Tag Archives: holiday eating

CDC: Most Americans eat too much salt

Bloomberg News  reports, “Almost all US citizens, including children, exceed the dietary guidelines for salt, putting them at risk for hypertension and heart disease, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Continue reading

Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving dinner is there are often lots of delicious leftovers. You can just warm up a few of your favorite dishes or make a simple turkey sandwich. But for healthful alternatives, USA Today asked the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, the editors of EatingWell and Cooking Light to share some nutritious recipes that use Thanksgiving leftovers. I hope you try them out. Continue reading

Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving dinner is there are often lots of delicious leftovers. You can just warm up a few of your favorite dishes or make a simple turkey sandwich. But for healthful alternatives, USA Today asked the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, the editors of EatingWell and Cooking Light to share some nutritious recipes that use Thanksgiving leftovers. I hope you try them out.

Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads
  • 4 large pieces of romaine lettuce, torn in half
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ lb. thinly sliced roasted turkey breast

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the feta cheese and yogurt with a fork, mashing any large chunks of cheese. Stir in the lemon juice, oregano, lemon zest and pepper. The spread will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make a sandwich, cut a pita in half to form two pockets. Line each pocket with a half of a lettuce leaf. Spread two heaping tablespoons of feta spread into the pocket.

Then fill each pocket with about six cucumber slices, four or five mint leaves and two or three slices of turkey.

Servings: 4, two pockets

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 9 grams of fat; 5 grams of saturated fat; 32 grams of protein; 40 grams of carbohydrate; 6 grams of fiber; 80 milligrams of cholesterol; 700 milligrams of sodium.

Source: So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger

Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4¾ cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (1½ pounds)
  • 3½ cups water
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped carrots (about 1 pound)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Move onion mixture to side of pan; add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to open space in pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 1 minute or until butter begins to brown. Add sweet potatoes, water, broth and carrots; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place half of soup mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup mixture. Stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 2 teaspoons sour cream and ¾ teaspoon parsley.

Servings: 8, about one cup each

Nutrition information per serving: 173 calories; 6.7 grams of fat; 4.1 grams of saturated fat; 3.6 grams of protein; 25.7 grams of carbohydrate; 5 grams of fiber; 18 milligrams of cholesterol; 415 milligrams of sodium.

Source: Cooking Light, November 2009 (MyRecipes.com)

Cream of turkey and wild rice soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 oz.)
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or instant wild rice
  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken (12 oz.)
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.

Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in turkey (or chicken), sour cream and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Ingredient note: Quick-cooking or instant wild rice has been parboiled to reduce the cooking time. Conventional wild rice takes 40 to 50 minutes to cook. If you can’t find the quick-cooking variety, just add cooked conventional wild rice along with the turkey at the end of Step 2.

Servings: 4, about 1¾ cups each

Nutrition information per serving: 354 calories; 9 grams of fat; 3 grams of saturated fat; 36 grams of protein; 27 grams of carbohydrate; 3 grams of fiber; 87 milligrams of cholesterol; 378 milligrams of sodium.

Source: EatingWell magazine; eatingwell.com

How to help kids follow a healthy diet even over holidays

This is a reprint of one of the more popular blogs I posted last year. It’s adapted from an AP story on how we, as parents, can help our children with more healthful nutrition during the holidays. I also have a ton of tips in my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat which in on sale in both hardback and softcover at my DrWalt.com book store. Better yet, they’re autographed:

SuperSized Kids - .161 MB JPEG copy

Many parents are trying to figure out how to have a healthier holiday without depriving their kids of holiday treats. About a third of American kids are overweight or obese, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

Studies show Americans gain about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s; people who are overweight or obese are at risk of gaining five pounds, said Dr. Susan Z. Yanovski, an obesity expert at the National Institutes of Health. She said the weight gain is slight, but it accumulates over time.

During the winter holidays many children are “indulging in their favorite foods and sitting around with nothing to do,” said Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, a pediatrician and author of the forthcoming Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right: The Food Solution That Lets Kids Be Kids.

