Healthy Veggie Sides for The Holidays

Harvest Quinoa Salad - Cook For Your Life - Ensalada de Quínoa de Otoño- anti-cancer recipes- cook for your life

It’s all too easy to fill up on the heavy appetizers, fancy cocktails, and decadent dishes during the holidays. And while we definitely believe you should indulge a little, it’s also smart to continue to eat a balanced diet loading up on your favorite cancer-fighting vegetables.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are a Thanksgiving mainstay, which is great as they’re members of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Brussels sprouts are one of the best sources of vitamin C in the plant kingdom. They are also high in vitamin K which helps to support immune function and eye function. Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of fiber which helps keep our gut microbiome healthy and supports a healthy immune system. Chop them up raw for a tender slaw like this Brussels Sprout & Apple Slaw, sauté them as we’ve done here with this Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Dried Cherries dish, or make this Walnut & Onion Brussels Sprouts roast for a simple, classic, and hearty side.

Walnut and Onion Brussels Sprouts

Potatoes

Potatoes are a highly versatile root vegetable. Unfortunately, they are sadly underrated for their health benefits because they are so often fried in hot oil, but roasted or mashed potatoes are a great way to get healthy fiber (especially if you leave the skins on). They’re also rich in vitamin C and DNA-supporting folate. Try these simple Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic for a basic side dish, or try your hand at our Cumin or Parsley Mashed Potatoes for a more of a flavor punch. Also, don’t forget about fiber-rich sweet potatoes. No need to peel these bright orange spuds, just wash them well because the skins have lots of fiber along with vitamins and minerals. 1 cup of baked sweet provides 24% of your daily requirement for fiber and they are specifically a rich source of vitamins C & K and B vitamins, along with beta carotene.  Our recipe for Mashed Yams with Crispy Maple Shallots is a healthy spin on the classic sweet potato recipe or for something different, try this Apple Potato Bake, an easy vegetarian interpretation of the classic English dish.

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Quinoa

Quinoa is a powerful grain. It is a complete plant-based protein, and it’s rich in fiber and magnesium. It’s easy to cook and has a nutty crunch! It’s basically a blank canvas, so try out these Quinoa salads to see what you like best. The Harvest Quinoa Salad uses rich squash and crunchy pumpkin seeds for a hearty dish, or try this Warm Colorful Quinoa Salad for a light and fresh vegetable-grain ensemble.

quinoa Harvest salad

Green Beans

Green Beans are so comforting and are a very good source of manganese, vitamins K, C, and B2, dietary fiber, and folate. Try this elegant and flavorful Green Bean & Mushroom Sauté, or for a simple option, make these Steamed Green Beans which can be a lovely respite from all the other over-the-top dishes.

Green Bean & Mushroom Sauté

Salads

Fresh greens are essential for a balanced feast. Get all the benefits of nutrient-rich, peppery raw arugula with two tasty salads: This Pumpkin & Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts is a fantastic dish to honor those wonderful fall flavors. Or, try this light Pear Arugula Salad with Maple Vinaigrette and be delighted by the contrast of fresh pears with bleu cheese.

Pumpkin Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts

Pumpkins and Squash

Last, but not least we love the sweetness of roasted squash, and during the fall season there are so many ways to prepare it. Squash is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, making it a great staple for the colder seasons. This Simple Roasted Pumpkin recipe is sure to please and easy to prepare. Or, try this quick-to-make Fennel-Scented Squash SoupFennel is delicious and great for digestion.

CFYL roasted pumpkin

Registered Dietitian Approved

There are many misconceptions about nutrition and cancer in widespread media. By using current scientific literature, plus recommendations of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society, our Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, and our team of editors work to help our readers discern truth from myth.

The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Always consult your physician or registered dietitian for specific medical advice.


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