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Healthier Holiday Sides

If you think there’s no way healthy and holidays go together – we’re going to change your mind! Side dishes are an easy place to add fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables to your plate, even when it’s time to celebrate. What’s offered on the side can pack quality nutrients, not to mention fantastic flavor, crunchy texture and vivid color into your holiday meals.

  • To make sides that taste great and yet are good for you, stick to simple recipes that add a few flavorings and just a drizzle of olive oil or a touch of butter for richness. This allows the fresh bright flavors of the vegetables and fruits to shine through without piling on the calories.
  • Use whole wheat bread to make stuffing or opt for a stuffing made with whole grain wild rice or wheat berries. Include veggies or fruits in your stuffing. Fennel, carrots, corn, bell peppers, pears, apples or cranberries all make nutritious and delicious additions.
  • Go green! Try to serve a green vegetable at every dinner during the holidays. This can also be an easy and elegant time saver as these dishes can be super simple. Steam green beans and toss with a small amount of browned butter, salt and pepper. Sauté spinach, Swiss chard or kale in olive oil with a clove of minced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Serve steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sliced almonds. Cut Brussels sprouts in half, roast and toss with walnuts, lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Here are two easy side dish recipes to get you started. Both are made with seasonal vegetables, roasted to bring out their natural sweetness and tossed with flavorful herbs and bright citrus. They turn ordinary fruits and vegetables into dishes so good your guests will ask for seconds.

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