Bits and Bites

News from Jen Messer Nutrition “a mid-month mini edition.”

I want to share a favorite recipe with you!

The term Hispanic refers to people, cultures, or countries related to Spain, the Hispanidad, Spanish language, culture, or people. I’m lucky, my sister-in-law is from Spain, and I have had the opportunity to enjoy her family’s authentic cuisine. This mid point in the month and into October we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Tortilla Espanola "Spanish tortilla," is an omelet of egg and potatoes that is cooked in a skillet with olive oil. It may include onions and features a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. The Spanish tortilla is frequently eaten as a tapa, or appetizer. I love it hot or cold. When we were visiting Spain, it was often served as a “bocadillo” a sandwich made with a baguette cut lengthwise.


  • 1 ¼ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, 3 or 4 medium

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 extra-large or jumbo eggs


Thinly slice potatoes and onions; I like to do this with my food processor, and I leave the potato skins on. Heat oil in an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop in the potato and onion slices.

Cook, turning potatoes gently every few minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a small knife - be careful not to brown or overcook. As potatoes cook, beat eggs with some salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Pull potatoes from the oil and drain potatoes them on paper towels. Wipe out skillet, and heat over a medium for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Gently mix warm potatoes with eggs and add to skillet. As soon as edges firm up, after a minute or so, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 5 minutes.

Insert a rubber spatula all around edges of tortilla to make sure it will slide from pan. The top will still be runny. Carefully slide out onto a plate. Cover with another plate, and holding plates tightly, invert them. Add another tablespoon oil to skillet, and use the spatula to coax tortilla back in. Cook 5 minutes, then slide from skillet onto a clean plate. Serve warm (not hot), or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

El paseo: Another tradition that keeps Spaniards healthy is their evening walk or stroll called “El paseo” which often happens in the evening and around or after meal times. This seems like a great way to get in some light activity in the evening, touch base with the neighbors, and it has been shown to help manage blood sugars!

Heading into fall and winter with the loss of light and cold weather (something Spain doesn’t worry about) how can we still help manage blood sugars through walking? Great news! Researchers found that even 15 minutes of walking each day after meals is just as effective at reducing blood sugar a single 45-minute walk at the same moderate pace. Waking up 15 minutes early could pay off in the long run, especially for those who are grappling with pre-diabetes or diabetes and hit the street after breakfast. If you happen to get an hour lunch break consider spending 15 minutes of it after your meal on a walk. A brisk fifteen minute walk at dusk seems more manageable after dinner than 45 minutes with less available light.

Healthy Mexican Food Swaps

My family also happens to love Mexican food. My favorite quick dinner is a Mexican salad - but some recipes are heavy in saturated fats, simple carbohydrates, and excess calories. Here are the swaps and tips I typically use on a regular basis:

My daughter looking at the The Aqueduct of Segovia

My daughter, Emily, looking at the The Aqueduct of Segovia in Spain

  • Swap ground beef for ground turkey, lentils, or beans

  • Swap full fat sour cream for low fat greek yogurt

  • Go heavy on the salsa :)

  • Skip the cheese and add heart healthy avocado chunks

  • Canned beans are quick, rinse before using to remove extra sodium

  • Load on the veggies; peppers, onions, shredded lettuce, & tomatoes

  • Use whole grain brown rice or quinoa vs white rice

  • If using refried canned beans look for fat-free

  • Try black bean dip!

  • Try whole grain corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas

  • Serve up a Mexican salad and skip the taco shell

  • Try potato or sweet potato Nachos rather than fried chips

  • Fish tacos are another great option vs beef

  • Need more veg? Try lettuce wrapped tacos!

  • I love to toss chicken and salsa in the instant pot - burritos in minutes

  • Go big or go home with spices - try a variety. Mrs. Dash has great Mexican style options

Got questions?

If you would like help managing your own nutrition get in touch. Getting into our new falls schedules is a perfect time to incorporate new healthy habits. I love helping people increase their energy, feel comfortable in their own skin, and normalize their biomarkers through wholesome nutrition! Please share my newsletter with anyone who might benefit from nutrition tips from a registered dietitian.

I accept Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, FSA/HSA accounts, and private pay.

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