monthly health topic

image of a calendar promoting fresh and festive food tips

25 days of healthy ideas for the holidays

  1. Apples are a great addition to many holiday recipes: bake into pies, add to stuffing, slice up for a fruit platter.
  2. Beets are delicious pickled but also try roasting them. Slice fresh beets into wedges, toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, place on a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast at 375°F for 30-40 minutes.
  3. For a gourmet touch, add fresh green beans or asparagus to a veggie platter. Steam whole beans or asparagus spears until just tender but still bright green, then place in ice water to chill down.
  4. Make fruit salads sparkle with a sprinkling of pomegranate arils (seeds).
  5. Keep onions and garlic on hand. Add to roasts, soups, stews and sautés for flavor and you won’t miss the salt.
  6. Coat potatoes with herb seasonings before roasting. Garnish baked potatoes with fresh herbs.
  7. Pears are at their peak during the holidays. Serve pears with various cheeses. Poach pears in wine, grape juice or cranberry juice with cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel for a splendid dessert.
  8. Create a welcoming fruit tray. Arrange fresh pineapple chunks, mandarin sections and grapes on a platter with the green pineapple top in the middle.
  9. Float orange slices in plain or flavored unsweetened seltzer for a refreshing beverage.
  10. Cook fresh cranberries into a tangy chutney or salsa for turkey, ham, chicken or beef.
  11. Offer right-sized mini sandwiches on your holiday buffet. Serve lean deli meats in little party rolls and provide condiments for guests to choose from.
  12. Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt as a creamy lower-calorie substitute in dip recipes calling for sour cream.
  13. Play on the red-and-green theme with pasta, tomato sauce and steamed broccoli. Sprinkle with Parmesan “snow”. Serve green lettuce and red pepper strips.
  14. Serve Caprese salad skewers of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls and basil.
  15. For a rustic side dish that pairs well with roasts, serve brown rice or wild rice. Use chicken or beef broth instead of water and add sautéed mushrooms and onions for flavor.
  16. Cook oatmeal for a comforting breakfast. Top with walnuts, sliced apples and cinnamon.
  17. While you’re stringing popcorn for the tree, pop some for a fiber-filled snack. Combine air-popped popcorn, lightly salted if you like, with raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  18. For easy canapés, combine canned tuna, diced celery, mayo and your favorite add-ins. Spoon onto mini baguette slices, top with shredded cheese and place in the oven just until cheese is melted. Garnish with sliced scallions.
  19. For a burst of flavor, without the higher calorie add-ons, mix mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice and cinnamon.
  20. Toast bread crumbs in a skillet with a bit of butter and sprinkle over roasted Brussels sprouts.
  21. Make roll-ups using flounder or tilapia fillets with a filling of chopped spinach and Parmesan.
  22. Julienne parsnips and carrots. Sauté in a skillet with just enough olive oil and butter to coat lightly. Sprinkle with parsley.
  23. For a tasty side dish, steam 4 cups of shredded red cabbage in a small amount of broth. Drizzle with a tablespoon of lemon juice to restore its bright red color.
  24. Almost any green vegetable can be used in pesto. Try spinach, peas, parsley, cilantro, arugula or kale.
  25. Scoop out fruits and vegetables and use as serving containers. Serve chicken salad in tomato cups, fruit salad in orange halves, or hummus in hollowed out cucumber rounds.