Rich luscious eggnogs. Candy and baked goods galore. Savory roasts and creamy cheeses. When it comes to holiday foods, healthy eating isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. Although it may seem like a contradiction in terms, there are a lot of things you can do to keep you and your family healthy, happy and still in the holiday mode.
If you’re not feeling well, your holidays are going to drag. Despite all the hustle and bustle I take some time to take care of myself and my loved ones — not just with tokens of my affection but by supporting our health and wellness with plenty of nourishing foods like dark leafy greens, winter squash and earthy root vegetables.
These colorful plant foods are bursting with vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals and they are a treat for my body, providing loads of nutrient-dense fuel during this busy time. I love to get cozy on a chilly night with a warm bowl of Swiss Chard and Black-Eyed Peas, hearty Bison Chili, or the creamy and satisfying Winter Squash and Apple Soup. I like to make double or even triple batches of these foods to make sure that even during this busy and social time, there is plenty to share and always something healthy and delicious in the kitchen.
Celebrate the season
While my family’s seasonal foods still include many of the traditional indulgent favorites I grew up with, we also make sure to take delight in the simple, abundant plant foods of the season, particularly pomegranates, nuts, apples, pears, greens, roots and winter squashes. These foods are also a fun part of our holiday activities.
My eldest daughter delights in pomegranates and loves to separate the gem colored seeds from the pith in a bowl of cool water while her little brother greedily awaits these treats. My middle daughter could crack nuts for hours, again, much to the delight of her perpetually hungry brother.
To keep my kids fueled and fed I like to roast big batches of whole sweet potatoes to have on hand for snacking. Their sweet and smoky flavor is satisfying even when eaten cold and whole, right out of the fridge. Easy, simple and nutritious. For an even sweeter and spicier way to eat sweet potatoes, try Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears. While the oven is on, I also like to make a big batch of Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Shallots for further delicious snacking.
These fruits and vegetables also bring a festive and naturally colored beauty to the table. Try the gorgeous emerald colored Collard Rolls, which make a beautiful addition to any celebration. Baby Bok Choy is another favorite vegetable around my house, which is so simple and easy to make as in Bok Choy with Carrots and Sesame-Orange Dressing. Yum.
For a sweeter treat, put some colorful apples on the table with the Raw Apple Crisp. So easy to make that I barely need to help at all for my children to make it themselves. (But I do make sure that I get to eat some!) I like to fill up on plenty of these comforting, nutrient-dense foods to keep myself energized, healthy and feeling full of cheer during this busiest of seasons, plus I think these foods are delicious and fun too.
How do you keep your holidays healthy?