Holiday Superfood Challenge!

Superfood Your Holiday

 

Oh boy, the holidays are right around the corner! Even though I detest the change from summer to Fall and especially the subsequent change to winter, I do appreciate that we break up this doldrum season with some festivities. Most of you know cold and dark do not make me happy, but I’ll take the good food, family and friend get togethers, and yes, a bit of shopping, which also puts me in a good mood.

Besides the weather, what also makes me sad this time of year is that so many stress about food. It’s such a love/hate relationship with holiday traditions. We want to eat and take part in the foods that this time of year is all about, but the resulting guilt sometimes ruins the mood.

But, what if we tried to flip this around? Instead of fixating on what we shouldn’t eat, what if instead we concentrated on what we should eat? Like what we should ADD instead of what we should subtract. What if this changed how you ate through these holiday months? What if this took away your guilt and gave you a feeling of success? What if?

My challenge to you is this: let’s make a deal to ADD Fall and Winter superfoods to our diets through the holidays. While sweets and comfort foods are likely to abound, focusing on including these healthy, antioxidant rich foods will help keep our brains more mindful about choosing healthy meals and less fixated on all the things we are *supposed* to avoid. Sometimes a simple switch in mindset helps us rebalance and pay more attention to what we should eat instead of what we shouldn’t.

If you are on board with me, I challenge you to include these SIX Fall and Winter superstars to your diet. However you choose to use them, try them a couple different ways each week.

 

This also makes a fantastic activity with the entire family. Task one of your kiddos to come up with some creative ideas and teach them about the important nutrients in these foods. Look for them together in the stores or even at the farmer’s market.

 

See below to get started! Also, check out my Instagram page where for the past couple weeks I’ve been highlighting some of these superfood stars. @food.sense.nutrition

 

And feel free to email me pics if you want some of your creations highlighted on my page! danielle@foodsense.net

 

And of course, I wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season!!

 

Holiday Superfood Challenge

Add one of these Fall/Winter superstars each week, utilizing each in as many ways as you can think of. I’ll be showing you some of my concoctions on Instagram so be sure to follow me there! @food.sense.nutrition

 

WEEK 1 (Nov 21 – 27)

Persimmons

Have you ever tried Persimmons? These fun fruits are one of my favorites now! They can be a little pricey but they tend to come down when peak season hits, which is about now. Eat ‘em like an apple or peel, dice and add to a salad. Try them in a variety of ways and see how you like them!

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Store at room temperature

-Can be eaten with or without the skin

-Common varieties include Fuyu and Hachiya

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, and B Vitamins

-High in antioxidants and fiber

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Eat plain as a snack!

-Peel, slice or grate into a salad

-Puree into a Fall soup

-Make into jam

-Use in baking

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WEEK 2 (Nov 28 – Dec 4)

Kumquats

Another fun Fall fruit that honestly I didn’t know existed up until a couple years ago. Pop a few in your mouth and see what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Store at room temperature

-Eat whole!

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, and a host of trace minerals

-High in fiber and antioxidants

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Pack in a baggy for a quick snack!

-Roast in the oven or dry in a dehydrator

-Add to a salad

-Make into jam or marmalade

-Concoct a shrub for holiday beverages

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WEEK 3 (Dec 5 – 11)

Kale

I know, kale…..boring. While kale is probably not new to you, it really it a powerhouse of nutrition. If you haven’t like this leafy green before, I challenge you to find a few ways to incorporate this veg into your diet this week and see if it surprises you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Store wrapped in the fridge

-Can be eaten raw or cooked

-Common varieties include curly kale, red or red Russian, lacinato and baby kale.

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, Vit K B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and a host of trace minerals

-High in antioxidants

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Make “massaged” kale into a salad, or add to a salad with other leafy greens

-Kale chips

-Wilt into soups or stir-fries

-Chop small and add to egg dishes

-Saute with garlic as a side dish

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WEEK 4 (Dec 12 – 18)

Cranberries

I’m sure this one isn’t new to you either, but how many of you use this tart little berry in anything besides cranberry sauce? Get your creative hats on and try to find a few new ways to sneak this little guy into your meals or snacks this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Did you know Washington State is one of the largest producers?

-Store in the fridge (or freezer if buying frozen)

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, and Vit K, and trace minerals

-High in quercetin and a host of antioxidants

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Add to a salad or oatmeal

-Cranberry sauce, of course!

-Use in baking muffins, granola or sweet breads

-Add the juice or whole berries to smoothies

-Mix 100% cranberry juice with a touch of tonic water for a holiday mocktail

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WEEK 5 (Dec 19 – 25)

Pomegranates

Another fun one that I am sure you are familiar with, but have you ever seeded one of these suckers? It takes a little finesse to do it just right. I suggest watching a YouTube video to see how best to get the most seeds out with the least mess. *Wear clothing you don’t mind getting a little dirty if doing this for the first time! The red juice can easily stain cloth so be careful.

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Store at room temperature

-Needs to be de-seeded (watch a YouTube video to make sure you do this with the least amount of hassle!)

-Better yet, find the seeds sold in stores, ready to go (more $$ but less mess)

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, and and Folate

-Very high in potent antioxidants

-Lots of studies have shown strong anti-inflammatory benefits

-May help fight against various types of cancer

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Eat plain as a snack!

-Toss a handful into a salad

-Add to yogurt or oatmeal

-Blend into a smoothie

-Sprinkle over roasted veggies (I like with roasted brussel sprouts!)

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Week 6 (Dec 26 – Jan 1)

Butternut Squash

Another common winter veggie, but how often do we actually use this? You can often find these cheap at grocers like Trader Joes during the winter, so stock up on a few and see how many ways you can find to use them.

 

 

 

 

 

Important Notes:

-Store at room temperature

-Can keep up to a month in a cool, dark place

-Peel the tough skin before using

 

Nutrition/health benefits:

-High in potassium, Vit A, Vit C, magnesium

-High in antioxidants and fiber

 

Possible Ways to Use:

-Cut in half and roast or dice into cubes and roast with other veggies

-Cooked and pureed into a soup

-Butternut squash mac n’ cheese

-Butternut squash ravioli

-As part of a veggie lasagna

-As a pizza topping

-Added to a curry

 

 

Photo credits:

Persimmon by Jade B. on Unsplash

Kumquat photo by Elianna Friedman on Unsplash

Butternut squash photo by Nick Collins in Unsplash

Pomegranate photo by The Miscellanista on Unsplash

Cranberry photo by Melissa Di Rocco on Unsplash

Kale Photo by Laura Johnston on Unsplash