Most Festive “Must-Have” Holiday Foods

By Robin Nielsen Food, Healthy Lifestyle No Comments on Most Festive “Must-Have” Holiday Foods


By Robin Nielsen, NC

Food is beautiful and is one of THE most important parts of the holidays.

(If you don’t live in the U.S. I encourage you to enjoy Thanksgiving next week anyway – and it may be again if you live in Canada – as it’s a terrific excuse to feast and gather with friends and family!)

I choose foods that are decoratively beautiful when planning what I’m going to make for Thanksgiving. It makes the dishes so pleasing to look at and so delicious.

Here are a few “must haves” that will make any Thanksgiving extra special!

  • Pomegrate seeds – promote heart health and anti-inflammatory – add to a salad or make a festive guacamole
  • Sweet potatoes – loaded with fiber, antioxidants and help regulate blood sugar – make the twice-baked recipe below, or “sweet potato squares” by baking them
  • Baby dumpling squash (acorn squash works well too) – high in vitamins A, C and some B vitamins and fiber – cut off the top, remove the center and seeds, brush the sides with olive oil and spices and bake at 350 degres for 20-25 minutes. Fill with your favorite wild rice dish with cranberries or pomegrate seeds
  • Cranberries – anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants – add to a rice dish or a sald to add the “eye-popping” tartness of cranberry
  • Green Beans – full of carotenoids (think eye health) and chlorophyll – so many great recipes – try the one in Sunset Magazine with chanterelles and cipollini (a type of onion)
  • Pecans – an excellent source of Vitamin E, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants – toast them and use them in grain dishes, salads, nut mixes for an appetizer and of course, pecan pie!
  • Kale – high in vitamins K, A and many minerals – the texture is terrific for a beautiful salad – massage leaves with olive oil and sea salt to soften for easy digestion, add some color and it’s a festive holiday salad
  • Persimmons – high in vitamin C and potassium – use the Fuyu variety to make a green bean salad, or add to other salads, grain or even a little sweet to vegetable dishes
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