Hello! My name is Summer and I’m a registered dietitian with a Master’s in Health Promotion from the University of Connecticut and a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University. I'm also mom to a young adult who is off to college. How time flies!
I created Summer Yule Nutrition and Recipes as a free information and recipe resource for adults who enjoy delicious food and want to get healthier. Aside from being a dietitian, I’m a breast cancer survivor who has sustained a 70-pound weight loss since 2013.
This website is my attempt at creating something that can help others too. "Health" means different things to different people. For you, it could mean general healthy eating, making weight changes, following a special diet, or just simply enjoying food.
Something to know about me is that I LOVE food. If we’re being perfectly honest, I did not get to be overweight due to disliking food. Thankfully, it is possible to be healthy AND to continue to enjoy delicious meals. (Woohoo!)
You'll learn how I tweak recipes to support wellness and healthy weight management. I aim to list realistic serving sizes that will help keep you full.
I’m not a fan of eating (or serving!) teeny tiny meals to impress people. You know I’m just going to go home and eat my real meal later. Haha
What if you’re a foodie who’s just looking for recipes and not nutrition information? Well, I think you’ll be happy here too. I try to provide a little something for everyone.
What You’ll Find on Summer Yule Nutrition…
This website is a reflection of my personal growth both as a cook and as a dietitian. Because of this, the offerings are always changing. You never know what I’ll post next!
That said, some themes get revisited often. Here’s what you WILL find:
- Healthier versions of classic dishes
- Protein-packed entrees with lots of high-volume, low-calorie veggies to keep you full
- Air fryer recipes (I got an air fryer oven in 2019, and I am OBSESSED!)
- Options that fit keto, low-carb, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and other special diets
- Instant Pot and smoker recipes
- High-calorie snacks (I know I’m not the only middle-aged person with a teen to feed too.)
- Realistic serving sizes (I know I said this above, but I feel it’s worth mentioning again.)
- Recipe photos taken by me (I'm not a professional photographer, but I am learning!)
If you aren’t current on nutrition, I am probably going to say some things here that you may find unexpected. A lot of folks my age have the old food pyramid with the huge swath of grain on the bottom stuck in their heads. They may also have some food fears surrounding dietary fats.
If this sounds like you, I hope I can liberate you a bit in regards to food. You’ll often find me replacing grains in recipes with more nutrient-dense food options. My family enjoys cooking with reasonable amounts of fats and oils (including olive oil, lard, and butter) without fear.
What You WON’T Find on Summer Yule Nutrition…
Some people need to abstain from certain foods as part of their medical nutrition therapy and/or weight management strategy. As you visit this site, keep in mind that though I am a dietitian, I am not your dietitian. None of the nutrition information on this website constitutes personal medical advice.
That said, there are certain dietary components that Americans (on average) are getting far too much of. Aside from being high-calorie and (often) nutrient-poor, they may crowd out healthier food options in your diet. I generally limit the following in the recipes here:
- Added sugars (Here’s a recipe for pineapple overnight oats; learn more about added sugars, and how the recipes on this website are categorized into three levels.)
- Refined grains
- Ultra-processed foods (Here’s an article to learn more about ultra-processed foods, and how they may be detrimental to healthy weight management.)
Restrictive food rules are a bummer, and I’m not saying that you must avoid all of the above. I enjoy and share treats on occasion, particularly on holidays. However, if you're trying to eat a more healthful diet, limiting those items may be a good starting point.
The other thing that you won’t find here are recipes that my family does not enjoy. I’m not willing to sacrifice flavor for health, and I don’t request that others do that either. If we don’t like a dish, I don’t post it!
As Seen On
You can count on me as a trusted authority for evidence-based nutrition information. My advice and tips on food, health, and nutrition have been quoted extensively in many reputable online publications, including but not limited to:
- O, The Oprah Magazine
- Cooking Light
- Woman's Day
- Women's Health
- U.S. News & World Reports
- Eat This, Not That!
A Little More About Me
If you’d like to learn more about my weight loss journey, my story was featured in the book Lose It Forever, which is available on Amazon. (affiliate link)
You can also read more about me in the Spring 2021 Hungry Girl Magazine, as well as this Hartford Courant article from 2016. (Apologies to international visitors, we have received reports that you may not be able to access the article.)
