Tag Archives: hydration

Endless Summer Produce

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It may be time for back to school for lots of families nationwide, but summer is still in full swing in farmer’s markets and the supermarket produce section.  Peaches, berries, summer squash and melons – all kinds of melons are ripe for the picking and deliciously nutritious.  I’ve shared a couple of recipes from The Slim Down South Cookbook below.

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Back to work after summer vacation often means busy weeknights. But that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the fresh tastes of summer produce. Why not celebrate the fabulously fresh with the wonderfully easy to prepare microwavable frozen entrees such as Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef? It comes with brown rice and vegetables and I added a cup of snow peas to balance the plate. The Lean Cuisine website is beautiful with lots of nutrition information to explore. “Freshly made, simply frozen” is a great way to describe the variety of entrees inspired by global cuisines and close to home comfort foods.

Nestle’s Balance Your Plate campaign provides great information on nutrition, portion control and creative combos for satisfying meals.  I added a parfait of fresh berries and a cup of steamed summer squash and zucchini with onions to a plate starring Lean Cuisine Roasted Turkey and Vegetables.

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You can add your own creativity to the table too. Lean Cuisine’s Vermont Cheddar Mac n Cheese is beautiful when you add broccoli florets. Or even if it’s a weeknight why not enjoy Lobster Mac n Cheese?  I bought a lobster tail for $6.99, boiled it in water (with some lemon juice added) for about six minutes until the shell turns bright red and the meat is translucent. Plunge the lobster tail in ice water to cool. Remove the meat from the tail by slicing through the center of the shell longwise and pull out the meat. Chop it up and add to the mac n cheese! Fancy but soooo easy.

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SUMMER PRODUCE RECIPES from The Slim Down South Cookbook: As seen on NBC Atlanta & Company with host Christine Pulara! 

Here’s the link to the TV Segment: CLICK HERE

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Grilled Watermelon with Balsamic Glaze

Adding a bit of savory blue cheese and salty prosciutto (optional) to sweet watermelon makes for a wonderful combination. Brush the watermelon wedges with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking to the grill.

Makes 12 servings

Hands-On 20 min.

Total 20 min.

3 (½-inch-thick) watermelon rounds, quartered

1 Tbsp. olive oil

⅛ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto

2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Fresh basil leaves

2 tsp. bottled balsamic glaze

  1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Brush both sides of each watermelon quarter with olive oil, and season with desired amount of salt and pepper. Cut prosciutto into thin strips.2. Grill watermelon quarters, without grill lid, 1 minute on each side or until grill marks appear.3. Transfer watermelon to a serving plate; top with blue cheese, prosciutto strips, and fresh basil. Drizzle watermelon with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.Serving size 1 wedge CALORIES 44; FAT 3g (sat 1.2g, mono 1.2g, poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 7g; CARB 2g; FIBER 0.1g; CHOL 7mg; IRON 0.2mg; SODIUM 213mg; CALC 28mg

 

Tipsy Melon Salad

Cantaloupe is packed with vitamins A & C for eye and skin healthy, plus it’s is a good source of the B vitamin folate, which is critical for pregnant women. It’s high water content also makes it super hydrating for hot summer months.

Raspberry liqueur and vodka give this colorful spiked fruit salad its lighthearted moniker. Liven up a weeknight dinner party, or skip the booze if it’s a ‘school night’.

Makes 6 servings

Hands-On 16 min.

Total 1 hour, 16 min.

2 cups cubed honeydew

2 cups cubed cantaloupe

1.3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

⅔ cup sugar

½ cup vodka ( optional)

⅓ cup black raspberry liqueur (optional)

¹/₁₆ tsp. fine sea salt

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

1. Place melon cubes in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together lemon juice and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour lemon juice mixture over watermelon balls; stir gently to coat. Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours.

