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70 Low-Calorie Recipes for High-Stress Days

Don't make a bad day worse by binging on junk food. These low calorie recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert are ready in 30 minutes or less.

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Asparagus Ham Dinner Exps Tham17 14208 B11 08 5b 5

Asparagus Ham Dinner

I've been making this low-fat ham dinner for my family for years, and we always look forward to it. With asparagus, tomato, pasta and chunks of ham, it's a tempting blend of tastes and textures. —Rhonda Zavodny, David City, Nebraska

Take a look at these other healthy low-calorie dinners!

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Spinach And Mushroom Smothered Chicken Exps Sdfm18 39907 C10 10 4b 6

Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken

Chicken breasts stay nice and moist tucked under a blanket of melted cheese. It's extra special to serve but is not tricky to make. —Katrina Wagner, Grain Valley, Missouri
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Curry Scramble

I have eggs every morning, and this is a delightful change from the classic scrambled egg meal. I like to add sliced peppers on top if I have them on hand. —Valerie Belley, St. Louis, Missouri
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Blackened Tilapia With Zucchini Noodles Exps Sdam17 200349 C12 06 1b 5

Blackened Tilapia with Zucchini Noodles

I love quick and bright meals like this one-skillet wonder. The way it tastes, you'd think it takes a lot more effort, but it goes from prep to dinner table in half an hour. The recipe works well with any light fish, or even shrimp. —Tammy Brownlow, Dallas, Texas
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Easy Lemon Berry Tartlets Exps Sscbz18 120641 D09 26 2b 1

Easy Lemon Berry Tartlets

These fruity, flaky tartlets filled with raspberries and topped with lemon-tinged cream cheese are a sweet ending to any weeknight meal. They are elegant yet come together quickly and easily. —Elizabeth Dehart, West Jordan, Utah
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Sausage-Topped White Pizza

I love cooking, and I learned from Nana and Mom. Pizza is easily one of my favorite dishes to prepare. I switched up this recipe to make it my own. —Tracy Brown, River Edge, New Jersey
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French Omelet

This cheesy, full-of-flavor omelet is modeled after one I tasted and loved in a local restaurant. Mine is so hearty and rich-tasting that no one will guess it's lower in fat. —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri
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Italian Veggie Beef Soup

My sweet father-in-law, Pop Pop, would bring this chunky soup to our house when we were under the weather. We like it so well, we take it to our own friends who need comfort. Always does the trick. —Sue Webb, Reisterstown, Maryland
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Southwestern Goulash Exps Sddj17 39880 16 C08 03 3b 7

Southwestern Goulash

I had some extra cilantro in the fridge and didn't want to throw it away. Instead, I came up with this delightful and filling family recipe. Everyone just loved it! —Vikki Rebholz, West Chester, Ohio
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Fruity Cereal Bars Exps Hcka19 32978 D10 20 6b

Fruity Cereal Bars

With dried apples and cranberries, these crispy cereal bars are perfect for snacks or brown-bag lunches. —Giovanna Kranenberg, Cambridge, Minnesota
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Feta Shrimp Skillet

On our honeymoon in Greece, my husband and I had a dish like this one. I tried to re-create the flavors in this recipe when we got home. When I make it now, it brings back such wonderful memories. —Sonali Ruder, New York, New York
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Tuscan Turkey Soup Exps35765 Th132104d06 26 4bc Rms 2

Tuscan Turkey Soup

Ladle up this quick, creamy soup chock-full of leftover turkey, pumpkin and beans to your hungry family and friends. It's fabulous! —Marie McConnell, Shelbyville, Illinois
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Balsamic-Glazed Beef Skewers

With only five easy-to-double ingredients, these mouthwatering kabobs are one of our favorite recipes. We like them with hot cooked rice and a tossed salad. To prevent wooden skewers from burning, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading on the meat. —Carole Fraser, Toronto, Ontario
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Banana Oatmeal Pancakes Exps160876 Thhc2377564d07 10 3bc Rms 2

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

These pancakes have less sodium per serving than other pancakes made from mixes. Decrease sodium even further by stretching the mix with banana, oats and walnuts. In our house we just sprinkle these with a little confectioners' sugar, because the fruit is so sweet you don't need syrup. — Patricia Swart, Galloway , New Jersey
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Skewerless Stovetop Kabobs

