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November 2021
November 23, 2021 | Issue #139
Celebrating Thanksgiving and Holiday Traditions
in A Plant-Forward Way
November is in full swing and as Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season is drawing near,
we may want to take a moment to consider all we have to be thankful for. Despite the difficult
nature of this past year, maybe you landed a new job that excites you, or perhaps an old friend
surprised you on your birthday—whatever the case may be, we can always find things to be
grateful for when we set out to find them -and when we celebrate our gratitude on holidays we
often do so with food.

Thanksgiving, like many holidays, brings us together over a ceremonial meal. These occasions
help remind us that food plays a complex and important role in our lives. Foods provide us with more than just the nutrients they contain. They offer us more than simply fuel to power our busy lives. The foods we eat may represent where we are from, remind us of where we grew up, or rekindle fond memories of years past. In these ways, holiday meals can be a source of comfort and tradition. So, as we do all year round, but especially during the holidays, we are here to embrace and celebrate all aspects of eating and food.

This year, we thought it would be nice to lean into our own personal food histories and stories by sharing the combined Thanksgiving traditions of our Dietitians. Some of us love a big
Thanksgiving turkey at the center of the table, some of us didn’t grow up eating turkey at all, and others have leaned more towards plant-based diets in recent years. Regardless of how we
celebrate, we all get to choose what delicious spreads and foods to include on our Thanksgiving table, and whatever you choose, we are here to help!

This year, many of you have expressed interest in adding more plant-based options to your
tables and since we’ve focused on turkey dishes in the past, we decided to focus on plant-based Thanksgiving meals for this edition of the newsletter. The recipes we include will taste great to herbivores, omnivores, and foodies, alike, and they were inspired by the combined Italian, Puerto Rican, French, Jewish, Lebanese, and American cultures that represent the
Dietitians here at Nutrition Energy. We hope these plant-forward appetizers and side dishes help supplement your typical Turkey Day feast with delicious new flavors you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

The assortment of appetizers and sides we have chosen to include for you this month are not
only delicious, but also nutritious-and exemplify that you really CAN have it all.

Roasted Autumn Harvest Salad — A robust salad featuring America’s delicious produce is a great way to “eat the rainbow,” meaning choosing an assortment of fruits and vegetables of many colors-which therefore contain a wide array of nutrients. Additionally, if you can find local and in season produce, you’ll not only help your local community, you’ll also get the freshest possible salad greens, apples, pears, and cranberries available.

Sweet Potato Kibbeh — A plant-based twist on a classic Lebanese dish, this kibbeh recipe has something for everyone. Bulgar, one of the main ingredients, is a common grain used throughout the Mediterranean and sweet potatoes are just a Thanksgiving staple. Both are high in fiber, a nutrient often lacking in most adult’s diets.

Challah Chestnut Stuffing — What is Thanksgiving without a hearty stuffing? This version uses traditional challah bread (which is eaten as part of many Jewish celebrations), as the base, and adds chestnuts for a bit of sweet, rustic flavor. Chestnuts add more than taste to your holiday meal as they are high in copper, magnesium, B vitamins, and beneficial mono and polyunsaturated fats.

White Bean and Wild Rice Hash — Few meals represent a busy Puerto Rican kitchen like rice and beans do, so this recipe takes that base and adds wild rice and hash to give it more of an autumn quality. The great thing about pairing grains and legumes in this way is they complement each other’s amino acid profiles, often giving you the same “complete protein” that animal products contain!

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers — Everyone loved the Halloween themed stuffed peppers we posted in October 2020, so we have another variation on that theme for you now. Quinoa has gained celebrity status in recent years, in part because it is one of the rare plant-based sources of complete proteins, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Not to mention, as a whole grain, it is also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Take this nutty flavored stuffing substitute and bake it inside lycopene-rich bell peppers and you’ll have an Italian-inspired side dish that even Nonna would love.

Brioche a Tete — The French are known for their cuisine, and their fluffy breads are second to none. These brioches are a great way to soak up the gravies, soups, and cranberry sauce at the bottom of your plate. Plus, the soluble fiber they contain slows the rate at which food moves through your gut, allowing you to recognize when you feel full, and allowing you to save something for tomorrow’s lunch.

From all of the Dietitians at Nutrition Energy, we wish you and yours a very
Happy, Healthy and Tasty Thanksgiving...
and a wonderful start to this 2021 holiday season!
A Great Gift Idea for Your Athlete!
For those of you needing a gift idea for your self or an athlete you know, keep in mind my first book: High-Performance Nutrition for Masters Athletes. Writing this book was a 2 year project, allowed me to combine my 20 years of experience working as a sports dietitian with my over 30 years of personal experience as a runner and triathlete, and to indulge in reading hundreds scientific articles in order to provide you with the most comprehensive and practical sports nutrition book possible.

Within the 267 pages of this book I explain the real truths about our needs for total nutrition, carbohydrate, proteins and fats. The in’s and out’s of fueling up before, during and after competition. The supplements you may want to consider...and those not worth the money. I cover the dangers of under-fueling in sports (and in general) and how to help someone experiencing or struggling with an eating disorder or disordered image.

I had the immense pleasure of interviewing 26 amazing athletes, coaches and exercise physiologist who each share their nutrition story with you and whose tales are weaved into each chapter. Some of those amazing athletes include names many of you will recognize including world class/elite runners Meb Keflezighi, Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher, Kathrine Switzer and Ryan Hall as well as pro triathlete Sarah True, Olympic swimmers, long jumpers, an NFL football player, Connor Barwin, and many more.

If you are a masters athlete (welcome to the 35 and over club!), work with masters athletes, or know someone who is, I think you/they will really enjoy reading it!
A Note From Lauren
Wow - how are we at Thanksgiving already? Weren't we just talking about back-to-school? I hope you are able to celebrate with family and friends this year - even if the amount of people attending is less than previous years. While the world hasn't completely returned to 'normal', one thing I am grateful for is the progress we've made so we can have a few more people at our table this year! Hopefully next year, this will all be a memory!

As with all celebrations (and race events!), remember to have a plan of action for the day so as to not miss meals or wind up feeling starved for 2 hours while you wait for your holiday meal to be finished and served. Make time for movement in whatever way will feel best for YOUR body; that might be a Turkey-Trot or a much needed break/rest or possibly a walk with family or a friend or maybe you feel the need for some gently stretching. A final reminder to stay hydrated as you cook, prep, and/or travel. Oh yeah - THEN HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE DAY! Seriously, don't stress, eat some yummy food, and enjoy all the company you find yourself in!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Do you find new ways to recreate old recipes - or stick with the traditional? Please let us know as we love to see pictures and try new recipes! And as always, for any help or guidance with your nutritional needs - feel free to reach out to us at our office, or on Twitter @NutritionEnergy, Instagram @NutritionEnergy and @NutritionEnergy_Fuels, or Facebook!

Lauren Antonucci
Nutrition Energy