This Thanksgiving is going to look different for all of us. We may be simplifying our meal, opting to stay home rather than roam, downsizing menu choices to accommodate a table for a few or being more financially protective by making foods that are cost-effective. Lets’ talk about ways to enable taste, budget, health and enjoyment by moving fruits and vegetables to the center of your table
The Thanksgiving meal is all about sense-surround. Beautiful colors, sensational smells, tantalizing taste and auditory stimulation from satisfied guests happily toasting, chewing and having lively conversations.
Fruits and vegetables can be the stars of the plate and the palate. Here are a few of my favorite tastes on the Thanksgiving plate:
- Tangy cranberries mixed with grated orange, orange juice and walnuts
- Roasted Brussel sprouts with red onion, chopped prunes and Harissa
- Baked sweet potatoes with pineapple juice and pecans
- Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, parsley, and Greek yogurt
- Pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust.
Yummy for the tummy!
What do we all crave about the holidays? The food of course! It may be the memory of Dad carving the turkey, mom dishing out the cranberry sauce, a favorite aunt cutting the pumpkin pie. Familiarity and festivity go hand in hand. So how do we add the produce to boost the nutrition but retain the tradition?
- Grated carrots, finely chopped onions or peppers and even dried fruit can be added to stuffing
- Chopped apples or pears can complement cranberry sauce or a cranberry relish
- Roasted vegetables provide the color and texture contrast to the turkey
- Pumpkin ( vegetable) may be your choice of pie, but apple, berry, cherry or peach pie can contribute to produce as part of dessert.
As we all try to control what we can with our eating plan, produce can play a powerful role in keeping us healthy and supporting our immune system. Some of your Thanksgiving favorites provide nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system:
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits/juices, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes
- Fiber: pumpkin seeds, potatoes, apples, pears
- Prebiotics: asparagus, onion, garlic
- Beta carotene: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, broccoli
- Folic Acid: green leafy vegetables, asparagus
The beauty of produce lies in the versatility and your culinary creativity. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried are all great options for your Thanksgiving meal.
- Some may prefer cranberry sauce while others nay like to use fresh cranberries
- Roasted vegetables can be made from fresh or frozen vegetables
- Scooping the flesh out of a pumpkin is time consuming, but opening a can works as part of your dessert plan
- Canned yams, fresh sweet potatoes, frozen or fresh mashed potatoes can bring the delicious to the table.
- Fruit purees can sweeten up a veggie dish
- Dried fruit and frozen vegetables add nutritional value to the stuffing
Eating enough produce is a great way to treat yourself and take care of your health. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, micronutrients ( vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients ( plant chemicals) that can
- Lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers
- Help to manage blood glucose
- Contribute to a healthy digestive system
- Support bone health
- Provide satiety to help fill us up, not out to better control hunger and manage weight
The Thanksgiving meal does not have to be extravagant. The good news about produce is that you can stick to your salary cap without sacrificing taste or festivity. Canned cranberry sauce means not waste. Leftover pumpkin can be frozen in ice cube trays. Celery, carrots and onions from the stuffing can be made into a soup with the turkey carcass, mashed potatoes can be served for breakfast the next day with eggs, and sweet potatoes can be a side, or a dessert. Eating within your means with foods that are available, accessible and affordable should always be part of your plan.
Whether your Thanksgiving meal is in person or celebrating via zoom, let’s nourish to flourish by adding the produce to our plate to make us look and feel great. #Haveaplant