My family loves this quick and easy recipe so much, we never have any leftovers. It's also great on the grill. —Jennifer Mitchell, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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Seared Salmon With Strawberry Basil Relish Exps Fttmz19 175414 E03 15 3b Rms 2

Seared Salmon with Strawberry Basil Relish

Salmon and basil take a sweet new approach when topped off with a relish of strawberries, honey and pepper. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon
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Turkey Curry

Turkey Curry

I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to use leftover turkey—especially around the holidays. Make this skillet meal as spicy as you'd like by varying the amount of curry powder. —Martha Balser, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Cod Delight

I used to make this in the oven, but then I discovered that microwave lets me enjoy it even faster. It's a pretty dish to serve company. In fact, many of my friends and family now cook this at home. —Nancy Daugherty, Cortland, Ohio
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Spinach Mushroom Scrambled Eggs Exps62041 Thhc2377563b05 04 8bc Rms

Spinach-Mushroom Scrambled Eggs

My husband and I had breakfast at a hotel and enjoyed an amazing mushroom and egg dish. As soon as I got home, I made my own rendition. —Rachelle McCalla, Batesville, Arkansas
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Ricotta-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These mushrooms are rich and creamy and bright at the same time because of the fresh herbs and tomato. I especially like to serve them with grilled asparagus. —Tre Balchowsky, Sausalito, California
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Sesame Beef Asparagus Salad Exps Thfm17 2708 D09 27 7b 6

Sesame Beef & Asparagus Salad

Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies—especially when it comes to experimenting with fresh ingredients like these. This meaty salad is wonderful at the start of asparagus season. —Tamara Steeb, Issaquah, Washington
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Cilantro Shrimp Rice Exps149960 Th143193c04 09 4bc Rms 8

Cilantro Shrimp & Rice

I created this dish especially for my son, who has the pickiest palate. The aroma of fresh herbs is so appetizing––even he can’t resist! —Nibedita Das, Fort Worth, Texas
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Spicy Pumpkin Corn Soup Exps50729 Sd142780d08 22 4bc Rms 2

Spicy Pumpkin & Corn Soup

A seriously quick dish, it can satisfy a hungry household in 15 minutes. My family loves sharing this soup with cornbread, or you can add a zesty kick with some Rotel. — Heather Rorex, Winnemucca, Nevada
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Poached Eggs with Tarragon Asparagus

I adapted this recipe from a dish I had in Napa Valley. I decided to add toasted bread crumbs as a garnish. The result was a breakfast option that everyone loves.—Jennifer Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California.
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Shrimp & Corn Stir-Fry

I make this seafood stir-fry at summer’s end when my garden is producing plenty of tomatoes, squash, garlic and corn. For a quick supper, we serve it over rice. —Lindsay Honn, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
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Spinach Steak Pinwheels

Bacon and spinach bring plenty of flavor to these sirloin steak spirals. It's an easy dish to make and perfect for backyard grilling. I always get lots of compliments.—Helen Vail, Glenside, Pennsylvania
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Italian Garden Frittata

I like to serve this pretty frittata with melon wedges for a delicious breakfast or brunch. —Sally Maloney, Dallas, Georgia
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Mixed Berry Sundaes for 2

Before serving yogurt sundaes, get ready for requests for seconds. Our family enjoys them for breakfast, but they're sweet enough for dessert. What an easy way to get our fruit and calcium. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Frittata Florentine

My family is all about brunchy meals like this gorgeous Italian omelet. Lucky for us, it’s loaded with ingredients we tend to have at the ready. —Jenny Flake, Newport Beach, California
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Mediterranean Tilapia

I recently became a fan of tilapia. The mild taste makes it easy to top with our favorite ingredients. And it’s low in calories and fat. What’s not to love? —Robin Brenneman, Hilliard, Ohio
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Chicken Veggie Skillet

I invented this chicken and veggie dish to use up extra mushrooms and asparagus. My husband suggested I write it down because it's a keeper. —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas
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Rosemary Garlic Shrimp Exps Hca18 14712 D08 25 4b 2

Rosemary Garlic Shrimp

Delicate shrimp take on fabulous flavor when simmered in a chicken broth mixed with garlic and ripe olives. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Portobello Mushrooms Florentine Exps Sddj17 47568 16 C08 04 2b 6

Portobello Mushrooms Florentine

A fun and surprisingly hearty breakfast dish packed with flavor and richness. —Sara Morris, Laguna Beach, California
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Beef Veggie Soup

