Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Into Good Eating Habits with Healthy Foods!

The warm days of summer are coming to a close and sweaters, football games and changing leaves are just around the corner. Cooler weather is the perfect time to switch gears to seasonal foods to make hearty soups and other piping hot dishes that provide ample nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

It doesn't have to be hard to incorporate great fall foods at the peak of their freshness, ripe for the picking! I've listed a few of my favorites below that will hopefully give you some ideas on how to fall into good eating habits with some great seasonal foods!

1. Apples

Although the obvious choice, sweet, tart, golden delicious or braeburn, apples are a wonderful fall food that can be eaten raw, top a salad or baked into a delicious dish. Don't peel that apple though, the precious flavonoids and heart-healthy fiber lie in the skin! Four grams of fiber makes a medium apple an "good source" of this nutrient and apples are also packed with potassium, calcium, vitamin C and folic acid.

2. Root Vegetables

Root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beets, rutabagas and turnips, also abound this time of year. They add a hearty favor and a big dose of nutrients to any dish. Carrots contain beta-carotene, a compound that may reduce heart disease and some types of cancer. We tend to eat a lot of potatoes in the fall, but something you may not know is that fresh potatoes have MORE potassium than bananas and tons of vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are a great choice because they contain extra vitamin A and I love to make them quickly and easily in the microwave. You can buy them pre-wrapped with cellophane and after 10 mins in the microwave and it will be hot and ready!

3. Brussel Sprouts

When I was a kid my Mother used to make me sit at the table until I would eat all of my brussel sprouts. I have to admit, I never learned to love them, but I had to hand it to the women, she just wouldn't give up. Now that I'm older, I am amazed by this power-packed veggie. Just a few of the health benefits include a very good source of folate, good source of iron, and 1/2 cup contains more than the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Combined them with a savory sauce to compliment their flavor and texture. Here's a great recipe for brussel sprouts with prosciutto and walnuts from

4. Squash

I love summer squash on the grill, but it just wouldn't be fall without the sweet taste of butternut squash soup. Winter squash contains health supportive-carotenoids and fiber. There are plenty of ways to use this awesome vegetable, but you will need a little refresher on the preparation. For instance, for butternut squash soup, you will need to cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Brush oil over cut sides of squash; sprinkle cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place squash, cut sides down, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Cool slightly. Scoop out squash pulp from skins; discard skins. In addition, cooking light shared a great article for using this great veggie!

5. Pumpkin

Whether your carving faces for decoration and roasting the seeds or making pumpkin pie, fall just wouldn't be fall without pumpkins! This derivative of winter squash is a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, A and E. It also contains a host of B vitamins and of course contains loads of fiber as well. Pumpkins can be roasted, pureed or baked and is a great way to get into the fall spirit while reaping the benefits of this nutrient power house!

These are just a few of the great fall foods that can not only add some flavor and color to your diet, but also some excellent nutrients that will help you lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. Don't be afraid to try something new when it comes to fall foods. You certainly can't go wrong and do be sure to wash all of your fall produce thoroughly to ensure all chemicals are removed before cooking.

I hope you've enjoyed some ideas for great fall cooking! Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite fall food or recipe! I would love to hear your comments!!


Teresa said...

Love the fall....thanks for the eating tips :)

Heidi Austin, PT, DPT said...

yum yum! i made my first pumpkin bread this weekdn!