Eat Seasonably: Holiday Edition

Thanksgiving has passed, the leaves have fallen, and suddenly it feels like winter. Holiday parties pop up nearly every weekend, and temptation is all around us to indulge in rich foods, spirits, and late nights. In this edition of Eat Seasonably you’ll find tips for eating local food throughout the winter and suggestions of how to indulge moderately this holiday season.

Just because winter is upon us doesn’t mean that we have to give up on eating locally. Hoop houses, which extend the natural growing season, winter crops, and cold storage mean that there is plenty of produce to keep us going throughout the winter months.

What’s in season in December in Oregon:

  • Celeriac – This gnarly looking root vegetable thankfully tastes a lot better than it looks. With a delicate celery-like flavor, this vegetable is great for roasting and soups. It is a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Horseradish – Spicy and pungent, horseradish root makes a great condiment with steak and meat, and makes a great addition to mashed potatoes. It contains volatile sulfur-containing compounds that are good for detoxification and nasal and chest decongestion.
  • Kohlrabi – Another funky-looking veggie, kohlrabi is related to cabbage and turnips and is sweet and crunchy. It can be used like cabbage for coleslaw or in soups or roasted in the oven. Kohlrabi is rich in magnesium and phosphorus, and is also a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C.

Roasted Kohlrabi with Butternut Squash

Adapted from Gourmet magazine

This dish makes a great side with roast chicken or beef, or your favorite holiday meal. It is rich with earthy, sweet flavor and roasting adds perfect crispness.
4 medium kohlrabi (about 2 1/4 lb with greens attached)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped thyme or rosemary or sage
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 ½ lb butternut squash

Preheat oven to 450F. Place baking sheet on the middle rack while oven is pre-heating. Trim and peel kohlrabi and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Toss in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of thyme or rosemary or sage, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Transfer kohlrabi to preheated oven pan and roast for 15 minutes. In the meantime, peel butternut squash, cut in half, and remove seeds. Cut into ¾- inch pieces. Toss squash with remaining olive oil, thyme or rosemary or sage, salt, and black pepper. Stir kohlrabi, turning it over, then push to one side of the roasting pan. Add squash on opposite side of pan. Roast, stirring once or twice until kohlrabi and butternut squash are tender and lightly browned (about 30 more minutes). Toss vegetables to combine and serve.

Chef’s hints:

Butternut squash and kohlrabi can be cut 1 day ahead and stored in plastic bags. Peeling butternut squash can be tricky! To make it easier, try pricking the squash all over with a fork and microwaving for 2 minutes prior to cutting.

Holiday Tips

December is a month of temptations: holiday parties, cookie exchanges, happy hours, and holiday dinners oh my! At Today Health and Wellness, we believe that it is perfectly healthy to indulge every once in a while, but that you shouldn’t let the holidays derail you completely from health habits you’ve worked hard to develop. Here are a few tips for indulging moderately:

  • Skip the holiday cocktails. Hot toddy’s, rum and eggnog, and other sweet drinks are a staple for the season. It’s easy to chug these drinks holidaycocktailsdown, but they are often loaded with sugar and fat. Sip on a glass of antioxidant-rich wine or an ounce of bourbon and alternate between alcoholic drinks and sparkling water to avoid all the extra calories.
  • Fill up before you head out. Eat a protein-rich snack such as a sliced turkey wrap before heading to your holiday party. Protein keeps you feeling full so you’ll be less likely to fill up on rich appetizers and other treats.
  • Avoid grazing. You’re more likely to eat more if you casually grab bites of food throughout the evening. Grab a plate and fill it with only what you want to eat.
  • Load up your plate with vegetables. If you’re at a big holiday meal, try filling half your plate with vegetables before loading up on mashed potatoes, casseroles, and other rich dishes.
  • Move your body. Regular exercise can help regulate blood sugar and mitigate food cravings. Sweating also stimulates detoxification, helping you feel less icky after over-eating or drinking.
  • Let it go. If you do indulge a little bit excessively, don’t dwell on it! Move forward and make different choices in the future, or decide that it’s ok to indulge yourself every once in a while.