Tips for Stress-free Holiday Prep from Nutrition Pros

By Robin Plotkin, MS, RDN

It was all things HOLIDAY PREP during the most recent National Peanut Board Twitter Chat as NPB’s registered dietitian Sherry Coleman Collins and yours truly took to tweeting about the holiday season.

Our Favorite Way to Enjoy Peanuts

We kicked it off with an easy one! The resounding response? People are partial to PEANUT BUTTER. On toast, in smoothies, slathered on noodles—salted, unsalted, crunchy or smooth—we love it all! That’s no surprise, however, peanut flour, peanut oil and peanut powder are also trending when it comes to popular plant-based ingredients.

RDs Are Masters of Preparedness

When we asked for some tips on getting ready for the cooking part of holiday meals, our followers responded with super ideas. The KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart) principle was prominent and answers such as menu planning, pre-grocery shopping, shopping at off times (i.e. evening or late night) were given as ways to prep ahead. Also, making detailed lists of menus, shopping lists, and other details was one of the most popular responses, with folks recommend using everything from iPhone and Android apps to backs of envelopes and sticky notes for list making.

Food Prep 101

“What are the foods or ingredients to stock up on?” we asked.  Chicken and vegetable stocks, frozen fruits and veggies, canned beans and homemade GORP (peanuts, raisins and mini chocolate chips or candies) all made the list. Stocking up on foods that do more than one thing makes feeding a crowd a breeze.

Go-to Breakfast and Dinner Ideas

During the holidays, all the focus may be on the main meal. But what about feeding our guests the rest of the time?

For the morning meal, Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast and slow cooker oatmeal with a fresh fruit and peanut topping bar were fan favorites. Looking for something different? Check out these: Citrus Salad with Mint And Peanuts, Funky Monkey Muffins and Homemade Peanut Granola Bars.

Dinner recommendations ranged from Peanut Butter Noodles with leftover chicken or turkey (my personal favorite) to good old Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  To kick up your PBJ offerings, consider serving a DIY bar with a mix of peanut butters, dried and fresh fruit, jams and fruit spreads, and honey.

Love global cusine? Check out this recipe and video for Curried Peanut Cauliflower Rice or this Senegalese Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup.  Both are easy prep and can feed a crowd!

Keeping Meals Healthy

As registered dietitian nutritionists, we believe that a healthy diet is paramount to a healthy life. We asked for fool-proof tips from chat attendees that they share with family, friends, clients and readers:

(via Twitter)

Deanna Segrave Daly, RDN: promoting eat a healthy breakfast/lunch, don't go to parties hungry, indulge in favorites you only get this time of year,

Emily Holdorf, RDN: I like to remind people about portion control & enjoying the moment. Don't restrict yourself & you'll be happy!

Regan Jones, RDN: I go by 1/2 plate fruit/veggie rule at holidays. Fill other 1/2 up w/dishes luv & ENJOY.

As we wrapped up the chat, Sherry left us with a great tweet to remember. “Keeping focus on most important things can help make the holidays even more special. Family, friends and really good food!”

Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Want to review the chat tweet by tweet? Check out the #Rdholidayprep hashtag for the full conversation.

Want More?

Here are some additional tips on healthier holiday eating.

Did you know? Peanuts are now considered “healthy” according to the recent changes in FDA rules. Read more about it here.

Robin Plotkin has been in the business of food for over 30 years. Since her ice cream dipping days at Frosty’s in Peoria, Illinois, she’s maintained her passion for food, culinary arts and nutrition as a registered dietitian(RD) and culinary nutritionist. She’s fluent in event management, media relations and brand and product ambassadorship. She advises chefs, develops recipes and helps reporters focus their food and health stories. She helps companies expand and amplify their product goals and reputation with social media outreach. And, as a prolific blogger, she helps busy families find everyday solutions to leading healthier lives through her personal blog, Robinsbite, where she’s been blogging since 2009.

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