5-Ingredient Vegan Bolognese with Lentils: Quick and Easy Comfort Food

5-Ingredient Vegan Bolognese with Lentils: Quick and Easy Comfort Food

This recipe takes our Vegan Bolognese with Lentils concept and turns it into a super speedy, 5-ingredient wonder! Perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re craving a comforting and flavorful pasta dish without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Key features of this recipe:

  • Incredibly Easy: Only 5 ingredients and minimal prep work needed!
  • Customizable: Feel free to add additional herbs or spices to personalize the flavor.
  • Pantry Staples: This recipe utilizes ingredients you might already have on hand.

Why Use Lentils?

Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, offering a variety of health benefits:

  • Rich in Plant-Based Protein: They’re a complete protein source for vegetarians and vegans, aiding in muscle building and repair.
  • High in Fiber: Fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer, promotes gut health, and can help manage blood sugar levels.
  • Excellent Source of Iron: Iron carries oxygen throughout your body, and lentils are a great plant-based source to combat fatigue.
  • Packed with Folate: Folate is crucial for cell growth and development, especially important during pregnancy.
  • Supports Heart Health: Lentils may help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, contributing to a healthy heart.

5-Ingredient Vegan Bolognese with Lentils

Julie Pace, RDN
Craving a comforting meal in a flash? This 5-Ingredient Vegan Bolognese with Lentils is your answer! Packed with flavor, fiber, and protein, this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or when you're short on time.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 jar 24oz Rao's Homemade Arrabbiata Spicy Marinara
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups green lentils, cooked
  • 7 oz Barilla whole wheat fettuccine pasta
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth for cooking lentils (optional)
  • homemade vegan parmesan for topping optional
  • fresh basil leaves for topping optional


  • Cook dry green lentils according to package directions. When done. Set aside.
  • When lentils are halfway through cooking, start cooking noodles as directed.
  • In a large saucepan, add cooked lentils, drained pasta, and Rao's sauce. Simmer 3-4 minutes until heated.
  • Top with optional ingredients, if desired.
Keyword 5 ingredient, easy vegan dinner

Get Heart Smart & Strong: Holistic Tips for Heart Health

Get Heart Smart & Strong: Holistic Tips for Heart Health

May is Women’s Health Month, but prioritizing your heart health shouldn’t be confined to a single month. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for women in the United States, but unlike men, women often experience different symptoms and risk factors.

The good news? You have tremendous power to influence your heart health through a holistic approach that goes beyond just medication. This approach focuses on nourishing your body, nurturing your mind, and cultivating healthy habits for a strong heart and a vibrant life.

Protecting Your Heart with Nutrition:

The food you choose plays a vital role in keeping your heart healthy. A heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally.

  • Embrace the Power of Plants: Fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These nutrient-rich foods are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins that help regulate blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation – all key players in heart health.

  • Think Healthy Fats: Don’t shy away from healthy fats like those found in avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. These fats promote satiety, improve blood vessel function, and even boost mood – a win-win for your heart and overall well-being.
  • Add Plant-Based Proteins: Incorporate beans, lentils, and chickpeas in your meals to add fiber and protein supporting both gut health and your heart. Avoid processed meats and opt for healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling, or steaming.

  • Minimize Added Sugars & Processed Foods: Processed foods often contain high amounts of added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats, all of which can contribute to weight gain and inflammation, putting a strain on your heart. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Nurturing Your Mind & Body

Beyond the power of your plate, a holistic approach to heart health prioritizes nurturing both your body and mind. This translates to activities that strengthen your physical well-being, promote quality sleep, and equip you with tools to manage stress effectively.

  • Move Your Body Regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Find activities you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, swimming, brisk walking, or joining a fitness class.

  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly. When you’re well-rested, your body has a chance to repair and recharge, keeping your stress levels down and your heart healthy.

  • Manage Stress Effectively: Chronic stress can raise blood pressure and negatively impact your heart health. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
  • Develop a Strong Social Network: Strong social connections promote emotional well-being and can even reduce the risk of heart disease. Nurture your relationships with loved ones, join a support group, or volunteer in your community.

Remember: Small changes add up to big results! Start by incorporating a few of these tips into your daily routine.

