This is the diet that “boosts” your immune system, with receipts (aka evidences):

Receipt No 1: It has more than just vitamin C

All macronutrients (carbs, protein and fats) – and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for both innate (first line of defense) and adaptive immunity (body’s ability to recognize and defend itself against specific pathogens or foreign substances).

Different nutrients work together to help immune cells grow, work better, and communicate with each other, which is important in fighting infections.

Reference: Tourkochristou et al (2021). The Influence of Nutritional Factors on Immunological Outcomes. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.665968

Receipt No 2: No guts, no immunity

The foods we eat affect the diversity and composition of bacteria in the gut, which in turn affect immune cells. Dietary fibers impact the intestinal barrier, immune cells, and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that help maintain the balance of the gut microbiome and regulate immune function.

In fact, adults who consume plant-based diets have a lower risk of developing severe COVID-19, which may be related to their increased fiber intake.

Reference: Venter et al (2022). Role of dietary fiber in promoting immune health—An EAACI position paper.

Receipt No 3: Run away from red flags

Eating a diet that is limited in variety and lower in nutrients can have a negative impact on your immune system.

If your diet is primarily high in trans-fat, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates and low in fruits and vegetables, your intestinal microorganisms may get disrupted, resulting in chronic inflammation of the gut and associated decrease in immunity.

Reference: Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Nutrition and Immunity.

Overall, a diet that is adequate in fiber, plant-based food and less in unhealthy fats support a healthy immune system.

Practical tip: Build your immune-boosting Pinggang Pinoy:

  1. Grow – some days we eat plant-based protein (beans, seeds, nuts and legumes), some days we eat animal-based protein (fish, chicken or lean meat, in moderation)
  2. Glow – colorful array of local fruits and vegetables
  3. Go – fiber-rich whole grains (brown rice, whole corn kernel, rolled oats), root crops and tubers (potato, kamote, gabi, ube).
  4. Keep portion sizes in check by looking the spaces occupied by Go, Grow and Glow foods on your plate.

Start today by eating more nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods. For example, 1 medium-sized potato contains fiber, protein, potassium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Have some boiled or baked potatoes (better with skin!) as your main carbohydrate source to boost your meal’s nutrient profile. Don’t forget your veggies, lean or plant-based protein, and end your meal with fruit as dessert. Your gut and immune cells will thank you.

Kain po!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA – Philippines. All opinions stated above are my own and references are indicated in the full article.

You don’t have time for breakfast?

What if I tell you that:

  • Those who don’t eat breakfast regularly have a higher risk of obesity risk and reduced activity and performance during the day [1]
  • Breakfast helps improve daily routine activity, brain function, memory recall, children’s performance, and women’s health [2]
  • Breakfast consumption is positively correlated with motivation and academic achievement of students,

…will you now MAKE TIME to cook breakfast for you and/or your family?

To nudge you into saying YES, let me share with you an easy breakfast recipe that helped me and my clients make eating healthy breakfast a habit:

Easy Yummy Potato Frittata

3 servings


  • 300 grams frozen potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • chopped bell pepper
  • chopped parsley


  • Air fryer / oven
  • Small baking pan (foil / aluminum) that can fit inside an air fryer


  1. Put frozen potatoes in a small baking pan that can fit inside the fryer. Bake / Air fry at 180°Cfor 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using a wire whisk or fork, mix egg and parsley. If using plain frozen potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly to make the eggs fluffy.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over cooked potatoes. Top with chopped red bell peppers.
  4. Place pan inside the air frier or oven and cook at 160°C for 20 – 30 minutes. The mixture is cooked through if the edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Or insert a toothpick or knife in the middle of the mixture – these should come out clean.

    This yummy recipe only calls for 4 basic ingredients and 4 easy steps. No tedious peeling required because this recipe takes advantage of “convenience foods” like frozen potatoes and turns them into healthier breakfast. You can eat it before you go or take it as a baon.

    When you make time to fuel up each morning, you can focus more on your tasks at hand and you get extra energy to take on surprise challenges at work, school or at home.


    1. Try this recipe this week
    2. Make healthy breakfasts a habit and
    3. Feel the difference in your energy and overall health.

    Let’s make time for healthier mornings, ok?

    Kain po.

    #PotatoNutrition #PotatoPower #USPotatoes #TeamPotato #TeamPotatoPHL #PotatoesUSA #PotatoesUSAPHL #SponsoredPost #Breakfast #PotatoFrittata

    This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA-Philippines. All opinions are mine and values for nutrition information are based from the USDA Food Data Central.





