Nutrition Notes: Survive the Holidays Without the Weight Gain

by Jenna Olson, RD, Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Holiday waistlines have a habit of growing in size over the cooler months. The season of weight gain generally starts with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving feasts and continues through the December holidays to New Year’s. According to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains about one to two pounds of weight during the holidays. Although this may not seem like a lot, this weight gain builds up after a couple of years. So this year, try to incorporate a few of these tips to help you enjoy some of your holiday favorites without sabotaging your waistline.

1. Make sure to stay hydrated. Before heading out to a holiday party, try drinking a full 8-ounce glass of water accompanied by a piece of fresh fruit or a vegetable snack. This way you don’t arrive thirsty or hungry and head straight for the appetizer table.

2. Switch up your favorites. If you can’t live without gravy on your mashed potatoes or a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, try substituting ingredients during the cooking process to decrease the calorie content.

3. Fill your plate only once. Although holiday gatherings often consist of food and treats, try to only visit the buffet line once. When you are filling up your plate, aim to fill up on fruits and vegetables.

4. Keep moving. Incorporate some sort of exercise into your holiday routines. Consider taking a walk with family or friends to observe neighborhood holiday decorations.

How are you balancing your holiday food fun? Hopefully, a few of these holiday tips can help you feel armed and ready for all of the festivities that come before New Year’s. Sending best wishes to you and yours during the holiday season.

Turkey dinner

Nutrition Notes: Enjoy Thanksgiving Safely

Katie Jones, Dietetic Intern

Gobble, gobble! Thanksgiving is just a few days away! With delicious dishes at the center of many Thanksgiving traditions, food safety is important during this food-filled holiday. Below is a food safety guide related to thawing, cooking and stuffing a turkey, as well as leftovers to help you and your family enjoy a safe and tasty holiday.

Thawing a Turkey: It is not safe to thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature. A turkey can be safely defrosted on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, submerged in cold water or in a microwave. Allow approximately 24 hours per 4-5 lbs. of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Allow 30 minutes per pound of turkey to thaw in cold water. Place turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag, submerge in cold water and change water every 30 minutes until thawed. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction when defrosting a turkey in the microwave.

Cooking a Turkey:
Set the oven to 325°F and cook turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F checking with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving. Approximate cooking times are as follows:

  •  8 – 12 lbs. 
    2 ¾ to 3 hrs. (3 to 3 ½ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 12 – 14 lbs. 
    3 to 3 ¾ hrs. (3 ½ to 4 hrs. if stuffed)
  • 14 – 18 lbs.
    3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hrs. (4 to 4 ¼ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 18 – 20 lbs.
    4 ¼ to 4 ½ hrs. (4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hrs. if stuffed)
  • 20 – 24 lbs.
    4 ½ to 5 hrs. (4 ¾ to 5 ¼ hrs. if stuffed)

 
Stuffing a Turkey: For optimal food safety, do not cook the stuffing directly inside the turkey. Instead, cook stuffing separately in a casserole dish. If you do choose to stuff your poultry, be sure to frequently check the temperature with a food thermometer to ensure the temperature stays at 165°F.

Leftovers: Refrigerate cooked leftovers within 2 hours and consume within 3-4 days. Always reheat cooked leftovers to 165°F, checking with a food thermometer, and reheat sauces and gravies to a rolling boil.

This food safety information was derived from http://food.unl.edu/safety/thanksgiving-food-prep. Click on the link for more detailed instructions related to Thanksgiving food preparation and safety.

Looking for a fun Thanksgiving Day activity? Join us for the annual San Diego Run for the Hungry 5k & 10k, and support a good cause while burning a few calories before indulging in your favorite holiday dishes. There are still a few days left to register! Click on the link for more information: http://sdrunforthehungry.org/.

Healthy fats do exist!

Nutrition Notes: The Skinny on Fat

by Katie Jones, Dietetic Intern

It’s time to put an old myth to bed. Eating fat will not make you fat! Consuming an excess amount of any type of calories can lead to weight gain and related health concerns.

Fat is an essential nutrient required for normal body function and is an important part of a healthy diet. Generally, fat should make up 20 to 35% of your total daily calories. However, moderation is key! Fat provides nine calories per gram and small amounts add up quickly. When selecting foods, it is wise to choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. All fats are not created equal!

