I am a Christmas fanatic. Over the top obsessive in every way possible. I can be found listening to Christmas music in July, have a countdown on my phone all year long (only 21 days people!), and typically start my holiday shopping progress as early September or October. That being said, I like my kitchen to reflect the same level of over-the-top holiday cheer!
Here are some of my favorite seasonal superfoods to incorporate into this time of year. They are packed with nutrients allowing you to indulge in seasonal flavors without the excessive calories (sometimes) or guilt.
Cranberries These little guys really shine this time of year, highlighted as a side dish, jam or jelly, or the centerpiece of pies and other baked goods. In such a small package, they really deliver a powerhouse of nutrients. Packed with phytochemicals, cranberries have been found to help lower risk of certain diseases, including certain cancers, lower cholesterol levels, decrease risk of heart disease, and reduce inflammation (easier to slip into that holiday dress ladies!).
Cinnamon This bad boy revs the metabolism like none other. I opt for cinnamon in my oatmeal every morning instead of the traditional brown sugar. It is an excellent source of fiber with minimal calories, compared to the sugar option. One of my favorite holiday beverages is warmed soy milk with one earl gray tea bag and a fresh cinnamon stick. *insert holiday dvd, start a fire, and cozy up for the season*.
Peppermints: Say what?! Peppermints are a superfood?! Okay, hold the phone. I’m not talking about the candy canes (although they ARE delicious). I’m talking about mint herb, in it’s purest form. Herbs are packed with nutritional benefits. It has been used as a natural remedy since the stone age, valued for its antibacterial properties and stress relief. It is commonly used to relieve nausea (stock the pantry bad boys, we all know you will drink one too many cocktails at the holiday party this year and need this baby in the morning!), and other indigestion issues.
Winter Squash: Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, oh my! So many choices, so little time. You can find squash recipes galore this time of year, and that is not a bad thing in my book. The variety of mashed, broiled, stuffed, and baked squash recipes fill you up with beta carotene to keep your skin looking fresh in the harsh winter and keep your immunity up so you can enjoy the holiday season to its full potential. For inspiration, try this chipotle chicken stuffed sweet potato recipe here.
Grapefruit: Citrus fruits are a personal favorite of mine this time of year. Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are easy to add as garnish, top on a salad, or squeeze into a soup, sauce, or dressing. Packed with vitamin C, these suckers are essential to fighting off infection and making it through the season head-cold-free. Pro tip: broiled grapefruit for dessert is a total game changer. You’re welcome.