Ready Pac Foods Chief Marketing Officer Tristan Simpson Weighs in with Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

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Mon. December 19th, 2016 - by Jordan Okumura-Wright

IRWINDALE, CA - For those of you who survived Thanksgiving without having to go up a pant size, it’s time to prepare for Christmas and all of its holiday goodies. As much as I love a plate full of roasted veggies any time of year–there are those holiday treats that keep the seconds and thirds coming. Recently Tristan Simpson, Chief Marketing Officer of Ready Pac Foods, shared a few holiday tips with me along with tasty solutions to keep your diet healthy and delicious as we prep for the New Year. From the produce department to the dinner spread, having healthy choices nearby always helps fuel the decision-making process.

But to start, I had to share a few of the company’s favorite quotes to address the season, as we take on the next couple weeks of holiday cheer.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde

“Turkey for me, turkey for you/Let's eat the turkey in my big brown shoe.” – Adam Sandler

With that shared, Ready Pac Foods is offering up three tenets for keeping your (caloric) balance this holiday season. But, first the numbers. Ready Pac Foods recently shared the results of a study conducted for the company by ORC International Survey, in which seven out of ten adults readily admitted they have zero plans to make healthier meals this holiday season, even as 81% say they “wish” they were making more calorie-conscious eating decisions.

Tristan Simpson, Chief Marketing Officer, Ready Pac Foods

“The simple formula of meat plus potatoes, followed by more meat, more potatoes, and multiple helpings of delicious pies, cookies, and cakes can equal some crooked numbers on the scale, and everyone knows it,” Tristan shares.

So, three tenets, here we go…

Minimize the Damage

There are the obvious solutions that respondents of the study offered to battle the food coma, like smaller portions (58%), more fruit and vegetables (45%) and healthier recipes (44%).

“So, what’s the secret to not putting on a ton of pounds this holiday season? In a word, it’s all about balance. Add a little touch of healthiness to the rich dishes you devour for the big feast and have a healthy plan for all those meals in between,” Tristan says. “And balance extends into the produce department as well, where retailers can showcase healthy snacking opportunities, value-added salads, and holiday flavors with fruits and veggies that will promote healthy eating.”

The way that flavor profiles have evolved in the produce department and with value-added produce items, fruits, and vegetables are becoming the star of the culinary show. At least in my opinion!

Stick to Your Non-Negotiables

Let’s be honest, some of those delicious, not-so-healthy holiday favs just have a gravity that is hard to combat. Ready Pac Foods says, rather than succumb to an overwhelming feeling of guilt it’s best to go overweight with your favorites.

“While men called meat their ‘can’t live without’ at a holiday meal, 34% of women said side dishes were their favorite, more than any other category,” Tristan adds. “The solution? Compromise.”

If the meat is what you came for, indulge on that deep-fried turkey and lower your helpings of the veggie casserole and sweet potatoes. If you’re so-so on meat but still want to taste it, try only a slice or two of ham or roast beef and load up on the sides.

Listen to the ones who used to be at the kids’ table

Millennials have gotten wiser about many things since their days at the holiday “kids’” table, and eating choices are no different. The survey showed nearly a third of millennials said they plan to make their holiday meals healthier this year, compared to just 19% for baby boomers.

Whether it’s because they’re as passionate about nutritious and fresh food, or the fact that millennials in their late twenties and early thirties are trying to instill healthy eating in their own children, one thing seems certain: Millennials don’t think healthy eating and the holidays clash. In fact, 40% of millennials said they can add healthy options to their meals without compromising the holiday spirit, compared to just 31% for generation X (ages 36-51).

By all means, the “be merry” part of the holiday season wouldn’t exist without good eating (and yes, drinking). But a few smart choices in November and December can help stave off the caloric catastrophe that causes gym memberships to skyrocket every January. Maybe “Eat a little smarter, drink a little smarter, and you can still be merry,” doesn’t have the same ring to it as the original phrase, but it’s just as true.

I’ll be stocking my fridge full of fruits, veggies, a value-added salads to stack in front of the apple pie in my fridge this Christmas. And keeping these tips, ready and available!

Ready Pac Foods