Are you hosting the Holidays at your home this year? Having everyone over in the comfort of your home will ensure that you know exactly what is on the menu! This way you can plan a diverse menu that is hearty, healthy and delicious! Tell people what to bring, prepare the meal together or make it all yourself! Whatever works for you, make it happen and enjoy the perfect balanced holiday meal!
1. Variety –You want to make sure you have a little bit of everything so you are not left craving anything after the meal or feel like something is missing from you plate. A whole plate full of mashed potatoes, a piece of bread and turkey is not very appetizing, colourful or creative!
2. Texture – It’s always nice to experience a different sensation in your mouth with each bite – strive for a dish that is Crunchy (steamed green veggies), Chewy (cooked grains), Soft (mashed sweet potatoes) and Crispy (baked apple crisp). Those are just some ideas!
3. Colour – Choose lots of vibrant fresh colours from squash, yams, parsnips, carrots, and beets – with that alone you can create an amazing roasted root vegetable dish or a creamy soup. Always include some dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli, or spinach. Have fun with splashes of yellow from peppers or whole grains like quinoa and millet. The more colourful your plate is, the more exciting it will be to eat!
4. Shape – Every food has its own unique shape. You can choose the natural shapes you like from different foods or you can get creative by cutting your sweet potatoes and carrots a particular way. Alternatively, choose brussel sprouts, cauliflower or green beans for some variety. This makes each bite unique.
5. Flavour – It is important to balance all six of the major flavours in each meal. This means making sure you choose recipes that include Salty from sea salt, sea vegetables and tamari; Sweet from fruits, root vegetables and maple syrup; Pungent from cinnamon, ginger, cayenne cumin and garlic; Sour from lemon, lime and oranges; Astringent from legumes, fruits and vegetables and Bitter from dark leafy greens, herbs and spices.
By incorporating the suggestions above into your holiday meal, you’re sure to achieve the perfect balance and leave your palette, as well as your guests’, satisfied!
Makes 4-6 servings
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
2 cups carrots chopped
1-2 cups butternut or kabocha squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium apples, cored and diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
(2 tbsp fresh ginger root)
*** For added nutrition and a balanced meal, serve with some brown rice and steamed green vegetables such as swiss chard, kale, or broccoli and top with pumpkin seeds or parsley for added texture and colour!
- In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in oil on medium heat until they become translucent.
- Add the stock, carrots, squash or sweet potatoes, apples and salt, pepper, nutmeg and ginger. Bring to a boil.
- Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Take 2 ladles’ worth of vegetables and 1 ladle of stock and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth or you can puree the entire pot. Return to soup pot and stir together before serving.
How are you going to bring balance to your meals this holiday?
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