5 HEALTHY HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES
Welcome to WHAT’S ON THE MENU MONDAY everyone. I can’t believe it, but Thanksgiving is three days away and the winter Holiday Season is at the starting gate.
So, of course it’s the perfect time to talk turkey – or at least, food – and this time of year I’m always looking for dishes that are not only great tasting but healthy as well.
Fortunately, I found a few with help from the wonderful folks at FOOD AND WINE. These dishes are loaded with flavor and color – and are brimming with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They promise a nice change of pace from the usual fare while remaining comforting holiday foods. And, I’m including the recipes from the great chefs at FOOD AND WINE to ensure all goes smoothly in the kitchen this Thanksgiving 😊
So, let’s get started with our 5 HEALTHY SIDE DISHES that are sure to become family favorites.
1) MASHED WINTER SQUASH WITH INDIAN SPICES. This time of year, the pumpkin and potato usually take center stage. But, why not shake things up a bit by serving some delicious winter squash instead? All varieties of squash are healthy, but winter squash tends to be even more nutrient-dense. It typically contains more B Vitamins, which help the body increase energy and form red blood cells. The amount of beta-carotene found in winter squash rivals that of cantaloupe and mangoes and that’s great news for fighting heart disease, cataracts, cancer and lung inflammation. Now we add turmeric, which is loaded with vitamins and antioxidant properties – coriander, which is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron and vitamin C – and, mustard seed which is abundant in vitamins A, C and K. Mash it all together and enjoy a wonderful dish brimming with holiday cheer, taste and health.
2) CHUNKY CRANBERRY SAUCE. We’re all familiar with the canned variety of cranberry sauce. But, this year why not try making a natural sauce with chunks of whole cranberries to please the palate? Natural cranberries are packed with significant health benefits, including powerful antioxidants like flavonoid quercetin and proanthocyanidins that inhibit the growth of cancer cells and help protect against colon, prostate and breast cancer. These little berries also inhibit the formation of blood clots and decrease our levels of the bad cholesterol known as LDL. The quinic acid in cranberries prevents calcium and phosphate from binding together making this fruit a natural treatment for kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Cranberries help protect our eyes from cataracts and muscular degeneration while its natural calcium protects our teeth and bones. The cranberry is one of the most nutritious fruits we can eat. So, make sure this side dish makes it to your Thanksgiving dinner table this year.
3) TRICOLOR ROASTED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS. This is not only a colorful dish, it’s a crunchy, delicious and healthy dish as well. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which is linked to a reduced risk for developing several cancers, including lung cancer. This root vegetable also is a great source of antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial compounds that boost the immune and ward off illness and disease. And the potassium, iron, copper and Vitamins A, C and K lower blood pressure, stimulate the production of white blood cells, reduce stress and protect our eyes from macular degeneration. As if this were not enough, the parsnips in this dish add folic acid, which helps prevent dementia, osteoporosis and heart disease – AND the niacin and vitamin C in a parsnip improves the function of the nerves, skin and digestive system. All these benefits combined make this dish just too good to pass up!
4) GINGERY SWEET POTATO SOUP. Sweet potatoes are simply one of the healthiest veggies we can eat. They contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. Instead, they are packed with dietary fiber for good digestion, antioxidants to boost our immune system and beta-carotene, which helps protect us from cancer, vision loss and skin damage. The manganese in a sweet potato supports healthy blood sugar levels and the large amounts of vitamins C and E protect us from disease and promote longevity. When we make this soup with ginger broth we add a ton of additional minerals and vitamins like calcium, iron, magnesium potassium and selenium, which give ginger potent antioxidant properties. Ginger can treat the symptoms of cold and flu while reducing the discomfort of respiratory tract infections and sore throats. In addition, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can relieve pain, swelling and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This hearty and healthy soup is perfect throughout the holidays and the winter season.
5) GREEN BEAN AND BLOOD ORANGE SALAD. Here we have a really refreshing side dish that’s brimming with health benefits. Green beans contain high levels of flavonoids that reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing blood clots in the veins and arteries and reducing our risk for stroke. Flavonoids also are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent pre-cancerous polyps in the intestines and improve the ability of our immune system to fight illness and disease. Green beans help manage the symptoms of diabetes, protect our eyes from macular degeneration and the fiber content promotes healthy digestion. Green beans alone make a great salad, but when we add blood oranges we add a wonderful source of vitamin C – our old cancer-fighting friend and antioxidant. The high amounts of vitamin C boost our immune system, fight infection and reduce our risk for cervical, oral, rectal and stomach cancers. By the way, the red color of this orange comes from anthocyanins, a natural anti-inflammatory that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Overall, this dish is a dynamic duo of flavor and health that’s bound to please everyone at the table.
November is a wonderful time of year. The air is crisp and clean. The leaves are colorful. The nights are cool. And, the winter Holidays are right around the corner.
I wish all of you a Peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving in the comfort of home, friends and family.
Thanks again for joining me everyone and until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .