3 Thanksgiving Superfoods you Must Try!
Thanksgiving is about one week away! Are you looking for superfoods to include in your feast? Today, I’ll be highlighting three of my favourite superfoods, why they’re nutritious and how to easily (and deliciously) include them in your holiday meal! I’ll also mention recipe ideas that can be prepared in advance and using few ingredients.
Before we dig in, when I use the term ‘superfood’, I am referring to foods with an impressive nutrition profile and linked with health benefits. Keep in mind that this term is often over-used/abused by people like Dr. Oz (read here why Dr. Oz is no Nutrition Authority).
Superfoods = Impressive nutrition profiles + Associated health benefits Click To Tweet
3 Thanksgiving Superfoods
Superfood #1: Squash
There are many different types of squash – butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and pumpkin. Squash is a superfood because its an excellent source of beta-carotene, which gives the flesh its bright orange/yellow colour. This antioxidant helps eyesight, regulates our immune system and keeps our skin healthy. Squash also contains lots of potassium which helps lower blood pressure reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Thanksgiving Meal Ideas using Squash:
- ROASTED: This is my favourite way to enjoy squash! Simply cut your squash into cubes and toss with oil, salt, pepper and your desired spices. You can also just cut your squash in half and add some oil, salt and pepper and roast like this, allowing skin to peel easily.
Here’s a pic of Cinnamon Brown Sugar Butternut Squash. Toss cubed squash with olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. In oven at 400F for 20 – 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
- MASH: Use squash to make mashed side dish or add it to your mashed potatoes to add a festive orange colour.
Food Tip: Add #butternut squash 2 your mashed potatoes! Click To Tweet
- SOUP: Puree squash and add it to soup to enjoy fall flavours like pumpkin soup, butternut squash soup. You can also freeze soup in advance of entertaining.
Superfood #2: Lentils
Lentils are little edible seeds grown in a pod – they are available all year long and can be purchased dry or canned. Lentils belong to the pulse and legume family, which also includes dried peas, beans and chickpeas.
Lentils are a superfood because they are loaded with protein, fibre and vitamin minerals. In just ½ cup, there are 12 grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre. Fibre helps us feel full, which is important on Thanksgiving to help us eat less. Lentils also protect against high cholesterol, blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes risk. They contain an excellent source of heart-healthy potassium with lots of iron. Lentils are suitable for your gluten free and vegetarian/vegan guests.
Thanksgiving Meal ideas for using Lentils:
- Salad: I believe that every Thanksgiving meal needs at least one or two scrumptious salads. Why not add lentils to boost the nutrition? I enjoy using speedy alternatives, like canned lentils so that I can simply rinse and drain them. Try adding something sweet, savoury and crunchy to your salad to add interest, such as apples, feta cheese, lentils and sunflower seeds. Check the recipe section for lots of cool salad recipes.
Try adding #Lentils to Salads? Fibre & nutrition boost! Click To Tweet
- Add to Meat or Savoury dishes: Add lentils to stuffing, casseroles and soups to bump up the nutrition. Try a lentil-stuffed acorn squash; this way you’re benefiting from two superfoods in one!
- Veggie Side dish: I also love using lentils to make a hot or cold veggie side dish. Possibilities include combining roasted veggies (like beets or sweet potato) with a whole grain (quinoa, bulgur, rice) with lentils. Many of my clients are obsessed with this Greek Lentil recipe.
Superfood #3: Parsnips
I chose parsnips because they are often overlooked but loaded with nutrition. They are a root vegetable and closely related to carrots. They are mostly eaten cooked as a carrot substitute. Parsnips are sweeter and have nutty flavour than carrots.
They are a superfood because in a one cup serving, there are 7 grams of fibre helping to lower cholesterol and help you feel full. You’ll receive an impressive 35% of your daily vitamin C which reduces risk of some diseases and fights the signs of aging. Parsnips are a good source of potassium and magnesium, key minerals for supporting heart health.
One cup of #Parsnips provides 7g of fibre! Click To Tweet
Thanksgiving Meal Ideas Using Parsnips:
- ROASTED: My grandma used to make ‘parsnip fries’ by tossing them with olive oil, rosemary salt and pepper. One of my favourites. Check out the recipe.
- MASH: Thanksgiving meals always have mashed potatoes. Why not add parsnips to the mash? Simply boil peeled and cut parsnips with potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and mash with your butter, milk and herbs and spices of choice.
- SOUP: You can also puree parsnips and add to soup or sauces. Parsnip apple soup combines lots of great fall flavours with extra sweetness.
Be sure to enjoy superfoods (such as squash, lentils and parsnips) in your Thanksgiving meal. Also, I encourage you to think of Thanksgiving (or any eating occasion) as a time to ‘celebrate’ food as nourishment for your body and mind. By focusing on the sustaining, healing and even therapeutic properties of food, we will be less stressed, allowing us to eat more mindfully and with gratitude. From this vantage point, Thanksgiving encourages us to pack our festive meal with foods that will be both enjoyable and good for us.