Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain – Part 2

Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain – Part 2

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

  • Downsize your dinnerware. Eat from appetizer or bread
    plates rather than pizza sized dinner plates.
  • If you bit it, write it. Keeping logs of food & drink will help
    avoid mindless eating.
  • Eat a protein packed breakfast. Those who eat protein rich
    breakfasts consume fewer calories all day.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain -­ Part 1

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

  • Rethink your drink.  Beverages don’t contribute to fullness like foods.  The # 1 contributor to weight gain is alcohol consumption.
  • Up your exercise intensity. One of the best ways to make your body more resistant to extra calories is to get more exercise.


Holiday Traditions – Hazelnut Maple Biscotti

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

After browsing the latest Bon Appétit & Eating Well I found myself feeling the pressure to go into a baking frenzy.  Everywhere you look from the Internet to grocery store magazine shelves, decadent, delicious (not to mention) festive cookies are calling your name.  Normally I would feel the pressure to make every single one of them,  but this year, I am going to stick to my tried and true favorites.  Always a tradition, my Hazelnut Biscotti marks the beginning of the holiday season in my house. I wish I could tell you this biscotti recipe spans generations in my Italian blooded family, but alas, that would be a fable.  I actually spotted this recipe years ago in a now defunct vegetarian magazine.  Though it didn’t come from my Italian roots, at least I know my favorite Italian aunt, Zia Patty will enjoy these tasty bites with her morning coffee.


Hazelnut Maple Biscotti

Hazelnuts (a tree nut) are a good source of folate & dietary fiber. Consuming tree nuts may even reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

½ cup pure maple syrup (not pancake)

½ cup hazelnut butter (I ground my hazelnuts which is actually pretty simple)

¼ cup butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts

Semi-sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate for drizzle


Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat). In a medium bowl, cream together maple syrup, hazelnut butter and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and liquor, blending well. In a larger bowl, combine flours brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Make a well into dry ingredients, add egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Add nuts. (Knead by hand if necessary). On a lightly floured board, divide dough into half and roll into 2 14-inch logs. Place logs on prepared sheet, then flatten about 1 inch high. Bake for 25 minutes or until loaves spring back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Reset oven to 300. Slice cookies on the diagonal. Place slices flat on baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes (a lot of this process is trial and error; I like my cookies crisp so I bake longer). Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with chocolate (or dip in chocolate) if desired.


Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes


Makes 12 cupcakes 

¾ c – heavy whipping cream 

6 T – unsalted butter

1 ½ T –  cocoa powder 

1 ¼ lb – high quality semi sweet chocolate, small pieces 

3 – lg eggs

7 T – granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting tins

6 c – peppermint ice cream

2 c – hot fudge sauce, warmed

  1. Preheat oven to 350° 
  2. Melt cream, butter, cocoa powder & chocolate in double boiler, medium heat Combine eggs & sugar, whip until fluffy & lemon yellow in color, about 10 minutes 
  3. Slowly drizzle melted chocolate into egg mixture, whisking briskly 
  4. Spray cupcake tins heavily with vegetable spray, coat tins with sugar 
  5. Fill cupcake tins to just below top Bake @ 350°F, 12-15 minutes, until tops just begin to crack 

Serve with peppermint ice cream & warm hot fudge sauce 

Eat Like an Omnivore – Food Rules Part 10

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

  • Add new species to your diet – plants, animals & fungi
  • The “dazzling” diversity of foods offered in supermarkets is deceptive – most come from corn, soy & wheat seeds (rather than leaves)
  • Diversify the species you eat

Source: Michael Pollan Food Rules

Against the Grain

against the grain

By +Janice D’Agostino on Feb 24, 2012 10:00 AM in Recipes

Good bread is the great need in poor homes, and oftentimes the best appreciated luxury in the homes of the very rich.” – ‘A Book for A Cook’, The Pillsbury Co. (1905) Whole grains are a great ally for everyone on a journey towards a healthy weight. Delicious minimally processed grains fill you up with plenty of fiber that stays with you a lot longer than their over processed cousins. As an extra added bonus for choosing whole grains, you get an abundance of nutrition which the body then happily uses to supply energy and burn off excess fat. Many of the breads and other things we eat are made of “refined” grains. Refined means that a large chunk of the important nutrients and fiber have been removed from the grain – apparently, it makes the product last longer on the shelf so they can buy larger quantities to store for production. While it may save companies money to refine the grains, it does no good for your health even if they have been enriched with vitamins from other sources.