3. Gently toss melon. Sprinkle with chopped fresh mint. Serve immediately with a slotted spoon.

Serving size about 1 cup CALORIES 228; FAT 0.1g (sat 0g, mono 0g, poly 0g); PROTEIN 0.7g; CARB 41.5g; FIBER 0.7g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.5mg; SODIUM 25mg; CALC 14m

Many thanks to Nestle and Lean Cuisine. It’s a pleasure working with you to help happy, healthy folks learn to Balance Your Plate!

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Summer Slimmers: Watermelon

Thirsty for something sweet but trying to drink more water?  The summertime staple – a big slice of watermelon – can satisfy both desires. Watermelons contain 92 percent water so are true to their name. That’s why watermelon is one of the best foods to eat to keep you hydrated on a hot day.  
A sign of the season, watermelon salads are showing up on summer restaurant menus including watermelon with fresh mozzarella, almond mint pesto and green chilies at Two Urban Licks.  At Kyma it’s paired with feta cheese and fresh mint. 
The menu at Parish has featured grilled watermelon with heirloom tomatoes, mint and capers. Watermelon juice makes its way into refreshing cocktails, too.  
Frozen watermelon juice is refreshingly hydrating too. 
Seasons 52 has a recipe for a Watermelon Refresher made with light rum, fresh muddled watermelon and lime juice.

Hydration and Nutrition


Watermelon serves up way more than just water and natural sweetness.  With fewer than fifty calories per cup you can happily chow down on sweet, juicy watermelon during bathing suit season. Watermelon is a healthy choice for snacking too because its high water and fiber content help fill you up without filling you out.  
Summer camp, cookouts, catching fireflies, running in the sprinkler.
Childhood memories made even better when sharing watermelon.
It’s a lot of fun pick up a cold slice of watermelon and bite into summer’s sunny childhood memories so it fits in with modern nutrition advice to take your time while you eat and ‘be in the moment’ instead of mindlessly munching. 
Enjoying two cups of watermelon in chunks, sliced or cute little melon balls gets you a quarter of the way toward dietary advice to consume at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Seeing Red

Its red color is a clue it’s a leader in lycopene content, a pigment that’s a powerful antioxidant, which protects cells from disease causing damage.  Watermelon contains more lycopene than tomatoes. 
Heirloom tomatoes and watermelon- a delicious nutritious summer match! 
Watermelon’s also a good source of vitamin beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A to boost eye health and the immune system.  Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and the minerals potassium and phosphorous are on the list of health benefits, too.  Registered dietitian, Elizabeth Somer, spokesperson for the National Watermelon Promotion Board  and author of “Eat Your Way to Sexy” says, “Where else can you get the wealth of nutrition, help keep your heart healthy, stay hydrated and satisfy a sweet tooth, all for so few calories?”

So, the next time you see a platter of bright red watermelon slices or watermelon chunks tossed into a salad you’ll know that this iconic symbol of summertime deserves more attention than a seed spitting contest.

Fruity Watermelon Facts 

o   The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings. Watermelons were often placed in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.

o   Southern food historian, John Egerton, believes watermelon made its way to the United States with African slaves as he states in his book, “Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History.”

o   Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus Lanatus, the same botanical family as cucumbers

o   Wash watermelons. According to the FDA, all melons should be washed in clean running water before cutting into the rind.

 

Mind the Rind: Always wash melons carefully before cutting.

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Healthy & Tasty Air Travel Trends

Daughter Katie is a master travel ninja with great carry-on style and savvy.

 

Holiday air travel is notoriously challenging with throngs of passengers populating security lines, dealing with winter weather delays, jostling with fellow fliers to stow carry-ons, accepting an airline snack mix and eventually making it to their destinations.


