Fall is here and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adding some of these top produce picks to your plate!
Pumpkin: Fall is a perfect time to enjoy hearty vegetables like pumpkin. Full of fiber and vitamin A, pumpkin is great for your skin and eyes. Balance pumpkin’s sweetness with savory herbs, such as sage and curry, and use coconut oil and coconut milk instead of butter and cream as alternatives to switch up the flavor profile.
Beets: From the leafy greens down to the root of a beet is edible, good for you, and can be enjoyed raw, roasted, or steamed. Beets are rich in nitrates and support healthy blood pressure. Most grocers carry red beets but check your local farmer’s market for interesting varieties such as golden or bull’s blood.
Sweet Potato: Higher in fiber and vitamin A than white potatoes, sweet potatoes are not just for Thanksgiving. Add a new twist and have them as a breakfast side dish. Cut leftover baked sweet potatoes into cubes and sprinkle with cumin and coriander, toast them in the oven until golden brown and serve with eggs and sliced avocado.
Spaghetti Squash: This vegetable is an excellent alternative to grain-based pasta. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and cook both halves in the oven or microwave until tender. Once cooked, use a fork to scrape out the flesh and spaghetti-link strands appear. Toss with pesto or marinara, and you have a quick vegetable side dish.
Kale: Loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, kale is one of the vegetables that can survive the chilly weather – it even tastes sweeter after a frost. Enjoy it raw in a salad, sautéed as an alternative to spinach, or cooked in soup.
Pears: At their peak in the fall, pears are unique in that they do not ripen on the tree, but instead at room temperature once picked. Just like apples, pears make a great raw snack or added to a soup or smoothie, but can also be cooked or canned for the winter. Even better, one medium pear has six grams of fiber, which is 20 percent of the daily recommendation.
Okra: Okra is not just for frying – the thickening properties of the seed pods make it a perfect addition to gumbos and stews. It is high in vitamins K and C, a good source of fiber and folate.
Cranberries: Tart berries, such as cranberries, have a wealth of nutritional benefits. Containing a compound that prevents harmful bacteria from sticking to your bladder, cranberries help to protect from urinary tract infections. Enjoy them raw or dried – they are a perfect quick snack or a complement to meats, poultry, and salads.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are not only ideal for quick snacks or an addition to your plate but are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. So, enjoy the changing leaves and cool weather, and celebrate these autumn gems!