Additional Resources:

By focusing on a holistic approach to heart health, you can empower yourself to live a longer, healthier, and more vibrant life. Take charge of your well-being, nourish your heart from the inside out.

Uncertain where to start? Our registered dietitians can help you create a heart-healthy eating plan tailored to your preferences and covered by most insurance. Schedule a consultation and invest in your health.

Top 5 Fruits to Treat Constipation, According to a Dietitian

Top 5 Fruits to Treat Constipation, According to a Dietitian

Constipation is a common digestive issue that affects many individuals. It’s actually the most common digestive complaint in the United States. It occurs when bowel movements become less frequent or difficult to pass. While occasional constipation is usually not a cause for concern, chronic constipation can be uncomfortable and may require intervention.

Fortunately, incorporating certain fruits into your diet can help alleviate and prevent constipation naturally. In this article, we’ll explore what constipation is, its causes, how to prevent or treat it, and the top five fruits recommended by a dietitian for managing constipation effectively.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week or having difficulty passing stool. Symptoms of constipation may include straining during bowel movements, hard or lumpy stools, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. Constipation can occur for various reasons, including dietary factors, dehydration, lack of physical activity, and certain medical conditions.

Causes of Constipation

Several factors can contribute to the development of constipation, including:

  • Low fiber diet: A diet low in fiber can lead to hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
  • Dehydration: Inadequate fluid intake can result in dry and hard stools, making them harder to pass.
  • Lack of physical activity: Regular physical activity helps stimulate bowel movements by promoting the contraction of intestinal muscles.
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to stool remaining in the colon for an extended period, causing it to become harder and more difficult to pass.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as opioids, antidepressants, and antacids containing calcium or aluminum, can cause constipation as a side effect.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), hypothyroidism, and diabetes, can contribute to constipation.

How to Prevent or Treat Constipation

Preventing and treating constipation involves adopting healthy dietary and lifestyle habits. Here are some tips to help prevent or alleviate constipation:

  • Eat a fiber-rich diet: Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your meals to ensure an adequate intake of dietary fiber.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and prevent stool from becoming dry and hard.
  • Be physically active: Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or cycling, to promote healthy bowel function and prevent constipation.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body’s natural cues and respond promptly to the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Manage stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, as stress can contribute to digestive issues, including constipation.

Top 5 Fruits to Treat Constipation

When it comes to managing constipation naturally, certain fruits stand out for their effectiveness. Here are the top five fruits recommended by a dietitian for preventing and treating constipation:

1. Kiwi

Kiwi is rich in fiber, particularly soluble fiber, and contains an enzyme called actinidin, which aids digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Additionally, kiwi is packed with vitamin C, which supports overall gut health.

A study demonstrated that incorporating two gold kiwifruits into one’s daily diet, which equates to a standard serving of fruit, can be as effective as consuming fiber-matched psyllium in treating constipation among adults. Notably, this natural approach exhibited fewer side effects and contributed to improved stool consistency and reduced straining during bowel movements.

2. Pears

Pears are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them effective in softening stool and promoting bowel regularity. Incorporating pears into your diet can help prevent constipation and alleviate symptoms of existing constipation.

However, while pears are a healthy choice for many, individuals with allergies or sensitivities to related fruits should exercise caution. Additionally, those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or those following a low FODMAP diet may consider avoiding pears due to their high sorbitol and fructose content. These compounds can trigger diarrhea, especially in children.

3. Bananas

Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps maintain proper fluid balance in the body and prevents dehydration, a common contributor to constipation. Additionally, bananas contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that aids digestion and promotes regular bowel movements.

Bananas can either alleviate or exacerbate constipation, depending on their ripeness. An unripe banana might worsen constipation, whereas a ripe one could help alleviate it. However, the impact may differ based on an individual’s dietary habits and underlying health conditions such as IBS.

4. Prunes

Prunes, or dried plums, are well-known for their laxative effects and are often used as a natural remedy for constipation. They are high in insoluble fiber, sorbitol, and natural sugars, all of which contribute to their effectiveness in promoting bowel regularity and relieving constipation.

5. Apples

Apples contain a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as natural sugars and water content, making them effective in preventing and treating constipation. The fiber in apples adds bulk to stool, while the natural sugars and water content help soften stool and facilitate its passage through the digestive tract.

