From The Nutritionist

Lindsay Watts, RDN
Author:
Lindsay Watts, RDN

Three Reasons to Rethink “Sticking to the Perimeter” in a Grocery Store


Have you ever heard the nutrition advice to “stick to the perimeter of the grocery store”? As a dietitian, this advice makes me cringe. I love discovering new products in every aisle of the supermarket and trying products that help me put healthy, delicious meals on the table quickly. Yes, the fresh departments in a supermarket have a lot to offer. Who doesn’t love to see a bounty of fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, and a never-ending wall of yogurt? However, if you avoid entire departments in the store, you miss out on products that can help you or your clients achieve a healthy eating pattern more easily.

Read on for my top three evidence-based reasons why you should include packaged foods as part of a healthy eating pattern.

1. Packaged Foods Cut Down on Cooking Time
The average American only spends a total of 37 minutes on food preparation and clean up per day.1 This amount of time can vary based on economic status, gender, and age, but generally, people do not spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Even if people had an additional four hours each day, most would not spend it cooking, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council.2 Products like pre-packaged vegetables, tomato sauces, cooking sauces, and others can help home cooks get balanced meals on the table quickly so that they can spend more time with family and friends. Stock your pantry with reduced sodium broth and stock, canned poultry and fish, tomato sauces, cooking sauces, and more to cut back on prep and cooking times.

2. Packaged Foods Can Improve Diet Quality
Packaged foods can improve the quality of a person’s diet, especially when they provide fruits and vegetables. People who included canned fruits and vegetables in their eating pattern ate more fruits and vegetables compared to those who did not, according to a study based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Even better, people who ate canned fruits and vegetables had comparable levels of sugar and sodium intake compared to those who did not.3

Processing foods can also make phytonutrients, (naturally-occurring plant chemicals) more bioavailable. For example, we absorb carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene, better after they undergo heat processing. These phytonutrients are important antioxidants and can be found in carrot and tomato products like pasta sauce and 100% vegetable juice.4

3. Packaged Foods are Affordable and Accessible
Food cost is an important consideration for many families. One in eight people across the U.S. struggle with food insecurity and 43.1 million people live in poverty.5-6 An even larger portion of the population lives above the poverty level, but has a limited income.7 Packaged foods can provide a convenient, affordable way for people to include under consumed food groups in their diet. Processing extends the shelf life of foods so that families can stock up when they can get to the grocery store with less waste.

Both fresh and packaged foods play an important role in a healthy diet. Reach a healthy eating pattern that fits your budget, time constraints, and taste preferences from every aisle in the supermarket. Visit our Campbell Brand Sites to see which products best meet your individual needs. Check out our healthy eating plans for inspiration on how packaged and fresh foods fit in a healthy diet and try nutritious recipes that use products from every aisle. Learning how to make better choices throughout the store can set you up for success and help you to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Happy Shopping,

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. 

Sources:

  1. USDA Economic Research Service. Published 11/7/2016. Accessed 6/10/17. Available at: https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2016/november/americans-spend-an-average-of-37-minutes-a-day-preparing-and-serving-food-and-cleaning-up/

  2. 2017 Health and Food Survey. International Food Information Council. Published May 16, 2017. Accessed June 10, 2017. Available at: http://www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2017_Food_and_Health_Survey_-_Final_Report-rev.pdf

  3. Freedman MR, Victor FL. Canned Vegetable and Fruit Consumption is Associated with Changes in Nutrient Intake and Higher Diet Quality in Children and Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. June 2016 Vol 116(6) pg 940-948.

  4. Phytochemical Information Center. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Available at http://www.pbhfoundation.org/about/res/pic/faqs/#faq7 Accessed June 10, 2017.

  5. Income and Poverty in the U.S.: 2015. United States Census Bureau. Published September 2016. Accessed June 8, 2017. Available at: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.pdf

  6. Poverty Guidelines. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed June 8, 2017. Available at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines

  7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. USDA Food and Nutrition Services. Accessed June 8, 2017. Available at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility

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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.