Posts Tagged holidays

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Check out my guest blog on to help you eat less when celebrating during the holidays--or anytime.

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Do any of these foods make it on your list during the holidays--or anytime? Check out to see nutrition experts' top picks.

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Here's a clip from Carol Alt's show on Fox News Channel in which I talked about strategies to help you eat well over the holidays.

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With the holidays here, you're likely going to be spending lots of time in your kitchen. To make entertaining more tasty and enjoyable without sabotaging your effort (or that of your guests) to eat nutritiously, here are two recipes featuring 3 superstar veggies–spinach, artichokes and butternut squash. Enjoy!

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Yield/Servings: Makes about 10 ¼ cup servings


2 (14-ounce) cans water-packed artichokes, well drained
4 ounces firm silken tofu
3 large cloves garlic
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup 0% plain Greek Yogurt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. In a high-speed blender puree the artichokes, tofu, and garlic.

3. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the Parmesan cheese, yogurt, spinach, and salt.

4. Combine the two mixtures; then pour into a medium-sized baking dish.

5. Sprinkle the top with more Parmesan.

6. Bake uncovered until heated through and the cheese on the top starts to brown, about 45 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per serving:

Calories: 65

Fat: 1.9 g

Saturated Fat: 0.9 g

Cholesterol: 4 mg

Sodium: 282 mg

Carbohydrate: 5.2 g

Fiber: 1.4 g

Sugar: 1.7 g

Protein: 5.9 g

Calcium: 120 mg

Source: Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD


bn puree






 Roasted Butternut Squash

According to Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, "Some people avoid butternut squash because it seems daunting. That couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s one of the easiest veggies to prepare." She considers roasted butternut squash to be a perfect Autumn side dish. "Nutritionally, it's a nice trade up from mashed potatoes. We just had it with chicken breast and roasted broccoli the other night and it worked nicely," says Harris. She also says it makes a great base for butternut squash soup.

Yield/Servings: 6 ½ cup servings


1 whole butternut squash, 1.5-2 lbs

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


1. Put the squash on a lined sheet and puncture 5-6 times.

2. Roast at 400 until browning.

3. Flip it every 30 min. It takes 1.5-2 hours. It’s done when a fork easily puctures the squash.

4. Cut it open and scoop out the seeds.

5. Puree in a food processor with 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

6. Or, alternatively, use the roasted butternut squash in a soup.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 58

Carbohydrates: 15g

Fat: 0g

Protein: 1g

Fiber: 0g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 5mg

Sugar: 5g

Source: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, Gluten-Free Goodness



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Just in time for Thanksgivukah come two delicious recipes for turkey and cranberry sauce. They'd make great additions to any dinner during the holidays--or whenever! Yum!

Prep Dish, Turkey & Cranberry photo AS





Rosemary-Citrus Turkey Breast

Yield/Servings: ~8


1 bunch rosemary, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 oranges

1 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

4 cups chicken broth (read ingredients and avoid added sugars and other unnecessary fillers)

~4 pound bone-in turkey breast


1. Zest oranges & lemons and then juice.

2. In large storage container, stir together:

- citrus zest & juice

- chopped rosemary & garlic

- 4 cups chicken broth

- ¼ cup olive oil

- 1 cup water

- 2 Tablespoons salt

Add turkey breast to marinate.   

3. Marinate turkey for 24 hours (or a minimum of 1 hour up to 48 hours)

4.  Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

5. Remove turkey from marinade and place in baking pan. Put in oven at 450 F for 5 minutes.

6. Lower temperature to 400 F and continue to roast for ~1-1.5 hours or until internal temperature of 165 F.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 140

Carbohydrates: 1 g

Fat: 3.5 g

Protein: 28 g

Fiber: 0 g

Cholesterol: 45 mg

Sodium: 480 mg

Sugar: 1 g


Orange Cranberry Sauce

Yield/Servings: 8


10 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)

1 Tablespoon orange zest (from ~2 oranges)

1 cup orange juice

¼ cup honey  


1. In a small pot, place the following ingredients:

- 10 ounces cranberries

- 1 cup orange juice

- 1 Tablespoon orange zest

- ¼ cup honey

2. Stir the above together and place on high heat, bringing to a boil, lower to low heat, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Transfer to bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 60

Carbohydrates: 16 g

Fat: 0 g

Protein: 0 g

Fiber: 2 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 0 mg

Sugar: 12 g


Source: Allison Stevens, MS, RD, LD, from Prep Dish’s gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving Plan





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Check out Dr. Susan Albers' great tips to get through the holidays with your eating--and your mind!--intact in my blog.

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We all get frazzled this time of year! But doing a few of these 5 minute fixes (many that involve food, fitness, and friends) a few times a day will help you feel better, and in some cases, burn calories or check off items on your to do list. So what are you waiting for?

