December Newsletter

In This Issue
Holiday Health
Gift Giving
Healthy Holiday Recipes

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Issue: #40December 2013



Holiday Health 


Health is always in season...but with the holidays upon us, life can get quite tricky! If you are searching for holiday tips and tricks to help you stay on track, we are here to help you achieve success during the holidays.


Plan Ahead

        Do you like to eat meats, pie, snacks often around during holiday mealtimes?  Whatever your indulgence, it's important to both think and plan ahead about how you can have your favorites minus the guilt.  Try eating smaller portions or sharing with a friend, removing the skin from meats, or choosing less of those caloric side dishes and toppings, like gravy.  


Snack Smart

       Remember it's important to eat consistent and healthy meals throughout the day! While snacks can be a great resource for fuel during the holidays by skipping a meal you increase your chances of sabotaging your healthful eating by later overindulging in less healthful snacks.  Looking for some healthy snack options to tide you over until the next meal? See below!


Smart Holiday Snacks


cup oatmeal + 1 tbsp nuts + cup fruit

Hard boiled egg + slice of whole wheat toast

6 oz yogurt +1 tbsp nuts or seeds

1/2 cup cottage cheese + cup fruit

2 tbsp peanut butter + banana

2 tbsp hummus + veggies




Gift Giving


Want to think outside the (gift) box this holiday season? If you are looking for a holiday party gift for a hostess, family member, or friend working hard to stay healthy and fit, there are a variety of gift giving options to show your loved ones how much you care about them and their health!  Here are helpful suggestions for swapping the holiday cookies out for some healthy, yet practical choices:


Candy Cane Swap

- buy small instead of large candy canes then place in a decorative mug or whatever is creative to you. So if someone eats 2 or 3 small candy canes then that won't destroy the whole day - so your treat can save someone at least 100 calories! 


Gift of Healthy Food

- place a gift card to or a local nutritious store as the gift - who doesn't like to pick out their healthy option?  This is a good way to encourage those working on their healthy lifestyle and not screaming "you're fat!" 


Accessorize Health

- sweatbands, headbands, socks, accessories galore! If this friend or family or coworker likes to look cool while sweating then this is a practical, attractive gift option. It helps keep the momentum going without food-centric! 


 Gourmet Choices

- say no to 25 cookies for one person! How about 4-6 homemade cookies or some bought from a high-end baker. That saves calories for the person or family but gets the sweet point across. Maybe make one giant cookie with your family or bring a mini cake to taste amongst a group. 


Fabulous Fruit

- placing fruit on kebab skewers or good old-fashioned chocolate covered strawberries always sparks interest with people. Playing with the look of fruit may make others veer towards the nutritious snack rather than the empty calorie nugget of joy sharing the same table.         


These unique gifts will help express your love of health and spread good health to those around you as we enter a new year!



Healthy Holiday Recipes



Nothing beats a beet!  Who knew that this ruby-red, holiday gem would be so delicious and versatile?  Already displaying its color of the season, beets are a bit under appreciated.  Read on for some fun facts!


  • 1 cup of raw beets has less than 60 calories!  Add them to a salad for added vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese.
  • Beets + greens are edible! Beets tend to be sweeter and crunchier then turn soft and buttery when cooked. The leaf mimics that of spinach or a swiss chard-like vegetable which are especially nutrient-dense; can be cooked similarly too!
  • Healthiest way to cook beets is to steam for about 15 minutes (easily piercing the beet with a fork indicates when done). Then peel the beets (try wearing gloves to avoid beet stains!) and place apple cider vinegar or this dressing recipe:


1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 tbsp chopped dill

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp Feta cheese



Borscht (simple beet soup)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups steamed cubed beets, 1/2-inch cubes (see Tip)
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt (healthier option)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley



  1. 1.     Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add broth, potato, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the potato is just tender, about 8 minutes. Add beets and vinegar; return to a boil. Cover and continue cooking until the broth is deep red and the potato is very soft, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  2. 2.     Combine sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and horseradish in a small bowl. Serve the soup with a dollop of the horseradish sour cream/Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley.


Tips (Thanks to Eating Well

  • Prep & Steam Beets: Trim greens (if any) and root end; peel the skin with a vegetable peeler.
  • Cut beets into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick cubes, wedges or slices.
  • To steam on the stovetop: Place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • To steam in the microwave: Place in a glass baking dish, add 2 tablespoons water, cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • No time to prep? Look for Melissa's brand Peeled Baby Red Beets in the produce section of many supermarkets. They're peeled, steamed and ready to eat and contain far less sodium than their canned counterparts.


Buttered Beets & Greens with Dijon


  • 1 1/2 pound beets, with stems and greens attached
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Roughly chop beet greens and transfer to a small bowl. Cut stems into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Peel and cut beets into 1-inch chunks then transfer to bowl with stems. 
Bring water to a boil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beets and stems, cover and cook until somewhat tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle greens over the top, cover and cook until beets, stems and greens are tender, adding more water if needed, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat, toss with butter, Dijon, salt and pepper and serve hot, at room temperature or cold.
Need a last minute gift idea for?  Once again, Nutrition Energy is pleased to announce a great holiday gift, Dr. Jordan Metzl's new book, The Exercise Cure. Dr. Metzl, sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery, accomplished Ironman triathlete and marathon runner, wants to get everyone off the couch! A follow up to his best selling Athlete's Book of Home Remedies, Exercise Cure was listed as one of the top seven holiday gifts for 2014 by Fox News Health. The book walks (or runs) the reader through the medicine of exercise and gives head to toe prescriptions for health. Endorsements include Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Natalie Morales, Dr. Metzl's book will change the you think about exercise and movement. To read more and purchase the book click here!




Lauren Antonucci, Director
Nutrition Energy