Eat Right Around Chicago

Holiday Eating Archives

Tiny Tastes Add Up to BIG Waists for the Holidays!

Do you ever find yourself saying:

- I'll just have a taste.
- Just a small sample.
- Only a bite.
- Just one.
- A small piece, please.
- I can't let it go to waste.
- She worked so hard to make it.
- Only a sip.  
- Someone has to try it.

- It's a holiday! 

I was able to write this list with such authority because - of course I've said these things!  Especially over the holidays!  I'm famous for sticking my fingers in dishes (totally rude, I know), sampling a snack, licking a spoon, cleaning a pan, picking at cheese, dipping chips and having just a taste.  I don't graze...I sample.  So when I read the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County's Food, Nutrition and Health article, PowerPoint and patient handout, "Tiny Tastes Can Total BIG Calories over the Winter Holidays", I was totally offended because I knew they were speaking directly to me.  Once I got over my narcissistic outburst, I realized that I needed to share their keen thinking and skillful calorie calculations on tiny tastes.  Could it be that I (or maybe "we") are maintaining a bit of winter insulation from these tiny tastes?  Given that it takes 3500 calories a week to support (or lose) a pound of fat, what would a day of innocent sampling do to a waistline?  Alice Henneman, MS, RD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension outlines it in her expose:  Tiny Tastes Can Total BIG Calories over the Winter Holidays.        

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Glorify the Green Bean

green beans dish.jpg
Green beans make for an easy-to-prepare, delicious, nutritious side dish.  Have a bunch in the fridge or some in the freezer and want to make them special?  Here are some dietitian-submitted recipes to make green beans shine.  

Continue reading...

Make Turkey (and your Health) Better with Cranberries

Sara Cran relish.jpg

I use this with my's so tasty!

Mac without cheese, peanut butter without jelly, turkey without cranberries...all just crazy.  Thanksgiving without a cranberry dish would be insane, tradition-breaking and dinner destroying.  I'm being dramatic, but oh how I love cranberries.  The super tart, face-twisting tangy, humble berry is both an American tradition and a health-promoting powerhouse. 

Maybe you didn't know that cranberries have one of the most outstanding antioxidant profiles and contain a phytonutrient unlike its berry mates.  Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins and the cranberry has a type of proanthocyanidin that is unique.  Subsequently, this out-of-ordinary berry has special powers - antiadhesion properties.  This means that it prevents stuff from sticking to cells, like bacteria.  So, in the urinary tract, it helps prevent E. coli from sticking to the urinary tract walls.  The result?  Helps prevent urinary tract infections.  This antiadhesion property may also make the cranberry good for your heart, teeth and reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.  Go cranberry!

Enjoy these cranberry recipes this Thanksgiving sent by more awesome dietitians.  You'll note that many cranberry recipes (or even beverages) have some sort of sweet source with them  - sugar or another juice, for example.  Totally needs it...ever try to eat a raw cranberry?  It's so freakin' tart that it would be difficult to endure.  Even though it has a bit of sugar, the benefits of cranberries are worth it and a little sugar with cranberries shouldn't be a diet disaster unless you're a sugar fiend at every meal!    
Continue reading...

Dietitian Approved Creamy, Mapled or Fried Sweet Potato Sides

Sweet potatoes are a common side dish during the holidays.  So smart.  Sweet potatoes are super duper good for you.  One medium sized (whatever the hell that means) potato has 100 calories, 4 g of fiber, 0.1 g fat, 2.2 g protein and is full of potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin A.  Sounds like a recipe for blood pressure management and chronic disease risk reduction!  Or maybe it just sounds like a tasty, sweet and savory side dish.  To enjoy your health promoting potato this holiday, try one of these "dietitian approved" recipes.  (Recipes are written as submitted by my trusted dietitian friends.)

Continue reading...

Dietitian Approved Easy, Tasty Thanksgiving Recipes

Everyone is looking for simple, fast, delicious recipes for the holidays.  And I'm no different.  I plan to create a huge feast for Mitch, Tom (and dog, Mokey) this Thanksgiving, so I'm collecting ideas.  Of course, I want these recipes to be nutritious - you know, nutrient dense and veggie-heavy - but I also need them to be super easy to make.  I'm not looking for fat-free (never am), but I want lots of phytonutrients, fiber and healthy fats from nuts and oils (not butters and cream).  Given that I know that the most reliable source of nutrition information is the registered dietitian, and that the registered dietitian is also the most responsive, helpful, thoughtful and concerned professional that I know...I sent out an e-blast requesting favorite, easy-to-prepare, healthy holiday recipes that can be created with 5 ingredients or less.  I also asked these amazing givers to throw in a line of nutrition advice.  Needless to say, I have enough content to take us through the new year so this is the first of two recipe blogs that I'll post.  Each recipe is 'as is' - just the way the dietitian submitted it to me (it's my blog, so the rules of consistency are being tossed for this one).  Not all of them are combined with an actual photo of the dish (just an ingredient or example) - but all are nutritious and I would hope, delicious! 

Gallery sneak peek (15 images):

View the gallery...

10 Reasons to Eat Your Easter Chocolate

Easter is on Sunday and if you're like me, you feel that you are never too old for an Easter basket.  Although some restraint is required, I prefer my bunnies and eggs made of chocolate.  If you agree, then let's make the science work for us with: 10 Reasons to Eat your (Dark) Chocolate Easter Bunny!  

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...