  1. Go for a brisk walk outside.
  2. Sit in a quiet room, close your eyes, and take a few breaths.
  3. Walk up and down stairs.
  4. Eat an apple or pear.
  5. Do 50 crunches.
  6. Write a note to someone you love BY HAND.
  7. Disconnect. Turn off your phone, computer, and television.
  8. Use an elliptical machine.
  9. Listen or dance to one of your favorite songs.
  10. Skim your favorite magazine.
  11. Ride on a stationary bike.
  12. Do a crossword puzzle.
  13. Look at old photos.
  14. Do lunges and squats.
  15. Do 1-3 yoga poses.
  16. Just do it! (if you know what I mean)
  17. Pray.
  18. Walk on a treadmill.
  19. Brush teeth, rinse, and floss.
  20. Have a warm cup of tea or skim milk (with a splash of chocolate sauce or sprinkle of cinnamon).
  21. Wrap a gift carefully and beautifully.
  22. Hang up the holiday cards you receive.
  23. Call a friend (one that you usually text, email, or IM).
  24. Clean your desk.
  25. Sing!

What do you do to destress in 5 minutes or less?

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With the holiday season here, I turned to Leah McGrath, RD, LDN, Corporate Dietitian for the last ten years for Ingles Supermarkets in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Here are McGrath's responses in my first ever Holiday Supermarket Smackdown blog:

Best strategy BEFORE you set foot in the supermarket: First, gather your recipes and ideas and make a list. Plan to include some lean protein at every meal (for example seafood, pork loin, or even beans) and have more than just starchy vegetables as your sides; for example, try some colorful foods like dark green leafy vegetables (like kale or collards), Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, bok choy, or broccoli.

9 must-have items to stock up on for the holidays:

1. Low sodium chicken/vegetable/beef broth. Great as a starter or base for making soups, stews and gravy.

2. Canned pumpkin. A great source of beta carotene, plus you can use it to make smoothies, pancakes, breads, and muffins--and of course, to make pie.

3. Whole grains such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice. These are great to have with leftover turkey or ham.

4. Canned beans. These can be used to make soups, stews, and casseroles with leftovers, or use them to make chili or have as an appetizer.

5. Good quality spaghetti sauce. You can only eat leftovers so many times, and you may really get a craving for a pasta dish one night.

6. Butter/Canola blend. This can be used as a spread instead of butter or margarine, and also works well in many recipes for baked items.

7. Eggs. You ALWAYS need eggs for baking or to make breakfast items.

8. Fresh herbs. There's nothing quite like fresh herbs to add a flavor dimension to stuffing and sides...sage, basil, oregano...dried are fine if you can't find or keep fresh ones.

9. Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt. Makes a great calcium-rich base for dips or smoothies, or to have as part of your breakfast or in-between meal snack.

Top money-saving tips to help you feed lots of hungry mouths:

Plan, plan, plan; use coupons; check for sale items; buy store brands whenever possible; and ask relatives or friends to make their favorite dish or bring a beverage when they're coming over for a holiday meal. Having said that, be sure and keep your eyes open for fruits and vegetables that are in season and look especially fresh; these are great to incorporate daily into your meals and snacks.

4 shop-smart strategies:

1) Don't go shopping when you're stressed out or really short on time and try not to wait until the last minute. Also, don't shop late at night; often stores are not continuously stocked after 6pm.

2) Don't go shopping when you're hungry-- this can be fatal! Everything will look too good and it'll be hard to resist when you're hungry.

3) Bring reading glasses (if you need them) to check the unit price so you can make the best shopping decision.

4) Be sure to look on top and bottom shelves-- sometimes you'll find the best deals there.

5 rules for calorie- and health-conscious people:

1) Don't be fooled by packaging, or led astray by numbers or stars-- read the Nutrition Facts Panel.

2) Pay attention to portion sizes.

3) If you're buying things in bigger quantities to save money, this may not be a wise thing to do if the foods tempt you. If that's the case, buy smaller amounts so you'll eat less of them!

4)  If you're very tempted by certain foods like ice cream or chips, either don't buy them, or buy them in flavors you don't like so other family members or friends can enjoy them.

5) Try to buy packaged items that have the fewest ingredients-- those that aren't full of artificial flavors, colors or additives.

How kids can help mom or dad with grocery shopping:

Kids can help you create a holiday meal (and a list of items that go along with the meal). At the grocery store, they can weigh produce items, match coupons with products, find items on the grocery list, and keep a running tally of how much money you're spending on a calculator/cell phone.

What helps you when you shop over the holidays?

Leah McGrath, RD, LDN is the Corporate Dietitian of Ingles Find her on Twitter as @InglesDietitian or follow Ingles Supermarket on Facebook Leah also hosts a radio program that streams on on Saturday mornings at 8:05EST; you can listen to podcasts of her previous shows on the Ingles website. 

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