Tips for Navigating Summer Eating … an Interview with Registered Dietitian, Crystal Franck

Tips for Navigating Summer Eating … an Interview with Registered Dietitian, Crystal Franck

by Monika Star

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Crystal Franck, registered dietitian at Experience Momentum in Lynnwood, WA. She took us on a tour of their wellness facility, including the yoga studio downstairs, the physical therapy room, the CrossFit gym and their outdoor urban garden space, and then we sat down in her office where she provides nutrition consulting for her clients.

We talked about her approach to nutrition, tips she has for summer eating tips and what she loves about working at Experience Momentum. She also shared a bonus recipe perfect for a 4th of July picnic!

Here’s the interview:

M. Thanks so much for giving us a tour of your office and Experience Momentum, Crystal. I’m wondering if you have any special plans for the 4th of July?

C. I usually go to eastern Washington to visit my Dad for the 4th and we go boating, but this year I’m staying here and I’ll be doing the Yankee Doodle Dash 5K in Everett. Experience Momentum will have a float at the Edmonds 4th of July Parade. Last year they received an award for the “Most Original Float!”

M. What type of nutrition services do you provide here at Experience Momentum?

C. I’m part of a team of providers here who educate, connect, support and empower our members to help them uncover new possibilities for their lives. We want to help define what people want for wellness in their lives and then assist them on their journey. As a Registered Dietitian, I help people with everything from working on overcoming emotional eating to looking at food quality and quantity, meal planning, grocery store tours and farmers market tours. Our goal is to help people achieve a sustainable wellness lifestyle. Other team members here include physical therapists, CrossFit trainers, massage therapists, yoga instructors, kickboxing and dance trainers.

M. Do you have any special tips for eating healthy during the summer?

C. Yes! Summertime is here, which means the season of outdoor picnics, potlucks, and BBQs is upon us. I get lots of questions about how to successfully navigate potlucks and parties, so here are some of my favorite tips:

  1. Don’t arrive ravenous. Plan to eat a hearty balanced breakfast with some protein, healthy fat, and a fruit or vegetable. Since the dishes served at picnics and parties tend to be more indulgent and carb-heavy, opting for a protein-rich breakfast with some colorful produce will help keep you full and energized and help balance out some of the choices you might be making later in the day. Arriving with a little food in your belly helps you scope out the situation and decide which foods you want to eat, where arriving super hungry makes us more likely to graze on snacks and potentially overeat.
  2. Stay hydrated. Warmer temperatures mean we require even more water to keep our bodies functioning optimally. When we are dehydrated, our bodies may send us hunger signals when we are actually thirsty, as these signals are very closely linked in our brains. Therefore, staying well hydrated may help keep us from overeating in response to these signals. Additionally, the beverages served at parties and BBQs tend to have more calories from sugar, alcohol, or both. To help keep your caloric consumption in check, alternate water with each sweet or alcoholic beverage you consume.
  3. When in doubt, eat a vegetable. For optimal health, our dietary guidelines for healthy Americans recommend eating 2-3 cups of vegetables per day for folks over 9 years old. Since a serving of most vegetables is ½ cup, that equals about five vegetable servings per day. Veggies are full of fiber, which helps keep us satisfied. You may find that filling up on veggies translates into you being less hungry for more decadent potluck foods. Additionally, vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting compounds. Increasing your intake of vegetables has been shown in research to help manage weight, protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as lower cholesterol and help manage blood sugar.
  4. Bring a dish to share. Since the dishes offered at potlucks can vary wildly, I always bring a dish that I will feel good about eating. Most parties and potlucks will have some desserts and carb-heavy sides, so I try to bring something with protein and/or veggies to help bring some balance. Some of my favorite protein-rich sides to bring include deviled eggs, a meat and cheese tray, and veggies with homemade hummus or a Greek yogurt dip. I also like to bring dishes with some extra veggies, such as our delicious recipe for roasted cauliflower salad (see recipe below!) Cauliflower provides more iron and vitamin C than potatoes, and is anti-inflammatory, and we swear you won’t miss the potatoes!

M. Those are great tips! Anything else you’d like to share about Experience Momentum?

C. We are a 1% for the planet company, which means we give away at least 1% of our annual sales each year to protect, preserve, and restore the environment. Some of the ways we do this is through letting our employee of the month and member of the month each select an environmental charity to support, and by closing our doors each year on Earth day so we can volunteer for projects, such as cleaning up the Interurban Trail and planting our urban garden. We also send teams of volunteers to support global environmental projects every three years. This past February we sent a team of twelve to Thailand, where they helped build barriers to help prevent forest fires and supported clean water efforts. Here’s a link to more info:

M. Thank you so much for sharing this great info, Crystal! Anything else you’d like to leave us with?

C. I always say that regardless of where you are in life, nutrition can help!

Thanks to Crystal Franck for sharing her time and expertise with us! To schedule a free 15 minute nutrition goal assessment with one of the Experience Momentum Registered Dietitians, call or text 425-776-0803.


Bonus Recipe: Loaded Roasted Cauliflower Salad

* 2 lb. cauliflower cut into same-sized pieces (about 1-2″ chunks)
* 6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
* 6-8 slices of nitrate/nitrite-free bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 1/2 cup sliced green onion
* 1/2 tsp. onion powder
* salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
* ½ cup chopped jalapenos (optional)
* 1 cup avocado or olive oil mayo
* 2 tsp. yellow mustard
* 1 tsp. onion powder
* salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
* Cut up cauliflower into small same-sized pieces. Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil. Roast at 400 degrees until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.
* While the cauliflower roasts, cook the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble into small pieces. * Cook the boiled eggs and set aside to cool. Once cool, peel and chop eggs coarsely.
* Slice the green onion.
* Whisk together the mayo, yellow mustard, 1 tsp. onion powder, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to make the dressing.
* When you’re ready to assemble the salad, put the cauliflower into a bowl and top with the chopped eggs. Season well with salt, fresh-ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp. onion powder; then add the dressing and gently combine with the cauliflower and eggs.
* Add the crisp bacon pieces, jalapenos, and green onion and stir (gently) until the salad is well combined.
* You can eat right away or let the salad chill for a few hours. Leftovers will keep well in the fridge overnight and can be eaten the next day, although you probably won’t have much left over because it is that delicious. Enjoy!

Monika Star is an avid wellness advocate, beach watcher, arts promoter and a natural connector. She is the community outreach director for the NW Mind Body Spirit Connection events and enjoys spending time meeting folks who are doing good things for our community.