Why not? You know there will be plenty of dips, desserts and sliders. Beyond that, people really do want something fresh for a change. Here are a couple of fresher (and still gorgeously delicious) options.
Why we love these:
Healthy - Fresh - Easy - Quick - Colorful/Beautiful (AKA appetizing)
Most of the time, we think homemade means hours and hours of difficult prep and cooking. On the good days, though, I can create a homemade meal in what feels like minutes.
I literally make myself stop and apply the knowledge that I do have regarding food and the kitchen. Sometimes I lean on what I learned from my mother in the kitchen, and other times I rely on Google. Whoever you are, there's a base of what you know to prepare. Take that knowledge and commit to applying it the best you can. You might be surprised by the results.
Example: Chicken and Rice Soup
I haven been wanting to use up some of the things in my freezer. Specifically, leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I kept thinking that homemade chicken noodle soup sounded good. The best thing I did to accomplish such a delicious meal was to bucket and break up the steps.
Step 1/Day 1: Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator (I did this over the weekend).
Step 2/Day 2: Dice carrots and celery, sauté with seasonings. Shred chicken.
Step 3/Day 2: Properly store each of the major ingredients.
Step 4/Day 2 or 3: When I'm ready, I dump in the stock, the rice (I didn't have egg noodles so found an alternative recipe) and already cooked carrots/celery/chicken.
I have to do some of the cooking steps ahead of time so that I can quickly assemble later (in 15 minutes or less). Why? I have two kids under the age of 5. There's not a ton of joy in boiling water on a hot stove while being ran over by a 1-year-old in a walker, while playing Legos with a 4-year-old. Basically, I don't want to have to assemble all ingredients, dice, chop, sauté, and boil all at one time. I want to dump it all in a pot and let it cook on its own.
Here are some things I routinely do to cut down dinner cooking time:
Believe it or not, break rooms gets their fair share of attention when it comes to nutrition counseling. Many clients master their nutrition at home only to find that their workplace becomes a downfall. The break room becomes a dumping ground for unhealthy treats people don't want to keep at home or there's a vending machine that keeps sugary beverages at the perfect temperature. The types of work situations vary, but all-in-all, most of my clients feel as if the break room is not helping their efforts to be healthy. This is especially true around the holidays. This year, you can help make a positive change by thinking about non-dessert treats that our friends and co-workers can enjoy. For all of the other goodies that will be trickling in, here are a few tips to help you avoid break room blues.
Elimination diets seem to be one of the biggest current nutrition trends. Examples of elimination diets include gluten-free, dairy-free and no sugar diets. Restricting foods items, however, proves challenging and oftentimes less beneficial than intended outcomes.
The January 2017 issue of Pediatric News noted that, "removing gluten from a child's diet would improve that child's healthy only if that child has been confirmed to have an actual condition (i.e., the child has Celiac disease)." The point here is that gluten is not always at fault for the symptoms that associate with Celiac disease, which means other causes should be explored to truly make a positive difference in health outcomes. Other things that cause symptoms similar to those from Celiac disease include:
It's best to eat a variety of healthy, nutrient dense foods in moderation. It is also important to identify actual allergies and intolerances.
Food allergies cause actual immune system reactions.
Food intolerances are usually digestive in nature and are less severe.
Your physician can help you confirm or rule out any actual disease or allergy diagnosis. Once allergies are ruled out, then possible intolerances can be addressed. A registered dietitian can help you manage your conditions with individualized plans that coincide with your physician's findings and recommendations.
1. Food allergy vs. food intolerance. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/FAQ-20058538?p=1
2. Food allergy. https://medlineplus.gov/foodallergy.html
3. Haelle, Tara. Pediatric News. Clinical Rounds. January 2017. Restrict gluten if necessary, but confirm condition first. Expert Analysis from AAP 16.
Author: Kari Johnson
Have you ever wondered how to navigate the nutrition label on your food items? Here is an easy way to highlight the important parts of a nutrition label. It will also help you determine if your portion size exceeds your daily needs in calories, fats, sodium, and sugar.
1. Start with Serving Size: Look for both the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Then you can compare if you eat only 1 serving, less, or more. If you eat 2 servings then you would double all nutrients (calories, fats, sodium, sugar, ect..).
2. Check calories per serving: It’s beneficial to cut back on calories if you are watching your weight.
3. Fats: Aim for 5% or less in saturated fats, little to no trans fats, and low total fats.
4. Sodium: Limit sodium intake. Overall intake is 2,400 mg per day
5. Fiber and Sugar: Fiber is beneficial for the body with no limit needed on packages. Added sugars, listed below total sugars, should be limited. High sugar intake can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
6. Protein: Eating moderate portions of protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, beans and peas, peanut butter, seeds and soy products.
7. % Daily Value: This is listed for a person consuming 2,000 calories a day. Estimated calorie amount varies per person.
1. Sodium in Your Diet: Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2015. https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm315393.htm
2. Understanding Food Nutrition Labels. American Heart Association. 2015. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HeartSmartShopping/Reading-Food-Nutrition-Labels_UCM_300132_Article.jsp#.WfYTYohryUk
3. Wolfram T. The basics of the Nutrition Facts Label. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/the-basics-of-the-nutrition-facts-panel
1. JAND. "Have a food-safe holiday season". (2017). USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Center. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2017.08.123.
The turmeric plant is native in tropical South Asia and has been used for many centuries. The yellow pigment of turmeric is called curcumin and is the beneficial part of the turmeric root to help fight inflammation in your body.
What is inflammation?
Caution: Consumption should be in moderation, 1g per day and toxic amounts can cause stomach ulcers.
Use: With its fragrant aroma and bitter/peppery taste, it is great in many food dishes.
Golden Chicken Marinade Recipe
Marinade 1.5-2 pounds of chicken breasts in half of the golden marinade for 2 hours or longer in the refrigerator. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Serve over zucchini noodles and reserved sauce.
Healthy and delicious!
Authors: Kari Johnson & Cheyenne Richards
Have you ever wondered how much ranch is too much? The recommended serving size is 2 tablespoons; however, each brand varies in calories, fat, and sugar content. The tables below compare some ranch favorites found at your local grocery store.
How do different brands/labels rank?
#1 Homemade (Recipe below)
#2 OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch
#3 Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch
#4 Hidden Valley Light Ranch
#5 Hidden Valley Simply Ranch
#6 Hidden Valley Original Ranch
#7 Ken’s Steak House Ranch
#8 Marzetti Classic Ranch
The benefits of using non-fat Greek Yogurt with live cultures as your dressing base:
Author: Kari Johnson
Slow cookers are a great way to cook meals in an easy, budget friendly way with limited mess. Who doesn’t love just cleaning one pot after meal time? With its ease of operation, there are several common mistakes made when using a slow cooker. Here are some tips to break these habits to make cooking with your slow cooker a success.
1. Overfilling or underfilling your slow cooker.
Guest Author: Kari Johnson
Eating a healthy, whole diet can reduce your risk of developing some forms of cancer, and also help in the prevention of other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Studies have shown the relationship between diet and certain cancers; bowel, stomach, mouth, esophageal, and breast cancer.
Making healthy choices for your health means:
1. Eating an increased variety of fruits and vegetables, rich in fiber, that can reduce the risk of certain cancers by 25 to 40 percent.
2. Reducing intake of processed and red meats.
5. Limiting Alcohol consumption.
A healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and water can help reduce the risk of many disease such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.