A Healthy Southern New Year’s Tradition

By Posted on

Does your New Year’s Day meal contain any of these foods – black-eyed peas, cornbread, collard greens, ham or pork? If so, you’re following one of my favorite southern U.S. traditions. Although this meal is all about luck, wealth and prosperity for the coming year, you can add health and cancer prevention to that list.

The black-eyed peas (represents coins and/or luck), collards (green for money), cornbread (for gold) and pork (for richness) are all nutrient powerhouses and can be prepared in delicious and healthful ways.

Collard greens are members of the cruciferous vegetable family that have been widely studied for their cancer protective effects – read more in our updated entry in AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer. And, we’ve got a Great Greens recipe that’s quick, easy and delicious.

Cornbread made with whole-wheat flour and stone ground cornmeal contributes even more fiber to your cancer-protective meal. Try this soft, almost creamy recipe: Soft Cornbread with Black Beans.

Black-eyed peas are legumes rich in fiber, which lowers risk for colorectal cancer. They also contain the phytochemicals¬†(plant substances) saponins and phytic acid that appear to protect our cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Pair the rice and black-eyed peas (known as Hoppin’ John)¬† with chicken breast, or substitute pork tenderloin in the recipe below, to complete your delicious and healthy New Year’s Day Meal.

Zesty Chicken with Rice and Black-Eyed Peas

1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. celery salt (or 1/4 tsp. celery seed plus salt, to taste)
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ginger
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 1 lb. total
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 cup brown basmati rice, cooked per package directions
1 (15 oz.) can unsalted black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine paprika, red pepper, celery salt, mustard seed, cinnamon and ginger. Sprinkle the spice rub over chicken.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove from oven, cover and keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in hot sauce, cooked rice and black-eyed peas. Cook approximately 3 minutes, stir often until thoroughly heated.

Revmove from heat and sprinkle the rice mixture with green onions, top with chicken and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 330 calories, 10 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 27 g carbohydrate,
33 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 160 mg sodium.



Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

One thought on “A Healthy Southern New Year’s Tradition”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *