Striking a balance between healthy and quick meals

Dana White sitting at a table outside holding a mason jar of juice, looking at 2 of her daughters

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his summer, Quinnipiac professor Dana White ’01, a registered dietician and certified athletic trainer, is making healthy eating fun and easy with her latest cookbook, “Healthy One Pan Dinners.”

The book, which was published June 9, consists of 100 one-pan dinner recipes that are simple to prepare and emphasize fresh, whole food ingredients.

“This cookbook is all about cooking healthfully and efficiently, and it’s meant for everybody,” said White, who regularly incorporates culinary nutrition in her athletic training and sports medicine classes at Quinnipiac.

The book is organized into chapters for the most commonly used cooking devices, including casserole pans, slow cookers, Dutch ovens, stove-top skillets, baking dishes and sheet pans. White’s recipes range from traditional American fare to a variety of Italian, Mexican and Asian favorites. She also includes vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes.

“I wanted to offer as much of a range as possible,” White said.

Some of White’s favorite dishes from the book include pesto turkey meatballs with orzo and broccoli made in a stovetop skillet and slow-cooker steak tacos with charred corn salsa. Both of these recipes can be found on the blog at her website, www.danawhitenutrition.com

“They may sound complicated at first, but they are really very easy,” White said.

In addition to being a professor, White is a nutrition consultant for FoodNetwork.com and author of the “Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook” and the “Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.”

White chose the one-pan concept for her latest cookbook to minimize preparation, cooking time and cleanup. A wife and mother of three, White said striking a balance between healthy and quick especially appeals to parents, whether they are culinary experts or kitchen novices.

“This book reflects how I try to operate on a daily basis,” White said. “Dinner is always a big deal in my house because I think it’s one of the best times to spend together as a family.”

While her latest cookbook took two years to complete, White said its publication has proven to be timely. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just forced families to cook more. It has also required them to navigate the constraints and challenges that come with being home all day.

“Being home more doesn’t necessarily mean we have endless amounts of time to spend in the kitchen,” White said. “I hope this book can help people carve out the time they need to cook more healthfully in our current situation.”