From The Nutritionist

Nutritionist Kate Williams
Guest Author:
Kate Williams, R.D.

Take a Vacation from Your Food Routine

A few years back I left my comfort zone. I embarked on a two-year adventure in Seoul, Korea, as well as trips to nearby countries. The biggest culture shock was undoubtedly the food. I decided to take full advantage and try everything – even if I didn’t know what it was. So jellyfish wasn’t my favorite, but I can honestly say I gained a new appreciation for diverse flavors, spices and textures. I consumed fermented foods, native fruits and veggies, local delicacies and more! Now that I am stateside with little kids at home, I still search for simple ways to bring an element of taste adventure to the foods I eat and those I feed my family. And you can too!

Whether you plan to go far or stay close to home, just a weekend away or a longer trip, why not embark on an eating adventure this summer? For those of you who hesitate to try the new and different, don’t miss the boat.

Trying new foods can be good for your health! From a nutritional perspective, eating a wide variety of foods and choosing different preparation styles may improve total diet quality and provide a broader range of nutrients your body needs. Maybe most intriguing, local fare and international cuisine will take your taste buds on a delightful journey. Begin your adventure with these simple tips.

Switch It up at the Supermarket

  • In the produce aisle choose one new or unfamiliar fruit each week like Asian pears or boysenberries instead of the traditional pears or blueberries. Add them to the fruit bowl for the kids to try.
  • In the grain aisle reach for quinoa or bulgur and substitute for pasta, in a salad or side dish, to add a unique taste and texture at your next cookout.
  • At the seafood counter choose a seasonal or local fresh fish for grilling.
  • In the dairy aisle pick a new Greek yogurt variety or different wedge of cheese for sandwiches.

Each aisle presents an opportunity to try something fresh and new. Take full advantage!

Buffet Taste Test & Restaurant Roulette
Most dietitians rarely recommend buffets, as people tend to overeat and make poor food choices. However, buffets can provide you an opportunity to try a wide array of new foods. Try just one scallop or a single piece of sushi or sample an unfamiliar veggie side dish. Make note of those you like best and try them at home. This can help bring new interest and excitement to mealtime.

Try a new ethnic restaurant – even if you have to point at a picture to order! Ask a family member or friend to take you to their favorite Greek, Indian, Moroccan or Thai restaurant. They can help you navigate the menu and recommend delicious dishes.

International Night
I remember international night back in high school. Foreign language students would prepare and sample dishes from around the world. Here are some tips so you can experience international night right at home!

Looking for a ready to serve option? Try a soup with a new and unique flavor profile like Campbell’s Go™ Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms soup. Have a little more time? Select a new or unused spice from your spice rack and search online for an interesting recipe that uses it as an ingredient.

Maybe your child is learning about a certain country in geography. Have them help you find a recipe for a dish local to that region. You never know what new favorites will arise. In our house, bulgogi (a Korean dish of thinly sliced meat, marinated in a unique mixture of ingredients, then grilled) is now part of our regular rotation!

Check out these nutritious and delicious chef-inspired recipes. They may lead you down a road less traveled but just as tasty!

Enjoy your tasty adventure!

Kate


Kate Williams, R.D.
Kate received her bachelor degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and then completed a dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over nine 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.