    Nutrition per serving:

    Energy: 258 kcal

    Carbohydrates: 30 g

    Protein: 9.8 g

    Fiber: 2.8 g

    Potassium: 560 mg

    Vitamin C: 35.6 mg

    Fat:  11.5 g (18% of total calories)

    Sodium: 98.3 mg

    Cholesterol: 206 mg

    Sugar: 0.4 g

    Links to social media:



    So, you want to eat healthier this 2023? Eat fries.

    Before you violently react, here’s a chismis from a 2022 research study:

    Experts in obesity, nutrition and public health conducted a randomized clinical trial to test whether eating potatoes everyday can make you gain weight (especially fat).

    They compared the effect of eating 300 calories of potato fries to eating almonds with the same calories. They tested it on 180 adult men and women!

    This is what they found out in the study:

    Fries (which are labelled as “not-so-healthy”) and almonds (which are known to be “healthier”) had the same effects in weight gain or markers of type 2 diabetes risk, at least in the short term.

    Surprising, right?

    Yes, many of us associate fries with an unhealthy diet. I even include them in the “eat less” list of some of my clients. But hear me on this:

    THEORY says that eating fried and carbohydrate-rich foods such as fries may lead to weight and fat gain. BUT…

    EVIDENCE shows that eating fries will not automatically derail our weight loss efforts.

    This is why I don’t mind if I see fries in my clients’ food diaries. I’m a nutrition coach, not a food police.

    I’m a nutrition coach, not a food police.

    So, if you ever find yourself craving for fries when you’re on a “diet”, here are my tips for you:

    1. Variety – adding fries to an overall healthy diet is a fun way of adding variety in terms of flavor and texture. So, enjoy your crispy and flavorful fries when you’re craving for it, then go back to your regular healthy diet after.
    2. Moderation – Don’t eat too much tho! Order a regular-sized fries, savor every bite and then move on happily, guilt-free. Or order a larger-sized fries and share it with family and friends. Sounds fun, right?
    3. Balance – Fries contain complex carbohydrates and oils (from frying). Let’s balance it with fruits, vegetables for fiber and protein-rich foods such as cheese, nuts, fish (as in fish & chips!)

    I enjoy fries especially when I’m with friends and family.

    Kaya kung ayaw mo sa fries, salamat na lang sa lahat. ?

    This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA – Philippines. All opinions stated above are my own and references are indicated below.


    Potato fries recipe ideas:

    Links to social media post:



    Are Cheese Sticks Healthy?

    In the Philippines, cheese sticks are sold as street foods, served in restaurants or cooked at home as snacks (sometimes pulutan ? ?). They come in different variants such as plain, with sweet bell peppers or with green long chillies called “siling haba” with varying spice levels.

    But wait, are Cheese Sticks even healthy?

    If you’re looking for HIGH-CALORIE and HIGH-PROTEIN SNACK ideas (like I do – weight gainer here ?), then I’d be happy to add cheese sticks to your healthy meal plan.

    Cheese is a delicious source of high-quality protein and calcium. These nutrients help build strong bones and increase muscle mass when combined with adequate energy intake and weight-bearing physical activities. Having more lean muscle mass and stronger bones help adolescents and adults prevent frailty and bone diseases such as osteoporosis later on in life.

    I cooked Dynamite Cheese Sticks once and our family wasn’t able to eat them. The spice was just too much for us. ?

    Thankfully, Real California Milk Philippines sent me different cheeses to try and I was particularly drawn to Pepper Jack cheese.

    I’ve read that this cheese is good for making quesadillas, tacos, nachos, crackers and burgers. It melts easily, too!

    If you can’t take the heat of Dynamite Cheese Sticks, then these Pepper Jack Cheese Sticks are for you.

    Here is my Spicy Cheese Sticks recipe na hindi mapanakit:

    Slightly Spicy Cheese Sticks


    • 20 pcs Lumpia wrapper
    • 190 grams California Pepper Jack Cheese
    • Red or Green Sweet Bell Peppers
    • Canola oil for frying
    • Tomato salsa dip (optional)


    1. Slice cheese and bell peppers into finger-length sticks.
    2. Wrap each cheese and bell pepper stick with lumpia wrapper.
    3. Heat canola oil in a deep fryer.
    4. Fry the cheese sticks until golden brown.
    5. Drain excess oil by placing fried cheese sticks into paper towels.
    6. Optional: Serve with tomato salsa dip (I prefer this one over mayonnaise as this makes the overall dish less oily)
    7. Ready to dig in. Caution: Hot! ?

