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Gift Yourself Immune Supportive Meals

November 22, 2017

By Joanne Gardner, MS, RDN, LDN

This is the perfect time of year to step back and be mindful of our perspective on holiday eating. Have you developed a pattern of bemoaning the end of the year weight creep? Perhaps it is time to decide if this approach serves you well. It may be more helpful to shift the focus to enjoying the flavors and textures of immune supportive seasonal foods that may compliment day to day and holiday meals.

Give consideration to these gems:

Cranberries:

They are rich in anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Although cranberries are naturally tart you may combine them with apples, dried apricots, dates or golden raisins to help reduce the amount of sweetener. Add cranberry apricot sauce to your Greek yogurt or oatmeal, or serve as a condiment to chicken or tofu.

Sweet Potatoes and Deep Orange Squashes:

Vitamin-rich Kabocha, hubbard and buttercup squashes are full-flavored when roasted and mashed with just a touch a cinnamon and butter. Baked sweet potatoes topped with nut butter can be a quick and easy breakfast meal. A touch of maple syrup can replace the marshmallow fluff.

Cruciferous Vegetables and Alliums:

Include Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, leeks and garlic. These sulfur-rich vegetables support our body’s ability to metabolize, detoxify and curb inflammation. They can be central to the meal, such as with a roasted cauliflower steak, or accompany other vegetables in soups, stews, salads and side dishes.

Mushrooms:

Shitake and portabella mushrooms add depth of flavor (umami) to vegetarian and meat containing dishes. Shitake and other Asian mushrooms are also recognized for their immune enhancing properties. One favorite culinary creation is making a bacon substitute with shitakes. They boost the flavor of green beans, pea pods or any of the cruciferous vegetables.

Citrus:

Brighten your meals with bioflavonoid rich citrus. Consider tangerines, grapefruit, and oranges in salads, as a quick snack, or as the base for a sauce. Add a zest of lemon or orange rind to help boost your immune system and curb inflammation.

This holiday season, focus on including these nutritional power foods in the meals you prepare for yourself and your friends. You will be better situated to eat the traditional treats in moderation when your health is insured with the season’s nutrient dense gifts.

Shitake Bacon (Adapted from Clean Eating Nov/Dec 2016)

1 pound shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 TBS avocado oil
1 TSB maple syrup
1 TBS reduced sodium tamari or gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika

  1. Warm a medium skillet.
  2. Add avocado oil, then mushrooms. Gently stir. Allow to cook until golden brown (8-10 minutes)
  3. Add maple syrup, tamari and paprika. Sauté for 2 minutes for flavors to blend.
  4. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Combine the shitake bacon with your favorite steamed or roasted vegetable.


Image source from: https://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/roasted-apples-brussels-sprouts-with-shiitake-bacon

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