Looking for holiday gift ideas?
With holiday planning and shopping getting started, consider giving your family and friends something that encourages a healthier lifestyle
- Cookbooks — explore new ways to cook healthy meals
- Pedometer or fitness tracker — count steps and gauge daily activity
- Exercise equipment — train with resistance bands, weights, a yoga mat or a stability ball
- Infuser water bottle — flavor water with fruits or vegetables without adding sugar
- Gym membership or workout DVDs — be active without worrying about the weather
- Juicer or blender — enjoy freshly squeezed juice or a delicious fruit smoothie
- Homemade bean soup mix — prepare a soup mix with dried beans for a fast meal
- Spices and seasoning basket — boost flavor while reducing fat with spices and seasoning
- Aprons Cooking School class — learn new culinary techniques
- Publix gift card — promote stocking up on tasty fruits, vegetables and whole-grain goodies
Create a flavorful holiday meal
This Thanksgiving, the average American could easily consume as many as 4,500 calories while sitting around the dinner table with family and friends. And, the typical holiday dinner is loaded with 45 percent of its calories from fat, which equals not one, not two, but three sticks of butter!
The holidays are challenging enough without worrying about the added weight gain and health concerns that come from more than doubling your daily-recommended calorie intake.
Try these tips to lighten up your holiday favorites without sacrificing flavor.
- Roast the turkey on a rack so the fat drips away from the bird.
- Keep the skin on while cooking the turkey to help keep it juicy, but remove it before eating.
- Choose light over dark meat. While the calories are similar, light meat has less fat.
- Look for a homemade recipe with whole grains. Try whole wheat bread cubes, wild rice, brown rice or quinoa.
- Skip the butter and replace it with low-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth.
- If your recipe calls for bacon or sausage, try skipping the meat. Or, use turkey bacon or vegetable sausage instead.
- Add texture by including nuts and dried fruit.
Instead of green bean casserole, consider serving fresh green beans. Add thyme, sautéed onions and garlic for extra flavor. If you opt for a green bean casserole, try lowering the fat and sodium in your recipe.
- Instead of using creamed soup, make a cream sauce with flour and fat-free or low-fat milk. Add in sautéed mushrooms for extra flavor.
- Use slivered almonds and a layer of sweet caramelized onions instead of fried onion rings. Or, try toasted panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) as a crunchy topping.
- Use evaporated fat-free or low-fat milk instead of cream.
- Crush gingersnaps for your crust, or consider a crustless pie.
- Include canned pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie mixes with
- Use half the amount of sugar in your recipe, and add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to enhance sweetness and flavor.
So why not tackle turkey day with a lower calorie approach this year? Consider these guidelines:
- Be in the know. Identify where your calories come from by reading the Nutrition Facts label on the packages or using a calorie calculator or app.
- Shop light. Look for lower calorie ingredients for your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
- Reduce from start to finish. Decrease the amount of calories and fat in every holiday dish you serve — from appetizers and drinks, to the main course and sides, all the way through to dessert.
While regular white potatoes are good sources of vitamin C and potassium, mashed potatoes are typically made with heavy cream and butter.
- Use less butter or a light margarine, and fat-free or low-fat milk, low-fat sour cream or low-fat plain Greek yogurt to replace heavy cream. Also, low-sodium broth adds flavor without adding fat.
- Reduce calories and add more vegetable nutrients by swapping up to half of the potatoes in your recipe with steamed cauliflower — making sure to remove as much liquid as possible so your mash doesn’t become watery.
- Consider leaving the skin on your potatoes to add texture and nutrition.
- Spice up mashed potatoes by adding a dash of chives, basil, onion, garlic or a small amount of strongly flavored cheese such as Parmesan.
Sweet potato casserole
Sweet potatoes provide 400% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. They also outdo white potatoes by offering more vitamin C, fewer calories, more fiber and fewer total carbohydrates. But most casseroles hide the benefits of sweet potatoes with lots of brown sugar, butter and marshmallows.
- Consider using less sugar since sweet potatoes are naturally sweet.
- Reduce the amount of butter, and consider evaporated fat-free or low-fat milk instead.
- Save the marshmallows for another day. Try spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for added flavor, and a crumble topping made with oats and nuts like pecans or walnuts to add texture.
Cranberries aren’t just for the holidays
Fall is here, and there’s a new bounty of fresh fruit available in your produce department, including ruby-red cranberries. While these plump little berries are typically associated with Thanksgiving dinner, you should give them a try long before the holidays.