Brimming with chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans and mushrooms, this satisfying soup is a meal in itself. When unexpected guests come to visit, this is one of my favorite recipes to prepare because it's ready in no time. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana.
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Asparagus Frittata

You would never guess that egg substitute is used in this fun variation on the classic asparagus frittata. —James Bates, Hermiston, Oregon
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Peppered Sole

My daughter loves this recipe—it's the only way she'll eat fish. To top it off, it's good for her! —Jeannette Baye, Agassiz, British Columbia
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Ham Muffinwiches Exps Sddj18 21063 B08 04 2b 1

Ham Muffinwiches

I concocted this fun recipe when looking for something to pack for lunch. I had leftover ham but no bread, so I got creative with cornbread mix. They freeze well and are handy for an on-the-go breakfast or lunch. —Jenny Wiebe, Villa Hills, Kentucky
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Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My go-to meal after an evening run is this satisfying turkey wrap with jicama, a potato-like root veggie used in Mexican cooking. —Christie Arp, Blue Ridge, Georgia
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Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a dish of poached eggs with tomatoes, onion and cumin. I learned about it while traveling through Southeast Asia, and it's been my favorite way to eat eggs since. —Ezra Weeks, Calgary, Alberta
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Ham & Mandarin Salad

I created this salad at the request of all the men in our house. They asked for something tangy, sweet, spicy and manly. This fit the bill. —Patricia Swart, Galloway, New Jersey
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Cod with Bacon & Balsamic Tomatoes

Let's face it, everything really is better with bacon. I fry it, add cod fillets to the pan and finish it all with a big, tomato-y pop. —Maureen McClanahan, St. Louis, Missouri
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Cookout Caramel S'mores

These classic treats make a fabulous finish to an informal meal. Toasting the marshmallows extends our after-dinner time together, giving us something fun to do as a family. —Martha Haseman, Hinckley, Illinois
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Ancho Chili-Spiced Tilapia

I love a little spice in my life, and with this dish, that’s exactly what you get! A few pantry staples and 20 minutes are all you need for this light, flaky tilapia. —Jennifer Schaub, Chandler, Arizona
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Goat Cheese Ham Omelet Exps165815 Thhcfmb11 16 2bc Rms 1

Goat Cheese & Ham Omelet

As a busy working mom, my breakfast needs to require minimal prep. I often combine the egg mixture beforehand and refrigerate it overnight. Then all I have to do in the morning is heat up my skillet. My favorite part is the goat cheese filling, which gets nice and creamy from the heat of the omelet. —Lynne Dieterle, Rochester Hills, Michigan
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Chicken Sausages With Polenta Exps138141 Sd142780d08 07 3b Rms 4

Chicken Sausages with Polenta

I get a kick out of serving this chicken sausage dish—everyone's always on time for dinner when they know it's on the menu. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Juicy Delicious Mixed Spice Burgers Exps144198 Th143191c11 22 3bc Rms 2

Juicy & Delicious Mixed Spice-Burgers

We like trying to make "street foods" at home, perfecting recipes for dishes like gyros and these spiced burgers, known as kofta. — Anne Henry, Toronto, Ontario
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Ginger Halibut With Brussels Sprouts Exps Thd16 187828 07b 19 4b 1

Ginger Halibut with Brussels Sprouts

I moved to the United States from Russia and love cooking Russian food for family and friends. Halibut with soy sauce, ginger and pepper is a favorite. —Margarita Parker, New Bern, North Carolina
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Chicken Artichoke Skillet Exps Sdon17 24218 D06 30 7b

Chicken Artichoke Skillet

My fast chicken entree featuring artichokes and olives has real Greek flair. Seasoned with lemon juice and oregano, the stovetop chicken turns out moist and tender. —Carol Latimore, Arvada, Colorado
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Vegetable Scrambled Egg Substitute

These scrambled eggs are packed with a variety of veggies, giving you an instant healthy start to your day. —Marilyn Ipson, Rogers, Arkansas
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Grilled Honey Balsamic-Glazed Fruit

One summer my mother-in-law made us grilled peaches basted with a sweet and tangy sauce. These are so good I'm always tempted to eat the whole batch. —Kristin Van Dyken, West Richland, Washington
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Tomato-Poached Halibut

My halibut with a burst of lemon comes together in one pan and stays super moist. Try it with polenta, angel hair pasta or crusty bread. —Danna Rogers, Westport, Connecticut
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Bow Ties with Sausage & Asparagus