Read more: Against the Grain

Tips for Managing the Holidays

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

Many people make the false assumption that as a dietitian I have “perfect” eating & exercise habits.  I have even had a few people mention they hope to never see me in the grocery store for fear that I may “judge” their cart contents (rest assured, grocery cart judge I am not).  While I am certainly not the food police, I recognize that I cannot teach others about proper nutrition & exercise if I am not engaging in those behaviors myself.  The biggest barrier to living healthy for me is time management.  Without time management I am stressed and stress equals poor lifestyle choices (more caffeine, more chocolate in my case).  This year I am determined to better manage my time thus resulting in a day mostly filled with smart choices (notice the word “mostly” because after all it is the holidays).


Tips for managing holiday (or anytime stress)


1. My number one tip is developing a positive attitude.  This sound cliché but it is oh so true.  Attitude makes a huge difference in how my day goes.  If my attitude is poor, so is my day (along with my eating habits).


2. Sleep and wake up on time.  One is not possible without the other, in other words I cannot wake up early without the appropriate amount of sleep.  No browsing the Internet or Pinterest before bedtime (guilty).


2. Exercise, dance to holiday music…. in other words move.  Many people don’t make time for exercise during the holidays, but it is a tremendous stress reliever.   Mornings are a great time to squeeze some physical activity into your day (note the above tip…sleep). If planned exercise is not a priority (though it should be), make a point to move throughout the day (take a walk break, use the stairs, etc)


3. Don’t skip meals.  I repeat, don’t skip meals.  More times than not this results in overindulging in foods you would not normally eat (or eat in large quantities) Plan ahead and snack smart with items such as apple slices with peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt with some granola, a handful of nuts & “healthy” energy bars. Check out this easy recipe for portable homemade energy bars from Appetite for Health.

If You Don’t Recognize It, Your Body Won’t Either – Inflammation Part 3

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

How to minimize inflammation?
  • Eat lean protein source such as chicken; cut back on red meat & full fat dairy
  • Avoid refined foods & processed foods
  • Spice it up.  Ginger, curry powder & other spices are linked with anti­inflammation

Sources: Barry Sears, MD,,

If You Don’t Recognize it, Your Body Won’t Either – Inflammation Part 2

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

How to minimize inflammation?
  • Eat a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids such as oily fish & walnuts.
  • Limit refined carbohydrates such as white pasta & rice
  • Eat plenty of whole grains such as bulgur & brown rice

Denise Cooks…Split Pea & Ham Soup


My mom never made it when I was growing up.  I think she had a ‘Mommy Dearest’ type experience with her mother when she was young, and it scarred her for life.  Which is a bummer…split pea & ham soup is one of my all time faves! 

I’ve gotten spoiled the past few years…being in the kitchen less for work has prompted me to be in the kitchen more at home.   I really like cooking for myself, and friends & family.  There’s nothing so satisfying as sitting down to a meal that I prepared myself.

First step-just like at work, was gathering my mis en place.  Notice the ham is a Niman Ranch. It’s humanely raised, pastured, no antibiotics, nitrates, nitrites, etc, and only 30 calories per oz, so fairly lean.  I don’t tolerate nitrates/nitrites well, so have not eaten cured/processed pork products for some years (not a bad thing).  I found this product at Whole Foods yesterday & thought I’d give it a try.  I highly recommend it!

I’m not so picky about my split peas though…

After gathering my mise en place, I started my cuts.  Beautifully even, medium dice that Rie would be proud of!  I like just a little carrot in my pea soup, so loaded up on the celery & onion.

Then it’s into the pot to sauté (I like the veggies to caramelize so it is a sauté vs sweat).  I tried to get a pic of this step, but my camera lens kept fogging up.  Here’s the best shot.  It’s a good thing I love being a chef…I don’t think I have what it takes to be a photographer.

Once my veggies & a little of that incredible ham were nicely browned, I added the peas, chicken broth (you can use veggie broth), a bay leaf & some fresh ground black pepper.   This picture was after the soup simmered for the recommended time of ½ hour (as stated on the package of split peas).  The peas were still as hard & they look!  I ended up simmering it for about 2 hours.


Now the best part…sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup!

It was delicious! 


About 8 ounces good quality ham, diced to ½”

2 small-medium sweet onions (I like Vidalia’s, but any sweet will do), diced to ½”

2 small-medium carrots, diced to ½”

2-3 ribs celery, diced to ½”

1 tbsn olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 lb split peas

*About 3 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (you can use water, but broth will add more flavor & richness to your soup…and you’ll also need to add salt if you use water)

About ½-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

Dice the ham & vegetables.  Heat a large saucepan over high heat.  Add oil; sauté ham & vegetables until nicely browned.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer, uncovered for a couple hours, until peas are tender & soup has thickened.

*You may need to add more broth if soup is too thick.