Cranberries have many benefits. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that improves your body’s absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps your immune system work properly to protect you from disease. They’re also low in calories and a good source of fiber.
If you’ve only had cranberries as cranberry sauce from a can, there’s lots more to taste when it comes to this tart fruit. Try experimenting with these fresh, flavorful berries throughout the fall. Raw cranberries can be added to relishes, salads or fruit smoothies. You can add them to breakfast breads, cookies or scones.
Fresh cranberries can easily be turned into cranberry juice, or you can puree them for jellies and special sauces. Freezing and drying cranberries preserve them for your enjoyment long after the holidays have passed.
Visit publix.com for Publix Aprons dishes featuring fresh cranberries. Or, try making your own cranberry sauce by following this simple, yet classic recipe.
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Mix 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Add 12 oz fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained.
- Gently boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat when mixture thickens and cranberry skins begin to crack.
- Allow cranberries to cool while the mixture gels around the berries.
- Spoon mixture into a serving bowl or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sources: caloriecontrol.org, nih.gov, oceanspray.com,uscranberries.com, usda.gov
Plan for a lighter holiday meal
Family time around the table doesn’t have to mean heavy meals. Why not try our newest recipes for a lighter fare holiday meal?
Citrus-Glazed Turkey Breast
Active Time — 15 minutes
Total Time — about 2 hours
Makes 8 Servings
1 lime, for zest/juice
1 lemon, for zest/juice
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon buttery spread
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 fresh turkey breast half (about 3 lbs)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Nonstick aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Zest/grate lemon and lime (no white; 1 teaspoon each); squeeze both for juice (2 tablespoons each).
- Place lime and lemon juice and zest, orange juice concentrate, buttery spread and agave in small saucepan on low heat; cook 3–4 minutes or until glaze thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in rosemary; then divide mixture in half.
- Remove skin from turkey breast; then season with salt and pepper; place in 13- x 9-inch baking dish (remember to wash hands after handling raw meat). Brush with one-half of the citrus mixture and cover with foil; bake 1 hour.
- Remove foil. Brush turkey with reserved half of citrus mixture; bake 25–30 more minutes or until turkey is 165 F. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice thinly and serve.
CALORIES (per 1/8 recipe) 190kcal; FAT 3.5g;
SAT FAT 1g; TRANS FAT 0g; CHOL 85mg; SODIUM 190mg; CARB 6g; FIBER 0g; SUGARS 5g; PROTEIN 32g; VIT A 2%; VIT C 20%; CALC 2%; IRON 4%
Sweet Potato Caramelized Banana Mash
Active Time — 20 minutes
Total Time — 20 minutes
Makes 6 Servings
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1 large ripe banana
2 tablespoons buttery spread
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup low-fat granola with raisins
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces; peel and mash banana. Place potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl and cover; microwave on HIGH 8–10 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Keep covered until ready to blend.
- Preheat large sauté pan on medium 2–3 minutes. Combine buttery spread, cinnamon sugar and banana; then place in pan; cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until banana has softened and browned slightly.
- Drain potatoes well. Blend potatoes and salt with electric mixer (or potato masher) until smooth. Swirl banana mixture into potatoes. Top with granola; serve.
CALORIES (per 1/6 recipe) 150kcal; FAT 4g;
SAT FAT 1g; TRANS FAT 0g; CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 115mg;
CARB 26g; FIBER 3g; SUGARS 8g; PROTEIN 2g;
VIT A 240%; VIT C 20%; CALC 2%; IRON 4%
Creamy Spinach and Mushrooms
Active Time — 10 minutes
Total Time — 35 minutes
Makes 6 Servings
2 (10-oz) packages frozen chopped spinach
3 oz shallots, finely chopped
12 oz pre–sliced white mushrooms
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond (or soy) milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons roasted garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Microwave spinach 2–2 1/2 minutes or until thawed; Squeeze water from spinach; then place in medium bowl. Chop shallots.
- Combine shallots and mushrooms in microwave-safe bowl and cover; microwave on HIGH 5–6 minutes, stirring once halfway through cook time, or until mushrooms are tender. Drain any liquid from mushrooms; then stir into spinach.
- Whisk cornstarch, milk, cheese, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper until blended; then stir into spinach mixture. Transfer mixture to 2-quart baking dish; bake 20–25 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Stir and serve.
