Looking at 2 fresh organic bulbs of fennel shot on a wood table.

Every year, my mother-in-law hosts Thanksgiving in Connecticut.

My role is often desserts, and so the girls and I spent Wednesday afternoon chopping nuts and whisking pumpkin pie filling into a delicious dessert to bring to her table.

We’re grateful for her Thanksgiving menu and all of the healthy options to choose from – always plenty of seasonal veggies, (sugar-free) fresh cranberries, and my daughter’s favorite, homemade applesauce prepared with apples and a dash of cinnamon. Turkey (local, grass-fed), of course.  

We celebrate Thanksgiving with ease, but our holiday celebrations aren’t always effortless. Italian holiday traditions are rich in pasta, breads, wine, espresso, and trays of holiday cookies and chocolates to feast on. 

Unfortunately, that’s the type of feasting that sets my body out of balance and make my belly unhappy – causing me to spiral into a place of cravings and digestive stress.

Whether it’s the food or the emotional stress that comes with the holidays, there’s a lot to digest this time of year. But remember, food can help!

Introducing fennel…

Fennel is from the same family of plants that includes celery, parsley, dill and coriander. It is also a relative of licorice – and often confused with it due to its similarity in smell.

What I love about fennel is its amazing ability to help with many of your digestive woes.

The incredible health benefits of fennel:

  • A powerful digestive aid, fennel will support your body during heavy holiday meals
  • Alleviates digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, and cramping.
  • High in fiber to alleviate constipation and promote regularity
  • Shown to be antimicrobial
  • Contains vitamin C for increased immunity
  • Fennel seeds are exceptional for supporting gas, burping, and bloating

Selecting and storing fennel:

Fennel is in season mid-fall to early spring. Choose a firm bulb with no brown spots and bright green fronds.

Store fennel wrapped in a paper bag in your fridge and it will last 3-5 days.

Quick prep ideas:

  • Enjoy sliced raw fennel as an addition to your favorite salad
  • Combine with citrus, as in my favorite Simple Fennel And Orange Salad
  • Prepare a fennel soup
  • Use the fronds to stuff chicken or fish
  • Consider keeping the seeds in your handbag for on-the-go digestive support
  • Prepare a fennel tea by steeping the seeds (like you would any other tea)

Your Simple Action Plan:

What’s your favorite way to eat fennel? If you’re prone to digestive stress like I am, enjoy fennel in your soups and salads this holiday season. Or, try the seeds! They’re perfect post-meals for quieting many of your belly woes.