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Alabama dietitian adds deliciousness to every dish on Beautiful Eats and Things

Andrea Mathis’ blog, Beautiful Eats and Things, draws followers who enjoy trying her delicious dishes and other offerings.

Every great Southern cook has their own special, secret ingredients.

For Andrea Mathis, the key to beautiful, appetizing meals is using good, healthy ingredients. Serving up gorgeously crafted plates of food on her Beautiful Eats and Things blog – along with a helping of self-love and body positivity – has transformed this Alabama dietitian into a successful influencer.

Mathis wears many hats: She is the creator, chef, stylist and producer of two food websites and her Instagram, which include a mouthwatering array of recipes, decorating ideas, self-care advice and more. At least twice a week, Mathis introduces new culinary delights – made with good health in mind – to more than 300,000 followers on her blog and social media.

Mathis’ site features satisfying, stomach-warming meals. The tasty recipes are all her own, most of which she has crafted for her family and friends. Photos of Mathis’ One-Pot Spinach, Mushroom Four-Cheese Ravioli and Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken and Vegetables encourage viewers to eat healthy. Mathis’ YouTube followers can watch her prepare grilled, healthy vegetables and other entrées.

“I am a dietitian, so I do like to create healthier recipes, but I want to keep as close to that Southern comfort as possible, because I grew up cooking with my mother and my grandmother,” said Mathis, who lives in Pinson. “So, I try to turn some of those familiar recipes around a little bit, and just kind of tweak them so that they’re still delicious but are a little bit healthier than the traditional version.”

She savors little things: Making family breakfast or adding a festive touch to a friend’s birthday celebration are special occasions.

“Sometimes, I’ll be doing something around the house and a recipe idea just pops into my head,” said Mathis, who, with her husband, Christopher, shares sons, C.J., 8, and Caden, 6. “I will start putting something together and it turns out good. Then I must remember, ‘What did I do?’ And I have to write down those measurements.”

Her websites are a feast for the eyes. A one-woman show, Mathis crafts the recipes, writes the blog, takes photos and videos, and updates the sites.

“I hope Beautiful Eats and Things continues to grow,” said Mathis, a former food and nutrition director at Greenbriar, a long-term nursing facility in Birmingham.

Her blogging started “organically” when, after having children, Mathis began cooking more of her family’s meals.

“I wanted a place to store my recipes because I would post or share them on Facebook, and then everybody would say, ‘OK, where’s the recipe?’”

Some recipes include nutritional information not often given in cookbooks. For instance, Mathis’ Crunchy Oven Baked Beef Tacos are 297 calories each, without skimping on melted Mexican-style cheese.

Mathis believes that meals should be nourishing to the body, mind and spirit. Her blog followers are happily surprised by Mathis’ supportive messages about body positivity.

“A lot of times, when I tell people I’m a dietitian, it’s always a shocker there because I’m not stick-thin,” Mathis said. “So, I do like to get that message out about dietitians and some of those health misconceptions. I have always been interested in cooking, and I’ve always been interested in diets because I grew up always a little bit heavier.”

As a teen, Mathis felt surrounded by weight-loss commercials. During high school, she started researching weight loss. One of her teachers, a dietitian, heard about Mathis’ interest and told her about the dietetics profession.

“I was really interested,” said Mathis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics at the University of Montevallo and a master’s degree in health studies at the University of Alabama. “I thought it was a profession that helped people lose weight. But I researched it and found out that it was a lot more than that. It is about eating for good health.”

Mathis uses in-season produce. For her, healthy also means fun: For three years running, the Fresh Frozen Blueberry Margarita has been the most popular recipe on her site. Folks with serious chocolate cravings need look no farther than her recipe for Superfood Dark Chocolate Cranberry Bark, a rich, satisfying treat of dark chocolate and cacao nibs, with a healthy sprinkling of cranberries, pistachios and flax seed.

Mathis’ Little Eats and Things site contains wholesome, kid-friendly recipes, which she began creating when her sons were toddlers. Geared toward moms, Little Eats and Things includes printable arts and crafts projects that are a resource for teachers and parents.

“When my children were born, I made a lot of their food from scratch,” Mathis said. “I made a lot of recipes with a blender, especially for my older son. At the time, he was at the bottom of the growth chart, so I would make recipes that had a higher fat content to help him gain weight.

“When he was about 1 year old, he ended up growing really quickly at one point,” she added, with a laugh. “The doctor said, ‘What are you feeding him?’ So I had to slow it down, but it definitely worked.”

Looking to the future

Subscribers to Beautiful Eats and Things can sign up to receive a free, downloadable copy of “The Healthy One-Pot Cookbook.” In 2021, Mathis also wrote “The Complete Book of Healthy Smoothies,” available for purchase on-site.

Receive “The Healthy One-Pot Cookbook.” (Andrea Mathis)

While Mathis stays busy keeping her sites fresh, fun and informational, she has dreams of writing a cookbook that shares stories about her Southern background and family.

“I love to decorate and create beautiful tablescapes and other things, and want to incorporate my Southern upbringing, so I’m really working on that,” Mathis said. “I love to decorate my house for each season – it is a trait I get from my mom, who decorates for every season and holiday. I want to continue creating recipes.

“My goal is to continue getting the message out about healthy recipes and dietitians – how we come in different shapes and sizes,” she said.

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