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Going into November we have all the fall feels that are starting to surround us. The time change, the crispness in the air, the seasonal produce finds, and the family traditions for gatherings which include all the comfort foods that we crave this time of year. So how do we balance the cravings and traditions while keeping our health in the forefront?

Start With Portion Sizes

We all know that at family gatherings, there are many “family famous” dishes. We want to try everything! On a regular day, we might have 3 or 4 different items to put on a plate, however, at Thanksgiving, there might be a dozen different potluck dishes. Start by using a smaller serving spoon to reduce the portion size so that we way we can make sure we have enough room to taste all those famous delights.

Indulge In Mindfulness

Enjoy each bite of food, taste the flavors, chew it well, and slow down. Many fall flavors can invoke nostalgia and help us to stop, relax, and think about how we can relate to the flavors in the dish. We can also be mindful to think about the labor of love that went into making the dish.

Level Up A Dish With A Plant

From sweet to savory, virtually all dishes can be leveled up with a plant in it or a plant pairing. Here are a few examples for family gathering favorites.

  • Pecan Pie- level up by topping with homemade blueberry puree.
  • Rice Dressing – level up by adding extra chopped colorful bell peppers.
  • Cookie Recipes – level up any cookie recipe by adding finely chopped nuts and dried cranberries.
  • Vegetable Casseroles – level up by adding additional ½ cup of vegetables to the casserole recipe.
  • Dessert Table – level up with a fruit salad option or chocolate covered fruit at the dessert table.

Chop & Swap

Chop and swap can be one more way to add a plant to a dish!  Chop meaning finely slice and dice, mince, or put in the food processor some added veggies to sauces and casseroles.  Think about leveling up with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, and more.  These extra nutritious jewels can boost the flavor in many dishes as well.

Swap, meaning swapping a plant to add more nutrients or event moisten or sweeten baked goods with a natural sweetener from plants.  Some of my favorite swaps are the following:

  • Add applesauce in baked goods like blueberry muffins or banana bread.
  • Add avocado to brownies for a plant-based fat.
  • Add black beans to brownies for more fiber.
  • Make a cream sauce using pumpkin puree for added color, flavor, and creaminess.
  • Mix spaghetti squash into a macaroni and cheese dish for plant booster.
  • Roasted zucchini chips are a great lighter alternative swap for fried tortilla chips.

Safety Solutions

This season and beyond, let’s make food safety a priority by following food safety guidelines for cooking to proper temperatures, store food correctly, and allowing time for handwashing before, during, and after cooking. More info on food safety can be found here.

Make Memories

This November let’s try to make new memories with family and friends by cooking together or learning a new recipe like Poaching Pears! Say YES to adding a plant this November on each occasion to boost nutrition and flavor to all your holiday favorites.

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