The holidays aren’t a time most people think of as healthful. It’s hard to keep nutrition on your mind when you’re going in for a second helping of Aunt Gertrude’s famous “crushed potatoes.” (Her secret ingredient, by the way, is butter. Lots of it.) But a lot of the food we love this time of year is actually good for your eyes.
Carrots are the go-to when most people think of eye-healthy food, and roasted carrots and parsnips are a perfect fall side. Eye health is a little more complicated than just loading up on a few servings of beta-carotene, though. That’s why we’ve picked these five recipes to help you eat eye-healthy for the holidays.
Savory Pumpkin Soup
Maybe you’ve already roasted way more carrots than your family is willing to eat this fall. Carrots aren’t the only vegetable with beta-carotene that make for good fall seasonal dishes. You might only have had pumpkin in its well-known, sweet form – pie, but it actually has flavors that shine through in savory dishes, too. With the eye-protecting power of beta-carotene, savory pumpkin soup is a sure winner for flavor and eye health.
5 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
4 ounces dry pasta
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup toasted almonds
In a large saucepan, mix the pumpkin, vegetable broth, heavy cream, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta. Cook until pasta is tender but firm – about 11 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer.
Stir in pumpkin pie spice, parsley, and cilantro. Slowly stir butter, plain yogurt, and sour cream into the mixture. Do not let them curdle. Stir in the cheese, and serve topped with almonds.
Mustard Vinaigrette with Wheat Germ Oil
Vitamin E plays well with the ever-abundant vitamin C to strengthen healthy tissue. Strong tissue is less likely to fail over time, and healthier eye tissue means less likelihood of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Almonds and sunflower seeds have vitamin E, but for a real boost, replace the oil in a homemade salad dressing with wheat germ oil.
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup wheat germ oil
1 cup vegetable oil
Place cranberry sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper, rice vinegar, and cider vinegar into a blender. Process until smooth. Pour in wheat germ oil, then vegetable oil. Blend for about 1 minute for rich, creamy salad dressing.
Tender Beet Greens
Your retinas thrive with only a small amount of zinc. Oysters contain zinc, but that’s not a very seasonal dish. Luckily, turkey has plenty of zinc. Pair your favorite turkey recipe with delicious beet greens for a zinc-packed vitamin punch.
2 bunches beet greens, stems removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the beet greens, and cook uncovered until tender. Drain in a colander, then immerse in ice water for several minutes (to keep them from overcooking). Once the greens are cold, drain well, and chop.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the greens and evenly distribute oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until greens are hot, but no longer than that.
With the right recipes, your whole family will have satisfied smiles and shining, healthy eyes this holiday season. Nutrition is important to eye care, especially as a person advances in age. The best way to make sure your eyes are getting the care they need is to incorporate eye-healthy eating habits into every meal. To learn more about eye care, find out how Griffin Eye Clinic can help you with your eye care needs, or to schedule an appointment visit www.griffineyeclinic.com or call (770) 228-3836.
Recipes adapted from Allrecipes.com