Great flavor is in good company in seasonal recipes.
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Reading about all the foods you "shouldn't" eat during the holidays (but invariably are eating anyway) is about as dreary as winter rain. Why not focus instead on the good things about the foods you are eating?

The fruits and vegetables that frame our menus this time of year truly are packed with power. Sweet potatoes, cranberries, oranges, apples, squash, and pumpkin contain plentiful amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber. Nuts and dried fruits, which appear with greater frequency during the holidays, contribute fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

In fact, there's probably no other time of year when we are surrounded by so many vitamins and minerals―all enrobed in delicious flavors. Try our Winter Vegetable Soup with potatoes, acorn squash, and white beans. In your bowl, you'll also find liberal doses of beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber. Our Sweet Potato Cheesecake serves quite well as a creamy, rich dessert, but it's also loaded with beta-carotene and calcium. Ditto for Mediterranean Spinach Strata, which is chock-full of folic acid and calcium, and has fiber and iron to boot.

Think of the holidays as a nutritional opportunity rather than a nutritional minefield. All the more reason to feel jolly―and healthy.