As the days get shorter, the temptation to eat comfort food increases, picking up a full head of steam through holiday dinners that serve up table-loads of sweet desserts. You know that added sugar and sugary syrups are big, bad food felons, guaranteed to make your RealAge older, damage your heart and brain, and cause premature wrinkling (crow's feet, too), decreased orgasm quality and impotence. So, how about some new ingredients, ranging from sweet-tasting roasted root vegetables to leafy greens, for a sumptuous last course?
Online, you'll find recipes combining veggies and dark chocolate (in small doses, it's great for your heart and soul) — using avocados (for fudgsicles), beets (in a Bundt cake) and black beans (in brownies). Even more innovative? A 100 percent whole-wheat tomato cake with olive oil and cinnamon from the blog Love Food Eat. Superstar chefs also are climbing on this foodie trend: Mario Batali puts a little ricotta, pine nuts and cinnamon on a cornmeal dessert pizza; Bobby Flay's bourbon barbecue sauce makes a great dip for crispy, oven-roasted kale chips; and there's the Barefoot Contessa's carrot walnut muffin (serve warm, skip the frosting and make the flour 100 percent whole wheat).
So ramp up your veggie intake in a festive way this holiday season and, despite the chill in the air, take a brisk walk every day — hit 10,000 steps, no excuse. Grab a friend at the party and head out for some healthy quality time. Do this, and as the calendar turns a year older, your RealAge will be getting younger.