In addition to blogging, I have authored an academic paper on an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). My work on this topic has received national recognition at both the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) as well as the Association of University Centers on Disabilities Conference (AUCD).
You can read my systematic review, Nutritional Deficiency Disease Secondary to ARFID Symptoms Associated with Autism and the Broad Autism Phenotype by clicking here. It was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in November 2020. If you work with the pediatric population or have concerns that your child's picky eating habits may be beyond the range of normal, this article may interest you.
It's possible to maintain a healthy weight or have overweight status while also being malnourished due to lack of diet variety. I hope that the recipes here inspire you to add a variety of nutrient-rich foods to your diet, regardless of what your personal health goals are.
FAQs About Food and Diet
How do I jump straight to the recipe?
Click the "Jump to:" button below the first section in each long post (above the first section heading). This opens a table of contents with links taking you wherever you'd like to go. The recipe card can be found by clicking "Recipe".
Warning: You may miss important recipe info if you skip over the post. Make the jump at your own risk!
What type of diet did I follow to lose weight? What am I doing to keep it off?
I followed an omnivorous diet throughout my entire weight loss and current weight maintenance that doesn’t fit neatly into a box. I recommend reading this article on permanent weight loss to learn how I managed to lose 70 pounds and keep it off long-term.
If you join my mailing list, you get a digest of the recipes on this site each week. That should help to keep you well-supplied with ideas to prevent your meals from getting boring.
I talk a lot about calories and nutrient-density in the recipe notes. Should everyone track calories to lose weight?
Though tracking was extremely helpful for me, it’s not the right approach for everyone. That is why I also have recipes categorized by certain special diets, such as low-carb. It’s better to utilize the strategy that is the best fit for you, not just copy what I am doing.
That said, you do need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. Certain dietary patterns may help you to feel full on fewer calories, making weight loss a little easier. It’s not going to be the same approach for all.
If you are using calorie tracking, I recommend recalculating the nutrient information with the specific ingredients you are using. I typically calculate the nutrition information using raw ingredients, so dishes containing meat are often overestimated for calories. It’s how I’ve always done things, but it does not account for cooking losses.
(And yes, if I’m doing a nutrient analysis in my work as a dietitian, I do things the right way, using AP and EP. I just don’t see the utility in being so exacting for personal use.)
What if you need to add more non-starchy veggies or protein to a recipe to feel full?
My general advice is to feel free to tailor the recipes here to fit your needs and preferences. One time, someone contacted me on Pinterest, saying they added more tomatoes to my keto zucchini boats to feel full. It’s so awesome when people start exploring what they need to do to get healthier!
Seriously, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all if you change up a recipe. Actually, I love hearing that you used a recipe here as a jumping-off point on your health journey!
How should I substitute for dairy in recipes if I have lactose intolerance?
I talk a lot about the health benefits of dairy products in my posts. If you have lactose intolerance (which is perhaps more correctly called "limited lactose tolerance") you don't have to give up dairy! Lactose-free dairy products are readily available in most major grocery stores, at least in the United States.
Many people with limited lactose tolerance can comfortably digest certain dairy products, such as Greek yogurt and aged cheeses. That is because these foods are naturally lower in lactose than dairy milk. Lactose is milk sugar, so if a dairy product is low-carb, it is typically a lower lactose option as well.
What are some of our family’s favorite recipes on the site?
Oooh, that’s a tough one! Here are a few that are definitely worth a mention:
- MyPlate Meals (The Ultimate Meal Game Changer!)
- Fruits that Starts with B Bowls
- Low Carb Keto Big Mac Salad Bowl
- Air Fryer Crispy Tofu
- Watermelon Lime Mint Popsicles
These are approachable recipes for the everyday cook. Aside from the basics of food safety, I encourage you to set the strict cooking rules aside and experiment. I've discovered so many delicious, healthy, and time saving cooking hacks by letting go of the rigidity. Join me!
I hope that you enjoy your time here, and if you do, be sure to subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about the site, please reach out on the contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!