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Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
When it comes to the holidays, Thanksgiving takes the cake – er, pumpkin pie. It’s a great day to pause and give thanks for the riches we enjoy as Canadians: friends, family and food.
Problem is, many of the side dishes we pair with the bird are often high in calories and fat (think candied yams and creamy green bean casseroles). Let this be the year you introduce a few new dishes that are both yummy and healthy. Say so long to your mother-in-law’s soupy casseroles and hello to these sexy, modern sides that will make the second (and third) trip to the buffet 100 percent guilt-free!
With its crayon-box range of hues, rainbow chard always looks good on a holiday spread, but it’s actually easy on the eyes in more ways than one! A modest 1/2-cup portion of cooked chard packs a bounty of vision-protecting carotenoids, such as betacarotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, and delivers 30 percent of your vitamin A needs. That’s good news for Great Aunt Carole, as research has linked this incredible carotenoid cocktail to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. Now that’s what we call a feast for the eyes!
Get the recipe: Lemony Rainbow Chard with Dried Cranberries
Your four-year-old self may have kicked up a fuss every time these landed on the dinner table, but as an adult you can be thankful for their cancer-fighting powers. Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica family, a cruciferous grouping that also includes broccoli, cabbage and kale. Like other vegetables in the brassica family, Brussels sprouts are loaded with glucosinolates, which break down to release DNA-protecting compounds. While human research is limited, there are a number of early studies that link the consumption of brassica vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, to a reduced risk of lung, stomach, breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Get the recipe: Roasted Hazelnut Brussels Sprouts with Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Glaze
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin get all the holiday love for their antioxidant-rich flesh, but don’t overlook the heart-healthy possibilities of acorn squash. A 1/2-cup portion of the sunny orange gourd packs more than 10 percent of your daily potassium, a nutrient that may help lower your risk of hypertension and stroke.
In fact, a recent meta-analysis found that an increase of just 1.64 grams of potassium each day (more than one-quarter of which you’ll get from that modest portion of squash) may reduce your risk by 21 percent. And don’t throw away the seeds either: Those tiny nutrient bombs are packed with monounsaturated fats, the good-for-you fats that may help lower both total and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Throwing them together in this sweet and spicy side will give your family’s taste buds and hearts a lot to thank you for!
Get the recipe: Garam Masala Glazed Acorn Squash
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