Fresh produce during the holidaysWith the arrival of the end of the year holidays I get the impression that my clients think they have a pass on doing the right thing. Not! I know there is temptation at every gathering, not to mention those good things to eat that surprisingly show up at the workplace. One of the best things about this time of year is the colorful and nutrition-filled fresh produce. When you look at the produce displays it is almost as if Mother Nature selected the season’s bounty to fit right in with the traditional holiday colors of red and green.

Radishes

Though red radishes are the most popular, they also come in rose, purple, lavender and white. The popular variety in red and white could easily be considered the Santa Claus vegetable. With a few swift slits of the paring knife, these orbs become the focal point of any/a vegetable tray. They look good, and they are good for you. The radish is low in calories, and high in vitamins A and C. Radishes are a good source of vitamins and minerals. The vegetable’s is high water and fiber content aids in digestion and makes it an excellent detoxifier.

Radicchio

This colorful veggie looks like red cabbage with deep red or magenta leaves and white veins. It’s flavor is spicy, with a hint of bitterness. It adds a stunning pop of color to salads, and vegetable trays. You can also spread radicchio’s leaves with hummus, dips, tuna or shrimp salad instead of crackers. It is a good source of antioxidants, contributing to overall health and wellness. The veggie is also high in fiber, vitamins C, and K which promotes bone health. It also contains magnesium which helps build strong bones and teeth and potassium which plays a positive role in regulating blood pressure.

Beets

Red beets are available year round and can be served roasted, steamed, pickled or in juice. This popular vegetable is in the same vegetable family of spinach and Swiss chard. Beets are a good source of heart healthy folate and potassium. They also contain energy producing carbohydrates, antioxidants manganese and vitamin C; are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, along with magnesium, iron and phosphorus. You can intensify the color of beets by adding lemon juice or vinegar while cooking for a brighter color; baking soda will cause them to turn a deeper purple. Add salt after cooking, because it can blunt the color.

Red Swiss Chard

This leafy green also in the vegetable family with beets is stunning with its magenta stalk and veins surrounded by textured deep green leaves.

Swiss chard is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium; it is high in antioxidant vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It contains potassium and iron, is a good source of fiber and B vitamins including folate which is good for a healthy heart. Swiss chard can be included in salads and sandwiches or as a hot vegetable. To maximize the nutrients, quick cooking such as sauté or steaming is best.

Whether seasonal festivities or year ‘round, these “reds” are vegetables to dish about; they are fabulous looking, great tasting and good for you. Add any of these to your menu and you’ll be one nutrition-savvy hostess serving great dishes that are nutrition rich.

Take Away: Festive occasions can be enjoyed without shelving your plan for good health. Make wise choices and try to opt for colorful fruits and vegetables. Plenty of fruits and vegetables will go a long way toward keeping the calories down and nutrition up.

Image courtesy of  Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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With the arrival of the end of the year holidays I get the impression that my clients think they have a pass on doing the right thing. Not! I know there is temptation at every gathering, not to mention those good things to eat that surprisingly show up at...