CALORIES (per 1/6 recipe) 70kcal; FAT 2.5g; SAT FAT 0.5g; TRANS FAT 0g; CHOL 5mg; SODIUM 210mg; CARB 10g; FIBER 4g; SUGARS 2g; PROTEIN 5g;
VIT A 150%; VIT C 6%; CALC 20%; IRON 10%
Who do you want to quit for?
Publix wants you to be as healthy as you can be — for you and your family.
To encourage this, Publix offers a Tobacco Cessation Program to tobacco users enrolled in the Publix Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO Plan. You can receive a 15 percent discount on the pay period deduction for your BCBS coverage by participating in and successfully completing the Tobacco Cessation Program.
“I wanted to set a better example,” said Rob. “My kids, especially the older ones, know smoking is bad, and they kept encouraging me to quit. Deep down, I knew they were right.”
Rob is quick to recall the exact day he quit — Sept. 3, 2015, just over one year ago — and he credits Publix’s Tobacco Cessation Program for helping him.
“I’m a huge advocate of Chantix,” said Rob. “It only cost me a $12 copay to get started [with Publix’s BCBS plan and a prescription from his doctor]. Chantix really helped me a lot more than I expected.”
Rob explained that while some cessation products, such as nicotine gum and nicotine patches, help to reduce nicotine intake, they still have nicotine in them. And e-cigarettes, whether they contain nicotine or create a vapor, keep smokers in the habit of smoking instead of doing away with it.
“Chantix made it right for me. I completely eliminated my dependency to nicotine and was able to break a smoking habit I had for more than 19 years,” he said.
If you want to join Rob and be tobacco free, take advantage of our tobacco cessation resources by visiting www.publix.org > Health and Well-Being > Life. Inspired. Program > Tobacco cessation resources.
Take Two for Prevention Challenge
Make wellness a priority and join the Take Two for Prevention Challenge. Help your store or support area win the challenge — and all the bragging rights that come with it! You have to be at least age 18 and can participate in two ways.
- TAKE ONE — Get your free health screening at your Publix Pharmacy.
- TAKE TWO — Get your free flu shot at your Publix Pharmacy or at a Publix flu clinic.
To participate in the challenge, associates must get a free health screening between Jan. 1, 2016, and Nov. 26, 2016, and/or a free flu shot between Aug. 1, 2016, and Nov. 26, 2016. Participation is credited to the location in which an associate works and not to the location where they received
the health screening and/or flu shot. One winning store in each district will receive a trophy for the highest combined associate participation. One winning store in each region and one winning support area with the highest combined associate participation will celebrate with a special event and recognition in Publix News. Follow the leaderboard and find the challenge details at www.publix.org > Health and Well-Being > Life. Inspired. Program.
Time to fuel up with this energy quiz
Are you trying to do more with less sleep, and then wondering why you’re always tired? Or, perhaps you’re not fueling your body properly to help get you through the day. Take this energy quiz and test your knowledge.
- If you skip breakfast every day, your body will adjust.
- Eating light is good for you.
- Don’t snack in between meals.
- Staying hydrated can help give you energy.
- A lack of iron could cause you to feel tired.
Here are the answers to the quiz.
- False. Don’t skip breakfast, or any meal for that matter. It can result in a drop in your body’s blood sugar levels and energy. Meals consisting of lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables may improve your concentration and memory, and may leave you feeling less tired and irritable.
- True. Eating light, or just enough, may help curb cravings and reduce chances of overeating. Keep in mind portions are often too large. If your meal carries you five to six hours without hunger pains, it’s likely you’re eating too much. Eating light may help prevent you from getting too full and feeling sluggish.
- False. For most people, snacks are a bridge and should be included in your daily meal planning. Pick snacks with protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates to help provide lasting energy. Grab an apple and a handful of nuts, carrots and string cheese, or low-fat Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Keep in mind snacks aren’t intended to fill you up, but to bridge you from one meal to the next.
- True. Fatigue can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water helps. Avoid sugary soda, coffee and energy drinks that leave you buzzing for an hour but can cause an energy crash. Quench your thirst with water, fat-free or low-fat milk , low-calorie flavored water or unsweetened tea.
- True. If you’re always tired, have your iron levels checked. You could have iron-deficiency anemia, a common cause of fatigue. Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your body’s cells, where it’s used to produce energy. Good food sources of iron are lean red meat, iron-fortified cereal, green leafy vegetables and dried beans . You also may need an iron supplement, so check with your doctor.
Sources: Publix Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists and www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, well.blogs.nytimes.com and www.acefitness.org.