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Sensational Sides

Accents for your holiday feast


Spice up your holiday feast with healthy and delicious veggie-filled sides.

During this jovial time of year, one of the festive events we most look forward to is the gathering of friends and family in celebration while feasting on a lavish homemade meal. Although we all have our favourite tried-and-true holiday dishes, more often than not, our tables are laden with culinary pitfalls bursting with cream, oil, and excess refined sugar, which wreak havoc not only on our good intentions for healthy eating, but also on our hips.

With a little planning and savvy ingredient swapping you can enjoy healthier versions of beloved holiday side dishes without feeling deprived.

One of the easiest ways to pump up holiday side dishes with health benefits is by using lots of high-impact flavours, including fresh herbs, spices, seasonal fruit, and vegetables. Loading up on high-fibre and seasonal ingredients will help fill your stomach and trigger that feeling of fullness that will slow down your desire to keep eating.

Also, offering slightly pared down and simplified dishes centred on seasonal produce instead of those served with a rich sauce can help us avoid the all-too-familiar scenario of landing on the couch after dinner in a food coma, known technically as postprandial somnolence.

This season, keep the holidays healthier by taking inspiration from the following recipes, and get ready to dig into some holiday side dishes worthy of celebration.


Leftover love

After preparing a lavish holiday feast, the last thing many of us want to do is cook the next day. With a little ingenuity and creativity, your holiday leftovers can easily be transformed into healthy and satisfying meals.

  • Shred turkey or ham into some chicken broth and simmer with leftover vegetables and some buckwheat noodles for a hearty and satisfying soup.
  • Shake up the traditional turkey sandwich by giving it some south-of-the-border flair. Top toasted whole grain bread with some pickled red onion, sliced turkey, guacamole, shredded lettuce, hot sauce, cilantro leaves, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.
  • Make mini pot pies by mixing leftover vegetables with diced turkey, beef, or ham and placing in greased ramekins. Top with mashed potato or sweet potato, shower with a grating of Parmesan cheese, and then bake until bubbling.
  • Whisk together 8 eggs along with 1/4 cup (60 mL) milk before mixing in a complement of chopped leftovers. Pour into a greased 9 in (23 cm) square baking pan and bake at 400 F (200 C) until centre is set to make a satisfying frittata perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a light dinner.


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Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD