5 New Superfoods to Get on Your Holiday Table

Add a nutritious boost to your holiday dishes with these 5 new superfoods.
Related To:

Holiday dinners get a bad rap for being unhealthy occasions rife with overindulgence. And while that may be true to some extent (think bottomless cups of eggnog or all-you-can eat dessert buffets), holiday eating can actually be surprisingly healthy. In fact, think of your upcoming gathering as an opportunity to experiment with superfoods that taste delicious and add a nutritious boost to your holiday dishes.

Freekeh (pictured at top)

This trendy grain comes from wheat that’s harvested when it’s young and green. And because of its early harvest, it packs more fiber and nutrients (such as protein, magnesium and potassium) than mature wheat. In fact, a serving has three times as much fiber as the same amount of brown rice. “It’s similar in taste and texture to barley,” says Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “That makes it a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner pilaf.”

Fresh celery root

Fresh celery root

Photo by: vbmark



More commonly called "celery root," this vegetable is low in carbohydrates and high in vitamin C and potassium. Because it takes on a creamy texture — and has a sweet, nutty flavor — when cooked, mashed or pureed, celeriac is great a side dish to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey. It’s equally delicious roasted along with other seasonal root vegetables ( see recipe).


This root vegetable is part of the brassica family — which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — known for its high concentration of cancer-fighting phytonutrients called glucosinolates. “Try mashing cooked rutabagas with a bit of plain Greek yogurt for a healthy alternative to traditional mashed potatoes,” suggests Wright. You can also roast them.





“Fermented foods are trendy now, and with good reason,” says Mary Ryan, R.D., of Beyond Broccoli nutritional counseling in Jackson, Wyo. “They are a rich source of the beneficial bacteria called probiotics that are essential for keeping your gut healthy.” Replace the milk in your eggnog recipe with kefir and you’ll give that holiday indulgence a healthy probiotic boost.

Food Network Kitchen's Hemp Seed for Healthy Budget Dinners, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Hemp Seeds

These little nutritional powerhouses pack a good amount of protein and Omega-3 oils. “They are also a complete protein — with all nine essential amino acids — making them a boon for vegans,” says Ryan. They have a mild taste and don’t need to be ground (like flax). Try sprinkling them on top of your holiday salad or vegetable side dishes for a bit of extra crunch and a lot of extra nutrients.

Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Get a Head Start on Thanksgiving Dinner: 5 Easy Recipes to Make the Day Before

From cranberries to stuffing, cut your cooking time in half on Thursday by crossing a few of these off your list by Wednesday (if not sooner).

A Vintage Thanksgiving Table from HGTV

To complete the package, we've asked the experts at HGTV's Design Happens blog to "set the table" for us.

Welcoming Vegetarians to Your Thanksgiving Table

You've got vegetarians coming over for Thanksgiving dinner -- what should you serve them?

The Veggie Table: Navigating Thanksgiving

Just because the traditional turkey tends to take center stage, it doesn't mean there can't be delicious plant-based options for main dishes and sides.

Finishing Paper Touches for the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

From turkey-decorated place cards to simply printed menus, check out a collection of holiday-themed stationery to complement the feast.

8 Crowd-Pleasing Brussels Sprouts for Your Thanksgiving Table — Fall Fest

As you start brainstorming your Thanksgiving menu, be sure to work Food Network's Brussels sprouts sides into the lineup.