Own your own well being!
In case you missed my post last week, I’ve got Thanksgiving on my mind! For someone who likes to spend time in the kitchen, the week before Thanksgiving is an exciting time. For others, it’s a time of uncertainty….sounds a bit like the election cycle (but I won’t go there because that is not what you come here for….I know you come for healthy food recipes so that’s what I’ll give you). For those who still don’t have their menu’s down, or those who have been asked to bring a side dish, have no fear, I’m here to help. Today’s recipe is for roasted root veggies + oranges, and at the bottom of this post I’ve linked some other healthy side dishes (and a few desserts) that would be perfect at a Thanksgiving Feast.
I’ve taught Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking Workshops for the past 3 years and it’s always interesting to me to hear what each individual will be looking forward to and dreading about the holiday. Nobody really looks forward to the gluttony, or the day after self-loathing that comes from over indulgence. I suggest to all my clients to make sure there are healthy options, to plan ahead and also to let the Thanksgiving meal stop at one meal. Avoid post holiday judgment or internal negative conversations if you over indulged. It’s over. Its OK. Move on. If your complaint EVERY year is that there weren’t any healthy options at the table, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING about it. Be the one to provide healthy options. Others will thank you and you will thank yourself.
In class this week, one student praised this roasted root vegetable side dish and said that she would add it to her Thanksgiving menu because she liked the different texture it represented than most of the other dishes on the table. She liked that the carrots would be recognizable as carrots.
Most Thanksgiving food seems to have similar texture or consistency (mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, more casseroles)…..all pureed., or mushy I’m always talking about variety on a menu. I’ve never included texture onto the list, but I like that addition. Usually I’m making sure a menu has a good assortment of both cooked and raw veggies, a wide variety of categories of vegetables (not all starchy ones) like something from the cruciferous family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli), at least one green leafy option (salad greens, kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, etc.) cooked or raw, plenty of fresh herbs (for flavor and nutritional benefits), and I always encourage planning around colors—–not just for aesthetics, but because the different colors of the rainbow correlate to different nutritional profiles in food. The list is endless in ways that you can look to create a well balanced and healthy menu.
I like this dish because it carries a bit of different flavor than the others on the Thanksgiving table. Citrus is a wonderful way to make the natural sweetness of foods pop, as well as making some nutrients more absorbable. I prefer to use citrus than additional oils or sugars in recipes. The oranges pair beautifully with the sweeter veggies like carrots and parsnips, and I think the fresh thyme is a nice change from a meal that is heavily weighted in sage and rosemary. I also love the way the red onion colors the parsnips in beautiful streaks and both the onion and oranges caramelize as the cooking finishes.
Never forget that YOU are in control over what goes into your body…and ultimately how you FEEL. Decide to own your own well being! When you’re invited to someone else’s house for a meal, always volunteer to make something healthy…at least you’ll know there will be one thing on the menu that you can eat and still feel good afterwards! Open your mind to all of the nutritious an delicious options out there! There isn’t only one way to do healthy!
Here are a few other suggestions for Healthy side dishes and desserts to include in your Thanksgiving meals:
Veggie Stock (make in advance to have on hand for other recipes)