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Writing this message I think of where I will be in a weekenjoying Christmas with my family in Chicago. Living in Dallas now I'm not a fan of the cold, but will welcome it to be with my momthe rock that keeps me grounded. I hope you all have that special someone you can count on, lean on, and keeps you grounded be it family, friends, or significant other.

May you enjoy the holidays and the very best to you for 2015!

Enjoy this December issue of great foods to eat and some strategies perfect this time of year. And please pay attention to the special notice in News and Events!

With warmest wishes,

Your nutrition coach,

Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach
Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Oh, and that cutie above? That's Shadow—my 38th Great Dane Rescue foster. He enjoys the comfort of a blanket and the fire and will warm himself for what seems like hours. I've had him since May and we are still waiting for his perfect fur-ever family! (Just in case you know anyone...)

7 Foods that Keep on Giving

The holiday season is all about giving, getting and of course, food. Everyone enjoys rich, delicious meals that seem to be omnipresent during this time of year. Incorporating certain foods into your feast can lead to nutritional benefits that last long after your New Year's resolution.

1. Pomegranates. A pomegranate a day can keep the doctor away. The old adage uses apples and actually the pomegranate got its name from the Latin words meaning seeded apple. This delicious fruit not surprisingly is known as the jewel of autumn and bursting with vitamin C and phytonutrients keeping free radicals at bay. So add the seeds to anything from salads to yogurt (or eat by the spoonful) and enjoy! (I made this video to show how easy it is to deseed one. Deseed a pomegranate - no water, no mess!)
 2. Nuts. Nuts contain both poly- and mono unsaturated fatty acidshealthy fats that can lower cholesterol and reduce risk of  heart disease by lowering inflammation in the arteries. Nuts are also a good source of protein and fiber that can help keep you fullkeeping you from overindulging and keeping the holiday pounds in check. Finally, nuts are a rich source of vitamin E which is good for the skin. Who doesn't need a little holiday glow? (Love me some!)
3. Chocolate. What's more comforting on a cold winter day than a cup of hot chocolate? If you make that a cup of dark hot chocolate you could be enjoying more than just guilty pleasure. Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) contains flavonoids and polyphenols. These are antioxidants that can help prevent arterial damage from cholesterol as well as lower your blood pressure over time. So join the kids for a cup of hot chocolate and drink to your health.
4. Olives. Extend the olive branch through the season and reap the nutritional benefits. Olives are an excellent way to get your healthy monounsaturated fats. Using extra-virgin olive oil to create culinary masterpieces during the holidays can lead to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. You can use the olives to add a little salt to your meals, just be sure to watch your sodium intake. Ten small green olives have about 451 mg of sodium. According to new recommendations by The American Heart Association sodium intake should be limited to 1500 mg or below per day.
5. Cinnamon. The smell of cinnamon in the air is a sure sign the holidays are near. This time of year is a time for giving and also a time for indulgence. When we overindulge on rich foods it can leave us feeling a little out of the holiday spirit. Adding cinnamon to your holiday treats can help curb the effects of overindulgence by reducing heartburn and bloating. Studies have also found that 1 tsp a day of cinnamon can help better manage insulin and blood sugar levels. Add a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee, cup of oatmeal, or for an extra nutrient packed snack serve plain non fat Greek yogurt with dried cranberries, nuts, and a dash of cinnamon.
6. Peppermint. Candy canes are a signature of the holiday season used for decorating the trees or enjoyed in tea or hot chocolate. This holiday treat can soothe heart burn and nausea. It also kills bacteria in the mouth that leads to bad breathcoming in handy when meeting under the mistletoe (smile).
7. Cranberries. The holiday spread would not be complete without cranberry dressing or our favorite cranberry oatmeal cookies! Cranberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also provide antioxidants which help prevent some types of cancer and promote the formation of visual purple pigment which is essential in color as well as night vision. Here's a link to my blog with the recipe for Neily's Rockin' Lower Cal Trail Mix using dried cranberries. Yum!


Cream-less Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe Courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms


Makes 6 Servings
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 ounces peeled butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • One 32-ounce carton all-natural vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • Optional garnish: Shredded, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Break the leek rounds apart into little rings, place in a bowl of cold water, and swoosh around to remove any dirt trapped between the layers. Drain well in a colander.
  3. Place the leeks, cauliflower florets, squash, 2 tablespoons of the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly with the oil. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the vegetables are golden and the leek rings become crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir well every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the cooked vegetables and the broth. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the milk, and let cool slightly.
  5. Transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth and creamy. You could also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with optional toppings.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 1/3 cups): 130 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 480 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 120% vitamin C, 80% vitamin A  


Christmas gift suggestions:

gift Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”-- Oren Arnold

News and Events
I still have a few Ditch Dieting Forever Strategy Sessions! available.

I am gifting a limited number of these 30-minute phone consults (value $87).

Please email for available appointment openings.

Don't wait until after the first of the year to move forward on your health goals!

Not for you but know someone? Please forward this message.


3 Simple Holiday Waistline Tips:

1. Be a Food Snob!
When you are at parties or family gatherings, be choosy. Some may call you a “food snob” but in reality you are only listening to what you really want. Avoid the foods you really do not enjoy. Instead savor the bites of the foods you have been looking forward to all year, like that decadent dessert or sinful appetizer. When you do indulge, taste and enjoy the food, but after a few bites push the plate away. This simple tip can save hundreds of calories over the course of the holiday season. One of my favorite holiday tips is "If you don't love it, don't eat it!"

2. Burn More!
Easy solutions include:

• Waking up 20 –30 minutes earlier to get an extra workout in (or if you know the day will be very busy, this is a great time to get it over with so no excuses!)

• Change up your workout routine to interval training. Interval training can almost double your calorie burn in half the amount of time.

• Add more steps to your day. Park at the end of the parking lot, take the stairs, take mini work breaks to walk around the office, go shopping.

I wrote this blog post about all the ways we can burn more without exercising. Check it out! Exercise is important but so is getting NEAT!

3. Write About It!

During the holiday season keeping a food journal could be your #1 weapon against the bulge. Journaling has been found to be a proven technique in helping people lose weight. Keeping track of what you put in your mouth could easily help you decide if that piece of pie or extra cookie is worth it. Remember, an extra 100 calories per day is equivalent to a 10 pound weight gain over a year—so those little bites can really add up! Here is a great blog entry about food journaling—Write before you bite - keeping a food journal

Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND helps people, usually women between 40 and 65 years, reach their ideal weight so they can end the diet cycle forever, without giving up their favorite most pleasurable foods. Neily is a respected award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist in Dallas, Texas who specializes in nutrition and health coaching, weight management, and overall wellness. She is a Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach and a well-regarded nutrition counselor/coach, vibrant public speaker, writer and media spokesperson in the nutrition area.  She can be contacted at or  214.395.3114

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