician Assistant in Family Medicine and have a huge interest in nutrition and wellness. I believe that food is medicine and that what we consume can either hurt or heal our bodies. I love working with women who have (or have had) chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and autoimmune conditions and aim to help them find healing through healthy food.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Healthy
- Prepare in advance! I’m super busy and always on the go, so being prepared is key for not pining for the nearest drive thru or vending machine when hunger strikes! I recommend planning out your meals for the week. This way, you're purchasing healthy ingredients without creating waste.
- Wash & Cut: Plan time to wash and chop your vegetables right when you get home from shopping. You can also portion out meat (I like to portion chicken into 1 or 1 ½ pound freezer bags). These tips make mealtime a cinch!
- Slow & Low: The slow cooker is your best friend!
- Simple Snacks: For snacks, I like homemade granola bars, trail mix, or have fruit washed, cut and ready for snacking.
Favorite Graceland Fruit Products
My husband and I love all of them, but particularly the No Sugar Added Dried Cranberries! And the organic blueberries, too! I add the cranberries to granola bars and salads, and often will make my husband a batch of peanut butter granola bars with dried blueberries. So good!
Instagram feed Kasey enjoys
So many to pick from! I’m a sucker for the recipes that Tieghan Gerard (@HalfBakedHarvest) creates, and I can’t get enough of Jessica Merchant’s (@HowSweetEats) wittiness and creative food combinations! Also, Erin from @TheAlmondEater has the most stunning photos and cakes! I get my inspiration from so many places!
When not in the kitchens, you might find Kasey…
Probably at the gym, doing yoga, or in the kitchen! I also love visiting the farmer’s market and hanging out at the beach in the summer!
Second Act Career?
I would absolutely love to take my blog full time. I love the idea of working from home and making a living helping others improve their health.
Connect with Kasey:
Colleen Christensen, RD
Owner of Mitten Dietitian
Professional ExperienceI am a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders and disordered eating recovery through a non-diet, intuitive eating approach. I am also a recipe developer and food photographer who firmly believes life is too short for boring food!
Tips and Tricks for Cooking HealthyKeep it simple! Not every meal has to be a Pinterest worthy recipe! Simply combine a few items you love from various food groups.
Favorite Graceland Fruit ProductsI’m a sucker for blueberries! They remind me of my favorite season, summer, when I spend hours picking them! I love throwing them in on chicken or tuna salad for a touch of sweetness.
Website Colleen enjoysI really love the recipes from Foodandnutrition.org, the website of the Food and Nutrition Magazine published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!
When not in the kitchens, you might find Colleen…I love to run! To me, running is like moving meditation. I am able to think so clearly and come up with my most creative ideas when I am out on a long run.
Second Act Career?I would be a doggy daycare owner and hang out with my beagle Theo all day!
Share a recipe made with Graceland Fruit Products
Connect with Colleen:
Have a super power to share?
Interested in becoming a sidekick?