Incorporating these fruits into your diet can help promote regular bowel movements and alleviate constipation naturally. Whether eaten fresh, dried, or blended into smoothies, these fruits offer natural and effective ways to manage constipation and maintain optimal digestive health.

If you’re looking for personalized guidance on improving your gut health or addressing any digestive concerns, schedule a consultation with Julie Pace, Registered Dietitian at Core Nutrition Health and Wellness for a customized plan tailored to your unique needs to help you achieve optimal digestive wellness. Take the first step towards better gut health by booking your consultation today.

How to Make Informed Food Choices

How to Make Informed Food Choices

Making informed food choices is crucial for promoting both personal health and environmental sustainability. When we consider where our food comes from and how it’s produced, we empower ourselves to make decisions that benefit not only our own well-being but also our environment.

From Farm to Table: Understanding the Journey of Your Food

Understanding the journey of your food, from farm to table and making informed food choices, while embracing sustainability, is multifaceted and intertwines personal health and environmental stewardship. Each step in this journey involves making informed food choices that prioritize both individual well-being and the planet’s vitality.

Sustainability involves practices that uphold the ecological balance of our planet, ensuring the longevity of natural resources while promoting human health. From the selection of seeds to the harvesting of crops, every decision made by farmers contributes to the sustainability of our food system.

Informed food Choices & Sustainability

As consumers, our role in the journey is equally significant. Through informed food choices, we have the power to influence the course of our food’s journey. Opting for locally sourced, organically grown produce and supporting farmers who prioritize sustainable practices are integral steps in this process.

Also, embracing sustainability in our food journey extends beyond just consumption. It involves fostering a deeper connection with the food we eat, understanding its origins, and appreciating the efforts of those involved in its production.

In essence, sustainability is a collaborative venture that emphasizes the interconnectedness of human health and environmental well-being. By making informed food choices rooted in sustainability, we not only nourish our bodies but also cultivate a healthier planet for future generations.

Why It Matters

In today’s world, the concept of sustainability has transcended beyond buzzword status; it has become a cornerstone of responsible living. But why does sustainability matter, particularly in the context of our food choices and overall health?

First and foremost, sustainability ensures the preservation of our planet’s resources for future generations. By making informed food choices that prioritize sustainability, we mitigate the depletion of natural resources such as water, soil, and energy, safeguarding the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Also, sustainability directly impacts human health. Sustainable food systems promote the consumption of nutrient-rich foods that support overall well-being. By opting for sustainably sourced fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, individuals can enhance their diets while reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Additionally, embracing sustainability fosters social equity and economic stability. Sustainable farming practices promote fair labor conditions and support local communities, ensuring that everyone involved in the food production chain receives fair compensation and opportunities for advancement.

In reality, sustainability matters because it serves as the heartbeat of a thriving, interconnected ecosystem where informed food choices lead to improved health outcomes for individuals and the planet alike. By practicing sustainability in our daily lives, we pave the way for a brighter, more resilient future.

Understanding Sustainable Farming

Sustainable farming, a cornerstone of informed food choices, goes beyond mere cultivation practices—it’s a commitment to nurturing the land while safeguarding the health of both consumers and the environment. At its core, sustainable farming prioritizes health by promoting agricultural methods that enhance soil fertility, minimize chemical inputs, and prioritize biodiversity.

In embracing sustainability, farmers adopt techniques aimed at conserving natural resources and reducing environmental impact. These methods include crop rotation, organic fertilization, and integrated pest management, which collectively foster healthier ecosystems and resilient food systems.

Also, sustainable farming champions the principle of “food with a story.” By connecting consumers with the origins of their food, it fosters transparency and trust in the agricultural process. This transparency empowers individuals to make informed food choices aligned with their values and concerns regarding health and environmental stewardship.

From reducing carbon emissions to conserving water and preserving wildlife habitats, the benefits of sustainable farming ripple far beyond the boundaries of the farm. It represents a holistic approach to food production—one that not only feeds the world but also nurtures the planet for generations to come.

