Farming Fall: Nutrition in every season
October 14, 2021
Expert guest blog: Caitlyn Freeman, RD, Clinical Dietitian
As summer comes to a close, the season’s bountiful produce options may fade away from the shelves in grocery stores and farmers markets.
However, just because fall is upon us does not mean that fresh, and even local, produce is not readily available.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, the following produce is readily available during the fall season:
- Brussels sprouts
- butter lettuce
- sweet potatoes
- Swiss chard
- winter squashes, such as butternut, acorn, and spaghetti
Here are some healthy and helpful tips on how to incorporate some of these items into your diet.
• Don’t skip salads. Full meal salads don’t have to be reserved only for summertime. Combine seasonal greens with fall fruits and vegetables, such as apple and pear slices, persimmons, and cauliflower. You could even stir in roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and broccoli for extra flavor.
• Pumpkin beyond pie. Adding pumpkin to oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods is a great way to incorporate this fall flavor as well as bulking up on fiber.
• Roast them up. Roasting fall veggies can bring out their natural flavors through caramelization. This works for a number of vegetables, including squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
• Load up on apples. Fall also signals the coming of apples, as well as apple pie. Enjoy a fresh apple for a snack or use the time-honored pairing of apples and cinnamon to flavor more healthful dishes, such as oatmeal, salads, and baked fruit. The same goes for pears!
• Put squash on the menu. It’s time to dig into those beautiful winter squashes—each with their own unique flavor, color, and texture. Butternut squash works especially well in soups, purees, or even roasted and added to salads. Spaghetti squash can be steamed and used as “pasta” with a vegetable-rich sauce. Best of all, squashes bake easily as a simple side dish; just slice one open, scoop out the seeds (which also can be roasted as a healthful snack), season with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings, and bake until golden and tender.
• Turn to reliable crucifers. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are available this time of year, and these nutrition powerhouses burst with flavor when they’re oven-roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of seasonings. You may also feature them in casseroles, salads, and curry dishes.
With all of these wonderful produce options there is no reason you shouldn’t FALL in love with these flavors! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables has been proven to help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Eating these food items can have lasting effects on your health!