“Then there’s the fact that kids realize it’s the holiday season,” she said. “‘I deserve to indulge. How come everyone else is indulging?’ They start to feel resentful and entitled.”

Dr. Goutham Rao, clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, said some of his patients gain five to seven pounds for that very reason. They see the holidays as a time to unwind and treat themselves. Some aren’t even thinking about their weight, said Dolgoff, promising to get back on track when school starts.

“If they say, ‘I’m going to start in the new year,’ they have given themselves free rein to eat anything and everything in sight,” she said. “That’s unfortunate. They wind up gaining more.”

Children face a greater challenge when it comes to holiday eating than adults, said experts. They have less impulse control — they see tempting sweets and want them without thinking of the consequences, said Rao. Many are unsure which items are healthy and what an appropriate portion size is.

Tracie Brosius, 46, of Greensburg, Pa., said she tries to keep the goodies in her house to a minimum. Her 17-year-old daughter, Torie Washington, is down 22 pounds since enrolling in Dr. Rao’s program 1 1/2 years ago.

She said last Christmas Torie ate whatever she wanted, especially pizzelles — Italian cookies. This year she is more focused, wanting to slim down for college next year.

“We don’t deprive her of anything,” said Brosius, who works for an insurance company. “If you are really craving something, you have a little bit of it.”

That’s a good strategy, according to Dr. Thomas Robinson of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, who warns parents not to be the food police. He suggests parents and kids work together to prepare healthier holiday meals.

Vetter said her son has since calmed down. They went out for a sushi dinner on Thanksgiving — California rolls, Yellowtail, Spanish Mackerel — and he loved it, she said.

“We are still on track for more fish and we don’t have the sweet carbs sitting around the house,” she said. “Now my son wants sushi for Christmas.”

Go healthy, not hungry for Thanksgiving dining

The holiday season means you’ll be faced with a seemingly endless buffet of food temptation. While some people simply give in and eat too much, others deny themselves any holiday treats.

But there are ways to navigate between overindulgence and deprivation, according to Julie Redfern, manager of Nutrition Consult Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She offers the following advice in a report by Health on the Net Foundation:

  • Eat a light snack before you go to a holiday party. That will prevent you from arriving hungry and overeating or gobbling down foods high in calories and saturated fat.
  • When you’re invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy food dish.
  • Research how you can use healthy ingredients in your favorite holiday recipes. For example, using 1 percent milk instead of whole milk and cream in a traditional eggnog recipe can save almost 200 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving.
  • Wear tight clothes, such as form-fitting slacks, to holiday events. People who wear loose clothing tend to overeat without realizing it.
  • Staying away from the food table at gatherings will help you resist the urge to eat.
  • Carrying a clutch or handbag will keep your hands busy and reduce the likelihood that you’ll reach for every treat that passes your way.
  • Use a small plate or no plate. You’ll eat less if you have to walk back and forth to get food.
  • Keep portion control in mind. A dinner plate should be half vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter carbs. Avoid going back for seconds and thirds.
  • You can have dessert, but keep the portions small.
  • Beware of high-calorie holiday drinks such as eggnog and apple cider. Have only a small cup.
  • Plan to go for a family walk after your main holiday meal.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving dinner is there are often lots of delicious leftovers. You can just warm up a few of your favorite dishes or make a simple turkey sandwich. But for healthful alternatives, USA Today asked the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, the editors of EatingWell and Cooking Light to share some nutritious recipes that use Thanksgiving leftovers. I hope you try them out.

Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads
  • 4 large pieces of romaine lettuce, torn in half
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ lb. thinly sliced roasted turkey breast

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the feta cheese and yogurt with a fork, mashing any large chunks of cheese. Stir in the lemon juice, oregano, lemon zest and pepper. The spread will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make a sandwich, cut a pita in half to form two pockets. Line each pocket with a half of a lettuce leaf. Spread two heaping tablespoons of feta spread into the pocket.

