Since we are well into the holiday season, we've rounded up 12 healthier holiday recipes that are perfect to bring to a party or simply to enjoy at home! All recipes are Dietitian created!
What does a sunchoke taste like?
Choose sunchokes that are very firm and smooth. Some say they taste like artichoke hearts. Others say they are rather sweet and nutty. They have a texture like a potato and are creamy when cooked.
How do you eat sunchokes?
Keep in mind, the flesh of the sunchoke turns brown, like apples or pears, when exposed to air. Mix with chopped raw vegetables and a tiny bit of lemon juice, should you plan on them sitting out for awhile. Like kohlrabi and jicama, you can eat this vegetable either raw or cooked.
Ideas for using these include:
How nutritious are sunchokes?
Sunchokes are rich in iron, potassium and thiamine. One cup of sliced sunchokes contains three grams of protein. They are also a good source of copper, niacin and vitamin C. (1) This vegetable is high in inulin, a “prebiotic” soluble fiber, which may help control your blood sugar. (2) This inulin can also cause gas. To avoid this, some say to use sunchokes that have been through a frost and others say to be sure to use lemon juice when you cook them. (3) Try each method and let me know what works for you!
Since we have eaten them, in the dish highlighted below, we are now discussing where to plant them in our garden in the spring.
The recipe below may seem lengthy, but it’s fairly straightforward and full of flavor. See notes after recipe.
Lentil Stew with Steamed Rock Fish and Sunchokes
Recipe adapted from Cancer Lifeline Cookbook by Kimberly Mathai, MS, RD
~Nancy Miller, MA, MS, RDN
Turkey day is right around the corner. Just saying that makes most of us salivate. We can’t help but think of the nostalgic comfort foods unique to our family table. For myself, it would be melt-in-your-mouth turkey, buttery mash potatoes, sweet and savory stuffing, green bean casserole, Brussel sprouts, soft rolls with butter, and pumpkin or apple pie with a scoop of ice cream (because you must have both options, right?). If you weren’t salivating before, you have to be now.
All this delicious food usually takes front and center stage on Thanksgiving. However, we shouldn’t forget to practice an essential skill, mindfulness. The very mission of Thanksgiving (in the 21st century) is to acknowledge all that we are thankful for. Our family and friends, the roof over our heads, the success we’ve experienced professionally, and the list goes on. By doing this, we are, in a way, practicing mindfulness. So this year, let’s try to be thankful for our meal by being mindful about how we consume it.
How do we practice mindful eating? Though there are no universal standards, we should try implementing practices during our eating times that allow us to appreciate the food we eat. For myself, that means turning on smooth jazz, sitting down at a table, slowing down my eating speed, and enjoying all the sensory perceptions I have during a meal (sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel). It is also important to acknowledge and embrace the environment around us, whether alone or around a crowded table.
There are many different ways to practice mindful eating. Here are a few tips for you to try this Thanksgiving:
3. Balance your plate. Use your eyes to create a well-rounded meal that is nutrient-dense. Instead of filling up your entire plate with mash potatoes and stuffing, have, for example, turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, and Brussel sprouts each take up ¼ of your plate. Ensuring you get enough carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber will help you feel more satisfied with your meal.
4. Slow down and eat with all your senses. Once you have balanced your plate, make sure to slow down and take time to be thankful for the meal in front of you. Look at the food, smell the lovely aromas mixing together, take a bite and pay attention to how it feels in your mouth. Try to remember the ingredients that went into making each recipe as you taste it.
One of the reasons to try new vegetables you may or may not have noticed at the grocery story is to get out of the rut that mealtimes can bring over time. There’s an tan-colored, oval, root vegetable you maybe have seen at the store and not known what it is or how to pronounce its name. It’s called jicama (pronounced “hee-kah-mah”). Some may call it a yam bean or a Mexican water chestnut. It is part of the legume (bean) family. This is a tuber like a potato, but it is less starchy. However, the tough skin on a jicama needs to be peeled with a knife (not a vegetable peeler – the skin is too tough) because it contains a toxin (that is NOT found in the fleshy part of the tuber).
What does a jicama taste like?
A jicama is sweet like a pear or apple, but it is starchier. When eaten raw, it is quite crunchy, making it ideal for nut butters, hummus and other dips.
How do you chose a jicama?
Choose smaller jicamas because they are less fibrous. Choose ones with smooth skins because shriveled skin is a sign of an older tuber. They do not need to be refrigerated until they are cut open. If you find a jicama that is too large, ask the produce worker to cut into half or fourths.
How do you eat a jicama?
