When it comes to a big holiday feast, making healthy food choices can be a major challenge. Our minds tell us one thing while our stomaches tell us another, and the mental battle as to whether or not to allow ourselves to over indulge begins!
The truth is, a holiday is a special occasion that typically lasts one day. In the case of Thanksgiving, technically, it's a single meal (not counting leftovers, of course!), so the consequences of "indulging" are minor. If that Thanksgiving meal turns into a string of meals that consist of large portions of gravy-doused turkey, buttery potatoes and whipped cream topped pie, then we're talking about a situation that can certainly lead to weight gain. As we know, too many calories eaten on a consistent basis without enough physical activity to burn them off is the perfect formula for added pounds.
So, how do I handle these situations? I treat these special occasion meals as most others that I eat during the week. I fill most of my plate with plant-based foods, I'm mindful as to how full I'm feeling about halfway through my meal, and I stop when I feel satisfied (as opposed to miserably stuffed). Since I'm often surrounded by family on these occasions, I take part in conversations at the table and enjoy the company that surrounds me, which often helps slow down my eating pace (I'm a habitually fast eater!) and that helps me avoid mindless grazing.
It has been my observation that vegetables can sometimes be a bit....ummm.....sparse at big holiday meals. Being a dietitian, I'm often the one who brings a salad or some sort of vegetable dish to family gatherings and potlucks at work (fitting, right?). My Roasted Herbed Carrots recipe was inspired by my sister-in-law who prepared my cousin's sautéd buttered carrots recipe on Thanksgiving. Since I love the flavor of roasted root vegetables, I decided to try a similar version with less butter and a few different herbs.
Roasting vegetables not only brings out their natural sweetness, it mellows out the bitter flavor that raw vegetables can have. The dry heat caramelizes the natural sugars that brings out a rich and complex flavor that I love! In this dish, I coat the carrots with a mixture of butter and olive oil (this helps cut back on the amount of saturated fat) and a few dried herbs, then top it off with some freshly sliced basil. YUM! One cup of carrots supplies over 400% of our daily vitamin A needs, which is excellent for night vision, immune function and reproductive health. Carrots are also a good source fiber (3 grams per cup) and blood pressure lowering minerals including potassium, magnesium and calcium. All ingredients in this recipe are easy to find at all major grocery stores and this dish is super simple to pull together for your next holiday spread or for any weeknight meal! Hope you give it a try and enjoy!
Roasted Herbed Carrots
Yield: 4, 1 cup servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
2 pounds (about 4 cups) carrots, peeled and cut into quarters or sixths, lengthwise into 2-inch long sticks
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
Whisk butter, olive oil and dried seasonings together in a large bowl.
Add carrots to the bowl and mix to combine ingredients until carrots are coated with butter and herb mixture.
Spread seasoned carrots evenly onto a foil lined baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender.
Remove carrots from oven and place on a servings platter. Top with fresh basil and garnish with extra basil, if desired. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts per serving:
Calories: 70, Total fat: 2.5 gr.; Saturated fat: 1 gr; Trans fat: 0 gr.; Colesterol: 5 mg; Sodium 140 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 11 gr; Dietary Fiber: 3 gr; Total Sugar: 5 gr (Includes 0gr added sugar) Protein: 1 gr; Calcium: 42 mg (4%); Potassium: 368mg (8%)
Check out my latest YouTube video below showing you exactly how to prepare this delicious and healthy dish at home!