    Incorporating California dairy into your life supports your overall wellness. I highly recommend you try their great-tasting and high-quality cheeses if you want to level up your cheesy recipes.

    Kain po! ?

    This post is sponsored by Real California Milk Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    For more information about Real California Milk:

    #AD #Sponsored #DairyNutrition #LookForTheSeal #CADairy #RealCaliforniaMilk #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines

    Ang Natatagong Lakas ni Bulas Gatas – A Dietitian’s Book Review

    I had the privilege of attending Coach Jeaneth Aro’s launching of her book “Ang Natatagong Lakas ni Bulas Gatas” last July. I was lucky to get first dibs on a few copies of the book (signed by the author pa!)

    I’ve heard that this book is the first of a series of children’s book that tackle topics in nutrition. As a dietitian, I couldn’t be more excited!

    So, what can I say about this book? What nutrition topic did this book tackle?

    Let’s find out in my book review.

    Want a copy for yourself?

    Please click this link:

    This post is sponsored by Real California Milk Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    For more information about Real California Milk:


    #AD #Sponsored #DairyNutrition #LookForTheSeal #CADairy #RealCaliforniaMilk #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines

    Powerful Snack Combo

    Here’s one thing I often see in my clients’ food choices: High-carb low-protein snacks.

    For the record, carbs are NOT bad. We need high-quality carbohydrates to give us energy so we can do physical tasks [1] such as standing, walking, household chores, exercise and sports, and mental tasks such as thinking, studying and focusing [2].

    But, there is one way to improve our snacking habit: Add more protein!

    By having a snack with a carbohydrate-protein combo, you can

    • feel more satisfied with your snack and therefore prevent you from eating more, which helps in controlling your calorie intake
    • feel satisfied for longer therefore preventing cravings later on, again helping you lessen your sugar and calorie intake
    • build and repair body structures including skeletal muscles, internal organs, bones, teeth, hair, and skin.

    For example, instead of eating plain bread for snack, eat protein-rich foods with it such as nut butter, egg, milk or cheese.

    Speaking of cheese, I’d like to share with you a cheese roll recipe that has a bit of spice in it. I wanted to call it by my first name but I might get into trouble ? so let’s just call it:

    Spiced Cheese Rolls

    Dry ingredients:

    • 2 cups All-purpose flour
    • ½ Tbsp Instant dry yeast
    • 4 Tbsp White sugar
    • ½ tsp Salt
    • 1 pack Real California Pepper Jack Cheese

    Wet ingredients:

    • 2 Large eggs
    • 1 cup California Sunshine Homogenized Milk
    • ½ cup Unsalted butter


    1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C
    2. Sift all-purpose flour, sugar and salt then mix with a spoon. Add the yeast and mix again.
    3. Make a hole at the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients (eggs and milk)
    4. Combine all ingredients using a wooden spoon or a mixer until it forms into a dough.      
    5. Knead the dough while adding in the unsalted butter. Knead for 15 to 20 minutes until ready (smooth texture)
    6. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a buttered mixing bowl. Let it rest for 30 mins to 1 hour.
    7. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it to release the air.
    8. Portion the dough into 50g-60g pieces or depending on your desired portion size.
    9. Roll the dough to form round shapes and let them rest for 5-10 minutes (cover with kitchen towel or plastic)
    10. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough. Place the cheese slices and roll it to wrap the cheese slice with the dough.
    11. Let all the dough rest for 30mins to 1 hour until doubled in size.
    12. Bake for 20-30 mins in 180 C.
    13. Optional: After baking, brush the cheese rolls with unsalted butter and sprinkle with sugar.          

    Snacks that contain nutrient-dense carbohydrates are good for us, but we can make them better by adding protein.

    Cheese is a delicious source of high-quality protein, calcium and nutrients essential for good health.

    So, add cheese and other protein-rich foods to your snacks often to help you stay healthy both physically and mentally.

    Kain po. 🙂


    [1] Kanter, M. (2018). High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance. Nutrition Today. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

    [2] Edwards, S. (20160. Sugar and the Brain. Harvard Medical School.

    This post is sponsored by Real California Milk Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    For more information about Real California Milk:

    #AD #Sponsored #DairyNutrition #LookForTheSeal #CADairy #RealCaliforniaMilk #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines

    Are you concerned with being underweight?

    Dairy for weight gain by Grace Banal RND

    I feel you.

    I have unintentionally lost weight for the past few months because of stress from major life events.

    While our weight-centric society often celebrates thinness and weight loss, we should be aware that being underweight can be just as unhealthy as being overweight [1].

