Healthy Meal Swaps in Honor of National Nutrition Month with Chicago Cubs Nutrition Consultant Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

Have you caught yourself slacking on the healthy New Year’s resolutions you made just two months ago? If getting back on the right track and eating right is on your list of things to conquer in the month of March, you are in luck! Registered dietitian and Chicago Cubs nutrition consultant, Dawn Jackson Blatner joined me yesterday to discuss the secret to living a healthy lifestyle and looking great. She also dished on healthy meal swaps that are not only easy, but delicious too!


Registered dietitian and Chicago Cubs nutrition consultant, Dawn Jackson Blatner. Image courtesy of

Registered dietitian and Chicago Cubs nutrition consultant, Dawn Jackson Blatner. Image courtesy of





Candace Rose: With March being National Nutrition Month, what’s the secret to living a healthy lifestyle and looking great?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “The first most important thing is look around at what you’re stocking for your snacks, because people are snacking more than they are eating meals these days. Do you have little hundred calorie packs of crackers and cookies? Those things aren’t going to keep you full. My new snacking obsession is the Chobani Simply 100. It’s a new product, and it’s the first and only 100 calorie authentic Greek yogurt that has no artificial sweeteners, so when you look at the ingredients it’s things you can pronounce- only natural ingredients- I love that!

When you think about that, a lot of people are out there counting calories. Instead of counting calories, I like the idea of making calories count, so when I look at that 100 calories of Chobani Simply 100, I say ‘I get 12 grams of protein, I get five grams of fiber.’ Protein and fiber make me feel full in between meals, that’s a great choice. I encourage people to look at what they’re stocking for snacks and is it something that they like the taste of…and is it healthy and something that is going to fill them up.”


Candace Rose: I hear that you shouldn’t have protein before bed. Is it okay to have Greek yogurt before you go to sleep? Or is something that you should only have have in the morning or mid-day?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “It’s a myth that you can’t have protein in the evening. Protein is a great nutrient all day and even through the evening. I have a sweet tooth, so after dinner, one of my favorite little tricks is to take the Chobani Simply 100 and blend it with frozen fruit (just a little bit) and it makes a real ‘nice cream’ (I call it). That’s a really smart way to say ‘Hey, I have a craving and do something smart about it instead of opposed to just deprive myself and have nothing.”


Candace Rose: I’ve heard that cauliflower mashed potatoes and cauliflower pizza crusts are delicious! Do you have any creative ways to eat vegetables?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “Did you know that cauliflower is the vegetable of the year? I love mashed cauliflower as a side dish to dinner.

Another cool thing is carrot fries. You can put those on the side of a sandwich or like a lean burger- or kale chips.

How to make kale chips: You take that big leafy green that can be pretty intimidating and rip it into chip shapes and pop it into a 400 degree oven with a little olive oil, a little sea salt. It’s delicious after eight minutes. It tastes like a chip, it crunches like a chip. I love that!”


Candace Rose: Do you have any tips on how to stay hydrated, especially those who aren’t used to or aren’t big fans of drinking water?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “It’s important to not just force-feed yourself water. You want to make it something that you look forward to drinking, so I love Mojito Water. This is where you have fresh lime squeezed with mint- so refreshing, so delicious.

I also like the idea of herbal tea, like a tangerine flavor. If you ice that, it’s so delicious. It’s a great way to get water with a little bit of natural flavor.”


Candace Rose: Speaking of water, is it true that we need eight glasses of water a day?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “I’m going to break you some news here about water- eight may be the very low end of things. Institute of Medicine says you may need nine glasses of water of water a day if you’re a woman, and up to 12 if you’re a man. A lot of water, important to keep it flavored so that you want to drink more of it.”


Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “Absolutely. Restaurants is another place that you could really think about doing some interesting swaps. The average restaurant meal- 1,500 calories. That’s a shocker, right?! So doing things like doing tacos at home, you crave it and you can make it light. You can make it delicious. Rotisserie chicken instead of ground beef, or avocado instead of cheese. Doing Greek yogurt for protein instead of sour cream. All those swaps make a delicious taco, but much lighter than you would get at a restaurant. So I think cooking at home, stocking up on the smart snacks that really satisfy you, having some fun with veggies- these are all things that you can actually do. These are not super hard. You can do these and have a lot of fun, and get good nutrition, especially in honor of National Nutrition Month.”


Candace Rose: Absolutely! Where can we go for more information?

Dawn Jackson Blatner: “For more information, I would love for you to go to – recipes, lifestyle tips. It’s really an excellent resource.”


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