Add hunger to the travel quotient and you’re really in for some unexpected turbulence. Happily there’s a renaissance in airport restaurant menus. I’ve been impressed with kiosks selling really good salads and sandwiches packaged to fly, sit down restaurants with freshly prepared foods and concourse newsstands with a nice selection of healthy snacks (even crudité of vegetables in the cooler with the bottled water.) And low and behold, if a sweet splurge is what it takes to make your travel day more bearable, A Piece of Cake has just landed on concourse A at Hartsfield –Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Now you can be the envy of the exit row while savoring a slice of red velvet cake with a carton of cold milk (fat free, there must be some digression). Atlanta based caterer Proof of the Pudding serves up on-the-go salads and sandwiches at two locations on concourse B and Wolfgang Puck’s (with locations in many US airports) kiosk is on concourse C.

The menus at E Bar on concourse E and A Bar on concourse A feature a terrific selection of cheeses and charcuterie with olives and whole grain crackers. Warning: fellow passengers will be impressed with your gourmet savvy so share a little.


Navigate Nutritiously

-Ask for OJ. The nutrients in orange juice help boost your immune system to give you a fighting chance to ward off cold and flu germs. Mix juice with sparkling water for a lower calorie thirst quencher.



– Snack Smart. Bag your own “sky trail mix” of nuts, dried fruit and granola. Sunbelt Bakery Granola is one of my favorites and is an excellent source of fiber. Healthy fats in nuts and stomach filling fiber in  dried fruit and cereals keep you keep going and if you make your own mixes they can be much lower in sodium than the airline’s salty snack mixes. Sodium plus sitting can lead to unwanted puffiness and ankle swelling.



-Easy Carry-on Cuisine. Granola bars and fruit & nut bars are easy to carry and even easier to eat when on the fly. Make sure to choose bars that just the right portion size; say under 150 calories. Sunbelt Bakery chocolate chip granola bars contain just 140 calories. 

– Concourse Cuisine. A salad is fine, but make sure it contains protein, such as chicken, turkey, ham, eggs or cheese to keep blood sugar on an even keel. Stress can drive blood sugar levels down way below normal.


Flight attendant! No, we are not dipping into our duty free vodka! 

– Alcohol at altitude. Your skin and your brain can get really dehydrated in a pressurized cabin. Alcohol accelerates dehydration. If it’s the end of long travel day and you want a drink to unwind, that’s fine. But make sure to double up on water with the wine.

Food on the Fly

Airport security rules prohibit liquids and “gel type substances” in carry-on luggage if over 3.4 ounces. (I always try to travel with a container of Greek yogurt but it usually ends up in the TSA trash.) Solid foods such as sandwiches, hard cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables are allowed.

Holiday travelers take note that TSA rules state, “You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.” (Especially if it looks like a really good dessert.)

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Healthy & Tasty Air Travel Trends

Daughter Katie is a master travel ninja with great carry-on style and savvy.

 

Holiday air travel is notoriously challenging with throngs of passengers populating security lines, dealing with winter weather delays, jostling with fellow fliers to stow carry-ons, accepting an airline snack mix and eventually making it to their destinations.


Add hunger to the travel quotient and you’re really in for some unexpected turbulence. Happily there’s a renaissance in airport restaurant menus. I’ve been impressed with kiosks selling really good salads and sandwiches packaged to fly, sit down restaurants with freshly prepared foods and concourse newsstands with a nice selection of healthy snacks (even crudité of vegetables in the cooler with the bottled water.) And low and behold, if a sweet splurge is what it takes to make your travel day more bearable, A Piece of Cake has just landed on concourse A at Hartsfield –Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Now you can be the envy of the exit row while savoring a slice of red velvet cake with a carton of cold milk (fat free, there must be some digression). Atlanta based caterer Proof of the Pudding serves up on-the-go salads and sandwiches at two locations on concourse B and Wolfgang Puck’s (with locations in many US airports) kiosk is on concourse C.

The menus at E Bar on concourse E and A Bar on concourse A feature a terrific selection of cheeses and charcuterie with olives and whole grain crackers. Warning: fellow passengers will be impressed with your gourmet savvy so share a little.


Navigate Nutritiously

-Ask for OJ. The nutrients in orange juice help boost your immune system to give you a fighting chance to ward off cold and flu germs. Mix juice with sparkling water for a lower calorie thirst quencher.



