From The Nutritionist

BreannaBarber Nutrition Student
Guest Author:
Breanna Barber, Nutrition Student

Here’s to a Healthier, Happier Holiday!

Celebration and joy, time with the people we love, and delicious food are often what comes to mind when thinking about the holiday season. But at the same time, these cold winter months may also be filled with busy schedules, stress and even sickness.

The hustle and bustle of a hectic holiday schedule pulls us in so many directions that we often forget to take time for ourselves. This winter, consider these tips to help you have a healthier, happier holiday season!

Keep the Sugar Plums Dancing

Despite the extra list of things to do and people to see during the holidays, try to keep your sleep schedule regular. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help you stay consistent. For most adults, 7-8 hours of sleep are recommended to keep your body well rested.1

Win with Winter Workouts

For many of us, it’s more enjoyable to exercise in the summer when the sun is bright and the air is warm, but exercise is equally important to your body in the winter as it is in the summer. Find creative ways to exercise this winter. Brisk walks can be refreshing – and keep you on the move! Does it snow in your area? If so, enjoy a day of free entertainment and fitness– go sledding, have a snow castle building contest and finish the fun with a snowball fight with your family and friends. Try a new winter activity, such as ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and make the most of the winter weather!

Don’t show up…hungry that is!

Before the work holiday party or a neighborhood gathering, be sure to have a balanced snack to curb your appetite. Grab a glass of V8® 100% Vegetable juice and a low-fat cheese stick, or a handful of mixed nuts and dried cranberries paired with a can of V8 V-Fusion® +Energy. How about little ones? Plum Organics® offers convenient and nutritious snack foods including Fruit Shredz®, Grammy Sammy®, and Mashups® that leave the kids feeling satisfied. When you prepare snacks and hors d’oeuvres, replace some of the salty, higher fat, crunchy snacks with some low-calorie, crisp vegetables. Prepare a colorful vegetable tray featuring broccoli and cauliflower florets, bell pepper strips, radishes, celery sticks, and Bolthouse Farms® baby-cut carrots, perfect for dipping into Bolthouse Farms® yogurt dressings. Cook a vegetable dish to provide guests with a nutritious and delicious option. Check out these Fruit and Vegetable Recipes for some inspiration.

Savor Sweets Sensibly

What’s a holiday party without desserts? The holidays are a time to enjoy indulgent food, so there’s no need to cut them out completely, but try alternating a dessert with a healthier option. If you find rich desserts like cheesecake simply irresistible, split a slice with a friend or search online for a lighter version of your favorite recipe. When you reach for the cookies, grab one less and add a piece of fresh fruit! The sweet taste of fruit can be a welcome addition to your palate and plate. Many fruits pair well with chocolate for example.

Play Mind Games

A bigger plate equals bigger portions. Research shows that calorie consumption increases with larger portion sizes and dishes.2 Visual cues play an important role in our eating habits, meaning we often rely on our eyes to determine when we’ve had enough rather than our stomachs.3 When possible, use a smaller plate for meals and snacks. It will look like a substantial plateful, but with less food, meaning fewer calories!4,5


Nutrition facts

The black dot on the right may appear larger than the one on the left, but they’re actually the same size. Apply this concept to your plate, and you’ll trick your brain into eating less.




Be a Social Butterfly

Think about a time when you were catching up with someone over lunch. It’s mostly talking and not very much eating. Am I right? Carry this idea over to your holiday parties. The more time you spend socializing with the people you love, the less time you spend by the table munching on the winter snacks that keep calling your name.

Stay Warm and Toasty

Enjoy the comfort of seasonal specialties like hot mulled cider. Try aromatic and tasty slow cooker foods like homemade applesauce and cranberries. Sit by the fireplace, relax and sip on soup. Before you know it, it will be spring!

Cheers!

Breanna

Breanna’s Bio:

Breanna is currently a senior at West Chester University, pursuing a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. This past summer she completed a 13 week internship at Campbell Soup Company in the Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs department. Her goal is to become a Registered Dietitian and inspire others to adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle. She developed a strong interest in community and family-oriented nutrition through various recent experiences, and believes that nutrition and healthy habits begin in the home and community.

References

1.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Holiday health and safety tips.
http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/ Accessed May 28, 2014.

2.Rolls BJ, Roe LS, Meengs JS, Wall DE. Increasing the portion size of a sandwich
increases energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2004; 104(3) 367-372.
http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(03)01784-X/abstract Accessed August 13, 2014.

3.Wansink B, Painter JE, North J. Bottomless bowls: why visual cues of portion size may
influence intake. Obesity Research. 2005; 13(1) 93-100.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2005.12/full Accessed August 13, 2014.

4.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What are some ways to eat healthy during the holidays?
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967607&terms=healthy%20holiday%20season Accessed May 27, 2014.

5.United States Department of Agriculture. Decrease portion sizes.
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/better-choices/decrease-portions.html Accessed May 27, 2014.

Upcoming Events

 

National Family Meals Month™ >

Raise your mitt and commit™. Pledge to eat one more meal together as a family! #familymealsmonth

Say YES to MORE Vegetables >

When you say yes, amazing things happen. That's why we said yes to making a balanced diet simple and delicious! See how you can fit in more veggies, whole grains, and family-pleasing meals with this 5-day meal plan.

Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® Month >

In celebration of Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® Month check out ten reasons to eat more fruits and veggies.

 
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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.