Essentially, sustainable farming embodies the ethos of responsible agriculture, where the well-being of the land, the farmer, and the consumer converge in harmony. As consumers, embracing sustainability empowers us to support agricultural practices that prioritize health and environmental vitality, paving the way for a more resilient and nourished future.

The Impact of Your Purchasing Power

As consumers, the choices we make regarding the food we purchase and consume have considerable influence. Opting for locally sourced, in-season, and sustainably grown food not only contributes to our own well-being but also minimizes our ecological footprint. Shopping at farmers’ markets or participating in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are excellent avenues for making such choices.

Your purchasing decisions have considerable influence on the food system, shaping both personal health and the trajectory of sustainability. By making informed food choices, you not only nourish yourself but also contribute to the broader environmental and social landscape.

Consider the Impact of Food Choices

Every item you place in your shopping cart reflects a vote for the type of food system you wish to endorse. Opting for locally sourced, in-season, and sustainably grown products not only promotes your own health but also minimizes your ecological footprint. This conscious choice supports farmers who prioritize environmental stewardship and ethical practices.

Support Sustainable Practices

Choosing products with certifications such as organic or fair trade signifies your commitment to sustainability. These labels indicate that the food was produced in a manner that respects both people and the planet. By actively seeking out these designations, you incentivize businesses to adopt more environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices.

Embrace Sustainability

Embracing a mindset of mindful consumption empowers you to make choices that align with your values. Whether it’s opting for plant-based alternatives, reducing food waste, or supporting local farmers’ markets, each decision has the potential to drive positive change. Together, our collective actions can create a more equitable and sustainable food system for future generations.

Basically, your purchasing power extends far beyond the checkout counter—it’s a catalyst for change in the realm of food production and consumption. By leveraging this power to prioritize health and sustainability, you play a vital role in shaping a brighter and more resilient future for all.

Food Choices & Food Labels

Interpreting food labels empowers us to make informed food choices. Terms like “organic,” “free-range,” or “non-GMO” offer insights into how food was cultivated or processed. Familiarizing ourselves with label terminology facilitates decision-making aligned with our values and preferences.

Navigating food labels is crucial for making informed food choices that prioritize both health and sustainability. Here’s a breakdown of key terms and what they mean:

  • Organic: Products labeled as organic are produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Choosing organic options supports sustainability by promoting healthier soil and reducing chemical runoff into the environment.
  • Non-GMO: Non-GMO labels indicate that the product does not contain genetically modified ingredients. Opting for non-GMO foods supports health and helps preserve biodiversity by avoiding genetically engineered crops.
  • Fair Trade: Fair Trade certification ensures that products are sourced from producers who receive fair wages and work under humane conditions. Supporting Fair Trade products promotes social equity and sustainability in agricultural practices.
  • Grass Fed: This label indicates that animals were fed a diet primarily consisting of grass or forage. Grass-fed meat and dairy products often contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, promoting both animal welfare and human health.
  • Sustainable Sourced: Products labeled as sustainably sourced are harvested or produced in a manner that minimizes environmental impact and promotes long-term ecological balance. Choosing sustainably sourced foods supports health by ensuring the availability of nutritious options for future generations.

Understanding these labels empowers consumers to make informed food choices that align with their values and contribute to both personal health and global sustainability.

Key Takeaways

To sum it up, making informed food choices involves considering various factors beyond taste and convenience. By understanding the journey of food from farm to table, prioritizing sustainability, and paying attention to label information, we can contribute to both personal well-being and environmental preservation.

Let’s celebrate National Nutrition Month® by embracing choices that go beyond the dining table, nurturing our bodies, communities, and the planet at large.

Whether your goal is to improve your health through nutrition or live a more sustainable lifestyle, we are committed to supporting you in achieving your health and wellness goals. Call or book an appointment.

Plant-Based Foods for Weight Loss and Health

Plant-Based Foods for Weight Loss and Health

In a world where health-conscious food choices are on the rise, adopting a whole food plant-based diet has emerged as a powerful strategy for weight loss and overall health. This approach prioritizes nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods derived from plants, offering many health benefits for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. To gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of plant-based foods for weight loss, let’s start by exploring one of its fundamental components: fruits and vegetables.