Incorporating healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, into your diet can decrease your risk of heart disease and promote heart health, whereas saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease and negatively affect your health. Foods high in healthy fats include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds and fish. Below are five tips to improve your fat intake and selection.

1. Use liquid plant-based oils for cooking and baking. Plant-based oils, such as olive or canola oil are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

2. Eliminate trans fat from your diet. Read food labels and choose foods that are trans fat free. Limit fried foods and baked goods that are often high in trans fat.

3. Switch from butter to soft margarine. Butter is high in saturated fat. Choose a product with zero grams of trans fat and no partially-hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.

4. Eat good sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Include fatty fish (such as salmon or albacore tuna), walnuts, canola oil and flax seeds in your diet regularly.

5. Limit red meat. Beef, pork, and lamb are high in saturated fat, eat these meats in moderation. Opt for leaner protein sources more often such as chicken, fish, beans, and nuts.

What is your recommended daily fat intake? Click on the following link, Health Calculator, for further guidance on your recommended daily fat intake that will match your diet and lifestyle.

Do you have any tasty recipes featuring a healthy fat? Share a picture or idea with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Nutrition Notes: Fall into Healthy Habits

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Cool crisp mornings, early dark nights… it seems that fall has crept up on us this year! Fall offers so many varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and it also marks the beginning of a long holiday season. Often times, we start eating more during this time, as well. It is important to keep our health in check during the cooler months and remember that fall foods offer great benefits to a balanced diet! Fall foods are packed with great nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that help keep our immune systems strong. Here are a few tips to incorporate some typical fall favorites (soups, stews, breads, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apples and greens) that are sure to keep the season tasty and healthy!

Fall back with a plan: With the clocks set back, it is important to remember that it will soon be getting dark earlier. This often means that there are less outdoor activity options in the evenings. Be prepared this year. Consider joining a gym, walking at a mall or well-lit area or you can even consider rising early to get some activity in before starting your day!

Soup’s on: Use this time to experiment in the kitchen. Soups are great meals that can be filled with hearty vegetables, and they are easy to throw in the crockpot so meals are ready for the week.

Snack attack savers: Football and new fall TV shows are in full swing which is often paired with snacks. Avoid overeating by portioning out snacks and have fruits and vegetables prepared and easily accessible for healthy snack options during the big game.

Make a plan to stay healthy this fall and winter season. Here are a few Quick & Easy Fall Recipes to inspire healthy eating during these cool months.

Trick or Treat the healthy way!

Nutrition Notes: A few tricks to manage Halloween treats

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Trick-or-treat! With pumpkins, costumes and candy galore, we all know Halloween is right around the corner. Halloween is a fun-filled family holiday loaded with pillow cases full of candy! It is fine to enjoy some sweet treats on Halloween, but often times it is easy to overdo it! This year, before your ghouls and goblins hit the streets, try to remember these tips to avoid sugar highs followed by those upset tummies.

Eat a healthy snack before trick-or-treating. This tip seems simple enough, but it is often forgotten. By providing a healthy meal such as a peanut butter sandwich, fruit or a cheese stick, it can reduce over snacking on sweet treats.

Think outside the box. When your doorbell rings what will you be passing out this year? It doesn’t have to be candy. Try something new such as: cereal bars, snack packs of fruit, nuts or trail mix, gold fish, raisins, popcorn, etc.

Go ‘mini.’ Candy bar calories add up quickly so opt for the bite size candy bars.

Post trick-or-treating candy inventory. After hitting the neighborhood and wondering how to manage all of the candy at home, consider letting the kids choose a couple of candy pieces each day and try to pair it with a healthy snack such as a fruit or vegetable.

Get creative. If you are having a Halloween party, have the kids help in the kitchen. There are plenty of healthy Halloween snack ideas. Check out a few examples here: Healthy Halloween Treats & Halloween Treats Kids Will Love.

Most importantly, remember to have a safe and fun Halloween weekend with friends and family. If you have any fun Halloween recipes, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

When you go door to door asking for candy, see if your neighbors will donate food to the Food Bank.

Scare Away Hunger by Trick-or-Treating for Canned Goods

by Robin Skale, Food Procurement Coordinator

We often think of Thanksgiving as the kickoff to the holiday season of giving, but why not start with Halloween?  Get a jump on giving this year by trick-or-treating for canned goods!  As you go door to door on Oct. 31 with the kids in your life visiting neighbors, ask them for nonperishable food donations instead of candy. Let them know you are hosting a Halloween food drive that will benefit the San Diego Food Bank, and their donations will help feed hungry children, families, and individuals during the holidays.  You can also create and hand out flyers that have hunger facts and statistics about San Diego, and information about the Food Bank’s programs.  Be sure to bring a rolling suitcase or wagon to help carry the donations!

