HOLIDAY TIPS: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NUTRIENT DENSE HOLIDAY FOODS
We are all familiar with the holiday season routine: attending parties and gatherings with family, friends, and colleagues and splurging over the never ending dinner table. When holidays are finally over, we cross our fingers and nervously step on our bathroom scale hoping we only gained a pound or two. Fortunately, many holiday foods such as pumpkin, turkey, cranberries, and sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and if prepared correctly and eaten in moderation can not only enhance our health but also can prevent us from gaining those holiday pounds.
Did you know one serving of pumpkin has nearly two-and-a-half times the recommended intake of vitamin A, which plays an important role in vision and skin health. In addition to being rich in vitamin A, pumpkin is also rich in iron, which plays a role in transporting oxygen to our cells. Try using pumpkin in healthy soups, homemade breads, pumplin pies, and casserole dishes.
Turkey is not only a delicious protein but is a good source of B-vitamins, selenium and zinc, nutrients essential for optimal nerve and immune function. Hold off on eating the outer skin which is full of fat and go for the white meat which generally has a lower fat content than darker meat. Try basting your turkey with broth, sherry wine, and seasonings and less butter to reduce the fat content.
Cranberry is a super-food that provides color to our holiday dishes. It is rich in vitamin C, fiber and has more antioxidants than strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. When making cranberry sauce, try reducing the sugar content by 25% which still yields a delicious sauce. Try adding cranberries to meat dishes, muffins and desserts.
Don’t let the sweet nature of a sweet potato fool you. One medium sweet potato has over four times the recommended intake of vitamin A! It is also rich in vitamin C and Iron. So try incorporating sweet potatoes in your holiday dishes like in potato salads, baked sweet potato fries, sweet potato ravioli stuffing, or even mashed sweet potatoes.
Pumpkin Spiced Cranberry Sweet Potatoes
MAKES ABOUT 6 SERVINGS
4 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a 9×9 baking dish, combine the orange juice, vegetable oil, sugar, pumpkin spice, and salt.
3. Add potatoes and cranberries.
4. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
By Teresa Nigro, Cal Poly Dietetic Intern
At the Foodbank, we pride ourselves in teaching others the importance of and value in preparing seasonal recipes that nourish our body. And late Summer time is all about sweet and juicy tomatoes and peaches. The sweetness of the peach perfectly balances the acidity of the tomato, and lucky for us, they are both in season together. The colors alone will make your mouth water.
Tomatoes are an antioxidant powerhouse, their most famous antioxidant being lycopene. Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, and a good source of potassium, vitamin K, and manganese. Due to these powerful nutrients, tomatoes do a great job of protecting us from oxidative damage, reducing our risk for heart disease and certain cancers. Some studies also suggest that tomatoes help protect our bloodstream as well as our bone and kidney health.
With the peach’s beautiful coral and golden orange colors, you can be sure you are eating a great source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is famous for promoting healthy vision, especially in low light. Vitamin A also helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissues. It’s a dynamite nutrient.
Please indulge in this delicious and colorful salad as you embrace the last few weeks of Summer. Your body will thank you!
Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Basil Summer Salad
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 heirloom tomatoes (any color), cored and thinly sliced
- 2 ripe peaches, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup torn or julienned fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
Combine the tomatoes, peaches and red onion in a bowl and toss with the basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to two days. Enjoy in the sunshine with family if possible!
- Nectarines for peaches if you prefer smooth to fuzzy skin
- Apple cider vinegar for Balsamic vinegar for a milder taste
- A sprinkle of creamy feta or goat cheese for cheese lovers
- Pistachios or walnuts for a sweet crunch
1/3 cup walnuts
5 cups butter lettuce or any type of lettuce
2 ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced
2 tbls bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing
- Add walnuts to a skillet placed over medium, high heat.
- Toast nuts until they start to deeply brown in spots and smell fragrant. Set aside.
- Wash and dry lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces. Place lettuce in a large serving bowl and add nectarines.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss gently to coat.
- Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
Serves 4, serving size 11/2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serving size: 1 ½ cups
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 4 cups finely chopped kale, tough ribs removed
- 2 cups finely chopped red cabbage
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 apples, grated with peels on
- 2 Tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
- In a large bowl, mix together the kale, red cabbage, carrots, and apples
- Pour dressing over the kale mixture and toss to combine.
- Ideally cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, until the kale begins to soften and wilt
- Sprinkle with sunflower seeds immediately before serving
1 tablespoon olive oil
2.5 spicy Italian sausages, uncooked and removed from casing
1 large yellow onion
1 ¾ cups split peas
6 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add the sausage, using a spatula to break apart the meat, brown on all sides. Meanwhile dice the onion, add to the browned meat, and cook until onion is soft about 6 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the split peas stirring to absorb the cooking liquid, then add the stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer soup for 60 minutes or until the peas are very soft and beginning to break apart. Season soup with kosher salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Makes 3 hearty servings.
Spinach and Pear Smoothie
1 heaping cup of spinach leaves
½ cup of canned pears
1 ½ cups of cold soy milk
Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Edamame are highly nutritious and rich in bioactives (having
activity in the body) compounds called isoflavones which makes
this vegetable a functional food i.e. having a function beyond its
basic nutritional value. Rich in amino acids, it is an economical
source of protein and has the distinction of being the most
complete of all vegetable proteins.
Luckily edamame are delicious and easy to prepare. These
versatile beans have a buttery, nutty flavor and can be eaten hot
or cold as a snack or as an addition to stir-fries, salads, casseroles,
or soups. To prepare fresh, unshelled edamame clean and rinse
pods, add them to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook for
four to five minutes. To eat suck the tender beans out of the pod
as the pod is not edible. Alternatively, you can open the pods
with your fingers to remove the succulent beans. Another way
to prepare shelled edamame is to roast them like peanuts in a
hot oven for ten minutes or until they start to have golden flecks.
Frozen beans can be cooked in a similar fashion to fresh but
require a few more minutes of cooking time.
Edamame are featured in the May lesson of Food Literacy
in Preschool Program (FLIP). FLIP introduces unique fruits and
vegetables to young children, ages 3, 4 and 5 from diverse
backgrounds. FLIP utilizes colorful, fun, age-appropriate
interactive lesson plans that promote both nutritious eating and
Hot and spicy edamame
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cracked red pepper
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tsps salt, divided
1 lb fresh edamame in the pod
Heat 1 tsp salt, chili powder and pepper flakes in a small skillet
with no oil. Stir until hot and fragrant. Remove from heat and mix
in oregano. Add fresh edamame pods to salted boiling water
and cook for about four to five minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss
with the chili-oregano mixture and serve warm.
Serves 4, serving size 1 cup
White beans, also known as white
navy beans, offer extraordinary
health benefits. They are loaded with
antioxidants and provide a good supply
of detoxifying molybdenum, fiber and
protein, and rank low on the glycemic
index. They produce alpha-amylase
inhibitors, which help regulate fat storage
in the body. What’s more, white beans
deliver a good supply of magnesium, a
mineral with multiple health benefits.
White Bean & Kale Soup Recipe
1 lb dried Romano white beans
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lb smoked turkey sausage, sliced
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 lb kale
Sort the beans to remove any unwanted
debris. Rinse and cover beans with
water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to
boil. Remove from heat and let stand,
uncovered for 1 hour. Drain and set
aside. In a large soup pot, heat the oil
over medium-low heat then add the
onions and cook until softened, or about
6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until
fragrant, or about 1 minute. Add the
beans, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme,
and 2 quarts water and gently simmer for
40 minutes. Meanwhile, brown sausage
in a skillet and set aside. Once beans
are soft, stir in carrots and simmer for
5 minutes. While carrots are cooking,
coarsely chop the kale, removing any
thik stems and the center rib. Add the
kale and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the sausage and season with salt
and pepper to taste.
Makes 6 servings.