Holiday cooking doesn’t have to focus on decadent casseroles, pounds of meat, and indulgent desserts. You can boost the delicious, health potential of holiday meals with more plant foods, such as whole grains, beans, and seasonal vegetables. After all, some of the most delicious items on the holiday table—green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and stuffing—are all about plants.
If you’re trying to shine the light on plant foods this holiday, try making a plant-based entrée alternative. One of my favorite options is veggie “meatballs”—savory little balls filled with the goodness of beans, grains, vegetables, and herbs.
A new study covering over 300,000 adults from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that few American adults meet the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommendations for vegetables and fruit. Nationally, about 12% of adults eat enough fruit and a little more than 9% meet the vegetable goal.
AICR Research shows that eating a plant-based diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit can reduce risk for many cancers. The Dietary Guidelines also link a vegetable and fruit-heavy diet to a lower risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They recommend 1.5 – 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily for adults.
The CDC researchers found that women, those with higher income and adults 51 or older were more likely to eat enough vegetables. Hispanics, women and 31-50 year olds most often met the fruit goal.