10 Healthy, Seasonal Foods to Add to Your Thanksgiving Feast
There is no shortage to the bounty of in-season fall foods. And not only do these foods taste great, they pack a powerful punch when it comes to health-promoting benefits. This holiday season, take the opportunity to add these foods to your menu and turn not-so-good-for-you traditional favorites into healthy dishes for you and your guests. Before you head out to shop, work a few of these organic, seasonal foods into your recipes and your grocery list.

  1. Apples: Apples rank high in disease-fighting antioxidants and health-promoting fiber. Dice and add to stuffing, pair with cheese as an appetizer or really indulge by enjoying a slice of apple pie for desert. It’s the holidays after all!
  2. Beets: Beets are high in sugar, but deliver big-time with the inflammation-fighting property of betaine and anti-cancer phytonutrients. Roast beets with other root vegetables or mix into a salad of beet greens, walnuts and goat cheese.
  3. Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts may be small, but they deliver nutrients on a grand scale. This fall veggie offers 130 percent of recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin C and 240 percent of the RDA of vitamin K1, while also promoting detoxification and fighting cancer and inflammation. Brussels sprouts are versatile--shave raw sprouts into salads, roast with salt pepper and olive oil or steam and toss with olive oil and parmesan cheese.
  4. Cranberries: Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, cranberries contain stroke- and cardiovascular disease-fighting properties. They also boast antioxidant polyphenols, which may protect against breast cancer. Toss dried cranberries into holiday salads or bake into sweet breads. Enjoy fresh cranberries in homemade cranberry sauce or as a pop of sweet tartness in stuffing, pies or cakes.
  5. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C and K and offers compounds that fight cancer, boost heart and brain health and reduce inflammation. And cauliflower can be used in lots of ways; eat it raw with dips, use it in place of potatoes in a gratin or roast for a nutty, satisfying side dish.
Healthy, In-Season Foods for Your Thanksgiving Menu
  1. Fennel: A known digestive aid, fennel’s essential oils stimulate digestive and gastric juices, decreasing inflammation and facilitating nutrient absorption. Some cultures chew fennel seeds after meals to ease digestion and combat bad breath. Enjoy thinly sliced fennel in salads, soups, gravies and stuffing. The longer it’s cooked, the sweeter fennel tastes.
  2. Kale: Chock full of vitamins like K, A and C, kale boasts over 45 different flavonoids that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. When eaten steamed, the fiber in kale binds with digestive acids and can lower cholesterol. Because of its superfood status, kale is growing in popularity and deserves a spot on holiday tables. Use it in salads, soups or stuffing, or sauté with other healthy seasonal favorites like fennel, dried cranberries and walnuts for a festive, nutrient-dense side dish.
  3. Mushrooms: As the only non-animal source of vitamin D, mushrooms are a great dietary staple, especially in dreary cold weather months. White button mushrooms may also promote immune function by increasing antivirals and other proteins released by the body’s cells during tissue repair. Add mushrooms everywhere and anywhere you use vegetables or meats—they’re great raw, sautéed and roasted.
  4. Winter squash:  Not only is squash in season, it’s a great season to eat squash due to its immune boosting properties. The antioxidants, omega-3s and beta-carotene can help fend off colds and flu. Enjoy winter squash, such as acorn, butternut, calabaza and delicata, pureed or roasted, or added to other side dishes for a healthy, tasty addition to any meal.
  5. Walnuts: As few as seven shelled walnuts may be enough to reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense nut. Rich in omega-3 fats, copper, manganese and biotin, studies show walnuts may help manage body weight while fighting cancer and aging. Snack on plain walnuts to curb pre-holiday meal hunger or enjoy them in a spread of walnuts, dried cranberries and crumbled blue cheese. And don’t forget to sprinkle them on your salad for a palate-pleasing crunch.