For many folks their Thanksgiving menu has been set in stone for years, maybe even generations. But unfortunately, as delicious and time-honored as it is, America’s favorite meal is often far from healthy.
And since most of us will be eating leftovers for days, that means we may have nearly a week’s worth of unhealthy eating ahead.
But why not try something just a little different this year? Adding a few fall superfoods to your Thanksgiving dinner can transform your favorite meal of the year into a healthy feast.
Transform your Thanksgiving menu with superfoods
Following are six delicious foods to add to your thanksgiving meal this year.
With their souped-up antioxidants, and high vitamin content, pomegranates are one of the original superfoods. They can help protect you against heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and more. And they taste delicious when paired with tart cranberries, another excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Instead of serving sugary cranberry jelly out of the can, whip up a simple cranberry relish in your food processer. (Click here for a recipe to try.) Then mix in a handful of pomegranate seeds just before serving for a shot of extra flavor and an extra antioxidant boost.
Skipping the cranberries altogether this year? Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over your green veggies for a colorful pop and sweet twist. Or create a refreshing Thanksgiving “mocktail” with fresh ginger, pomegranate juice, seltzer and a few pomegranate seeds for garnish.
The humble mushroom is one of the most overlooked superfoods out there. They’re surprisingly nutrient dense, packed with vitamins, minerals and protein.
Plus, experts say mushrooms can help protect us against cancer and diabetes, while supporting a healthy immune system. And new research out of Penn State University found that two key antioxidants found in abundance in mushrooms—ergothioneine and glutathione—have anti-aging potential.
Let mushroom’s earthy, nutty flavor lend some extra depth to your Thanksgiving menu. Try adding some to your gravy or stuffing for an extra punch of flavor and nutrition.
3. Brussels sprouts:
Skip the green bean casserole and make Brussels sprouts, instead. Cruciferous vegetables are potent superfoods, which can help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Plus, Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants and are natural anti-inflammatories. Which means they can help protect you from all kinds of chronic diseases.
Keep it simple and roast them with some olive oil and spices. Or take the flavor of this superfood side dish up a few notches by sprinkling them with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar just before serving.
Add a superfood punch to your stuffing this year with the most famous of holiday nuts. Chestnuts are a true superfood, containing nutrients that can boost your immune system and protect your gut, heart, brain and bones.
Roast them lightly to bring out their earthy, sweet flavor. Then add them to your stuffing before cooking.
Cauliflower is the perfect superfood addition to your Thanksgiving meal. Another cruciferous veggie like Brussel’s sprouts, cauliflower can help protect against cancer, heart disease and more.
And this often overlooked veggie is packed with at least 20 different nutrients in every forkful including choline. This a hard-to-find nutrient protects against dementia, liver disease and heart problems.
Instead of serving mashed potatoes this year, try putting mashed cauliflower on your Thanksgiving menu. If you’re not quite ready to make the full swap just add some mashed cauliflower to your mashed potatoes for a superfood boost.
Need some other ideas on how to serve cauliflower? Click here.
6. Winter squash:
If you want the flavor and satisfaction of sweet potato casserole, without the added sugar and marshmallows try a winter squash medley. Mix together butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes for a superfood side dish that’s bound to become a new favorite in your home.
Full of healthy fiber, antioxidants and nutrients from their deep orange color, these fall superfoods can ward off chronic diseases, while protecting your heart, eyes and skin. And since they’re naturally sweet, you won’t miss the sugar at all.
Cut them into large chunks and roast them with a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash (or three) of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Transform your Thanksgiving menu this year—and start some new traditions too—with these six fall superfoods.