The holiday season from October through February provides some of the most indulgent meals, sweets, and beverages of the whole year. From chocolates and pumpkin desserts in October to Thanksgiving sides and desserts in November, Christmas desserts and fried Hanukkah dishes, and the ever-abundant chocolate and cupcakes for Valentine’s Day in February, we just can’t escape all the tasty goodness! Even though most of these dishes are a slight step away or more from a nutritional meal, there are some hidden nutritional gems in holiday fare.
It’s important to fill your plates with filling whole foods this time of year. They help calm the body, balance cravings, provide cellular Support, and your overall health.
Here are five of the best holiday foods that serve your whole body well:
Source: Andrew Yee/Flickr
Cranberries are some of the most overlooked berries out there when considering nutritional benefits. They’re almost sugar-free with only 2 grams per 1/2 cup. This means they’re low on the glycemic index to Support your blood sugar and are less likely to cause some digestive upsets in those sensitive to more sugary fruits. Cranberries are also rich in detoxification properties for the blood, kidneys, arteries, and digestive system. They help fight infections, lower stress due to high amounts of Vitamin C and provide the body with a balanced palate with their tart flavor. Add frozen or fresh whole cranberries to salads, oatmeal, or quinoa for breakfast, juices, and smoothies, and even smash them with some raw almond butter or tahini to make a tasty sandwich spread. Avoid dried cranberries that are coated in sugar and oil and cranberry sauces that contain added sugars.
2. Wild Rice
Wild rice is technically grass, not grain. It’s very easy to digest, rich in magnesium, potassium, and iron, and even contains protein. It’s also rich in antioxidants that Support aging, weight maintenance, and heart health. Wild rice is deliciously sweet and nutty with a better flavor than blander rice like brown or white rice. Enjoy it with some roasted squash, sliced almonds, and even cranberries for a delicious holiday meal! Choose 100 percent wild rice, not wild rice blends
Source: Randi Hausken/Flickr
This overlooked holiday delight is one of the best sources of Vitamin C you can eat. Chestnuts contain 20 percent of your daily needs of the crucial vitamin per serving, along with 5 grams of fiber and even a little protein to boot. Buy them organic and roasted in small bags at the health food store or online so you can prevent mold exposure and be sure to store them in the fridge well-sealed after you open them. Chestnuts act more like a bean and legumes in the body than a nut. They’re also easy to digest and completely fat-free. For something delicious and different, try Chestnut Soup. Or, toss them over oatmeal and salads for sweetness, use them in the vegan stuffing to add lots of flavors, puree them with butternut squash to make a healthier mashed potato recipe, or mix them into wild rice with kale, sliced almonds, and roasted sweet potatoes for a sweet, satisfying healthy meal.
Gratitude: Plant-Based Thanksgiving Cookbook
No other holiday captures the spirit of home cooking the way Thanksgiving does. This is why you need the ultimate Thanksgiving cookbook, One Green Planet’s Gratitude: Plant-Based Recipes to Create your own Thanksgiving Tradition! In the cookbook, you’ll find our 100 most popular plant-based thanksgiving recipes like Soft Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts, Spiced Apple Cake with Cashew Frosting, Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding with Nut Crumble Topping, Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies, and hearty entrees like Roast Root Vegetable Stack With Dukkah, Vegducken: Butternut Squash Stuffed With Eggplant, Zucchini, and a Mushroom Lentil Stuffing, and Seitan Roast With Sausage and Pear Stuffing and Apple Cider Gravy and so much more!
Kale’s a superfood all year round – there’s no arguing that! Rich in magnesium, protein, iron, calcium, and Vitamins A, C, and K, this super green is abundant in the cooler months when it’s fresh and in season. It glows a bit brighter, tastes a bit better, and is likely more expensive for this reason. Enjoy kale raw, sauteed, stuffed into squash, added to stuffing, and made into a huge massive wintery salad, and be sure to toss it in your smoothies for extra assurance. Tossed with tahini, lemon juice, Himalayan pink sea salt, and black pepper, kale is life-changing; get to know it and experience culinary and nutritional bliss!
5. Orange Root Veggies
Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and all winter squashes are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat. They’ve been shown to prevent cancer, extend aging, and improve mood. Lucky for us, these fiber-rich veggies also Support digestion, and improve our skin, hearts, and yes, our meals too. Fresh in season, they’re all easy to work into your diet during the chillier months. Make stew, Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin smoothies, and even pumpkin truffles. Winter soup is perfect with some sweet carrots added, and no curried dish is complete without their culinary magic.
The holidays don’t have to be a time for food comas and unhealthy fare. Enjoy more of these tasty foods to keep you full, healthy, and inspired in the kitchen all season long.
What’s your favorite healthy holiday meal?
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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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