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Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy with These Festive Superfoods

Posted by Desiree Nielsen RD on December 11th, 2014 under General

Around this time of year, we usually talk about how UN-healthy the holidays can be – but you know what? An abundance of healthy foods join the festivities too. Enjoying the holidays goes hand-in-hand with enjoying foods that are a traditional part of our cultural or local holiday celebrations. These very same traditions are often centred on plant foods. So change your focus this holiday season: instead of feeling guilty about the things you shouldn’t eat, feast on some powerful plant foods that fit into any holiday meal – no compromises required!

Satsumas

Satsumas, relatives of the more common mandarin, are grown in California and boast an alluring fragrance that will send you straight into holiday mode. Enjoy satsumas anytime you crave a sweet treat; their soluble fibre is soothing to the digestive tract and helps satisfy hunger. In addition, the vitamin C and quercetin in satsumas will help give your immune system a little boost!

Cinnamon

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom are your ticket to holiday flavour, the healthy way. All of these spices lend a sweet sugar-free sensation to your holiday dishes, making them fantastic for taming a sweet tooth. In particular, cinnamon – when consumed regularly – helps to support balanced blood sugar. These three spices in combination add a satisfying holiday flair to almost anything: lattes, oatmeal, yogurt, even savoury dishes!

Cranberries

Oh, the humble cranberry. We have ignored your powerful benefits for too long.

These very astringent fruits are loaded with unique phytochemicals, such as proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and triterpenoids, which support almost every major organ system in the body. Eating more cranberries will help improve cardiovascular health and digestive health while fighting inflammation. Just lighten up on the sugar! Use pure, not-from-concentrate cranberry juice to add a tart kick to mulled cider, make your own cranberry sauce with half the usual sweetener, or bake whole cranberries into your favourite healthy treats.

Wheat Berries

This choice might surprise you…unless you are of Ukrainian heritage. Wheat berries are part of the traditional Ukrainian Christmas meal as kutya, a sweet porridge made with poppy seeds. And you may not think of wheat as a superfood but, as long as gluten isn’t an issue for you, wheat berries are worth including in your diet. Cup for cup, they have more fibre and roughly the same protein content as quinoa. Wheat berries also contain betaine, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, while the magnesium in wheat berries also helps support balanced blood sugar. Grown locally, eating wheat berries over imported fare will help to lower your ecological footprint.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes need no introduction – nor do they need a marshmallow topping to make them festive! Sweet potatoes have a lower impact on blood sugars than regular potatoes and come packed with beta-carotene to support a healthy immune system and healthy skin. Bake sweet potatoes with just a touch of coconut oil or butter and a lashing of spices for a festive side that satisfies. Or, puree roasted sweet potato for a creamy soup that doesn’t require cream!


Visit our recipe pages for tasty snack and meal ideas. We're especially fond of these treats filled with festive superfoods! How do you bring a little superfood fun to your holiday favourites?

Coconut Cranberry Overnight Oats

In just five minutes before bed (plus your beauty rest), you’ll have a delicious new way to prep your oatmeal. Kick your breakfast up a notch with our new Qi’a Pure Oats Oatmeal. Add dried cranberries, pineapple, and coconut flakes for long-lasting energy and an even longer lasting smile.

Mulled Fruit Superfruit Parfaits

Try on a Super version of a classic layered favourite. With a holiday-spiced blend of acai, guarana, ginger, apples, honey, and organic Fruit & Nut granola, you’re bound to have a super start to your day. Mix and match with your favourite granola flavours and these parfaits will never lose their superpowers.

Cinnamon Pinwheels

’Tis the season for yummy baked-goods and these cinnamon pinwheels are no exception. The combination of cinnamon and organic Coconut Chia Granola will be a hit at any gathering (or time of day… say, your mid-morning snack?).

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Crunchy Topping

When cold weather rolls around, nothing beats a baked sweet potato – warm, nourishing, and wholesomely sweet. Dress it up with fragrant herbs, warming spices, and a splash of maple syrup. Top it off with the satisfying crunch of Pumpkin Flax Granola and you’ve got a winning dish.

 

Desiree Nielsen RD

Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian in Vancouver, Canada and the author of the book, Un-Junk Your Diet. A passionate supporter of organic, non-GMO foods, Desiree encourages her clients to adopt a more plant-centred diet for increased vitality and sustainability. Follow Desiree on twitter @desireerd or visit her website at www.desireerd.com.