by Tandis Bishop

There’s no question that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you. We are beginning to look for ways to include them in our diet as evidence supports the importance of plant foods in wellness and disease prevention. You can continue this healthy effort during the holidays by adding plant foods to your favorite holiday dishes.

Hosting Christmas this year or bringing a dish? Have fun with healthy vegetable-based side dishes that on their own will make a meal! Change up some old favorites – add an extra cup of vegetables like celery, spinach, kale, or mushrooms to your stuffing; add apples and whole wheat bread or wild rice. Cook fresh cranberries and sweeten them with maple syrup or coconut palm sugar instead of canned cranberry sauces loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. Add vegetables such as onions, sweet bell peppers, turnips, and carrots to your baked or roasted dishes. Add walnuts to a fresh green bean salad. Cut down the cholesterol by using eggless mayonnaise. For healthier, low-fat proteins add lentils, tofu, or white beans to your pot pies or casseroles. Make a fresh garden salad using dark baby greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, chard, and arugula. Add some dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, shredded carrots, beets, or sprouts. The possibilities are endless!

In November, the Love Life! Team offered a special Holiday Feast workshop to help customers prepare a variety of healthy, vegan and gluten-free dishes for their holiday dinners. A second workshop focused on holiday sweets and featured healthy dessert recipes to enjoy, share and cook all season long. If you missed these holiday workshops, here are some of the recipes you may want to try for Christmas:

The Love Life! Team will continue to offer healthy cooking workshops with various themes throughout the year. So there is plenty of opportunity to learn more about fun and tasty ways to cook healthy meals!

Remember when it comes to holiday cooking, there are no rules! As we trend toward a healthier tradition, you can create your own script for your children to follow and pass down to future generations.