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Brian Higginson, RD, CD

Brian Higginson, RD, CD

Clinical Nutrition Specialist

Brian Higginson has always been interested in food. He grew up eating foods out of an organic garden, got raw milk from the cows up the street, and worked as a cook in a variety of settings. This interest in food eventually led to a Bachelors of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut, followed by the completion of a dietetic internship at Marywood University in Scranton, PA in 2000. Brian has been an RD at Swedish Medical Center for over 7 years. He enjoys teaching community classes and helping individuals to make lifestyle changes that enable them to reach their nutritional goals. His interests include cardiovascular health, diabetes, weight loss, digestive disorders, maternal health, incorporating organic/local foods, and teaching others to make good food a priority in their lives.

Blog Posts by Brian Higginson, RD, CD

Hearty Spinach and Bean Soup

Make Popeye proud! This satisfying soup is ready faster than you can say “I am what I am!” Fresh spinach, low in calories and high in phytonutrients, protein-packed beans and dashes of cinnamon and cumin make this soup super delish! Add depth with fire-roasted tomatoes or smoked paprika. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 24-ounce can low-sodium tomatoes, chopped, undrained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot stir in beans, tomatoes, onions, cinnamon, and cumin.
  2. Heat soup to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir spinach into soup. Season to taste with pepper.

Per serving: 147 calories, 9 gm protein, 29 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 gm fiber, 583 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK It’s easy to use spinach these days because it comes pre-bagged. Just rinse and cut off the stems. Spinach packs a wallop of beta-carotene and is rich in other vitamins and minerals.

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

There’s no simpler recipe that offers such hearty praise, so plan to serve this often to small and large groups. Cutting the potatoes into thick slices will keep the ends from burning. For variety, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the potatoes 5 minutes before they are done.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled (approximately 1 pound)
  • canola oil spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Cut potato in half lengthwise and each half into 4 wedges.
  3. Place wedges onto baking sheet and spray with oil all over.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.

Per serving (1 wedge, or 1/4): 48 calories, 1 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 16gm sodium

Healthy Hot Cereal

Of course oatmeal can stand alone on its heart-healthy merits. But in this easy new recipe—and with a couple of nutritionally charged ingredients—our old favorite gets an impressive makeover. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the water to boil
  2. Stir in oats, wheat germ, and flax.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in raisins, and cinnamon. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Per serving: 235 calories, 8 gm protein, 43 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 1 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 gm fiber, 10 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Double the hot cereal recipe on the weekend and microwave portions weekdays. Flax seed is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and helps boost the HDL cholesterol level. Put a freshly ground tablespoon on any morning breakfast. 

Bacon Fennel Stuffed Trout

We know you’re trying to eat more fish, so here’s a recipe that’s easy and elegant. And we’ve included a favorite comfort food: bacon! Serves 4. 

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 small trout, whole, deboned and butterflied (1½ pounds total)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat, lightly spray with cooking spray. Add bacon and cook until well done. Remove from heat and cut into strips.
  3. In the same pan, heat olive oil; add onion and fennel. Sauté until both have softened, 3 minutes. Add rosemary and chicken stock. Simmer until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in bacon.
  4. To stuff fish, lay open fish on cutting board; sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with lemon juice. Spread ½ of the cooked filling on the bottom side and close. Repeat with the second fish.
  5. Place fish on an oil-sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until fish flakes. To serve, cut fish in half across the body and plate each half.

Per serving: 294 calories, 37g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 13g fat, 3g sat fat, 5g mono fat, 106mg cholesterol,1g fiber, 200mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook We love trout for its great taste, as well as for its economical source of high quality protein. We also appreciate how it pairs well with mild vegetables, such as leeks and zucchini. If you’re not an expert with a knife, ask your butcher to fillet and butterfly the fish. They will happily exhibit their skill.

Baja Fish Tacos

Who says fish can’t be fun? Everyone loves tacos, and these don’t disappoint (serves 6). Made with black beans – a fiber superstar – and flaky white fish or shrimp, this casual entrée can be served with all the fixings from creamy avocados to spicy salsa. Any way you make it, this dish is high in Vitamin C and low in fat and calories.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz snapper, (substitute other firm white fish or shrimp)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 small can black olives, sliced
  • 1 15 ½ oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 whole wheat 12” tortillas, warmed in low oven

Directions

  1. Season fish with pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil and sauté red pepper, onion, garlic, and oregano. Place in a bowl.
  3. Sauté fish until cooked through, then flake into small pieces.
  4. Fold beans and olives into the fish and heat through. Add fish mixture to vegetables and sprinkle with lime juice.
  5. To make burrito, place mixture in center of tortilla with condiments. Fold opposite sides in and roll.

Per serving: 179 calories, 14 gm protein, 22 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fat, 0 gm saturated fat, 3 gm mono fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 7 gm fiber, 485 mg sodium

Asparagus and Salmon Frittata

 This egg white frittata makes a beautiful centerpiece for a light meal, brunch, or buffet. The salmon offers quality protein with Omega 3’s and the nutrient dense asparagus provides anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits. Add fruit salad and muffins and your family will say thank you!

Ingredients

  • 8 egg whites (1 cup egg substitute)
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup low-fat half-and-half
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ pound salmon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus cut in ½-inch pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites well. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk in half-and-half, cheese, salmon and lemon zest.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet with ovenproof handle, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté asparagus and garlic until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Spread out asparagus and pour in egg mixture. Lower heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes to allow bottom crust to form.
  4. Place in oven for 10 minutes to allow top to cook. Turn on broiler for 2 minutes to brown the top.

Per serving: 196 calories, 25g protein, 8g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 3g mono fat, 33mg cholesterol, 423mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK As the seasons change so does your frittata ingredients. Use spinach, arugula, broccoli, shredded potatoes, or tomatoes to add color and nutrition. This is a quick to fix comfort food that appeals to all. Tip: If you want to add more eggs, simply use the formula of 1 egg = 2 egg whites.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Dinner is all wrapped up! Skip the carryout and pick up an Asian Lettuce Wrap that gives heart-healthy, Vitamin B-6 rich lean ground turkey and Asian attitude. Hoisin and soy sauces add flavor and refreshing mint and crunchy cucumber complete these pretty packages. Serve as a substantial appetizer or add a fruit salad for a light meal. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¾ pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup peanut sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 butter lettuce or Savoy cabbage cups

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium high. Add onion and sauté until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, mint, and lime juice in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Add peanut, hoisin, and soy sauces to turkey. Stir and warm through.
  4. Place the mixture onto leaves and top with cucumber mixture. Fold sides over filling, roll up, and eat!

Per Serving (2 wraps): 209 calories, 24g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 8g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g mono fat, 53mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 305mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK With these ingredients on hand, you’ve got a meal in 15 minutes. Find peanut sauce and hoisin sauce next to the soy sauce in your grocery store.

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