From The Nutritionist

Kate Williams
Guest Author:
Kate Williams

Resolve to Plan Ahead

By nature, some of us seem to be planners while others are more spontaneous. Although some spontaneity is a good thing, when it comes to diet and exercise, having a plan will likely keep you on track. Here are some simple tips to help you plan ahead for dietary success and live a more active lifestyle.

Plan a weekly menu

Once a week (maybe a day or two before you grocery shop), create a weekly dinner menu. Choose one new recipe each week and save it for a night when you have a little more time to spare. Explore nutritious and flavor-packed options like the Campbell Chef Inspired Recipes. This collection is a great way to add a creative burst to your routine. It’s also a good idea to make a few quick and easy-to-prepare options as part of your weekly plan. Find recipes or products that require very little prep work, like Campbell‘s® Slow Cooker Sauces or make one day “soup and sandwich night.” Keep track of your meals each week to avoid repetition and make room for new foods and recipes. Not sure how to start planning a menu? Check out the Campbell Healthy Eating Plans, which provide a simple, balanced, and tasty seven-day menu plan at different calorie and sodium levels.

Make a master grocery list

Before heading to the store, create an extensive list of all the foods you may want to purchase. Don’t forget to include all the ingredients you need in the recipes you plan to make. Try using a smartphone app to make your list—that way you’ll always have it with you. Break it down into food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, etc.) and feel free to include low calorie beverages, snacks, spices/seasonings and other categories. Avoid impulse purchases—review the selections on your list before entering the store and avoid shopping when hungry.

Buy in bulk, cook in bulk

When you buy in bulk, you can cook in bulk, which allows you to refrigerate or freeze meals for another day—a great way to plan ahead for lunch or dinner when you don’t have time to cook! Buy snacks in family size packs and portion them into individual containers as soon as you get home from the store – snacks will be ready for the week. Store them all in a grab and go snack drawer.

Exercise – keep the appointment

Choose set days and times for exercise to help make it a habit. Make it a recurring appointment on your calendar or set a repeating alarm on your phone. Maybe every Monday and Wednesday you walk for 30 minutes during your lunch break, and every Friday you bike ride with your friend, spouse or child, and plan a special hike or nature walk over the weekend. When you jot down your weekly dinner menu, why not include the exercise schedule?

These tips require a little time up front, but they’ll save you a lot of time in the long run. They may even help you save money, feel less stressed, and reduce the risk of poor food choices by limiting situations when you are hungry and unprepared.

Plan now. You’ll thank yourself later!

Kate Williams, R.D.


Kate received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.

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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.