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

Dilled Cucumbers with Yogurt Dressing

What do you do with all those cucumbers in your garden? Here’s a refreshing salad that goes well with cold and hot dishes alike. One 8-inch cucumber has 12% of the daily minimum recommended amount of fiber. Serves 4.


  • 2 cucumbers, unpeeled, sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional

Yogurt dressing

  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 green onions, light green parts only, finely chopped


  1. Place cucumber slices in a bowl and add pepper, vinegar, and sugar. Gently stir to coat cucumbers and marinate for 15 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
  2. For dressing, stir together the yogurt, dill, and green onions.
  3. Drain cucumbers, then add to dressing and stir to blend. Garnish with dill.

Per serving: 86 calories, 5 gm protein, 15 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 4 gm cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 340 mg sodium (50 mg sodium without salt)

Delicious Yogurt Parfait

This nutritional power house—a favorite of all ages—packs nutrients from three food groups. Don’t leave home in the morning without it! You’ll also want to make extras (serves 4) to keep in the refrigerator at work or home for a midday pick-up—or for the kids’ after-school snack.


  • 3 cups nonfat plain yogurt
  • 12 ounces unsweetened fruit such as fresh or frozen berries and melon
  • 8 tablespoons low-fat granola


  1. Put about half of the yogurt in four separate bowls or clear tall glasses.
  2. Put half of the fruit on top of the yogurt followed by half of the granola.
  3. Repeat the process and serve.

Per serving: 151 calories, 11 gm protein, 27 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 150 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK To get the best yogurt, read the label. Make sure that the sugar content is low and the active yogurt cultures are listed in the first few ingredients.

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Red chili flakes and lime make this one-dish supper pop with flavor. This recipe (serves 4) also makes a fun buffet dinner. Everyone starts with a bowl of Pho (pronounced “fuh”) and chooses from a variety of toppings.


  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 7 cups water
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup snow peas, sliced
  • 8 ounces thin rice noodles (usually found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Basil


  1. In saucepan, bring chicken broth and 1 cup water to boil.
  2. Add chicken, ginger, and mushrooms. Simmer 5 minutes. Add snow peas and simmer 1 minute more.
  3. In a separate pot, bring 6 cups of water to boil for rice noodles.
  4. Break and stir in noodles. Remove from heat, cover, let stand 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
  5. Portion rice noodles and bean sprouts into deep soup bowls. Ladle on chicken broth mixture. Top with selection of green onions, red chili flakes, cilantro, basil, and lime.

Per serving: 376 calories, 29 gm protein, 54 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 2 gm mono fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 380 gm sodium

THE SEASONED COOK You may substitute other green vegetables, like broccoli or bok choy for the snow peas. Try fish or shrimp instead of chicken.

Green Bean and Citrus Salad

When the garden begins to flourish, you’ll be glad to have this refreshing salad on your menu. Whether the meal is casual or dressy, it doesn’t matter. This dish makes everything else taste better. Serves 4.

Try this with: Bountiful Barley Pilaf


  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and sliced into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 cups peas
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 orange
  • ⅔ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange peel, finely grated


  1. Boil green beans for 3 minutes and, if using frozen peas, add them to the beans for the last minute to just thaw. Beans should still be a bit crunchy. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and put in a bowl.
  2. Add the scallions, chives, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, grate the orange peel and mix in with the yogurt and fresh mint.
  4. Peel the remaining orange skin and fibers and cut into bite size pieces.
  5. Just before serving, add the dressing to the bean mixture. Place on each plate and garnish with the orange sections.

Per serving: 139 calories, 9 gm protein, 27 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 9 gm fiber, 100 mg sodium

Greek Chicken with Herbed Yogurt Sauce

Heart healthy and full flavored…it’s Greek to you! Marinated for moistness, chicken breasts say “opaa” when sauced with tangy low-fat yogurt spiked with fresh herbs and the Vitamin C and Limonene of lemon juice and lemon peel. Serves 4.


  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons oregano and parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless, skinless


  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon peel and juice, oregano, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Put the chicken into a dish and spread about ¼ cup of the yogurt sauce over the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate the remaining yogurt sauce.
  3. Place the chicken on a rack in a baking pan and bake in a preheated 375 °F oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven on to broil and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. (Adjust the rack higher if necessary)
  5. Spoon the remaining yogurt sauce over the chicken and serve with veggie confetti salad.

Per serving: 229 calories, 38 gm protein, 7 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, 1 gm sat, 1 gm mono, 96 mg cholesterol,1 gm fiber, 273 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK This chicken can accompany a variety of salads, including tabouli.

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Fruit

Get your creative juices flowing with grilled fruit! In just minutes you can achieve sweet caramelization that’s a no-brainer for dessert, but don’t miss bringing them to the table as an appetizer or side dish, or saving them for breakfast the next day. It’s easy to mix and match flavors and fruits to add color and jazz to any meal.

Grilled Peach and Sweet Onion Salsa


  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, diced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick pan spray
  • 3 peaches, peeled, halved, pit removed
  • 1 jalapeno chili, diced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Preheat grill. Toss onion with lime juice and salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Spray cut halves of peaches lightly and lay cut side down on hot grill. Grill on each side for about 3 minutes. Remove and cool; dice into ½ inch pieces.
  3. Combine peaches, chili, mint and sugar into onion mixture. Serve with grilled meat or fish.

Per serving: 51 calories, 1g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, --g fat, --g saturated fat, --g mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 197mg sodium

Grilled Strawberries


  • Wooden skewers
  • 1 pint whole strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar


  1. Preheat grill and soak 4 wooden skewers 60 minutes in water.
  2. Dust strawberries with powdered sugar and thread onto skewers.
  3. Grill berries over medium-hot fire for about 3 minutes per side or until they are slightly browned and warmed through.

Per serving: 35 calories, 1g protein, 8g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, --g fat, --g saturated fat, --g mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK You can serve fruit straight off the skewer for appetizers or desert; slice fruit and combine with mint to accompany grilled salmon or chicken; or serve over ice cream or under a dollop of low-fat sour cream or yogurt for a light finish or easy breakfast the next day.

Spanish Baked Omelet

Spanish tapas, or small plates, are all the rage, and you’ll almost always find an omelet on the menu at a tapas bar. Ours is heart-healthy with a variety of vegetables including low calorie eggplant, anti-oxidant rich zucchini and fresh mushrooms. Serve tapas-style in small squares, or in wedges with a fruit salad for a complete meal.


  • 1 small peeled eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 teaspoon each black pepper, paprika
  • 8 eggs or 4 eggs and 8 egg whites
  • 4 slices from large tomato


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Put diced eggplant in colander; lightly sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. After 30 minutes, rinse well with cold water and drain. Pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in large skill over medium heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, raisins, black pepper and paprika.
  4. Lightly coat a quiche pan or 9” baking dish with nonstick spray.
  5. Beat eggs in large bowl. Then add vegetables and stir together. Pour mixture into baking dish. Place the tomato slices on top. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until inserted fork comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

Per serving: With 8 eggs: 160 calories, 11 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrate, 9 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 4 gm mono, 282 mg cholesterol, 4 gm fiber, 489 mg sodium With 4 eggs and 8 egg whites: 134 calories, 11 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrate, 6 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono, 141 mg cholesterol, 4 gm fiber, 515 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK A second zucchini or summer squash can be substituted for the eggplant. To lower cholesterol content, use 4 eggs and 8 egg whites instead of 8 eggs.

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