    This is not only applicable to adults. Underweight is also a concern among children and elderly [2].

    Having a child and elderly parents to take care of aside from my clients, I take the matter of underweight close to my heart.

    To help us gain weight, many of us often think of nutrition supplements to help us increase energy and nutrient content of our diet. Nutrition supplements are convenient but the common concern is it can be expensive to some.

    In these cases, I recommend home-made energy- and nutrient-dense beverages to supplement regular meals and snacks. However, some complain that additional equipment may be needed in preparing smoothies and can be inconvenient at times.

    I feel you, too.

    As a busy and tipid-mode mom and dietitian, let me share with you my go-to milk recipe that helped me increase the weight of my child (who is a picky eater) and nourished my mom who has lost a lot of muscle mass recently due to illnesses:

    Nutty Oatie Milkshake


    1 ½ cup California Sunshine Homogenized Milk

    ½ cup Instant Oatmeal

    2 Tbsp Peanut butter

    Cold: Combine all ingredients in a water bottle / beverage container. Refrigerate and shake well before drinking.

    Hot: Add instant oats and oil to warm milk. Stir.


    I often share this drink with my child. We drink it at breakfast, afternoon snack and/or before bedtime.

    For my mom, I prepare half a cup of this drink and keep it near her bedside so she can drink it whenever she feels hungry.

    Dairy provides 13 essential nutrients and is a great way to fuel the body. This drink can help you reach your daily calorie and nutrient needs.

    I believe that milk is an underrated food/beverage that deserve more attention, especially among us Filipinos. For my fellow Pinoys out there struggling with gaining weight, milk is our ally.

    I am on my journey towards gaining my healthy weight back and I hope you join me on this.

    Kain po maigi.

    This post is sponsored by Real California Milk Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    If you have specific nutrition-related concerns, please consult a nutritionist-dietitian.


    [1] Chokshi DA et al (2015). J-Shaped Curves and Public Health. Journal of American Medical Association. Vol 314 No. 13. Pp 1339-1340. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.9566

    [2] FNRI-DOST. (2020). Nutrition Surveys. Retrieved from e-nutrition:

    For more information about gaining weight, please check my blog post and sample meal plan:

    For more information about Real California Milk:

    #AD #Sponsored #DairyNutrition #LookForTheSeal #CADairy #RealCaliforniaMilk #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines

    Enjoying Blueberries Year-Round

    Can you guess what these are?

    From afar, they look like raisins, but on a closer look, they have a different aura of fruity sophistication.

    These are dried blueberries – they have that signature blueberry tanginess, wholesome sweetness, and leathery-silky mouthfeel that make you easily forget how much you have already eaten.

    After nibbling on these for a couple of days, I made Blueberry Muffins using dried blueberries, and it was a hit! The base is still moist, and the nuts and dried blueberries gave each bite a different texture and flavor profile.

    Dried Blueberry Muffins

    Dry ingredients:

    • 130 grams all-purpose flour
    • 90 grams brown sugar
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp baking powder

    Wet ingredients:

    • ½ tsp vanilla
    • 125 ml buttermilk
    • 60 mL corn oil
    • ¾ cup USA dried blueberries
    • ½ cup chopped nuts (cashew or almonds, optional)
    • 2 pcs overripe banana
    • 2 pcs eggs


    1. Sift all dry ingredients and mix.
    2. Mash the bananas.
    3. Mix all wet ingredients with the banana.
    4. Pour in vanilla, buttermilk, oil,  and eggs. Mix.
    5. Mix dry and wet ingredients thoroughly until no lumps appear, but do not overmix.
    6. Put in dried blueberries and nuts.
    7. Transfer the batter into a lined or buttered muffin tray, about ¼ cup each.
    8. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

    Blueberries aren’t only good in baked goods. Aside from fresh and dried, blueberries are also available as frozen, infused, and pureed, making them versatile enough to be made into soups, salad dressings, sauces, desserts, or beverages.

    At any time of the year, we can enjoy these nutritious little wonders of nature.

    I encourage you to take advantage of blueberries’ unique color, flavor, versatility, and adaptability to add more fruits and fiber into your diet.

    Kain po!

    This post is sponsored by USA Blueberries Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    #USABlueberries #USABlueberriesPHL #DriedBlueberries #HealthfulSnacking #BoostofBlue

    Dried Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

    If you think fresh blueberries are good, wait till you get to try dried blueberries.

    They have that distinct midnight blue color but with a tangy flavor and chewy texture.

