Something Good to Eat

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Over the past month there have been many articles in the newspaper, on the web and also on television about how to stay healthy during the holidays. I know, because I’ve written some of them. By how, hopefully, you’ve incorporates some of these ideas into your baking, cooking and entertaining.

Ok, being in the holiday spirit, I’m not going to give you another column on what NOT to eat. I’m also not going to tell you to stop eating your traditional or favorite holiday foods. But I am going to ask you to think about what you can ADD to those meals that could make them more healthful for you and your holiday guests.

I know your holiday meal is probably already planned…or someone else is cooking and you have little control. But there are some things you can do throughout the next week or so that will allow you to start the new year a little ahead of the game and wishing you hadn’t over indulged.

I know you’re thinking, adding something else? The meals are already too full, we really don’t want something else. But what you could add are: fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Try to add a fruit or veggie to meals whenever possible. These can add flavor, texture, nutrients and fiber. They can help fill you up so you don’t over eat. This doesn’t have to always be that boring fruit bowl or vegetable tray. How about adding a couple extra ingredients into the salads? Incorporate fruits and veggies into a charcuterie display. Look for recipes for bruschetta with fruit on top.

Baked goods, especially during the holiday season, can have a bad reputation. That
doesn’t always have be the case. You still have the option to add in some better-for-you ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

You might even add some new or different fruits or vegetables to your family favorites dishes. Top your pie or cake with fruit or a fruit puree. Add some extra veggies such as peppers, mushrooms or onions to that stuffing or casserole. How about chocolate covered fruit for dessert?

Can you add some whole grains to the meal? Use wild rice or brown rice in the stuffing instead of white rice? Make whole grain rolls or pancakes. Add whole grain to a salad. Instead of an apple pie how about making an apple crisp with oatmeal topping—you get the fruit and grain in the same dish without the fat-laden crust.

If nothing else, add an extra vegetable side dish to your holiday table. Make it an option that isn’t slathered with butter, creamy sauces or marshmallows. Roasted winter root vegetables are simple. If you’re a guest in someone else’s house, why not be the guest that brings the vegetable dish? You be the one that makes sure there’s something green on the table. Others may be thankful that you did.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and safe holiday from all of us at N.C. Cooperative Extension Brunswick County Center.

Source: Produce for Better Health

Syracuse is a Family and Consumer Science team member and can be
reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center 910-253-
2610 or by email at