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Celebrating the Holidays with Food


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With the holiday season right around the corner, we can’t wait to make and eat delicious holiday food! Whether you’re preparing a family recipe or sitting down to enjoy a meal with loved ones, food is central to the culture and tradition that surround holiday celebrations.

We asked our Dietitians — VP of Food and Nutrition Lesley Vogel and Registered Dietitians Amy Ryan, Teresa Miller, and Taylor Chan — about their families’ food traditions and what recipes they’re most excited for this season.

What are your most memorable holiday food traditions?

Lesley: Turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes will always be on my holiday table, but I like to try new things too. A few years ago, I made an arugula salad with roasted butternut squash and pears. We all loved it so much, it’s now tradition too!

Amy: My family traditionally opens gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We all love breakfast foods, and since we’re not busy with gift giving on Christmas morning, one of my favorite holiday traditions of ours is making a big Christmas brunch together.

Teresa: I come from a small family and we eventually got tired of making Thanksgiving dinner for just four people. So, one year, we extended invitations to neighbors and family friends who might spend the holiday alone or didn’t have family nearby to visit. It grew to be an annual tradition of hosting 20-plus people, trying everyone’s signature dish, and spending the afternoon playing games.

Taylor: Every Thanksgiving, my family runs the Pumpkin Pie 5K. Win or lose, fast or slow, everyone gets a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a hot chocolate at the end!

What's your favorite holiday recipe to prepare?

Lesley: Dessert! Last year, I learned how to make chocolate lava cakes on our SAGE Facebook Live event, and I served them multiple times throughout the holidays.

Amy: When I was a kid, I loved to help my Grammy make her famous graham balls. She’d put the balls in a Ziploc® bag with coconut shreds and let me shake it up.

Teresa: I make an incredible pumpkin pie. The filling has sour cream and dark rum, making it extra rich and creamy.

Taylor: Growing up, I was responsible for making cranberry sauce every holiday. It’s become my favorite thing to make and I like to try different variations every year.

Which foods are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

Lesley: The appetizers set out when everyone first arrives for the meal. I'll have a big charcuterie board and red wine out for everyone to enjoy. There’s just something special about the gathering of all my favorite people in one room.

Amy: Hands down, my auntie’s Christmas pudding, followed by stuffing and eggnog. It’s hard to pick just one!

Teresa: Green bean casserole.

Taylor: Anything savory, but especially the stuffing and green bean casserole!

No matter what or how you celebrate, we hope that your holidays are filled with delicious food and warm memories!

Cheers from the SAGE Dietitians,
Lesley, Amy, Teresa, and Taylor

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