– Snack Smart. Bag your own “sky trail mix” of nuts, dried fruit and granola. Sunbelt Bakery Granola is one of my favorites and is an excellent source of fiber. Healthy fats in nuts and stomach filling fiber in  dried fruit and cereals keep you keep going and if you make your own mixes they can be much lower in sodium than the airline’s salty snack mixes. Sodium plus sitting can lead to unwanted puffiness and ankle swelling.



-Easy Carry-on Cuisine. Granola bars and fruit & nut bars are easy to carry and even easier to eat when on the fly. Make sure to choose bars that just the right portion size; say under 150 calories. Sunbelt Bakery chocolate chip granola bars contain just 140 calories. 

– Concourse Cuisine. A salad is fine, but make sure it contains protein, such as chicken, turkey, ham, eggs or cheese to keep blood sugar on an even keel. Stress can drive blood sugar levels down way below normal.


Flight attendant! No, we are not dipping into our duty free vodka! 

– Alcohol at altitude. Your skin and your brain can get really dehydrated in a pressurized cabin. Alcohol accelerates dehydration. If it’s the end of long travel day and you want a drink to unwind, that’s fine. But make sure to double up on water with the wine.

Food on the Fly

Airport security rules prohibit liquids and “gel type substances” in carry-on luggage if over 3.4 ounces. (I always try to travel with a container of Greek yogurt but it usually ends up in the TSA trash.) Solid foods such as sandwiches, hard cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables are allowed.

Holiday travelers take note that TSA rules state, “You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.” (Especially if it looks like a really good dessert.)

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Balancing Act of Great Food and Good Nutrition

Nobody’s perfect, and that’s especially true when it comes to eating a healthy well balanced diet. “All these years and we still know that balance, variety and moderation are the keys to good nutrition and that includes enjoying occasional splurges,” says dietitian Jill Melton, editor of Relish Magazine. Melton and more than eight thousand nutrition expert colleagues meeting at The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012 Food & Nutrition Conference in Philadelphia gathered to learn the latest research and sample the best new healthy food products.

How to find a happy balance between healthy living and enjoying great foods was the focus of a series of lively panel discussions held in the spacious and welcoming Nestlé́ exhibit booth designed to look and feel like a home.  Dietitians gathered around an oversized dining room table and spilled into the aisles to listen to leading nutrition experts and expert observers talk about the challenges of promoting nutrition through the lifecycle from infancy to the elderly.  Invited by Nestlé́, I served as the moderator for four fast-paced 20-minute chats and – woah – did I learn a lot!  First off – Nestlé́ is the world’s largest food company with a commitment to nutrition, health and wellness. 

Good Food, Good Life

Nestlé́’s headquarters is in Switzerland and is most associated worldwide with their wonderful chocolate. But did you know that Nestlé́ USA develops and distributes so many other popular leading brands including Lean Cuisine, Stouffers, Buitoni, Libby’s Pumpkin, Juicy Juice and Carnation Breakfast Essentials? Nestlé́ Waters hydrates and quenches the thirst of millions with such iconic brands as Perrier, Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino, as well as Nestlé́ Pure Life purified bottled waters in the U.S. 

Nutrition Numero Uno

I learned more about the broad reach and respect for the Nestlé́ Nutrition Institute (NNI), too. NNI shares state-of-the-art science-based information and education with nutrition and health experts all over the world. And while most of us are familiar with their consumer brands – including childhood faves Ovaltine and Nesquik – Nestlé́ Health Science works with nutrition professionals to offer products for people with special health needs such as Boost, the nutritional supplement beverage for seniors who need a boost of protein, vitamins and minerals. 

Nestlé́ Professional, serving healthcare institutions, restaurants and schools, offers unique services, balanced products and valuable resources for the food pros specializing in away from home eating experiences.