Food items that are most in demand are canned tuna or chicken, peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, pasta, rice, beans, cereal, and canned soup or chili.  All donation items must be unopened and nonperishable.

You may drop off your food donations directly at the Food Bank during our walk-in donation hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are located in Miramar at 9850 Distribution Ave. San Diego, CA 92121.  If you cannot drop off your donations, we can pick them up from you!  Just schedule a pickup date by registering your food drive here.  You will receive a confirmation email within 72 hours.

Start your holiday season the right way by helping those in need.  Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to host a Halloween trick-or-treat food drive!

Food Bank Nutrition & Wellness Educator, Jenna Olson, teaching the importance of eating healthy.

San Diego Food Bank makes senior nutrition a top priority with SONDAS

by San Diego Food Bank staff

Through the Food Bank’s SONDAS (Solving Obesity and Nutritional Disease Affecting Seniors) Program, impoverished San Diego seniors receive the nutritious food they need, the nutritional education they lack and the personal support necessary to make lasting changes to their lifestyles. Guided by the experienced hand of the Food Bank’s Registered Dietitian, Jenna Olson (pictured in the photograph above), the SONDAS Program has seen the implementation of our first-ever nutrition curriculum specifically for seniors and increased the distribution of fresh produce to this targeted population. The series of workshops and presentations kicked off in March and covers a variety of topics that are relevant to our senior population including:

- Eating Healthy on a Budget
- Making Healthy Eating Part of Your Lifestyle
- How to Navigate a Grocery Store
- How to Incorporate Physical Activity at Home
- Steps to Shake the Salt and Sugar Habit

Attending seniors receive nutrition-related handouts of the material discussed in class as well as various recipe cards that often coincide with the fresh produce participants receive at three out of the six sessions.  Senior participants have shown eagerness to take steps to improve their lifestyle while attending these classes.  For example, seniors have reported that they are using the MyPlate guide for making meals for their grandchildren. While other anecdotal examples of the program’s positive impact include reports from participants that show they have created a meal plan reflecting a better, more well-rounded diet, have tried new fruits and vegetables that they have not tried before and some seniors even starting to work in their apartment complex’s garden a couple of times a week alongside neighbors.

The Food Bank’s SONDAS Program is part of a larger Senior Initiative that is an important component of our comprehensive efforts to address hunger and food insecurity throughout San Diego County.  In a very short time period, hundreds of seniors have added more fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets and received the relevant nutrition education that underlines the importance of eating right and regular physical activity.  As SONDAS continues, we expect to see thousands of seniors benefiting from the work of the Food Bank team and the healthy approach to aging they promote. The Food Bank’s senior nutrition education initiative is funded in part by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation and by a grant from The Walmart Foundation.

Interested in learning more about the SONDAS program, volunteering with the program or having the classes at your site? Contact Jenna Olson, RD for more information at 858-863-5197 or jolson@sandiegofoodbank.org.

 

Time to get healthy before flu season kicks up!

Nutrition Notes: Flu-Season Survival Guide

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

As everyone starts to stock up on hand sanitizer and tissues in preparation for flu season, it is important to remember that healthy eating during cold and flu season is essential to avoid getting sick. It is always important to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals by eating a balanced diet following MyPlate guidelines, but the next few months call for extra nutrient-packed defense systems! When the body is healthy inside and out, it has an easier time fighting off infection. In order to prepare the best protection, it is important to remember that staying healthy doesn’t end at the dinner table. In order to boost your overall health, remember the following tips:

Get plenty of rest. Sleep is important for all ages and the proper amount can directly influence how you feel as well as daily performance at work or school. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, while school-aged children get at least 10 hours of sleep.

Eat a well-balanced diet.  Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into meal and snack time provides immune boosting nutrients that help shield the body from infection. Get some snack-spiration here.

Exercise regularly. If exercise hasn’t found a home in your daily routine, try to make room for it gradually. It is best to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. It is important to never get discouraged if you get off track with your exercise routine. It is never too late to restart your journey to a healthy and happy you!

