Sweet potato casseroles, mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles laden with cream sauce and topped with onion crisps, and then there's squash, the winter varieties, baked, mashed, roasted in maple syrup, the possibilities are endless. These are the mainstays of many a holiday meal. They are also the reason you'll see family members sprawled out on the couch looking comatose after dinner. What's wrong with a little nap after a big meal, you might ask? The answer is plenty. The need for a nap after a big meal is the direct result of having consumed far too much carbohydrate.
Though this might sound harmless on the surface, the consequences can be damaging to your health. Excess carbohydrate consumption increases your blood sugar, your insulin production and ultimately your level of cellular inflammation. The good news is that you can enjoy a bounty of other delicious vegetable dishes that will keep your family and friends on the path to good health.
Try serving your bird or roast with a variety of Zone-friendly side dishes like the following Roasted Vegetables with Fennel recipe together with some steamed green beans and mashed cauliflower (find the cauliflower recipe in "A Peek into my Fridge " in the September 2012 issue of Zone Living). The chunks of carrot and yam in this dish provide both color and a taste of the wintery root vegetables, making it a hearty and satisfying addition to your holiday table. Best wishes of the season from my house to yours!
Roasted Vegetables with Fennel
Makes 12 servings, 1 carbohydrate block and 1 fat block per serving
- 2 Large sweet onions, cut into wedges
- 2 Fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
- 1 Celery heart, trimmed and cut into large bite-sized chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 Small to medium-sized yam, cut into large bite sized chunks
- 1 Carrot, cut into large bite sized chunks
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light-tasting olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and the salt.
- Place the vegetables in a 9 x13 baking pan and cover tightly with foil.
- Make a few slits in the foil to allow steam to escape
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Remove the foil and return the vegetables to the oven to roast for another 15 minutes or until done.
- The vegetables will begin to take on a slightly browned roasted look when done. Take care not to overcook.
- For a lighter taste, good for springtime holidays, omit the carrots and yam.
- While the vegetables bake, marinate 1 cup of unsweetened canned pineapple chunks in the juice of 1 lime.
- Just before serving discard any excess lime juice marinade and top the vegetables with the pineapple.