You can eat a jicama either raw or cooked, as you would eat an apple, pear, or kohlrabi. Some ideas for using it are:
How nutritious is jicama?
Jicama is low in calories (46 calories for one cup of sliced, raw jicama) and high in soluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower your blood LDL levels and can normalize blood glucose levels. Jicama is also very high in vitamin C (40% of your daily needs). Vitamin C supports your immune system and provides powerful antioxidants to aid your body’s cells.
Mealtimes don’t need to be boring if you add new vegetables into the rotation. Drop us a comment and tell us about your adventures with vegetables you haven’t tried before, such as jicama, celeriac, or kohlrabi.
For a quick tutorial in how to prepare a jicama, click here.
~Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
Fall is here! What comes to mind with the turn of the season? What about big pots of soup, large batches of slow cooker recipes, seasonal produce, or even homemade jam and apple butter?
Wouldn’t it be great if some of our fall favorites could last year-round? With the usage of proper food preservation techniques, they totally can!
Canning is a commonly used preservation technique, especially in Autumn and during the holiday season. Done correctly using the water bath technique, canning seals the food away from microorganisms that cause it to spoil. This greatly prolongs the shelf life. In fact, canned goods can be stored at room temperature for a minimum of 12-18 months. As long as the seal is still intact, canned goods may survive on your shelves for years! Canning is not limited to just jams and jellies – homemade pickles, compotes, seasonal fruit in syrup, salsa, sauces, and more are also easily canned. Not to mention, canned goods make great homemade gifts for the holidays!
At our food preservation class at Verdant on Monday, October 15th, we went with a common canned good – homemade jam. Our jam was very seasonal, containing fresh pears, figs, orange juice and zest, and cinnamon. Smells and tastes like the holidays!
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce): 72 Calories; <1g Fat; <1g Protein; 19g Carbohydrates; 1g Fiber; <1mg Sodium
Dehydrating is a less common food preservation technique, although it is a useful one. Did you know that dehydrated foods are shelf-stable for up to 5 years?! For best results, using a food dehydrator is ideal. However, using a normal oven at 200 degrees for a few hours will also get the job done. Dehydrators can be used to make dried pasta, dried herbs, snack foods out of fruits and veggies, beef jerky, you name it! The time it takes to dehydrate will vary depending on the food and thickness of pieces. Typically, foods with a higher water content will take longer than those with a lower water content.
For the food preservation class, we chose to make dehydrated pears. We also chose a unique recipe to demonstrate – zucchini chips! Fall season also means football season, and what’s football season without salty snack food? Zucchini chips are a great swap for potato chips at your next tailgating event or viewing party. You can even make them salt and vinegar style!
Makes 8 servings
Recipe adapted from www.SugarFreeMom.com
Nutrition per serving: 45 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 3g Carbohydrates; 1g Fiber; 42mg Sodium
Last but not least, freezing is another great (and perhaps, the simplest) strategy to prolong the storage of foods. When you prepare a dish and freeze it, that dish will last 2-3 months in the freezer. This is a great way to meal prep for the week, or even the month. It’s also a useful strategy to pre-portion foods and aid in managing your overall intake. You can freeze almost anything you’d like – pasta dishes, soups, meats, stir fry, and more! Try wrapping portions of whatever dish you made in foil and then place that in a ziplock freezer bag. Remember to label your bag with the date! Please note: there is a difference between a regular ziplock bag and a freezer bag. Freezer bags are thicker, sometimes have texture, and will prevent food from freezer burn. Whenever you’re ready to enjoy your dish again, just unwrap the foil, put the food on a plate, and microwave as if it were a frozen TV dinner (minus the preservatives and high sodium content).
Already prepared dishes are not the only things that freeze beautifully. Fresh produce is another freezable option. In fact, freezing produce when ripe will prolong the life of the nutrients within the fruit or vegetable. Freezing produce is a great practice because it will last 8-12 months in the freezer, while produce only lasts 1-2 weeks in the fridge! Plus, what’s a better snack than frozen berries? Throw your frozen berries into a blender for your morning smoothie or toss some frozen veggies into a soup or stew. Talk about zero-effort cooking!
Blanching produce before freezing is an great way to preserve the color and texture. To prevent pieces from sticking together, such as broccoli florets or diced fruits and veggies, try freezing them on a baking sheet first. Make sure the pieces are evenly dispersed and not stacked on each other. Once those are frozen, you can then place them into your foil packets, Tupperware, or ziplock freezer bags. The only produce items that may not freeze the best are your leafy greens and lettuce. Other than that, get creative with what items from the produce section you can freeze. Don’t forget to consider your favorite seasonal produce!
