Healthy Holiday Dishes: Don’t Forget Your Veggies!
by Carolyn Burris
MS, Nutrition Counselor at
Seasons of Farragut
As the holidays get closer, the temptation to indulge in unhealthy seasonal treats in creases. In addition to the abundance of sweets and baked goods, the hustle and bustle may leave little to no time for cooking and become an excuse for grabbing fast food. While you are carefully choosing the right stocking stuffers, have you remembered to stuff your stomach with healthy food?
Here’s why you shouldn’t forget your veggies this winter:
Veggies are low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals.
All of the green (especially leafy greens), yellow, and orange vegetables are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Veggies are rich in antioxidants
Veggies are rich in antioxidants and do two important things for your body: protect the human body from oxidant stress, diseases and cancers and boost immunity so the body can fight against these diseases.
Veggies are high in fiber.
Another beneficial component of vegetables is their indigestible fiber (soluble and insoluble). These are known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) such as cellulose, mucilage, hemi-cellulose, gums, and pectin. As fiber passes through the digestive system, it absorbs water like a sponge and expands. This can calm the irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation. The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and may help prevent diverticulosis (the development of tiny, easily irritated pouches inside the colon) and diverticulitis (the often painful inflammation of these pouches). Sufficient fiber offers protection from conditions such as hemorrhoids, colon cancer and chronic constipation.
Veggie Quick Tips
- It is important to increase water intake with a higher fiber diet to help facilitate the digestive processes.
- Benefits of a diet rich in vegetables include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, lower risk of eye problems and a stabilizing effect on blood sugar that also controls appetite.
- Most people should take in at least 4-5 servings (at least 5 cups) of vegetables a day. Potatoes and corn do not count because of their starchy, high carb content.
- Pick out a variety of kinds and colors of fresh produce, preferably organic, to give your body the recommended nutrients it needs. Some of the best choices are dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens; beets; carrots; tomatoes; green, red, and orange peppers; broccoli; cabbage; brussels sprouts; and anything that’s rich yellow, orange, green or red in color.
So, for your holiday meal, be sure to include a healthy vegetable dish that will add color and provide the much need nutrients for your body! Here is a quick and simple dish that will provide fiber and nutrition to your meal!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Total Time: 50 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed, large sprouts halved
- 1 head garlic, peeled and separated
- 3-4 tablespoons of organic, extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt (whole mineral salt preferred)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put Brussels sprouts, whole garlic cloves, and olive oil together in a bowl.
- Toss to combine, and season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Empty the bowl onto a shallow baking pan and roast until tender and edges just start to brown, about 35 minutes.