Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Eating Tips


We sat down with Food City’s registered dietitian, Audrey Kessler, RD, LDN, to get some healthy eating tips to pass on to our family and friends. Her top three healthy eating tips are below:

Eat Seasonally:
Seasonal produce is at its peak of freshness and flavor and has higher levels of beneficial nutrients. Because seasonal produce is often grown locally, additional benefits include supporting local farmers and being kinder to the environment by reducing the number of “food miles” it takes to reach your table. This makes seasonal produce cost less, which is also healthier for your financial well-being. You can meet the local farmers that grow Food City’s local fresh produce here. You can also visit UT Extension’s “Guide to Buying Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” to see what produce is in season now by clicking here.

Healthy decisions start at home. Planning ahead and getting children involved in the planning process makes it easier to eat healthfully. Sit down as a family and plan your healthy meals for the week. When grocery shopping, stick to your list. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products (or dairy alternatives) and lean meats and/or vegetable sources of protein. Choose items low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar. Remember for lunches to plan meals and snacks that will travel easily, such as sandwiches and whole fruits. Or, purchase re-usable containers to transport dinner leftovers for the following days’ lunch. Check out the “Let’s Move” grocery list template to get started.

Slow Down:
It takes several minutes for your brain to register feeling full when eating. So, you can reduce the number of calories you consume in one sitting by taking more time to consume your meals. Sometimes choosing foods that require more time to eat – such as an apple instead of applesauce or apple juice—will slow you down. Or merely putting your fork down between bites and chewing thoroughly helps. This affords you more time to not only feel full faster, but really taste your food. If you have only a 15-minute break or a 30-minute lunch, you may not finish your entire snack or meal when you eat slowly. That’s okay. Then you are less likely to overeat and consume excess calories. Save it for later and appreciate every bite.

food city ham

Get The Most Out of Family Gatherings

Like most holidays, Easter is a time to spend with family. Most of our time during this day is centered on a big home-cooked meal, and preparation takes all day.

Sometimes getting caught up baking and cooking can distract from the special time you get to spend together.

One of my family’s longest standing inside jokes is the year that grandma played Just Dance with the kids. Since I was in the kitchen cooking for hours, I missed this hilarious moment that is still talked about to this day! It really bums me out that because I was busy preparing food all day, I missed out on a funny family memory.

This year I’m ordering the hot Spiral Ham Dinner prepared by Food City for my family to enjoy on Easter Sunday. Complete with premium Food City bone-in spiral ham, 2 lbs. of cornbread dressing, 2 lbs. of mashed potatoes, 2 lbs. of green beans and a dozen dinner rolls, my family will be happy to have a home-cooked-style meal and I’ll also get to spend more time with the people I love. I’ll also be ordering some Easter treats, too!

citrus fruits

Choose Stress-Reducing Foods

When the stress sets in, it is easy to reach for salty snacks and comforting sweets like cookies and ice cream. But healthier foods are a better choice. That’s because an overall balanced diet has the ability to improve mood, strengthen the immune system and reduce blood pressure—all actions that can reduce stress. Here are some smart food picks to help you lower your stress level:

Get Your C’s – Foods high in Vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines and other citrus fruits can help boost immune function and lower stress hormone levels. Other not-so-obvious foods containing Vitamin C include red bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, kale and cauliflower. Eat the rainbow and “C” how it helps to lessen your stress!

Be Complex – Whole grains—like brown rice, oatmeal, air-popped popcorn, 100% whole wheat bread or English muffins—as well as vegetables and fruits contain complex carbohydrates, which may help the brain increase production of serotonin. Because serotonin aids in mood regulation, you could feel more upbeat when eating your grains and greens!

Tea Time – Certain teas, including peppermint and chamomile, are frequently consumed for their calming effect and for relieving symptoms of stress, like insomnia and stomach disorders. During cooler weather or closer to bedtime, they are also a nice, warming comfort.

Go Fish and Go Nuts! – Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the flow of stress hormones and protect against depression. Foods rich in Omega-3’s include fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel) and nuts (like almonds, pistachios and walnuts). Remember to watch your portions: a serving of almonds is 24, pistachios is 49 and walnuts is 14 halves. Delicious foods that make you feel more positive?! That should immediately improve your outlook!

