Keep your nutrition on track during the holidays with two healthful, in-season dishes that are far from ho-hum.
It’s that time of the year once again, when visions of sugarplums — and other temptingly naughty goodies — dance in our heads (and our tummies). Although you’re hardly human if you don’t look forward to indulging a little over the holidays, you can keep from going into a sugar and carb free-for-all by giving traditional dishes a healthy twist this season.
Luckily, Fall and Winter offer a plethora of delectable seasonal veggies to craft a perfectly hearty feast, including familiar squashes like acorn, butternut, and pumpkin. Most squashes can be puréed, roasted, or steamed as a nourishing addition to soups and stews. Or choose from an array of good-for-you greens like broccoli, collards, endives, and Swiss chard, which can be easily sautéed with onions as a quick side dish.
Want something on the sweeter side? No problem — baking and stewing fruits like pears or crab apples is a seasonal step in the right direction. However you enjoy this nourishing produce, you’ll boost your nutritional intake and leave less room for temptation. Bonus: when you attend your annual holiday party or potluck, you can feel good about eating and sharing holiday dishes that won’t add extra inches to anyone’s waistline.
One Pot Stew
This hearty winter stew, chock-full of seasonal vegetables like kohlrabi, cabbage’s more exotic cousin, will warm you up and fill you up. Kohlrabi tastes like a mix of cucumber and mild broccoli, and is loaded with 90% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake as well as 12% of recommended fiber. Turnips, very low in calories, have 8% of your daily fiber needs, and savory leeks round out the veggie mix with plenty of vitamin A and vitamin C. Skip the butter and use olive oil instead; it’s much lower in saturated fat and has no cholesterol.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pork tenderloin or skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound kohlrabi, peeled and diced large
- 1 pound turnips, peeled and diced large
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Several sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- Heat a large pot over medium heat (a Dutch oven or soup pot will work well here). When pot is hot, turn it down to just below medium and add 2 tablespoons olive oil until it heats up, usually within 10 seconds. Brown meat on both sides, then remove from pot. Add remaining olive oil. Add onion and sauté for 7 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add all of the remaining vegetables and herbs to the pot and mix. Put the meat back in on top of the veggies. Pour water in and cover. Simmer for 1 hour and add water if it evaporates so the bottom of your pot doesn’t burn. Take meat out and let it rest before slicing. Serve with the veggies.
Pro tip: When choosing a protein, pork tenderloin and skinless chicken breasts are healthy, lean add-ins. Cook meat separately if vegetarians will be in attendance.