by Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD
Celebrating the new year with age-old traditions can be both fun and nutritious. We’ve selected a handful of healthy items found at around-the-world celebrations that can be easily prepared for your holiday meal.
- 1. Pennies, Dollars, & Gold
Legumes, beans, and grains can be an easy and festive way to add a powerhouse of nutrients to your party’s soup, salad, or chili. Try using lentils, kidney beans, and peas when possible.
Black eyes peas (pennies), greens (dollars), and cornbread (gold) are said to bring wealth in the new year. In addition to the implied monetary wealth they bring, this recipe can be inexpensive while promoting health through plant-based protein and its fiber content: both fiber and plant based protein combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. If you want to substitute another carbohydrate for the ‘gold’ item, consider using a different grain like quinoa, barley, or brown rice. You can even pair the dish with a whole grain cracker like a Triscuit or Mary’s Gone Crackers options. Pro tip: when you look to substitute one grain item for another, aim for one whose first ingredient indicates it is a whole grain, or try something new and use a vegetable-based cracker like cauliflower crackers.
Use meats and seafood for powering into the new year!
Eating pork on New Year’s Eve is believed to inspire progress throughout the upcoming year. There are many ways to enjoy pork, but the healthiest way includes choosing a lean loin cut and seasoning it with low sodium or no sodium spice blend or sauce and enjoying in its respective serving size. Fun fact: a serving size of any cooked meat is 3-3.5 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. Check in with your serving sizes this year and see where you measure up. If you love a good fall/winter-inspired flavor on your meat, try this yummy maple-glazed pork tenderloin recipe.
- Fish has symbolized abundance across the world, and where you eat it can influence how it is prepared. In Asian cultures, people feast on whole fish around the lunar new year. Try creating your own tradition. Like pork, the healthiest ways to enjoy any fish is to season with a low sodium spice or sauce. However, with fish, it is ok to go with a fatty one. Since fatty fish contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol when eaten as a part of a balanced diet and at least twice a week in proper portions. Non-fatty fish are great, too, because they are lean sources of proteins. Check out this easy and festive salmon skewer recipe.
- 4. Luck
- Nutritious produce items can be found in fresh, frozen, canned, and dried varieties. Try adding fruits and vegetables in your own unique way to your table’s offerings. Be sure to select the no sugar added varieties if you are purchasing them packaged.
In Mexico and Spain, some people believe that when the clock strikes midnight, you should eat twelve grapes as quickly as possible, as each grape symbolizes luck in each month of the new year. While you might not observe this tradition, you can still plan for having fresh fruit on your holiday buffet. This can include any fruits that you and your crowd will enjoy. Click here for a fruit salad recipe with a zing of flavor. Pro tip: use fruits in season and choose various colors to add vitamins and minerals to the spread. Fruits and vegetables can be significant sources of fiber, hydration, and vitamins, contributing to health all year long. Click here to see a list of fruit and vegetables that are in season during the winter.
Whether you’re hosting a party or simply planning a dinner with your loved ones, try incorporating all of the food groups in recipes unique to your preferences. Check out more recipes at Kroger.com by simply typing ‘recipes’ in the search bar. Enjoy your holiday as we wish you much health and happiness this time of year and all year long.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.