Picture this: a plate of perfectly roasted turkey, savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, crisp green beans, all topped with delicious gravy...Yum!
The holidays can be a delicious and sometimes challenging time of the year, as so many of our celebrations revolve around food. Many of the dishes served are special and only prepared once or twice a year – a treat we don’t want to miss out on! Try using the MyPlate method, to help fit in your favorites while still being mindful about your overall food selections.
What is MyPlate? MyPlate was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help Americans meet the dietary guidelines with enough nutrients in our overall intake to support health. We can use MyPlate to construct our meal in a way that is nutritionally balanced. MyPlate suggests the following basic principles:
So how do we put this into action?
1. Start off with vegetables and fruit
2. Add your grains/starches
3. Add your protein
4. Complete your meal with some dairy
Dairy is separate from the other food groups because of its calcium content. If you don’t have a cup of milk or fortified milk alternative with your meal, you can incorporate it into a dish already on your plate. These are foods that check off the dairy category:
Let’s take a look at this MyPlate example:
There’s almost always leftovers for holiday dishes. Acknowledge that there will be leftovers prior to loading your plate and understand that you can eat them tomorrow. If you are worried that you might miss out on a favorite and can’t squeeze it on your plate, make a second plate, wrap it up, and put it in the refrigerator for later.
Holiday foods don’t have to be exclusive to just the holidays. If a dish runs out before you get a chance to have it, you can always make it for a fun dinner in the coming days or weeks.
Sit down and enjoy the meal – one day, or meal, doesn't determine your overall nutrition or health! This year has been stressful and it is important to give yourself a break and enjoy comforting food without judgement.
Have a safe, tasty, and Happy Holiday Season!
~ Jordan Griffin, Dietetic Intern
The holidays are coming up and if you’ve ever hosted these annual gatherings I’m sure you can relate to the confusion surrounding, “what wine do I pair with dinner??” After just finishing up a harvest internship in Sonoma County, California, and learning ALL about winemaking from vineyard to bottle, I’m here with the answers for you!
In case you weren’t aware, food that is consumed with wine has an effect on the way wine tastes, and wine can also have an effect on the way food tastes! The perfect pairing takes advantage of these effects and causes the wine and food to taste better together than the two would taste separate. I’m breaking down some of my knowledge on these interactions to help you enhance your pairing experience and avoid any negative or unpleasant taste combinations.
*disclaimer- it’s important to remember that different people have different levels of sensitivity to certain flavors and aromas and a “perfect pairing” for one person may be unsuccessful for another. So it’s important to take into account these sensitivities along with the basic food and wine interactions before deciding on your pairing.*
When you are eating, your tastebuds are perceiving different levels of sugar, salt, acid, umami (savory- think mushrooms or soy sauce), bitterness, and heat. This perception helps you to anticipate what the next bite will taste like. When the next bite doesn’t complement the current perception, it can be very unpleasant. An example of this would be brushing your teeth with sweet toothpaste and then taking a sip of acidic orange juice. (Yuck!)
Sweetness in food:
Umami in food:
Acidity in food:
Salt in food:
Wines that work well with salty foods are acidic, fruity and crisp. Think oysters with sauvignon blanc or Thai food with gewurztraminer.
Bitterness in food:
Chili heat in food:
There are many classic pairings that have been established by sommelier’s and chefs, but I encourage you to find what works best for you and your unique tastes. Now you know some of the basic food and wine interactions and you can be better prepared for entertaining this holiday season. Keep in mind that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends alcohol to be consumed in moderation with up to one standardized drink per day for both men and women. Always eat when you are enjoying a glass of wine and make sure to stay hydrated with water throughout the evening as well.
-Gillian Schultz, MHSc, RDN, CD
Winter squashes, such as acorn, butternut, delicata and spaghetti squash, are in-season right now in the PNW. Winter squashes are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta carotene helps to promote healthy skin, eyes, and a healthy immune system. Winter squashes also provide wholesome, complex carbohydrates which provide lasting energy.
It is important to have proper technique when cutting winter squashes to ensure that you stay safe. This webpage contains a quick video that demonstrates how to safely cut a butternut squash, as well as other helpful tips and tricks for preparing winter squashes.
See below for a delicious butternut squash recipe that you can make for friends and family this holiday season. The warm, golden, roasted butternut squash in this “stuffing” recipe is sure to satisfy.
Butternut Squash and Wild Rice “Stuffing”
Makes about 6-12 servings
Ingredients (For Rice and Toppings):
For the Butternut Squash:
For the Ginger Dressing:
Whisk ingredients together until well combined and set aside.