Start Healthy – Stay Healthy

Now that you’ve glimpsed the scope of the company’s core mission to help people start healthy and stay healthy throughout life – here are some highlights from the hot topics of Nestlé́’s nutrition panels held during the 2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition held in Philadelphia.

Healthy Hydration

Officially titled “Nourishing Healthy Living: Nutrition Throughout the lifecycle, including healthy aging, super foods and balanced eating,” this panel discussion got right to the heart of the matter – how nutrition can make a difference in the support of good health throughout the lifespan – from infancy to the elderly to support wellness and when we’re not that well to help nurture us back to health.  

Each of the dietitians on the panel are experts in working with the elderly and in medical care settings so have been on the front lines of seeing health declines in patients that could have been prevented. One of the simplest yet most important observations is that many elderly patients are dehydrated.

“Some elderly people don’t know they’re thirsty and can end up in the emergency room by not being hydrated, which affects brain function,” says Carol Siegel, MS, RD, Head of Medical Affairs, Nestlé́ Healthcare Nutrition. Another challenge – the elderly are more at risk of dehydration because their mobility problems may discourage them from drinking water (they might not be able to run to the restroom!) and due to physiological changes.  

“The body becomes dryer as you get older,” says Val Wendel, MS, RD, LDN, Healthcare Channel Sales Manager, Nestlé́ Professional. Adding more nutrition to hydration – as with Boost beverages and Trio soups – can offer a solution. Wendel says, “Fortified soups and beverages provide an excellent source of nutrients and hydration.” 

Easy To Swallow Solutions

Simply sipping soup and enjoying a cool glass of water is a big challenge for folks with swallowing problems that may be caused by stroke or as a side effect of radiation. “Swallowing difficulties can increase the risk for malnutrition,” says Maureen Huhmann, DCN, RD, CSO Manager, Clinical Sciences, Nestlé́ Nutrition.

Huhmann, a specialist in oncology nutrition, described how the odorless starch-based thickener called Resource Thicken Up Clear is used to thicken liquids to help patients with dysphagia (swallowing problems).

Drink Up Before School Kids!

Kids are vulnerable to dehydration too. In fact, “64% of kids go to school dehydrated,” says Carol Savage, MS, RD, Manager, Beverages Division, Nutrition, Health & Wellness, Nestlé́ USA. So when you send the kids off to school, whether on the school bus or when helping them put on the seat belt in the car, hand them a bottle of water or a container of Juicy Juice. By the way, milk hydrates, too – even chocolate milk.

Think About Your Drink

The take home from this panel of nutrition experts: dietitians care about keeping folks healthy and hydrated and a lot of the solutions are pretty simple – and tasty! You just have to know the power of proper hydration to think about your drink.

Nestlé́ products like Nestlé́ Pure Life help address a hydration deficit occurring in the elderly and in kids,” says Chavanne Hanson, MPH, RD, LD, Nestlé́ USA Wellness Champion.

Mindful Eating

The second panel was packed with nutrition experts, including Dr. Barbara Rolls, Penn State University Nutritional Sciences Guthrie Chair, Dr. Wahida Karmally, dietitian and Director of Nutrition, Columbia University and Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Director of Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington. Diving into the discussion about nutrition, cognition and mindful eating, Dr. Karmally, whose research focuses on pediatric nutrition, shared this important fact,

“Eating habits are established in the first 6 years of child’s life.”

And while most everyone agrees that nutrition is key to proper growth of body and mind, Dr. Karmally says the reality reveals big improvements are needed. “One in eight kids miss breakfast!”

In a hurry? I remember my mom giving me Carnation Instant Breakfast as I ran to catch the school bus. My favorite flavor is strawberry. I was always late because I couldn’t decide what to wear.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Carnation Breakfast Essentials offers a great breakfast substitute,” says Wendy Johnson-Askew, PhD, RD, MPH, Director, Public Policy, Nestlé́ Nutrition.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner – what family meals look like today is the research focus of Dr. Drewnowski, who says, “The family meal is evolving.”  That means the balancing act of sitting around the kitchen table versus running off to sports practices and all of the other dinner time distractions is shaping the family meal today. 

