Looking forward to the holiday season but not the extra pounds that often come with it? Add a “plant slant” to the occasion by including more lean protein sources, whole grains, fruits, and veggies on the menu. Plant Slant is one of Blue Zones Project’s Power 9® principles – nine principles for a longer, healthier life inspired by the people who live the longest. With a few simple ideas and substitutions, you can still enjoy satisfying flavor without the extra fat and calories, and improve your overall well-being.
• Add more fruits and vegetables to your holiday meals. Create festive combinations such as broccoli with cherry tomatoes, or add red and green apple slices to your dessert dishes for more color and nutrition.
• Add whole grains. Whole grains are low in fat and calories and are great sources of fiber. Use whole grain breads in your stuffing, and serve wild and brown rice with whole grain dinner rolls. Look for recipes that call for grains such as barley, cracked wheat, couscous, and brown or wild rice.
• Toss in some vibrant, fresh cranberries. Fresh cranberries, which contain the most nutrients, are at their peak from October to December, just in time to add their vibrant color, tangy flavor, and health-protecting benefits to your holiday meals. These festive berries are a good source of Vitamin C and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Pair them with roasted pears, fold them into pancake batter, or blend them into a smoothie.
• Substitute sweet potatoes. Skip the mashed potatoes and gravy, and opt for simple sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a tasty way to pack in plenty of vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber, potassium, Vitamins A and C, and folic acid. And, they’re easy to prepare. Just poke holes in the potato with a fork, and microwave it for about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
If you want to take it a step further and plan a truly Blue Zones Project-inspired menu, check out these recipes that only take 30 minutes to prepare and follow the Blue Zones guidelines for longevity.
To learn more about Blue Zones Project, visit www.LiveLongFortWorth.com.