TAMPA (BLOOM) Melissa Bernstein the author of “The Power of 5 Test Kitchen Cookbook”, joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the global health and wellness show Bloom, with easy tips to eat cleaner.

“Change is not easy for any of us, especially when it comes to cooking and eating healthy, but it doesn’t have to be.” said Bernstein.

She went on to say “It takes the desire, thought, intention and taking small steps toward making changes.”

Bernstein shared key ways to modify the way you cook, and a healthy 3 Sisters Salad Recipe to help jump start your health journey.

Suggestions & Tips to make healthier choices while Cooking and Eating:

-Cook at home
-Plan your meals (using basic ingredients)
-Eat fresh or fresh frozen vegetables vs. canned
-Use olive oil vs. butter
-Use vegetable broth vs. oil or butter
-Eat grilled vs. fried ones (use an air fryer if available)
-Replace refine grains with whole grains
-Flavor with herbs, spices, garlic, onions and citrus

Power of 5 Test Kitchen “3 Sisters Salad” recipe:

A beautiful combination of three powerful foods that have vivid color and full of fiber, antioxidants, and protein. Layer of dark greens and you have a perfect combination of a fabulously nutritional salad for your brain and body.
A staple among the Costa Rican indigenous people and native Americans – the trio plant gardens, planted near each other complement in the growth, enriching the soil they are planted in.
The 3 Sisters salad and other 3 sisters recipes supply a powerhouse through the complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and complementary amino acids that form a complete protein!
Be sure to add this power packed recipe to your Power of 5 eating menu each week for the health of it!
To Healthy Cooking & Eating for a Power Of 5 Life,
Melissa Bernstein, Chef, OT/FAOTA
A superpowered salad filled with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals – combining these 3 ingredients makes a complete protein.

PREP TIME. 30minutes
COOK TIME 1hour. 30 minutes
SERVINGS. 8 Servings
CALORIES. 92 kcal
• 2 lbs. Butternut squash cubed. May use winter squash.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional Omit, bake whole squash, seeded then cube (or you don’t include oil in your diet)
• 1 15.5oz Black Beans, or beans of your choice well-drained and rinsed with cold water. May use other beans such as cannellini, kidney, pinto, or even green lentils.
• 2 cups Fresh corn kernels 3-4 ears of corn roasted then cut off the cob.
• ½ Small onion sliced, sweet yellow onions may be used
• 3 cups Curly Kale, or other varieties such as Lacinato, modify using Arugula or Spinach
• Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste
• Black and or cayenne pepper a dash or two, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Squash- Wash whole butternut squash, halve it, scoop out the seeds (save those for later to roast- delicious). Bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 30 based on the size of your squash. Cook until golden brown and soft, cool then cut into cubes.
  3. Corn- cook the corn on the cob – Boil in 8qt pot for 5-7 min. If you are using canned corn, drain and rinse.
  4. Beans – Rinse and drain well. Pat dry to remove excess liquid
  5. Red Onion – Slice thinly.
  6. Gently toss together the beans, corn, onion, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and cubed squash in a large bowl; cover and chill 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Kale, Greens -Layer greens of your choice on the bottom of serving bowls, place tossed mixture on top and enjoy!
  8. For an added kick (& health benefit) – sprinkle a dash of black and cayenne pepper into your serving and give it an easy toss.

Melissa’s Modifications
I just love the 3 Sisters Salad…it freshness, versatility and a superfood combination for body and brain health that fosters longevity. You can combine these 3 ingredients to make other recipes as well – soups and stews that offer the same powerhouse of nutrition.
Recap of modifications:
Beans – Black , kidney, cannellini, lentils, garbanzo or pinto. You can combine your 2 cups of beans making a trio of beans for your salad.
Squash – Butternut or winter -baked in the oven or roasted on a sheet pan using olive oil or olive oil spray.
Dark Greens – Kale, arugula, spinach
Corn – Prepare corn on the cob roasted or boiled than cut off the cob, or use canned.
However, you prepare this delicious dish, you will continue to make each week as part of your healthy Power of 5 menu.
Serving: 2cupsCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 18.2gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gFiber: 3.4gSugar: 4.6g