“Put Christmas on your plate every time you eat” is one of my favorite mantras to my patients.
Eating fruits and vegetables of a variety of different colors leads to the best all-around health benefits. This time of year there’s an abundance of red and green festive foods, which can be real standouts when it comes to nutrition. Red and greens denote vitamins A, C and B, and important anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that protect our arteries, boost our immune systems and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Don’t forget to add yourself to your Christmas list and give yourself the Christmas gift of health this season — every time you eat.
Here are some of my favorite red and green food combos that are packed with nutrition. Try some:
- Roasted vegetables including red onion, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini
- Christmas rice with cranberries and baby kale strips added to wild rice (*recipe below)
- Green beans in tomato sauce
- Broccoli sautéed with red bell peppers or sliced in half grape tomatoes
- Raw broccoli salad with red dried cranberries, cashews, red onion added; combine with a little Ranch dressing
- Roasted red bell and green bell peppers on sandwiches or in fajita wraps
- Asparagus with red bell pepper strips or pimiento strips
- Stuffed red and green peppers with ground beef/rice or bean or quinoa or wild rice stuffing (**recipe below)
- Red plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise and filled with feta cheese /cucumber/ mint or basil leaves
- Tomato soup garnished with a sprinkle of sliced green onions
- Steamed spinach served with raw grape tomatoes cut in half
- Fruit salad with strawberries, greens and red grapes
- Tuna salad with red grape halves, green onion and chopped spinach leaves
- Brussels sprouts sautéed, with walnuts and dried cranberries added before serving
- Brussels sprouts sautéed with onion and red bell pepper slices
- Green beans with cranberries and almonds (***recipe below)
- Red beets and reunion on a green lettuce bed
- Red beans and wild rice combined and served on a plate of cooked spinach
- Guacamole topped with pico de gallo (chopped red tomatoes, cilantro, onion, lime juice)
- Spinach salad topped with dried cranberries and nuts or strawberries and crumbled goat cheese
- Pomegranate seeds served on top of a green salad
- Red and green apple slices as a snack or dipped in a vanilla yogurt or a honey dip
Decorate your plate in red and green this holiday season and enjoy these fun recipes for more inspiration:
- *Wild Rice and Dried Cranberry Stuffing http://healthyeatingforfamilies.com/wild-rice-and-dried-cranberry-stuffing/ To add more green, I recommend adding one cup of sautéed fresh, baby kale cut into small strips and adding to the celery/onion mixture.
- **Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-bell-peppers-stuffed-quinoa
- ***Balsamic Glazed Green Beans with Cranberries and Almonds http://laurenkellynutrition.com/balsamic-glazed-green-beans-with-cranberries-and-almonds/
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday!
For more ideas on healthy eating and how to handle the holidays without gaining weight, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.
The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.