Caitlin Nicole Salazar

Bachelors of Science & Arts
in Nutrition U.T. Austin

Nutrition Connection

Our diet not only affects whether or not we have physical ailments, but also correlates with our mental health. Mental illnesses are very powerful and can easily begin to control one’s life. However, we have to remember there are changes we can make in our favor. Taking steps to improve one’s mental health can begin with what we choose to put on our plates. I would like to share with you healthy recipes and nutrition tips to increase positive eating behaviors. Here’s a recipe I created that contains many of the same flavors in the traditional carrot cake, but without the highly processed ingredients!

Please visit Caitlin’s Cookbook for more nutritious and delicious recipes and tips.

Carrot Cake Salad

  • 2 cups of lightly packed shredded carrots (about 5 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix until combined. Chill for 30 minutes. Serve as a great side to any meal or enjoy as a snack.
Makes 4 servings

Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins


  • 1 1/3 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 large bananas)*
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or your milk of choice)**
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. agave***
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. ground flax meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour****
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon


  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  • Mash bananas and almond butter together in a large bowl.
  • Then stir in coconut milk, coconut oil, agave, vanilla & ground flax meal.
  • Next stir in the coconut sugar.
  • Measure out the remaining dry ingredients (rolled oats, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cinnamon) into the wet mixture. Then stir everything together until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Use the 1/4 measuring cup that was used to measure the coconut oil, and pour 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin lined cup.
  • Sprinkle chopped walnuts and/or chocolate chips on the top of each muffin and gently press them into the batter.
  • Put the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove muffin pan from the oven and let them cool in pan for 10 minutes (the muffins will continue to cook some while they are in the hot pan). After 10 minutes, remove muffins from pan and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Once muffins have cooled completely, enjoy! =)


  • *If your 3 bananas don’t quite measure up to 1 1/3 cup, you can substitute applesauce for the remainder. For example, I made one batch with 1 cup of mashed bananas + 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and they came out perfect.
  • **I’ve personally tested this recipe with coconut milk & almond milk.
  • ***You can sub the agave for honey.
  • ****Oat flour can be bought or it can easily be made by blending old fashioned oats in a blender (approximately 1 1/4 cup oats= 1 cup oat flour). If you are making these muffins for someone who has a gluten intolerance, make sure you use gluten-free oats. Oats themselves are gluten-free, but can be contaminated with gluten because often times they are processed in facilities that process other grains.