~Waverly, Dietetic Intern
I’d like to introduce you to one of my family’s favorite vegetables. It’s called kohlrabi (“coal-rah-bee”). You may have seen this vegetable at your local grocery store, looking like a misshapen UFO. You have likely overlooked it, not knowing what it was or what to do with it.
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, just like broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Like these other vegetables, it grows above ground where part of the stem of the plant swells into a ball close to the soil. Leaves sprout from this ball. Kohlrabi comes in three different colors: white, light green, and purple. The inner flesh is white in all varieties.
What does a kohlrabi taste like?
Smaller kohlrabi globes are sweet and juicy like apples. The larger ones are more fibrous and must be peeled before you can enjoy them. While a kohlrabi globe can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks (in a container), you need to use the greens and stems (yes, they are edible) as soon as possible. Note: not all kohlrabi is sold with their greens.
How do you eat kohlrabi?
How nutritious is kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a nutrient-packed vegetable that has only 48 calories in one cup (sliced and cooked). It is low in sodium and is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese, and is an excellent source of vitamin C (1). Studies show that cruciferous vegetables play a key role in cancer-fighting (2), among other health claims.
Even though kohlrabi can usually be found year-round, you might not find it in your local grocery store. Request it in the produce section of your grocery store to see if they will order it for you. You can often find it in a natural food market or at an Asian grocery store. It is also more likely to be found in the winter and spring. It is very easy to grow and can be grown even during the winter months in the Pacific NW.
I encourage you to try this delicious vegetable - it may become a new family favorite!
Shredded Kohlrabi with Greens and Peppers
Note: If the kohlrabi does not have greens, buy about five ounces of greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, etc.) This dish freezes well.
Nutrition per serving (1/6th of recipe - no salt added): 74 Calories; 5g Fat; 2g Protein; 7g Carbohydrates; 3g Fiber; 32mg Sodium
~Guest Post by Bastyr University Masters of Nutrition Student Nancy Miller
Check out Amanda's segment on King 5's New Day Northwest and find the recipes below!
Quick Fried Rice
Nutrition per serving: 410 Calories; 12.5g Fat; 14g Protein; 45g Carbohydrates; 5g Fiber; 460mg Sodium
Nutrition per mug: 90 Calories; 6g Fat; 7g Protein; 0g Carbohydrates; 0g Fiber; 184mg Sodium
Black Bean Tacos
Nutrition per 2 tacos: 295 Calories; 7g Fat; 13g Protein; 45g Carbohydrates; 11g Fiber; 259mg Sodium
Fall is here and with it we are feeling cooler temperatures and are seeing leaves changing color. School is back in session and with that, an increase in after-school activities. Sometimes multiple sports with multiple kids in multiple places. Making family meals seem challenging. Unfortunately, the ever present feeling of being strapped for time can cause families to make unhealthy choices, typically found at the drive-through window.
Providing healthy food for your family is a priority for most, however challenging to find on the road. Whether you are feeding everyone in a fury before dashing off to practice or eating in the car on the way to multiple destinations, here are a few ideas to make meals on the move simple and healthy!
Quick meals before hitting the road
A little planning ahead makes feeding the troops before heading out simple. Although having options that everyone agrees on can be a challenge. Keeping the ingredient list short and options limited might make dining before you dash a much better deal.
Portable meals - let's wrap this up
I am a firm believer that you can put almost anything in a tortilla to make a meal portable - perhaps soup is the exception. This still leaves many other foods you can wrap up and go! For example, chicken caesar salad or any other salad for that matter. Lightly dress the lettuce in a bowl, place in the center of a tortilla, then add chicken or any other vegetable you fancy. Fold up the ends, roll it up, and wrap in a paper towel and perhaps a small piece of foil on the end and off you go!
This wrapping method can be used for breakfast too. Who doesn’t love a breakfast burrito?
Slow and low - A perfect cooking tempo
Using a slow cooker is a sure fire way to ensure whatever you are preparing will be tender and juicy. One pot meals are also fantastic! Clean up in minimal and the flavors are married perfectly together.
Here are a few recipes that include a slow cooking and one pot, courtesy of www.skinnytaste.com. They are simple, delicious and every recipe from this site includes nutrition information. Which is super helpful if you are trying to be a mindful eater.