Nutrition per Serving (Divided into 12 servings): 273 calories; 12.3 g total fat (2.9 g sat); 4.4 mg cholesterol; 296.5 mg sodium; 35.7 g carbohydrates; 4.8 g fiber; 9 g protein
Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate
Power bowls are customizable bowls that use four main building blocks to create a beautiful, nutritious meal. To build a power bowl, you’ll need the following four building blocks:
1. Complex Carbohydrates
4. Heart Healthy Fats
You may be wondering, where do I find these building blocks? Great question!
Complex carbohydrates are found in minimally processed grains and starchy vegetables. These foods are high in fiber, so they are more filling than foods that are more processed. They also take longer for our bodies to digest, which can help to keep blood sugars stable. Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates serve as a great base for a power bowl because they are hearty and filling. Try the following foods as the base of your power bowl:
Suggested Flavor Combos
The beautiful thing about power bowls, is that they are customizable to fit your taste preferences and they can often be assembled with simple ingredients that you may already have on hand. Here are some flavor combinations that you may enjoy:
Here are some photos of power bowls we have made at home. On the left is a bowl with bulgar wheat, roasted veggies, a veggie sausage patty, and avocado. On the right is a bowl with bulgur wheat, roasted veggies, hummus and sunflower seeds.
Additional Links & Resources
You can still enjoy Halloween!
Having diabetes doesn't disqualify you from enjoying Halloween with family and friends. By making mindful choices, you can still participate in Halloween festivities while also keeping your blood sugars in range.
Jill, Dietetic Intern
Soup Season is upon us. The crisp Autumn days are perfect for a warm and comforting meal. I love soups from a nutritional stance, as they tend to be high in nutrient density (ie nutrients compared to energy) and are also hydrating. The colder weather can sometime signal a decrease in fluid intake, so soups help to fill-in the hydration gaps during these months. The following recipe is an elevated tomato soup with lots of veggies and complete plant proteins. The spice blend is what makes it extra special and a go-to Autumn favorite. Enjoy!
Follow along with this start-to-finish cooking demo preparing the soup below:
Algerian Soup Demo in Megan's Kitchen
Algerian Tomato Soup
This aromatic dish is infused with a Northern African spice blend. The spices and fresh ingredients make a tasty soup that can be served immediately or prepared beforehand. The quinoa and edamame add a source of complete protein (ie all the essential amino acids) to this vegetarian meal. This recipe has been adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook.
Makes 8.5 cups
Serve with a salad and some crusty bread for a satisfying meal.
Nutrition per 1 Cup Serving: Calories 120; Fat 5g; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 17g; Fiber 5g; Sodium 290mg
Got Rhubarb? Simple solutions for an abundance of this perennial.
Do you have a rhubarb plant in your garden or know someone who does? This perennial plant is a giver. It is not fussy, requiring very little attention, to the point that sometimes we forget about it.... Until the Spring, when it turns into something from the Jurassic Era and takes over that forgotten-about corner in your yard.
The abundance that one plant provides is staggering and you may find yourself pawning off stems to neighbors, family, friends, priests, and passersby. Sharing is good... But remember to keep some for yourself using the strategies listed below.
Desserts, jams, and syrups with plenty of added sugar are the most common ways to use the naturally tangy-tart stalks. On it's own, rhubarb has an astringent quality that can leave the mouth feeling dry and the sour-tanginess is pucker-worthy. These attributes are why it is such a great foil to sweet desserts and other sweetened marinades and sauces, such as BBQ.
Earlier this year, Sound Dietitians presented a series of Instant Pot / Slow cooker classes. I’m going to be honest, before planning these classes I only used my instant pot for a few things: Bone Broth/Stock, Meats, Stews, and occasionally rice. In planning for these classes, I dug into every possible way to use this multi-talented kitchen device. I was most curious about the elusive “yogurt” button. After lots of internet research and a couple of trial runs, the yogurt function is now my favorite feature! Below I have outlined exactly what you need to do, step-by-step, to make your own yogurt in an instant pot.
To make homemade yogurt:
*Sanitize your pot*
I’ve tried a couple of ways and the best way is to fill your inner pot (the lining that is a stainless steel pot) with water and put it directly on the stove like you would any other pot. Bring the water to a boil and then allow to boil for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, dump the water out, dry, place back into the instant pot base, and you are ready to start!
