From The Nutritionist

Lindsay Watts, RD
Author:
Lindsay Watts, RD

Confessions of a Confection-Craving Dietitian

I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. I was the kid at the party who could eat nothing but the icing on the cake, a cookie, and a few candies in between running around. I love sugar. But, as a dietitian (and a grown woman), I know that sweets and sugar should be eaten in moderation, not by the spoonful. So, over the years I found healthier ways to satisfy my persistent cravings. Here are a few of my go to strategies for keeping my sweet tooth in check (especially this time of year):

 

 

 

  1. Reach for Fruit
    Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe piece of fruit? Sweet, healthy, and versatile, fruit is one of my favorite treats any time of year. Pears are my go-to during the fall season — especially when they are thrown on the grill (yes, I still grill in October). I also enjoy them as a sweet addition to a grilled cheese and arugula sandwich or in a tossed salad. Whether it is part of a meal, or a treat on its own, fruit helps to take the edge off my insatiable sweet tooth.
  2. Pair it with Something Smarter
    Sometimes, something sweet can make healthy foods taste that much better. Top low fat Greek yogurt with sweetened coconut and Goldfish® Grahams, add dark chocolate shavings and berries to your oatmeal, or drink a glass of low fat chocolate milk. The key is to enjoy in moderation. If your "treat" is overpowering the taste of the healthy food you’re trying to eat, you may have gone too far.
  3. Choose Your Favorite
    We’ve officially entered the sweetest time of year. For a sugar-o-holic, this can be temptation overload. I found that setting boundaries and occasions for eating sweets is a great way to satisfy my cravings without overindulging. When I am at parties (or around the bowl of Halloween candy), I choose 1 or 2 small portions of my favorite treat, then step away from the snacks and enjoy my friends and family. Planning "sweet occasions" such as parties, gatherings with friends or only after dinner are other ways I set boundaries on my sweet tooth. Because, let’s face it—even with all I know about diet and health, I would still eat sweets for every meal or snack of the day if I didn’t set some ground rules.

 

Every single food you eat does not need to be “healthy” or a “superfood”. Instead, your overall dietary pattern is what matters most. I haven’t outgrown my sweet tooth, but these tips have helped me maintain a healthy diet without depriving myself of the foods I love.


Stay Sweet,

Lindsay

 

Lindsay’s Bio
Lindsay is a nutrition communications analyst at the Campbell Soup Company where she coordinates health professional and consumer communications. She also works with internal and external partners on retail health and wellness programs. Prior to her role at Campbell, Lindsay worked as an in-store retail dietitian. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University and completed her dietetic internship with Pennsylvania State University.

 

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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.