Add colour to your celebration
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Dont just settle for canned cranberry sauce and steamed baby carrots. Liven up your Thanksgiving feast with our colourful cranberry and carrot recipes.
Don’t just settle for canned cranberry sauce and steamed baby carrots. Liven up your Thanksgiving feast with our colourful cranberry and carrot recipes.
Here’s why you should load up on these red and orange holiday powerfoods— both year-round and with this delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving menu.
Crazy for carrots
Perhaps Bugs Bunny should have been a nutritionist. After all, his crunchy edible of choice is a nutritional standout. Carrots, which belong to the same family as parsley, contain a wealth of beta carotene, the antioxidant that gives them their signature hue. As an antioxidant, beta carotene helps protect the body from the cell-damaging effects of free radicals.
What’s more, beta carotene is classified as a provitamin A compound since it can be converted in the liver to retinol. As the active form of vitamin A, retinol is essential for strong bones, immune defence, proper cell division, and healthy eyes.
Health-giving carrots also supply vitamin K, blood pressure-regulating potassium, and dietary fibre. A 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine study reported that a higher fibre intake reduces the risk of death from heart disease.
But don’t stop at the customary orange root vegetable. Deliciously sweet rainbow carrots—kaleidoscopic veggies born from yellow, purple, and red seeds—contain several disease-thwarting antioxidants including lycopene and lutein, making them an even more fetching addition to a holiday feast.
Red hot cranberry
Supercharged with antioxidants and nutrients, cranberries shouldn’t be relegated only to the Thanksgiving table. The deep red and tart autumn fruit is packed with healthy phenolic antioxidants that keep bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, helping prevent infections. These protective effects of cranberry antioxidants on urinary tract health may also extend to men’s prostates, according to a British Journal of Nutrition study.
What’s more, their antioxidant awesomeness may also fight colon cancer by taming inflammation, and the festive berry is well endowed with dietary fibre and vitamin C. Vitamin C may play a role in promoting heart health, as one study found that young adults with higher plasma ascorbic acid (vitamin C) had lower blood pressure.
Thanksgiving time crunch
Who wants to spend all Thanksgiving day in the kitchen? Use this prep schedule for your holiday menu so you spend more time socializing than hovering over the stove.
3 days before T-Day: purchase cranberries, carrots, and other ingredients.
2 days before T-Day: make soup, spelt salad, and chutney—the flavours will only get better after a day or two.
1 day before T-Day: prepare turkey glaze, kale tart, and cranberry loaf.
T-Day: make turkey, roasted carrots, and cranberry butter; reheat soup if desired.
There are plenty of ways to get your cranberry fix year-round.
Available September through November, celebrate the tart darling of Canadian berries by adding seasonal fresh cranberries to salads, chutneys, yogourt, and pasta dishes.
When out of season, turn to frozen cranberries that are flash-frozen at peak ripeness to preserve flavour and nutrients. Toss them straight from the freezer into smoothies and baked goods.
Polyphenol-rich cranberry juice may bolster heart health by alleviating arterial stiffness, according to a 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. Use 100 percent cranberry juice in glazes, cocktails, smoothies, and vinaigrettes.
Produced by removing moisture from fresh berries, shrivelled cranberries can gussy up whole grain salads, oatmeal, stews, and cabbage rolls.