5 Plant Forward Ideas for Your Holiday Spread

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A bright festive meal will not only wow your guests but can give a nutritious boost to your favorite dishes.  Important nutrients that are needed for overall health are found in the colors naturally present in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plant foods. Read on to see how the Foodsmart team decks the table in a colorful, healthy way.

  1.       Reduce the unnecessary. Find ways to replace sugary or calorie-heavy ingredients with tasty and colorful fiber-rich alternatives.  Consider swapping out the marshmallows on baked sweet potatoes with sliced apples, walnuts, and cinnamon.  Nix the condensed cream soup on green beans and instead sauté with mushrooms, onions, and cranberries.  You can still enjoy your favorites with simple tweaks that will look stunning on any holiday table! 
  2.       Eat the rainbow.  Try choosing a different color vegetable or fruit for each dish.  Look for red, orange/yellow, blue/purple, green, and light green/white when grocery shopping and planning your menu.  Tip: herbs are a great way to “dress up” any dish and can add extra flavor and nutrients.      
  3.       Try a new recipe. There are plenty of great plant-forward holiday recipe ideas in books, recipe blogs, and the Foodsmart app to help give you inspiration.  New recipes do not need to be difficult or time-consuming, can be used in addition to your usual favorites, or used to swap out an old standby.  For example: rather than relying on a processed boxed stuffing, try a roasted vegetable stuffing instead. 
  4.       Brighten your salad.  Try adding deeply pigmented spinach, kale, red or green leaf lettuces.  Also, consider adding more colorful options besides the traditional carrots and tomatoes – thinly sliced red cabbage, bean sprouts, red peppers, avocado, orange slices, nuts, seeds, and minced herbs are all great options.
  5.       Serve a raw relish tray. A simple tray of cut fresh vegetables and fruits is a great way to help curb hangry guests while the meal is being prepared and served.  Ideas for the tray may include cut carrot sticks, celery sticks, trimmed radishes, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, pickled vegetables, olives, sliced apples, pears, blackberries, or strawberries.  

Looking for personalized guidance?  Book a virtual visit with one of our Dietitians today to get the New Year started right!


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