Eat A Rainbow of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

A whole food plant-based diet is full of fruits and vegetables, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These colorful antioxidant rich foods not only support weight loss by providing a low-calorie density but also contribute to overall health with their disease-fighting properties. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals ensures a diverse range of nutrients. Be sure to include these delicious low-calorie, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables on a regular basis:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts. Roast, steam, or stir-fry them, they’re delicious in any form.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, swiss chard, and arugula are powerhouses of essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Pack them into salads, blend them into smoothies, or into your morning scramble.
  • Fruits: Berries, apples, pears, and citrus fruits are naturally sweet, satisfying cravings without sugar spikes. Snack on them fresh, frozen, or blended into refreshing smoothies.

Plant-Based Proteins for Sustained Energy

Contrary to common misconceptions, plant-based diets can offer adequate protein for building and maintaining muscle mass and supporting weight loss. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans, along with tofu and tempeh, are excellent sources of plant-based proteins. These foods not only provide the necessary amino acids but also offer fiber, promoting gut health and and satiety. Be sure to get a variety of these powerhouse proteins:

  • Lentils and Beans: These small but mighty proteins keep you feeling full and fueled. Try them in hearty stews, satisfying salads, and creamy dips.
  • Tofu and Tempeh: These soy-based proteins are delicious and versatile making a delicious plant-based alternative.
  • Seitan and Nutritional Yeast: This wheat gluten-based meat alternative and deactivated yeast can provide a satisfying texture and a savory umami boost, perfect for stir fries and vegan roasts.

Whole Grains for Sustained Energy Release

Whole grains are a vital component of a well-rounded plant-based diet. Opt for organic grains like quinoa, wild rice, and oats, which are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. These foods provide a steady release of energy, helping to curb cravings and maintain stable blood sugar levels, essential for weight management. Here’s a few of my favorite recipes to help you incorporate whole grains into your meals:

Weight Loss Friendly Fats: Nuts, Seeds, and Avocados

Including sources of healthy fats is crucial for a balanced diet. Nuts, seeds, and avocados offer a satisfying dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy and can support weight loss. The key is moderation; incorporating these nutrient-dense fats in moderation can enhance flavor and satiety without compromising your weight loss goals.

Minimizing Processed Foods and Added Sugars

To truly embrace a whole food plant-based approach, it’s essential to minimize processed foods and added sugars. Whole foods in their natural state provide a broad spectrum of nutrients without the empty calories and artificial additives found in processed alternatives. This shift not only aids in weight loss but also supports overall health and longevity.

Practical Tips for Transitioning to a Whole Food Plant-Based Lifestyle

As you embark on your journey towards a whole food plant-based lifestyle, consider these practical tips to make the transition smoother:

Gradual Shifts for Long Term Success

Rather than making drastic changes overnight, gradually shift towards a plant-based diet. Start by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins into your meals. This approach allows your taste buds and digestive system to adapt, increasing the likelihood of long-term success.

Experiment with Flavorful Plant-Based Recipes

Explore the wide variety of plant-based recipes available, from hearty salads to savory stews. Experimenting with flavors and textures not only keeps meals exciting but also dispels the myth that plant-based eating is bland or monotonous. Embrace herbs, spices, and diverse cooking methods to create delicious, satisfying dishes.

Stay Hydrated and Listen to Your Body

water infused with fruits and herbs

Proper hydration is a key aspect of any healthy lifestyle. Water not only supports overall bodily functions but can also aid in weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Fruit-infused water serves as a delightful and refreshing solution for individuals who find plain water unappealing. By infusing water with a medley of fruits, such as citrus slices, berries, or herbs, one can transform the taste without adding extra calories or sugars. This infusion not only enhances the flavor but also provides a subtle hint of natural sweetness, making it a more enticing option for those who struggle to meet their daily water intake goals.


Starting a whole food plant-based journey for weight loss and overall health is a rewarding choice. By prioritizing fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, you not only support your weight management goals but also promote a resilient and thriving body. Remember, the key lies in making sustainable choices that resonate with your unique preferences and lifestyle.

Schedule a personalized consultation to tailor these principles to your unique journey. Whether your goal is weight loss, a healthier lifestyle, or mastering plant-based eating, together we can create a plan that aligns with your health needs and goals.

Book your consultation and take the next step towards a vibrant, plant-powered life.