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10 Healthy Winter Side Dishes

by
author image Valerie Cogswell
A unique blend of Chef and Certified Nutrition Coach rolled into one, Valerie Cogswell attended Johnson & Wales University, where she earned degrees in both Nutrition and Culinary Arts. For the past 12 years, Valerie has worked one-on-one with thousands of clients, helping them let go of their dieting pasts and get fit with the food they love. You can find more of Valerie's restaurant-worthy recipes in the New York Times Bestseller Body Confidence or Social Media.

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10 Healthy Winter Side Dishes
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

With temperatures and activity levels dropping and stress levels increasing, it’s important to load up on vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to stay lean and healthy and to avoid illness. This roundup of vibrant and flavorful side dishes has only 230 calories or less per serving and is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Pair these stunning sides with your favorite lean proteins at your next meal or gathering and stay healthy all season long.

1. Roasted Acorn Squash With Honey Butter and Dried Cherries
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

1 ROASTED ACORN SQUASH WITH HONEY BUTTER AND DRIED CHERRIES

Rich in fiber and vitamins A, C and B6, acorn squash is best in the winter and therefore a perfect side dish all season long. Roasting the squash brings out it’s natural sweet flavor and creaminess. Dried cherries and honey complement the sweetness of the squash beautifully. Easy to prepare and easy on the eyes, Roasted Acorn Squash With Honey Butter and Dried Cherries is the perfect dish for entertaining too -- just double the recipe for a bigger crowd. Serve with your favorite protein for a balanced meal. CALORIES: 175

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

2. Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Dried Cherries
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

2 BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON AND DRIED CHERRIES

Brussels sprouts tend to have a bad rep as a boring vegetable. But add a handful of dried cherries and just a touch of thick-cut bacon and you’ve got yourself an eye-catching side dish. Plus, these bite-size cabbage-like veggies are full of filling fiber, vitamin A and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help to protect eyesight. Using a small amount of quality bacon provides a rich, smoky flavor. This side dish has an ideal balance of carbohydrates and fat, so make sure to serve it alongside your favorite lean protein like whitefish, chicken breast or pork tenderloin for a balanced meal. CALORIES: 120

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

3. Carrot Ginger Soup With Mascarpone Cheese and Pomegranates
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

3 CARROT GINGER SOUP WITH MASCARPONE CHEESE AND POMEGRANATES

Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, this lush soup is the perfect winter side dish for entertaining or easy meals all week long. Garnished with mascarpone cheese (a sweet Italian cream cheese found at your local market), antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds, heart-healthy walnuts and just a touch of microgreens for color, this soup is just as beautiful as it is healthy. For ease of preparation, find pomegranate seeds at your local market in the produce section. CALORIES: 219

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

4. Kale, Bacon and White Bean Soup
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

4 KALE, BACON AND WHITE BEAN SOUP

This hearty soup is full of flavor, thanks to smoky bacon and fresh thyme. It’s also packed full of good nutrition. White beans, which have a whopping six grams of fiber per half cup, fill you up. And kale, also rich in fiber, boasts a powerful slew of vitamins, including vitamins A, C and K. Carrots are most notable for their high levels of vitamin A, and they add crunch and color. To keep the calorie and fat content low, this soup uses only one source of fat from uncured bacon. CALORIES: 118

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

5. Homemade Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

5 HOMEMADE CRANBERRY-ORANGE SAUCE

Get a boost of vitamin C and disease-fighting flavonoids and phenolic acids with this festive side dish. While most cranberry sauces rely on white sugar, this vibrant version is sweetened with agave nectar, fresh orange juice and a splash of red wine for less of a blood sugar spike. Homemade Cranberry-Orange Sauce pairs beautifully with your favorite poultry and pork dishes, and when used as a condiment, it wakes up everyday sandwiches. CALORIES: 162

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

6. Honey and Herb Roasted Carrots With Goat Cheese
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

6 HONEY AND HERB ROASTED CARROTS WITH GOAT CHEESE

Roasting carrots at a high temperature brings out their natural sweetness. Packed with vitamins A, C and K and filling fiber, carrots are a nutritious and beautiful side to any meal. A sprinkle of goat cheese is optional (they taste delicious without), but it adds a sweet and tangy flavor and creaminess. CALORIES: 125

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

7. Italian White Beans and Spinach
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

7 ITALIAN WHITE BEANS AND SPINACH

Having an easy, 10-minute side dish in your culinary repertoire is important during this busy time of year. Italian White Beans and Spinach uses everyday pantry items like canned beans (BPA-free), heart-healthy olive oil and a few fresh ingredients like herbs and garlic for maximum flavor. Fiber-rich white beans add a meaty texture, and spinach delivers iron, fiber and vitamins A and K. Virtually free of calories, garlic adds tons of flavor and phytochemical compounds that may prevent cancer. This nutrient-rich side dish pairs beautifully with your favorite protein like pork tenderloin, chicken, shrimp or filet mignon. CALORIES: 164

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

8. Kale Salad With Pomegranates and Honey-Yogurt Dressing
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

8 KALE SALAD WITH POMEGRANATES AND HONEY-YOGURT DRESSING

This sweet and savory salad is not only beautiful to look at, it may help improve your inner and outer beauty too. Kale is the star of this dish and contains your daily dose of vitamin K in only one serving. In addition, kale boasts skin-boosting vitamins C and A. Fresh, packaged pomegranate seeds, sold at many supermarkets in the produce section, are a convenient way to enjoy the nutrition of whole pomegranates without all of the work. They also add color, texture and potent antioxidants that may help to neutralize damaging toxins. Sweet honey-yogurt dressing is the perfect counterpart to kale’s earthy leaves and includes toasted walnut oil -- a fragrant, heart-healthy fat full of disease-fighting antioxidants. Top this salad with your favorite lean protein like seared scallops, grilled shrimp or chicken for a satisfying meal that will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. For a full meal, simply double the portion sizes. CALORIES: 174

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

9. Roasted Herb Parsnip Fries With Spicy Ketchup
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

9 ROASTED HERB PARSNIP FRIES WITH SPICY KETCHUP

This side dish is winter comfort food at its finest. High in fiber and vitamins A, C, and K, roasted parsnips are a nutritious substitute for standard potato fries. Fresh herbs and heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil accentuate the natural sweetness of parsnips as they roast. Serve with ketchup and a spicy kick of sriracha for a naturally low-calorie dipping sauce. Roasted Herb Parsnip Fries are also an ideal appetizer; just double or triple the recipe for a crowd. When roasting the fries, make sure to not overcrowd the pan (use more than one pan if doubling or tripling the recipe), and keep a close eye on them because they tend to brown quickly. CALORIES: 172

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

10. Sweet Potato Soup With Coconut and Red Curry
Courtesy of Valerie Cogswell

10 SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH COCONUT AND RED CURRY

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot soup on a cold night. This spicy soup is deliciously full of rich, intense flavors from ingredients like red curry, coconut, cilantro and lime. Sweet potatoes are known for their high vitamin content, specifically vitamins A and B6. They also provide thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and beta-carotene. A quick tip? Chop your sweet potatoes small so they cook quickly. Make this soup for quick meals all winter long or serve as a satisfying first course at your next get-together. CALORIES: 229

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Are you inspired to add more vitamin-rich sides to your culinary repertoire this season? What are you favorite stay-well winter dishes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Related: 12 Health Trends That Are Not Healthy

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