The good news is that Dr. Rolls, author of “The Ultimate VolumetricsDiet”, wants parents to know that the balancing act of good nutrition can include occasional splurges. “You can eat anything in moderation,” She says.  And snacking is AOK in her book, too. “Find your healthy snacking pattern.”

Foods for the Future

What’s really a lot of fun is when discussions about nutrition burst into enthusiasm about great tasting, healthy foods. Leading the surge in discussing Foods for the Future, Lucien Vendôme, Director of Culinary Operations for Nestlé́ Prepared Foods says “We must all be passionate about nutrition.”  Vendôme, who is the creative genius behind the recipe development for Lean Cuisine, Buitoni and Stouffer’s Frozen foods, shared that frozen foods offer a tasty, nutritious and convenient solution for busy folks and families. 

Registered dietitian Jill Melton, blogger and editor of Relish Magazine, notes, “We are a microwave generation.” So it’s good news when food companies such as Nestlé́ stock the grocer’s freezer with delicious and nutritious microwavable options.

Melton, who was one of the founding editors of Cooking Light Magazine, observed that the word ‘light’ used to have a stigma; folks just assumed light foods wouldn’t be as good. But today that’s changed, and light eating is appealing and sought after.

Have Some Fun

Teaching the next generation to balance lighter choices with fun ‘splurge foods’ is an important goal for foods for the future.  And the lessons begin very early.

“The hardest transition for babies is from baby food to table food. Eating patterns begin to form at 18 months, and are set at two years of age,” notes Wendy Johnson-Askew, PhD, RD, MPH, Director, Public Policy, Nestlé́ Nutrition. Johnson-Askew also noted that one-third of kids’ calories come from snacks, so those snack choices should count towards good nutrition.

Balanced Eating

In the final panel, we get closer to ‘wear the rubber meets the road’ so to speak and that of course is the power of portion control, taste, enjoyment and the pleasures of the table.

While one of the USDA’s current nutrition messages to combat obesity is “Enjoy your food, but eat less,” Dr. Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition at Penn State University, argues that the message should be to eat more of certain foods to fill up the plate. “People tend to eat a consistent amount of food. If you tell them to just eat less they don’t like it because they don’t want a plate that’s half empty.” Dr. Rolls’ research shows that eating more foods – which are higher in water content such as fruits, vegetables and soups – adds volume to the plate and satiety to support weight management.  

Easy Veggies

Making it easier to get more vegetables into meals, frozen vegetables and frozen entrees that include veggies offer simple solutions for complicated modern days.

“I always recommend mixing prepared foods with fresh foods,” says Katherine Brooking, RD, blogger, author, media personality and founder of Appetite for Health.  Blogger Colleen Padilla, known as Classy Mommy, says “Moms are always looking for more convenience.”

And with taste and style in mind Kristen Colapinto, blogger at Social Vixen, suggests, “One trick I use is taking prepared food out of their packages and placing on a plate to make it seem more presentable.”  I love this idea! Especially because I have a passion for pretty plates and even collect them at yard sales. Treat yourself and set a pretty table even when you’re smart to save time by choosing delicious frozen entrees.

Write it if you bite it!

Helping people keep track of what they’re eating and how much was discussed, and Katherine Brooking emphasized the power of the pen and recommends her nutrition minded clients keep a daily food journal. After a week they get a snap shot of where those extra calories may be coming from.  I say “if you bite it, write it.”

Dietitian Chavanne Hanson, MPH, RD, LD, Nestlé́ USA Wellness Champion, sums it up very nicely, “Pleasures, balance and understanding are core pillars of what Nestlé́ wants to convey to the marketplace.”

So, the delicious lesson learned  (and echoed throughout the four nutrition expert panels for Nestlé́) is to find a happy balance in your food life – seeking healthier options for every day and enjoying occasional splurges. Oh, and don’t forget to drink some water!

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