Then fill each pocket with about six cucumber slices, four or five mint leaves and two or three slices of turkey.

Servings: 4, two pockets

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 9 grams of fat; 5 grams of saturated fat; 32 grams of protein; 40 grams of carbohydrate; 6 grams of fiber; 80 milligrams of cholesterol; 700 milligrams of sodium.

Source: So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger

Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4¾ cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (1½ pounds)
  • 3½ cups water
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped carrots (about 1 pound)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Move onion mixture to side of pan; add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to open space in pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 1 minute or until butter begins to brown. Add sweet potatoes, water, broth and carrots; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place half of soup mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup mixture. Stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 2 teaspoons sour cream and ¾ teaspoon parsley.

Servings: 8, about one cup each

Nutrition information per serving: 173 calories; 6.7 grams of fat; 4.1 grams of saturated fat; 3.6 grams of protein; 25.7 grams of carbohydrate; 5 grams of fiber; 18 milligrams of cholesterol; 415 milligrams of sodium.

Source: Cooking Light, November 2009 (MyRecipes.com)

Cream of turkey and wild rice soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 oz.)
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or instant wild rice
  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken (12 oz.)
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.

Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in turkey (or chicken), sour cream and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Ingredient note: Quick-cooking or instant wild rice has been parboiled to reduce the cooking time. Conventional wild rice takes 40 to 50 minutes to cook. If you can’t find the quick-cooking variety, just add cooked conventional wild rice along with the turkey at the end of Step 2.

Servings: 4, about 1¾ cups each

Nutrition information per serving: 354 calories; 9 grams of fat; 3 grams of saturated fat; 36 grams of protein; 27 grams of carbohydrate; 3 grams of fiber; 87 milligrams of cholesterol; 378 milligrams of sodium.

Source: EatingWell magazine; eatingwell.com

Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Thanksgiving Eating

The holiday season means you’ll be faced with a seemingly endless buffet of food temptation. While some people simply give in and eat too much, others deny themselves any holiday treats.

But there are ways to navigate between overindulgence and deprivation, according to Julie Redfern, manager of Nutrition Consult Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She offers the following advice (in a report by Health on the Net Foundation):

  • Eat a light snack before you go to a holiday party. That will prevent you from arriving hungry and overeating or gobbling down foods high in calories and saturated fat.
  • When you’re invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy food dish.
  • Research how you can use healthy ingredients in your favorite holiday recipes. For example, using 1 percent milk instead of whole milk and cream in a traditional eggnog recipe can save almost 200 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving.
  • Wear tight clothes, such as form-fitting slacks, to holiday events. People who wear loose clothing tend to overeat without realizing it.
  • Staying away from the food table at gatherings will help you resist the urge to eat.
  • Carrying a clutch or handbag will keep your hands busy and reduce the likelihood that you’ll reach for every treat that passes your way.
  • Use a small plate or no plate. You’ll eat less if you have to walk back and forth to get food.
  • Keep portion control in mind. A dinner plate should be half vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter carbs. Avoid going back for seconds and thirds.
  • You can have dessert, but keep the portions small.
  • Beware of high-calorie holiday drinks such as eggnog and apple cider. Have only a small cup.
  • Plan to go for a family walk after your main holiday meal.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Ten Health Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

Here’s an article I wrote for Significant Living magazine on Ten Health Eating Tips for the Holiday Season:  

Food is an important part of almost all holidays, celebrations, family reunions, and cultural traditions. And, this is certainly true of the Jewish festivals and Christian holidays. In fact, most special occasions at church center around faith, food, fellowship, friends, and family. Given that some people can consume 3000 to 4000 calories on any given holiday — and, add to that all the calories consumed at parties and social gatherings — it’s no wonder that so many people gain a little (or even a lot of) weight between Thanksgiving and New Years. But, I have good news! It’s not necessary to avoid holiday gatherings in an attempt to maintain or lose weight. Instead, consider these tips for enjoying food and fellowship during this holiday season!

More Information: Continue reading