Wellness + Nutrition

Healthy favorites for the holidays

Bring the taste of autumn to your holiday meals this year. From apple to pumpkin to rosemary, these dishes are bursting with fall flavor. As an added bonus, each recipe contains items that can be purchased in advance and kept in your freezer or pantry. That means less last-minute grocery shopping and more time to enjoy your family and your meal.

Appetizer: cheese board

 

 

The sweet and savory combination of cheese, fruit and nuts makes this cheese board a favorite that won’t fill you up before the main course. Easily customize this dish with what you have on hand — just try to avoid adding starchy or sugary items that could hurt your teeth, such as crackers or jam.

Health benefits:

• Apples generate saliva as you chew, helping wash away bacteria and prevent cavities.

Almonds are an excellent source of antioxidants that help protect your body and reduce the risk of disease.

Ingredients:

½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 apples

Assorted cheeses, such as cheddar and blue cheese

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup cashews

Directions:

1. If using frozen fruit, thaw unopened bag of frozen fruit by placing it in the refrigerator or running it under cool water.

2. Thinly slice apples and cut cheese into chunks.

3. Place apple slices and chunks of cheese on a large board.

4. Add small bowls of nuts and blueberries.

Shopping tips:

Unopened hard and soft cheeses are freezer-friendly. In fact, hard cheeses can last up to eight months in the freezer!

 

 

Main dish: roast beef

 

 

Simple herbs can transform your meat into a tender, juicy roast that’s full of flavor. Choose your favorite kind of beef — whether that’s top round, sirloin or eye of round — to make this hearty meal.

Health benefits:

• Beef is packed with protein and phosphorus that can strengthen your teeth.

Thyme fights bacteria in your mouth and helps ward off bad breath.

Ingredients:

4 pound roast (top round, sirloin or eye of round)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. Combine oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub on roast.

3. Place beef in pan and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and roast up to 2 hours more, depending on how well done you’d like your meat to be.

4. Let the roast sit for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Shopping tips:

Buy the meat in advance and freeze until you’re ready to cook. Uncooked roasts can last up to a full year in the freezer.

 

 

Side dish: roasted Brussels sprouts

 

 

Adding veggies to your meal doesn’t have to be boring or bland. Roasting Brussels sprouts with some Parmesan cheese gives them a delightful crispiness and creates a tasty side dish.

Health benefits:

• Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which supports the health of your jaw bone.

Parmesan has very little lactose — making it a great source of calcium and protein, even if you're lactose intolerant.

Ingredients:

24 ounces frozen Brussels sprouts

⅓ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Place Brussels sprouts in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Toss until fully coated.

3. Spread seasoned Brussels sprouts in an even layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.

4. Remove from oven. Cut each Brussels sprout in half and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

5. Roast for up to 40 minutes more, shaking the pan every 15 minutes until edges are brown and crispy.

Shopping tips:

Freshly grated Parmesan can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks. Frozen Brussels sprouts taste great and have just as many nutrients.

 

 

Dessert: pumpkin cheesecake mousse

 

 

Few desserts are both tasty and good for you. Try this pumpkin cheesecake mousse for a light, fluffy and creamy end to your meal that’s perfect for the season. This dessert is sugar-free, low in carbs, gluten free and keto friendly.

Health benefits:

• Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, helping keep your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth healthy.

Cream cheese contains riboflavin, which also keeps the inside of your mouth healthy.

Ingredients:

16 ounces cream cheese

15 ounces canned pumpkin

2 cups heavy cream

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1-2 teaspoons sugar substitute (such as stevia or xylitol)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sugar-free whipped topping

Directions:

1. Blend cream cheese and pumpkin in a large bowl until smooth.

2. Stir in heavy cream, salt, pumpkin pie spice, sugar substitute and vanilla extract.

3. Whip until fluffy.

4. Taste and add more sugar substitute, if desired.

5. Scoop into individual bowls or serving glasses.

6. Chill for an hour before serving.

7. Add a dollop of sugar-free whipped topping.

 

 

Shopping tips:

Cans of pumpkin can be purchased throughout the year, so stock up! Cream cheese can last up to two months past the expiration date in your freezer.

Can’t be with loved ones this holiday? Enjoy their company with a virtual meal together. Or make some homemade cards or gifts to send them. Those are sure to keep them smiling and show you care!

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