November is in full swing and as Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season is drawing near,
we may want to take a moment to consider all we have to be thankful for. Despite the difficult
nature of this past year, maybe you landed a new job that excites you, or perhaps an old friend
surprised you on your birthday—whatever the case may be, we can always find things to be
grateful for when we set out to find them -and when we celebrate our gratitude on holidays we
often do so with food.
Thanksgiving, like many holidays, brings us together over a ceremonial meal. These occasions
help remind us that food plays a complex and important role in our lives. Foods provide us with more than just the nutrients they contain. They offer us more than simply fuel to power our busy lives. The foods we eat may represent where we are from, remind us of where we grew up, or rekindle fond memories of years past. In these ways, holiday meals can be a source of comfort and tradition. So, as we do all year round, but especially during the holidays, we are here to embrace and celebrate all aspects of eating and food.
This year, we thought it would be nice to lean into our own personal food histories and stories by sharing the combined Thanksgiving traditions of our Dietitians. Some of us love a big
Thanksgiving turkey at the center of the table, some of us didn’t grow up eating turkey at all, and others have leaned more towards plant-based diets in recent years. Regardless of how we
celebrate, we all get to choose what delicious spreads and foods to include on our Thanksgiving table, and whatever you choose, we are here to help!
This year, many of you have expressed interest in adding more plant-based options to your
tables and since we’ve focused on turkey dishes in the past, we decided to focus on plant-based Thanksgiving meals for this edition of the newsletter. The recipes we include will taste great to herbivores, omnivores, and foodies, alike, and they were inspired by the combined Italian, Puerto Rican, French, Jewish, Lebanese, and American cultures that represent the
Dietitians here at Nutrition Energy. We hope these plant-forward appetizers and side dishes help supplement your typical Turkey Day feast with delicious new flavors you and your family will enjoy for years to come.
The assortment of appetizers and sides we have chosen to include for you this month are not
only delicious, but also nutritious-and exemplify that you really CAN have it all.
● Roasted Autumn Harvest Salad
— A robust salad featuring America’s delicious produce is a great way to “eat the rainbow,” meaning choosing an assortment of fruits and vegetables of many colors-which therefore contain a wide array of nutrients. Additionally, if you can find local and in season produce, you’ll not only help your local community, you’ll also get the freshest possible salad greens, apples, pears, and cranberries available.
● Sweet Potato Kibbeh
— A plant-based twist on a classic Lebanese dish, this kibbeh recipe has something for everyone. Bulgar, one of the main ingredients, is a common grain used throughout the Mediterranean and sweet potatoes are just a Thanksgiving staple. Both are high in fiber, a nutrient often lacking in most adult’s diets.
● Challah Chestnut Stuffing
— What is Thanksgiving without a hearty stuffing? This version uses traditional challah bread (which is eaten as part of many Jewish celebrations), as the base, and adds chestnuts for a bit of sweet, rustic flavor. Chestnuts add more than taste to your holiday meal as they are high in copper, magnesium, B vitamins, and beneficial mono and polyunsaturated fats.
● White Bean and Wild Rice Hash
— Few meals represent a busy Puerto Rican kitchen like rice and beans do, so this recipe takes that base and adds wild rice and hash to give it more of an autumn quality. The great thing about pairing grains and legumes in this way is they complement each other’s amino acid profiles, often giving you the same “complete protein” that animal products contain!
● Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
— Everyone loved the Halloween themed stuffed peppers we posted in October 2020, so we have another variation on that theme for you now. Quinoa has gained celebrity status in recent years, in part because it is one of the rare plant-based sources of complete proteins, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Not to mention, as a whole grain, it is also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Take this nutty flavored stuffing substitute and bake it inside lycopene-rich bell peppers and you’ll have an Italian-inspired side dish that even Nonna would love.
● Brioche a Tete
— The French are known for their cuisine, and their fluffy breads are second to none. These brioches are a great way to soak up the gravies, soups, and cranberry sauce at the bottom of your plate. Plus, the soluble fiber they contain slows the rate at which food moves through your gut, allowing you to recognize when you feel full, and allowing you to save something for tomorrow’s lunch.
From all of the Dietitians at Nutrition Energy, we wish you and yours a very
Happy, Healthy and Tasty Thanksgiving...
and a wonderful start to this 2021 holiday season!