From The Nutritionist

Nutrition Author Bonnie Taub-Dix
Guest Author
Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D., C.D.N

Sumptuous Summer Snacks

This month's guest writer is Bonnie Taub-Dix, a nutrition author who has worked with Campbell to help educate our consumers about healthy eating. Here's what she's dishing about:

Summertime is usually synonymous with outdoor activities and family fun. Whether you're an adult or a child, you'll need lots of energy too and nothing works better than a between-meal treat. It's important to choose snacks carefully because some may actually zap your energy instead of fueling you with what you need.

Some of the following tried and true tips can be helpful year through, while others may feel like an oasis in a desert, providing refreshment when the mercury rises:

- Slip into a smoothie. They are easy to prepare and they provide energy that can last for hours. Be creative and vary the ingredients so that you can enjoy a different type each day. In a blender, start with a base of 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla), and 3-4 ice cubes and then take it away! Add one or several of the following fruits and veggies: banana, berries, mango, pear, apple, cucumber, carrots, spinach, cooked sweet potato. (You may even get the kids to eat veggies they often turn their nose up to when you blend them with one of their favorite fruits.) In a hurry? Try a refreshing shelf-stable smoothie that contains no added sugar, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

- Create a kabob. When you make this for guests at your backyard BBQ or you're having some fun with food with your kids, these kabobs are easy to make and beautiful to serve. Cut up equal sized pieces of fruit such as watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and peaches, and stick them on a wooden skewer in alternating fashion. The same type of kabob can be made with veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and summer squash. Just brush them with a mixture of a hint of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, place them on a hot grill, and you'll have a side dish that serves lots of flavor with little calories.

- Go for a dip. After the pool, a refreshing treat might be dipping into some yogurt. For a sweet treat, dunk the fruit kabob above into vanilla or your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt. If something savory is on your menu, start with plain yogurt and mix it with an array of spices and seasonings or a tablespoon of onion soup mix and dip the veggie kabob mentioned.

- Get hungry for hummus. Aside from being rich in protein, fiber, and a wealth of B vitamins, hummus is a great way to get your family to eat more vegetables. A tray with hummus front and center surrounded by a colorful assortment of sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, jicama, zucchini sticks, and broccoli, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots will be pleasing to the eye and palate.

- Do something juicy. Make popsicles with 100% vegetable or fruit juice or vegetable and fruit juice blends or pour them into ice cube trays and serve with a pitcher of water for a wonderful way to hydrate while enjoying the vitamins and minerals most of us don't get enough of.

- Stay hydrated with soup. During the warm summer weather, it's important to keep your body hydrated and eating soup, especially broth-based soups, can help. Believe it or not, all soup is not eaten hot. In fact, there are a number of chilled soups that are delicious and refreshing like this Chilled Pear Tomato Gazpacho. But don't shy away from hot soups during the summer, they can still please your palate and help hydrate.

- Out of sight out of mind. Have fresh cut fruits or veggies on the kitchen table for when your kids come home from long day of activities so that their hands don't end up in the snack drawer while waiting for dinner. You'd be surprised at how this attractive refreshing medley can trump less healthy snacks.

- Become friends with the sandwich bag. Snacks have the reputation of being high in calories but that doesn't have to be true if portions are kept in check. Be mindful of serving sizes listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel of the food label and pre-portion snacks ahead of time. When possible, try buying items that come in single serving packages.

Hope these summer snack tips will help you look and feel full and fit both inside and out!

Have a Sumptuous Summer!
Bonnie

Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA,RD,CDN, owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC and the author of, Read It Before You Eat It, is a past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and is an advisor to national and global corporate clients and food companies, setting up wellness programs, creating media campaigns, and conducting seminars. Bonnie is a regular guest on national TV and radio shows and in the press, including CNN, CBS Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, WebMD, as well as popular magazines. She is a consultant to the Cartoon Network and wrote a regular weekly blog for USA Today. As a renowned motivational speaker and award-winning dietitian, Bonnie has found a way to communicate how to make sense of science.

Website: www.betterthandieting.com
Blogger: http://www.bonnietaubdix.com/bonnies-blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/eatsmartbd
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/bonnietaubdixfacebookfanpage

Links:
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Chilled Pear Tomato Gazapcho

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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.