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Dishes for the Holiday In-Between

By Terry Passano, RDN, LDN, CLT – University Dietitian

Foods to Delight the Taste Buds and Support Health Over the Holidays

The holiday season is an explosion of celebrations with food at the very center. With all that food, we still may find ourselves lacking essentials like fiber and the colorful vegetables and fruits that bring us a plethora of antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals crucial to our health.

Here is a collection of easy-to-make dishes to bring lightness and deep nutrition to your plate between parties and all the desserts that seem to find their way to us over the holidays. This will support your body's ability to balance all the stress and festivities.

Boost Immunity

Soup is comforting, effortless to make and stays around for days. This version of chicken soup adds turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. Garlic and ginger boost the anti-inflammatory action and are antiviral as well. Make a big batch and freeze or refrigerate for more delicious meals.

Bone broth is basically stock that is cooked extra-long at very low heat. This ups the collagen content and is thought to support immunity, gut health and healthy skin. It can be eaten as is or frozen, using an ice cube tray, then kept for use in many dishes, including soups, sautés, chilis, stews and soups.

Up you Bs

B vitamins are required to make neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, which support a relaxed and positive mood, which we may lose hold of when busy and eating and sleeping erratically. It's easy to get those B's in. Here are a few recipes that will do the job.

Top this off with some lightly steamed broccoli for more folate and an antioxidant boost

Avocado is a great source of B vitamins – add it to anything: smashed on a cracker, sliced on toast with an egg, guacamole with corn chips, sliced on a salad or sandwich.

Other useful foods that provide the nutrient-building blocks for serotonin and dopamine production include bone broth, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, eggs, cheese, soy in the form of tempeh and edamame, nuts and seeds, lentils, meat, poultry, and fish.


Smoothies are a great way to get in colorful fruits and vegetables and deep nutrition. Make your smoothie a meal in a glass by adding protein powder or Greek yogurt and healthy fats like chia, hemp or flax seeds. For more on smoothie-building essentials, go here .

High in B vitamins too!

Easy, Quick and Power Packed

Sometimes dinner is just whatever is in the refrigerator or freezer thrown together. This sauté incorporates lean protein and nutrient-rich vegetables into a comforting, yummy one-dish meal.

Here is a quick meal in a bowl. It has healthy fats from sesame oil. You could also substitute avocado or olive oil. Add some rice or rice noodles for a heartier meal. For a vegetarian version, replace the meat with tofu or eggs.

So simple it's sinful and rich in Vitamin A.

Veggie Challenge

Getting those veggies in is a challenge for Americans. The CDC reports that in 2019, only ~ 10% of Americans met the recommended amount of two-three cups of vegetables per day. Most food choices are based on convenience, price and palatability. So, let's make those veggies easy to get and tasting great!

Prep these salads to grab for lunch at work or a fast and easy dinner on a busy day. Be sure to include protein to balance your plate.

Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness and is so simple to do. This collection of recipes adds parmesan cheese to many of its dishes, adding a delightful bit of bold, nutty richness.

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