Decrease stress. Work, traffic, family, house work… it all adds up and without an outlet, the body runs on overdrive and the stress can be an additional avenue for a sickness to form. Try to find 5 to 10 minutes each day upon waking and/or before bed to meditate or take self-reflection time to de-stress. If you have additional time, try incorporating some yoga or balance poses.

Cut back on unhealthy habits. It isn’t time for New Year’s resolutions just yet, but it is the perfect time to cut back on bad habits. Try to make one simple healthy change over the next 30 days. Some examples: read for 30 minutes every day, try a new fitness class, have a fruit and vegetable with every meal. It takes about 20 to 30 days for a habit to form, so you will be well on your way to a healthier you just in time for the holidays!

Over the next 30 days, challenge yourself to make one, maybe two simple changes that will aid in a healthier & happier you. Here is a short video for some inspiration: Try Something New for 30 Days. Share your 30 day small changes with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram and stay healthy this flu season!

Teen Challenge gave fresh produce to more than 1,400 people facing hunger last month.

Teen Challenge Awarded September Nonprofit Partner of the Month

by Shelly Hahne, Nonprofit Services Manager

Teen Challenge is a nonprofit partner that is very active in both the Food to Nonprofits program and hosts a monthly Neighborhood Distribution. Their staff members are incredibly organized and efficient when they select and pick up food from the warehouse. They utilize the services offered by the Food Bank to their full potential.

In the last year through the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Teen Challenge has distributed 196,914 pounds of food (equivalent to 153,839 meals) to people facing hunger in our community. Included in that is an incredible 160,000 pounds of fresh produce.

As part of the City Heights community, Teen Challenge is becoming engaged in a unique project between the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding America San Diego, where all nonprofits in the community will work together to provide an equitable and dignified food system for people facing hunger. This is an exciting pilot project, and Teen Challenge is enthusiastic about being involved and working with their neighboring agencies.

When asked about their Food Bank partnership, Mike Conway of Teen Challenge said, “We are so thankful that we can work together to meet the needs of the hungry families in our community.”

Regarding their recent Neighborhood Distribution that served 319 households containing 1,425 people, Conway said, “It was such a wonderful day and everyone went home with a renewed sense of hope and gratitude. Thank you so much for your partnership!”

The staff at Teen Challenge is conscientious of report deadlines and is always sure to have statistics for both its Neighborhood Distribution and Food to Nonprofits submitted on time. The San Diego Food Bank thanks Teen Challenge for being such a great partner!

Website: http://www.teenchallenge.org/centers/san-diego-county/
Phone number for people seeking services: 619-295-0337

Neighborhood Distribution Site 
Food Location:
5450 Lea Street, San Diego, CA 92105
Food Hours: 2nd Monday from 9:00 a.m. until the produce is gone

Eating healthy while watching football is possible!

Nutrition Notes: Healthy Tailgating Tips

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Ready… set… hike! Fall is almost here, which means football season is back! The return of America’s most popular sport marks the beginning of tailgating season, which tends to include calorie-laden drinks, chips, fried foods and don’t forget the burgers and hot dogs! Watching football without food would be incomplete, but is there a way to keep it healthy along the sidelines? Why, of course! Just because it’s football season, doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthily while cheering on your favorite NFL team.

Grill Without Guilt

Barbecuing doesn’t have to put a damper on fitness and diet goals. There are a lot of ways to stay healthy by lightening up traditional tailgate foods.

- Make it lean when it comes to meat options. Try to choose ground meat that is 93% lean or more, if possible.

- Bulk up your burger or sandwich with extra vegetables like avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes or onions!

- Looking to save some calories for dessert? Try having your sandwich or burger wrapped in crunchy lettuce instead of using a bun. You can also skip the cheese
and save about 100 calories.

Survive Snack-Attacks

Chips, dips and desserts can be hard to tackle when it comes to tailgating in a healthy way, because those treats can often lead to overeating. This year, fuel up before you hit the fields with veggies. Vegetables can help keep you feeling fuller longer and can replace chips for dipping into bean-based dips such as hummus. Need some recipe inspiration? Check out these top 20 healthy tailgating recipes.

Exercise Break at Halftime

Football games tend to include a lot of eating and sitting. Encourage guests to take a halftime walk or stretch outside to get some fresh air and get the blood pumping again. Also, never forget the importance of hydration throughout the day! Oftentimes, the body can confuse hunger with thirst, which can be a sign of dehydration.

Do you have any healthy tailgating recipes? Share a picture or idea with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

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