Pour 1/2 gallon of whole milk into your instant pot. (Note* make sure your milk is homogenized. The first couple times I made it without homogenized milk and although it still tasted good, it wasn’t the classically creamy look that you expect from yogurt.)
Lock the lid on and turn the valve to sealing. Typically the sealing feature is for when you are pressure cooking but I do it anyway, it won’t affect your end product either way.
Press the yogurt button a couple of times until the screen of your instant pot reads BOIL. The pot will automatically get to work and you can go about your routine. Perhaps throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. The pot will beep many times to signal that the milk is to temperature. Take a thermometer and make sure the milk is at 180 degrees F.
For the next step you can either let the pot cool on the counter or if you’re impatient (like me), fill a large bowl with ice water, and rest the inner pot in the ice to cool it down quickly. When the thermometer reads between 110 and 115, you are ready for the next step.
Remove the film that has accumulated on the top of the yogurt. Whisk in 2 Tbsp plain whole milk yogurt with live active cultures. Make sure the cultures have been added after the pasteurization process otherwise the heat from the pasteurization will have killed all those beneficial bacteria. And without those live active cultures, your yogurt won’t be a success. It’s also of the utmost importance that there is no sweetener added to this yogurt. Any added sugar, syrup, sweetener, flavor, or fruit will inhibit your yogurt success as well.
Once your yogurt is fully incorporated into your warm milk, add the inner pot back into the instant pot base, close and lock the lid, place the valve in sealing position, press the yogurt button until you see “8:00” (8 hours) on the screen. The pot will start and you can forget about the yogurt for the next 8 hours.
The pot will beep again and read “yogurt” to let you know that the yogurt is done. Open it up, give it a good whisk and store in the fridge in an airtight container for 10-14 days (if it lasts that long! Mine gets devoured in about a week).
My favorite way to enjoy it:
1/2 cup homemade yogurt
1 tsp flax oil
1 tsp honey
1-2 tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
2 tbsp post shredded wheat (that I blitzed up in the food processor)
1 Tbsp hazelnuts or walnuts (also blitzed up in the food processor)
A handful of your favorite berries
To see the video of how I make this, click here → https://youtu.be/7BqD78SD24M
Gillian Schultz, MHSc, RDN, CD
A whole foods diet is one that is made up of foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Foods are minimally processed and there is an emphasis on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, tubers, legumes, lean animal proteins and plant proteins, and low-fat dairy. It is possible to incorporate whole foods into any diet style and has been shown to be beneficial for overall health and wellness. This is a simple method of eating and one that is high in nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We've gathered up some of our favorite recipes that showcase these whole foods throughout the day!
Healthy Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies: Monique of Ambitious Kitchen
Veggie Scrambled Egg Muffins: Anne Mauney of fANNEtastic Food
Warm Kale Breakfast Salad: Kaleigh McMordie RD of Lively Table
Zucchini, Bacon, and Basil Side Salad: Diana Rogers RD LDN of Sustainable Dish
Mediterranean Hummus Party Dip: Laura Ligos MBA RD CSSD of The Sassy Dietitian
Whole Wheat Flatbread: Lindsay Livingston RDN of The Lean Green Bean
Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos: Alexis Joseph MS RD LDN of Hummusapien
Thai Butternut Squash Soup: Lily Nichols RDN CDE of Pilates Nutritionist
Quinoa With Vegetables and Maple Ginger Tahini: Lizzie Streit MS RDN LD of It’s a Veg World After All
Simple Shakshuka: McKell Hill of Nutrition Stripped
Sesame-Crusted Salmon: Rachael DeVaux RD of Rachael’s Good Eats
Vegetarian Ramen Noodle Soup: Rachael Hartley RD CDE CLT of Rachael Hartley Nutrition
The cheapest vegetables are the ones already in my garden. No need to go to the store... and I can continue social distancing while also getting some sunshine.
This past Fall I was a little busy and left a few things to "winter over" in our mild PNW climate. Now they are coming back full-force. The flowering bok choy in particular is a bright spot in my day and the bees are enjoying it too.
Below is a family favorite recipe for grilling bok choy, followed by a link to a post from last year all about this amazingly versatile vegetable from RDN, Nancy.
Cheers to Good Eating on a Budget!
Tangy Grilled Bok Choy
Fresh Bok Choy, rinsed and patted dry - for baby bunches leave whole, for medium bunches cut in half leaving the stem intact and for large bok choy you can grill individual whole leaves
For fun info & another recipe, click: Bok Choy: A Vegetable With Many Names
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!