We love asparagus, so I look for ways to go green. This pasta dish comes together fast on hectic nights and makes wonderful leftovers. —Carol Suto, Liverpool, New York
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Strawberry Mint Chicken

I hand-pick wild strawberries for this saucy chicken dish. We love it with fresh spring greens and a sweet white wine. —Alicia Duerst, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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Plum-Glazed Pork Kabobs

Get out there and fire up the grill for pork kabobs, a tasty alternative to chicken and beef. These sweet and gingery beauties make dinnertime happy. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida
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Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad

Layered desserts always grab my family’s attention, but salads? Not so much. I wondered if I could get everyone on board by presenting a healthy salad in an eye-catching way. I’m happy to say that it worked. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Greek Fish Bake Exps Sdon16 84874 D06 07 3b 3

Greek Fish Bake

As a military spouse living overseas, I got the chance to try many styles of cooking. Here's a Mediterranean-inspired recipe that we still love today. —Stacey Boyd, Springfield, Virginia
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Mexican Cabbage Roll Soup

I love sharing our humble and hearty soup made with beef, cabbage and green chiles. A blast of cilantro gives it a sunshiny finish. —Michelle Beal, Powell, Tennessee
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Cilantro Lime Shrimp

A quick garlicky lime marinade works magic on these juicy shrimp. They come off the grill with huge flavors perfect for your next cookout. —Melissa Rodriguez, Van Nuys, California
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Turkey Verde Lettuce Wraps

I think this dish is a clever pairing of low-fat food with high-end flavor. It'll certainly satisfy your cravings for a spicy and fun dish. — Stephanie Barron, Lake Orion, Michigan
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Chili-Lime Grilled Pineapple

I love grilled pineapple. This recipe combines the fruit's natural sweetness with the tart and spicy flavors of lime and chili powder. It's great for dessert and even as a side dish with ham or pork chops. —Geraldine Saucier, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Pepper and Salsa Cod

After tasting a similar dish at the grocery store, my husband figured out how to make this awesome cod topped with salsa and peppers. —Robyn Gallagher, Yorktown, Virginia
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Garden Fresh Chef Salad Exps100711 Sd143204b12 04 2bc Rms 1

Garden-Fresh Chef Salad

For much of the year, I can use my garden's produce when I make this cool salad. In spring, the salad mix and radishes come from my crop. In summer, I use the tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. What a good feeling! —Evelyn Gubernath, Bucyrus, Ohio
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Ancho Garlic Steaks with Summer Salsa

The first time I tasted this, I was amazed how well the blueberries and watermelon went with the peppery steak. Use whatever fruits are in season so you can serve this anytime. —Veronica Callaghan, Glastonbury, Connecticut
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Crab-Topped Cod

Richly flavored crab dresses up mild and flaky cod in this incredibly low-fat dish. In summer, try individually wrapping the fillets in foil and grilling them over indirect heat.—Cheryl Woodson, Liberty, Missouri
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Italian Cloud Eggs

Drop egg yolks on nests of whipped Italian-seasoned egg whites, then bake in a cast-iron skillet. Dreamy!—Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Peppered Tuna Kabobs Exps32733 Sd143204c12 10 5bc Rms 2

Peppered Tuna Kabobs

When we barbecue, we like to wow our guests, so dogs and burgers are out! We make tuna skewers topped with salsa—the perfect easy recipe. My five kids like to help me put them together. —Jennifer Ingersoll, Herndon, Virginia
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Portobello Polenta Stacks

My friends and I have recently started growing portobello mushrooms from kits we found at a farmers market. We love to try new recipes—like this one—with our harvest. —Breanne Heath, Chicago, Illinois
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Chicken & Spanish Cauliflower "Rice"

I learned about the paleo diet from some friends who now have tons of energy and are super fit. Since then, I’ve changed my eating habits, too. Everyone from my dad to my little nephew loves this chicken in Spanish cauliflower rice. —Megan Schmoldt, Westminster, Colorado
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Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kabobs

My three sons can polish off a watermelon in one sitting. Before they dig in, I set aside a few slices to make these zesty shrimp kabobs. —Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas
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Easy Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

One time when making sloppy joes, I wanted mine spicy, so I doused it in hot sauce. After that, my mind went wild and I made it Buffalo chicken-style with ground chicken, diced celery and blue cheese crumbles. I've been making it this way ever since. —Jennifer Nielson, Spanish Fork, Utah

Peggy Woodward, RDN
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.
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