As the holiday season gets underway, it may be harder to keep a handle on your health with all the holiday meals and parties ahead. Read on for some healthy holiday side dishes to bring to your next holiday potluck.
Except for the sweetened, sugary sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes are healthy for you. Called one of the world’s healthiest foods by the non-profit George Mateljan Foundation, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene and antioxidants. They surpass leafy greens in beta-carotene, reports researchers, so eat up for the sake of your eyes and mucous membranes. These sweet tubers are also high in antioxidants and vitamins, like potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A &D, and iron. They’re even incredibly versatile– you can bake them, steam them, boil them, puree them, and the list goes on. Keep an eye out for the vivid purple or orange color at your next holiday party, as these bright tubers sure don’t disappoint.
2. Brussels Sprouts
This mini vegetable in the cabbage family was also named one of the world’s healthiest foods, and for a good reason– they’re full of antioxidants. In the way of vitamins, they are a good source of vitamins B1, B6, C and vitamin K. For minerals, they contain manganese, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. A new study even shows that they can mitigate the chance of remission for breast cancer survivors. Although less versatile than sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels Sprouts are a staple on holiday dinner tables.
Asparagus, which comes in with only three calories per stalk, is a healthy, traditional side dish across many holiday meals. The vitamin and antioxidant qualities of asparagus also make it useful for improving and maintaining digestive health. A Roman favorite, this member of the lily family cropped up around two thousand years ago in the Mediterranean. It’s a relatively easy dish to prepare, too- the Romans had a saying for anything done quickly– “it’s as quick as cooking asparagus!”
Green bean casserole aside, these beans have large quantities of folic acid, some fiber, and even some protein. You can eat green beans raw, baked, sautéed, boiled, or grilled, making them a versatile side dish this holiday season. Raw green beans have more nutrients and antioxidants, however, so reach for that fresh green bean salad before the sautéed version.
Which holiday side dish are you responsible for bringing to the family dinner or holiday party? Do you have any favorite ways to prepare these super side dishes? Let us know in the comment section below!