    Since they are dried, you can bring them with you to snack on anywhere, anytime. In fact, I munched on dried blueberries while I was writing my thesis. They did a great job at keeping me awake in the wee hours – better than coffee!

    Or, you can make pastries out of dried blueberries, like I did:

    Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

    Dry ingredients:

    • 1.5 cup All-purpose flour
    • ½ cup Dark brown sugar
    • ½ cup White sugar
    • 1 pinch Salt
    • ½ tsp Baking powder
    • ½ cup USA dried/dehydrated blueberries
    • 1 cup Oatmeal
    • ½ cup Chopped cashew (optional)

    Wet ingredients:

    • 1 tsp Vanilla
    • ½ cup Unsalted butter (room temperature)
    • 1 pc Large egg


    1. Pre heat oven to 170 C
    2. Mix sugar and butter until creamy
    3. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix again.
    4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and oatmeal until it forms a dough
    5. Combine the blueberries and nuts and fold them into the dough. Do not over mix.
    6. Scoop a spoonful of the dough and roll them like a ball
    7. Place the ball of dough in a lined (parchment paper) baking tray
    8. Bake for 19 mins at 170 C.

    Dried blueberries aren’t just tasty – they are packed with energy and nutrients, too.

    A 100-gram serving of dried, sweetened blueberries contain 317 calories packed with fiber, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals.

    Plus, blueberries contain polyphenols including anthocyanins that help defend us against the aging effects of free-radicals.

    So, if you are a fan of blueberries, I highly recommend you try dried blueberries as well. You can use them when making breads and pastries, add them to salads or desserts or simply eat them as is.

    Don’t forget to let me know how you liked them, ok?

    Kain maigi!

    This post is sponsored by USA Blueberries Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    For more nutrition information and peer-reviewed scientific research, you can click here:

    #USABlueberries #USABlueberriesPHL #DriedBlueberries #HealthfulSnacking #BoostofBlue

    Better Breakfast

    Comment with a heart emoji if you ate breakfast today.

    Comment with a breakfast emoji if you are confident that yours is a “better breakfast”.

    Better breakfast by Grace Banal RND

    For me, a “better breakfast” ticks the following criteria:

    • Madali [easy to prepare] – there’s a reason why a lot of us skip breakfast – we’re always in a hurry in the morning! So, a better breakfast should be easy to make, no hassle!
    • Masarap [delicious] – what’s the point of eating breakfast if it doesn’t spark joy to our tastebuds, right?
    • Masustansya [nutritious] – we need macro and micronutrients to fuel and strengthen every cell in our body. Eat breakfast like a winner!

    One key ingredient that helps me have a better breakfast is incorporating dairy products. Dairy such as milk and cheese provide 13 essential nutrients. Dairy is also a great way to fuel the body.

    I always gravitate towards Pinoy foods for breakfast. Good thing is that dairy products can easily fit into Pinoy meals, dishes and breakfast foods.

    For example, I just had Extra Cheesy Bibingka and milk for breakfast. It’s easy to prepare, yummy and with enough energy-giving carbohydrates, body-building protein and flavor-giving fat.

    Extra Cheesy Bibingka (makes 4 servings)


    • 1 cup California Sunshine Homogenized milk
    • 2 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
    • 1 ½ cup rice flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 4 pcs clean banana leaves (cut into round shapes enough to fit into the molds)
    • Cubed (1 cm)  California white cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
    • Grated California Milk White Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F or 200 °C.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the melted butter and sugar together. Pour milk and whisk until combined.
    3. Sift the rice flour, baking powder, and salt into the creamed ingredients. Whisk together until there are no more lumps. Add cubed cheese into the batter and mix.
    4. Pour the batter into the molds. Fill only up to ¾ of the mold.
    5. With a sheet pan underneath, put the molds into the oven.
    6. After 20 minutes, add grated cheese. Bake for 5 more minutes or until melted but not burned.
    7. Check doneness by piercing the middle of each bibingka with a cake tester or clean toothpick. If the cake tester comes out wet, bake for 2 more minutes. If it comes out clean, the bibingka is done.

    Cheese is a delicious source of high-quality protein, calcium and other essential nutrients. Add it to your usual breakfast foods such as omelets, sandwiches, pancakes or waffles. Finish with a warm or cold milk and you’re definitely off to a better start.

    Keep on winning!

    This post is sponsored by Real California Milk Philippines. All opinions are mine.

    Follow along for more info:

    #AD #Sponsored #DairyNutrition #LookForTheSeal #CADairy #RealCaliforniaMilk #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines