A Healthier Holiday Table


I have a technique I use in the midst of holiday overeating madness. During the day, I try to eat healthy and cleansing vegetable soups. This keeps me feeling on track and able to indulge a bit more during special holiday meals! Here are two of my favorites- completely easy and really delicious. I’ve made these many, many times and they never fail. Apart from looking and feeling better, eating a healthy diet has lots of benefits:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Here are ideas on how to eat healthy and get active.
  • Did you know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk? The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are two resources filled with ideas for upping your fruit and vegetable consumption through the day.
  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat. Some studies have linked eating large amounts of processed meat to increased risk of colorectal and stomach cancers.
  •  Stock your kitchen with a variety of foods that you can throw together for healthy meals in a hurry. Keep these foods on hand for fast meals on busy nights.

If you have a favorite healthy holiday recipe, you can share it on American Cancer Society's More Birthdays Facebook page using their Healthier Holiday Table tab.

This year, instead of grazing on treats (we're all guilty!) throughout the day, try adding in more vegetables to daytime meals with these two delicious soups:

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Leafy Greens, courtesy of Martha Stewart Living but adapted to my tastes!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 pounds), florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 9 cups)
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water if vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
  • 5-10 large kale, collard, or chard leaves, or a combination, tough ends removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook onion, covered, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes more. Add cauliflower, and pour in filtered water until it reaches just below the top of the cauliflower.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons dill. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons dill. Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding more water (about 1/2 cup) if it's too thick. Return to pot, and reheat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill, black pepper, a drizzle of oil, and pinch of sea salt.


Ginger and Garlic Soba Noodle Soup with Spinach

This soup is so delicious, and you can’t mess it up. Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe for soup with pork and chinese broccoli, I instead add tofu and use baby spinach leaves.


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes



  • 6 ounces soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons toasted-sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces or 1 giant handful baby spinach leaves
  • Cubes of tofu (extra firm!) to your liking
  • 2-4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or any kind of Teriyaki or soy ginger cooking sauce (I love Annie Chun’s).


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium Dutch oven or a large pot over medium heat. Cook ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add stock and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in tofu and soy sauce. 5 minutes before eating, throw in spinach. Turn off heat and let soup sit.

Cook noodles separately and add in soup. Serve immediately.


Image credits: MarthaStewart.com

BlogMorra Aarons-Mele