With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas right around the corner this is usually the time of year I over indulge in my favorite holiday treats, which does major damage to the meaning of the food pyramid and portion control. I came across this article today titled “The 13 Most Powerful Superfoods” and what I noticed was different about this list is that it explained why similar lists such as these created by nutrition “experts” will differ but also overlap in their selections. The article mentions:
“Because every food provides something different: Some are a rich source of protein or fiber but void of many vitamins and minerals, while others contain disease-fighting phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, but no protein. The trick, claim experts, is to get a variety of the best foods. ” READ THE FULL THING HERE
I wanted to think of ways to incorporate these “superfoods” into some of my holiday meal options to work in some much needed extra nutrition this winter, especially foods high vitamin D (since we’re going to be lacking sun/warmth in Seattle the next 4-5months. Of the 13, those on the list that seem to blend well with my usual holiday meal options included avocados, apples, cabbage, red wine, dark chocolate.
Here are my thoughts on how to add these 5 items to your favorite dish:
1. Avocados– The holidays are all about family, fun and festivities and that usually means lots of indoor activities like parties and watching football/basketball games with friends. One essential dish for any gathering is chips and dip in which an avocado dip could be added to (or substituted for) the regular salsa option. The article notes that avocados are high in fat but it’s healthy monounsaturated fat and are linked to eye and skin health.
2. Apples- You know the old saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, and seeing how I’m a Washington native where apples it must be ingrained in me to love them—which I happen to. My favorite types are Fuji and Granny Smith and although I often cut off the skin because I prefer the inside I just learned that it is actually the healthiest part.
Apple pies are a holiday favorite in many American households (peach cobbler takes the cake in mine) and one way to tweek your recipe is to put fresh cut up apples on top of your slice and use fat fresh vanilla ice cream or opt for frozen vanilla yogurt instead when you make your apple pie a la mode.
3.Red Wine- Again with the holiday parties, most aren’t complete without a little bit of wine and although I usually opt for white wine 9 times out of 10 (because I prefer a sweeter taste) I may opt for a red glass more often after learning it contains powerful antioxidants and has cardiovascular benefits.
4. Dark Chocolate- I think chocolate is A delicious treat to go with your wine, and apparently dark chocolate high in cacao has fewer calories than other varieties. Brownies and chocolate chip cookies have always been a couple of my favorites to make around the holidays (I’m a baker by nature) and using dark chocolate instead of milk would be an interesting change up. Also, topping my chocolate desserts with chopped almonds instead of the usual walnuts or pecans that my mom requests would be a bonus since they made number 9 on the superfood list.
Here are some healthy chocolate tips and recipes from EatingWell.com
5.Cabbage- This Brassica leaf (along with brocolli and bok choy) is essential in that it contains compounds called indoles which have been linked with lowering risks for cancer dramatically. I saved this for last because this rounds up the end of the holiday season at my house since my mom (and many other Southern households) cooks it as a New Year’s tradition—along with black eyed peas and cornbread because together the meal symbolizes luck and prosperity. Who wouldn’t want that for the new year?