New Year's Eve Cocktail Party Menu 4-1-1

Throwing a holiday cocktail party?  Like me, you are probably pressed for time and searching for inspiration.  Search no more, I have done the work for you by throwing a cocktail get-together last night.  Cocktail party 4-1-1...your entire menu from start to finish for 12 guests.  It has been tried, tested, tasted and the results reveal a crowd-pleasing, sufficiently nutritious (code for, includes some treats and some eat right options) evening.    

The Menu (we had four stops:  Treasure Island, Whole Foods, Binny's and Pastoral):

Gallery sneak peek (29 images):

View the gallery...

Top 10 Ways to Get Fat for Christmas

'Tis the season for holiday cheer and gatherings around the fireplace, hors d'oeuvres, feasts, pies and bar.  Many of you may be looking for ways to eat right and maintain your weight this holiday.  You will find that you have many choices. You'll be faced with figurative forks in the road, with a fork in your hand. 

How can someone get fat for ask?  Quite easily according to Kyle Shadix, MS, RD, CCC, registered dietitian and certified chef.  "A holiday meal can easily exceed 3,500 calories," claims Shadix, "if you do the math, an additional 3,500 calories a day for even 3 days could lead to an excess of 5,700 calories if you only need about 1,600 per day."  And there you have it, it could lead to a weight gain about 2 lbs - and this may be a modest estimate.

So with a bit of sarcasm and holiday cheer, here are your top 10 ways to get fat for Christmas!

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Christmas Weight Loss Challenge

It's been a week since we initiated the Christmas weight loss challenge and so here is a progress update.  I'm going to continue to post tips and ideas for you all to consider during the challenge. 

Thus far, your tools include: 

Continue reading...

Eat Right with ChicagoNow Radio - Listen Here!

In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast of ChicagoNow Radio, WGN 720

I had a great time chatting it up with host Bill Leff and the fabulous blogger, Patricia Diesen of Chicago Eats Allergy-Free

Get Fat for Christmas on ChicagoNow Radio!

Tune in! 

I will be joining Bill Leff on ChicagoNow Radio WGN 720 Saturday morning at 10 AM - live in the studio at the Tribune Towers to talk about the top 10 ways to get fat for Christmas. And, more importantly, how to avoid it!   

5 Steps to Get Started on your Holiday Weight Loss

I sent out a call to action...a challenge for the holidays:  maintain or lose weight while still enjoying the holiday cheer.  Today is day 1, so I am going to start with a few pointers to help you get started.  
Continue reading...

Invitation to My Christmas Challenge

You are invited to join my Christmas Challenge.  Your reasons for taking on this challenge may differ from mine, but whatever the situation, here's the challenge:  eat right over the holidays and either maintain or lose weight.  What?!?!  Have I lost my mind, you ask?  No, I haven't. 

Here's the Deal:  I am registered for Ironman Wisconsin 2010.  I did not race (at all) this past season therefore stayed at my pre-season, sedentary weight earned after the 2008 triathlon season.  As it stands now I'm carrying a bag of 10 lb apples that I usually don't bring along on a swim, bike or run.  Therefore, I need to get back to my performance weight - a healthy weight with a lower percentage of body fat.  My pre-season starts now - yes, timed perfectly with the holidays.  My season training begins March 1st and sports dietitians agree, you do not try to cut calories when you're ramped up in training mode - you need the fuel - so now is my time to lose the apples. (If Ironman is in your future, check out: for your training and nutrition needs.) 

The Challenge:  It's the holiday season and there will be parties, cocktails, dinners, get-togethers and food-galore.  I am going to attend, and enjoy, each and every invite (especially since I usually complain that I never have a Christmas party invite) and this year, my calendar is already starting to fill up!  (Luxury problem.)  The challenge is, I need to shed this small dog (get it? 10 lb dog).  Therefore, if you are interested, I encourage you to join me - join the challenge to maintain or drop the dog during this food-focused season. 

Your Invitation:  I invite you to follow me, but really, I invite you to join me.  Leave your comments, track your progress and answer your questions. Let's not do this alone.  I am sure that your questions and comments will help others and I would like to help you as well!  Free registered dietitian (click the link for my creds) at your service...and for me, a host of readers to help me stay on track and focused.  

Gallery sneak peek (5 images):

View the gallery...

Easy, Eat Right, Thanksgiving Menu

Although we plan to have Thanksgiving again this Thursday, we had a practice holiday this past weekend in Oakland, CA with my younger sister and her bo, Levi.  I highly recommend finding a sibling who loves farming and has an academic focus on the sustainability of food systems, and a partner that is a well-trained chef and area manager for a San Francisco bread company and string of yummy cafes.  Just in case you can't find this farmer and chef to cook a Thanksgiving feast for you, here's the menu and some insights if you'd like to adopt their ideas to eat right this holiday! 

Gallery sneak peek (34 images):

View the gallery...

Prep for a Healthy T-Day

Thanksgiving requires a fair amount of planning.  Each year, it's like Top Chef restaurant wars for millions of households across the country.  To help you with your annual opening day, I wanted to hear from the experts that work with people at their point of purchase - the supermarket.  How can we plan for a healthy holiday feast?  Here's what they had to say... 

Continue reading...

Thanksgiving Top 10-ish Eat Right Tips

It's almost Thanksgiving, so to ease your diet stress, here are the top 10 tips from the top nutrition experts - registered dietitians - to help you have a happy, but healthy holiday! 

Gallery sneak peek (16 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Most Active Pages Right Now on Facebook