Sweet, colorful popcorn

Patriotic Popcorn

It’s that time of year again—time to celebrate this fine nation’s independence the way our forefathers would want us to. With fellowship, fun…and food! If you’re anything like me (and most other Americans), the 4th of July is the perfect excuse to throw a red, white and blue cookout. Burgers and hot dogs are a given—but this year, I was trying to come up with a unique side that would fit in with our patriotic party. This is one of my new favorites—and the best part? You can change it up and use many different colors, so it’s party-perfect all year long.

Party Popcorn
Click ingredients to load to your Food City shopping list.

Pour vegetable oil into a medium pot and place one popcorn kernel in the center. Cover and heat over medium heat until the kernel pops. Carefully pour popcorn kernels until it covers the bottom of the pot, but in just one layer. Remove from heat when the popcorn stops popping for 3 seconds. Pour into bowl and sprinkle salt over popcorn, if desired.* Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet—this will need to fit into your fridge or freezer. Spread the popcorn in one layer on the parchment paper. Heat the white chocolate per the instructions—I use a shorter drinking glass—and once it’s melted, add the red food coloring and stir in. In a diagonal, back-and-forth motion, drizzle the red chocolate over the popcorn. Heat more of the chocolate bark in another glass, this time using the blue food coloring. Repeat the drizzle step, but in the opposite direction so that it criss-crosses with the red. Place in the fridge or freezer and let the chocolate harden. Break apart the popcorn into large chunks, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve (this keeps it from tasting stale)!

*You can use microwave popcorn instead of the oil and kernels—I would just suggest using a plain, unbuttered kind.

Additional Tip: Many craft stores sell colored candy wafers, and those work just as well as the white chocolate bark. Use different colors and make this easy recipe for every occasion!

If you’re looking for a new and different side to enhance your Independence Day celebration, try this new one out! Throw in some fireworks at the end of the night, and we’re talking about the perfect summertime soirée.



Grill Masterpieces

Grill Masterpieces

If baking is a science, then grilling is an art. It’s more than just cooking that fresh cut of meat to perfection—it’s about incorporating colorful and fresh vegetables (and fruits!) into your delicious masterpiece. And as this summer grilling season kicks off, kabobs are at the top of my list. One thing I love about this recipe is that I can change it every time I make it, and it’s always perfect for an afternoon cookout. Feel free to follow this easy recipe, or just take flavors you know you and your family love, throw together things you already have in your pantry, and make it up as you go along!

Click ingredients to load to your Food City shopping list.

Sweet Summery Kabobs
Servings: 20 kabobs
2 lbs. of meat (chicken, steak…you decide!), cut into 1-1/2” cubes
2 packages of baby bella mushroom tops, whole
1 green pepper, cut into 1” squares
1 red pepper, cut into 1” squares
1 yellow/orange pepper, cut into 1” squares
1 white onion, cut into 1” squares
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained
Skewers (I like to soak mine in water to prevent burning on the grill!)

½ cup light brown sugar
2 T. Makoto ginger dressing (this is one of those things that I always have in my fridge—I use it for so many things! It’s stocked in the produce section—not with the other salad dressings.)
1 T. minced garlic (I use Spice World—it comes in a handy dandy squeeze bottle!)
½ cup soy sauce

Mix the ingredients for the marinade, and place the meat in the bowl while you cut up your veggies. Skewer the meat, veggies, pineapple and mushrooms. Place in a casserole dish so that you can pour the leftover marinade over them. (If you have a marinade brush, use it now!) Light up the grill (gas or charcoal!) and cook to your liking, from about 7-10 minutes, turning once and re-basting with the marinade.

This is also one of those recipes that allows for a shortcut—don’t have time to put together the kebabs? Stop by the meat counter at your local Food City—they have them already prepared for you! Simply pick up a few and throw together the marinade when you get home. These don’t have to sit for hours in order to soak up the sweet and savory flavor!

Additional Tips:

  • Grill tip: Even if the grill rack is clean, lean meats can still stick. After the grill is warm, take a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil, hold it with a pair of tongs, and rub it over the grill rack. Just think of it as the outdoor equivalent to greasing a pan!
  • *Family friendly! Invite the kids into the kitchen to put all the veggies on the skewers. Encourage them to incorporate colors and patterns and, as always, make sure they wash their hands really well after handling any raw meat. (Sing “Happy Birthday” two times while scrubbing hands with soap to ensure that all germs are gone!)