One of my primary focuses as a dietitian is to try to find ways for my clients and readers to include more plant-based foods into their diet. One way I do this is to spread the message put out onto social media by The Produce for Better Health Foundation. PBH is an organization that is committed to helping us help you by providing evidence-based information about how eating more produce affects health along with unique recipes that are completely free to the public.
Since a large percentage of the U.S. population doesn't eat enough vegetables and fiber, I have been on a mission to help rectify this. I'm convinced that one of the reasons people don't eat more of these foods is because they've disliked vegetables or other plant based foods since they were children and haven't changed their minds since, or they simply don't know how to prepare them so they taste good.
Sweet potatoes are a perfect example of something I had always stayed away from since I was younger. My impression was that they came from a can, were way too sweet and the texture was overcooked and mushy. Think about the candied sweet potatoes so many people like to eat at Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not saying they're altogether bad, however, I just didn't enjoy them and were the only way I had ever seen them prepared so I automatically wouldn't eat them.
Fast forward to about the year 2015 when I discovered the sweet potato again but this time I chopped them, added a little olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste,
and roasted them in a hot oven. Yum! My mind was blown at how much I enjoyed them this way. My point is not to disparage anyone's taste preferences, but to illustrate that if you keep an open mind and try preparing certain foods you may dislike in a new way, you may actually decide to include more of them in your menu.
This recipe is one I took from the Produce for Better Health Foundation and modified it a little bit more to my taste liking. It would make a nice addition to a Thanksgiving meal because of its vibrant color and variety of fresh plant foods. I hope you enjoy it!
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and onion on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine oil, juice, and cinnamon. Drizzle over the vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and combine.
Roast for 15 minutes, stir, add the walnuts or pecans, and continue to roast another 15 minutes until vegetables start to brown and are tender. Serve warm.