One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (Stove-Top Recipe)
Nutrition per serving (scant 1 1/2 cups): 377 Calories; 10.5g Fat; 23.5g Protein; 43.5g Carbohydrates; 5g Fiber; 567mg Sodium
Easiest Salsa Verde Chicken (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
Nutrition per serving (1/2 cup): 145 Calories; 2g Fat; 26g Protein; 5g Carbohydrates; 0g Fiber; 415mg Sodium
Beef Tacos (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
Nutrition per serving (2 tacos): 382 Calories; 20g Fat; 31g Protein; 24g Carbohydrates; 8g Fiber; 744mg Sodium
~Olivia Mathisen-Holloman, RDN, CD
It's that time of the year - school is here! If you’re a parent or caregiver, you may already feel overwhelmed just thinking about packing school lunches for your kiddos. Lunch planning and packing are actually great activities to involve your kids in. As the parent, your roles are to ensure nourishing food options are available to pack and to provide guidance/assistance to your child. Your child’s jobs are to communicate their food preferences, give feedback on how much food is satisfying for meals and snacks, and to assist or independently pack their own lunch, depending on their comfort or maturity level. This may be a work in progress, but with time, your child will learn how to pack healthful food to fuel them for a day of school.
As you ease into passing along lunch packing duty, assess your child’s readiness level. Children in grades 1 to 3 may not be ready to pack independently, but they can certainly help with making decisions about what they’d like you to pack. This would also be a good time to brainstorm and plan together with this handy chart! Have discussions with your child about what should be included in a healthful lunch. Aim to always have “growing food” (protein and whole grains), fruit, and veggies on hand.
By grade 4 to 6, your child may be ready to pack all or part of their lunch independently. Maybe they could assemble a wrap, sandwich, pasta salad, or leftovers, but they may need more assistance with slicing fresh fruits and veggies and packing food up properly to ensure food safety. And don’t forget to involve your child in grocery shopping so they can take pride in their selections for the week.
Last month, the Sound Dietitians team had a blast talking about planning healthy lunches and doing some hands-on prep with kids and families at Verdant Community Wellness Center. This was an excellent way to conclude Kids Eat Right Month and prepare for the start of school. Here are some tasty recipes from our class!
Leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken can easily be chopped or shredded to be used in lunches and additional dinner meals. Toss shredded chicken on salad or pasta, season for tacos or quesadillas, or make a batch of this delicious chicken salad. It is perfect for school lunches or snacks and can be enjoyed as a sandwich, wrap, or with whole grain crackers. Just remember to pack it with some cold packs so it stays chilled until lunch time.
Nutrition per 1/2 cup serving (with almonds and grapes): 240 Calories; 12g Fat; 27g Protein; 7g Carbohydrates; 1.5g Fiber; 300mg Sodium
Rainbow Power Bowl with Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette
This bowl was a HUGE hit with our class! The kids loved shaking up their own dressing and choosing a variety of colorful veggies for their bowls. One kiddo commented “the cucumbers are so crunchy and refreshing!” After assembling, these grain bowls are too pretty to pass up.
Makes 2 Cups
Recipe adapted from: https://www.superhealthykids.com/rainbow-buddha-bowls-kids/
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
Nutrition per one example bowl (½ cup quinoa; 1/3 cup each cucumber/peppers/tomatoes, ¼ cup roasted sweet potato, 2 Tablespoons roasted chickpeas; 2 Tablespoons vinaigrette dressing): 355 Calories; 19.5g Fat; 7g Protein; 38g Carbohydrates; 6.7g Fiber; 210mg Sodium
Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls
These energy balls are a great alternative to packaged, processed snacks because they are only lightly sweetened and also provide protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can have fun mixing them up on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week.
Makes 24 Energy Balls
Recipe adapted from: https://www.smartnutrition.ca/recipes/mix-n-match-energy-ball-recipe/
Nutrition per energy ball: 55 Calories; 2.5g Fat; 1.5g Protein; 7g Carbohydrates; 1.2g Fiber
Fun extra: Check out America's Test Kitchen's "Kid Friendly Recipe & Activity Testing" to encourage food, cooking, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics)!
Happy planning, prep, and packing ~ Wishing you all an excellent start to a new school year!
You can find this root vegetable in most grocery stores from September through May (and some have it year-round). It ranges in size from the size of a baseball to much larger. Look for smaller ones, which are less fibrous. The flavor is different from celery, though similar. The texture is also different from that of celery.
Adding celeriac to your vegetable rotation will add essential vitamins and minerals that you may be missing in your diet that are needed for the proper functioning of your body. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day is crucial in order to get an assorted range of nutrients. A pill isn’t the same.
Try the delicious celeriac recipes below to add a new vegetable to your meal planning!
Note: You can usually ask an employee in the produce section to cut the celeriac in half, if needed, before buying it. And only take half, if you feel it is too large.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5136/celeriac-coleslaw and the Joy of Cooking
Celeriac and Pear Purée
Makes 4 (2/3 cup) Servings
Recipe adapted from
~Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!