The sun is setting sooner, the nights are getting cooler and wool socks are starting to sound like a good idea. This is the perfect time to celebrate the seasonal produce gems of fall!
Seasonal produce is budget-friendly, tasty, and easily ensures menus don’t get boring or routine. When you start to pull out the sweaters and change the seasonal wardrobe, makeover your menus as well.
Benefits of Eating Seasonally
- Saves money: Seasonal produce is less expensive than out of season fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, because it is more plentiful.
- Tastes better: Produce that is in season simply tastes better. If you’ve eaten a tomato in the middle of January, then you know what we mean!
- Adds variety to your diet: It is important to have variety in your diet, because different foods have different nutrients and benefits. If you eat seasonally, you are naturally adding variety to your diet as the seasons change.
- Better for the environment: You’ll reduce your carbon footprint by choosing seasonal produce, because there was less energy used to grow and transport the food to your store. Bonus points if you shop at your local farmer’s market!
- Less pesticide use: Foods grown out of season need a lot more assistance in the form of pesticides and chemicals to grow. Fruits and vegetables that grow naturally in fall weather conditions are easier to produce with less assistance.
Fruits and Vegetables in Season for Fall
Do yourself a favor and bolster your diet with these fall fruits and vegetables that should make it to your shopping cart this season. We promise your body will thank you!
Think beyond the latte, bread, cookies and sweets when it comes to this popular seasonal favorite. Pumpkin is packed with fiber, with 1 cup cooked containing 7 grams of fiber for just 80 calories.
Raw pumpkin has only 15 calories per 1/2 cup, and is full of iron, zinc, and fiber. It's high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
For those on a plant-based diet, a stew featuring a variety of nutrient-dense beans is an easy recipe to whip up when the temperatures dip into sweater weather. In addition, you can check out this Pumpkin Guide with tons of amazing recipes and ideas for your tastebuds.
You may be able to pick up a variety of apples year round at the market, but peak apple picking season is undoubtedly autumn. From the classic Gala and Golden Delicious to the seasonal Granny Smith for pies, apples come in all shapes, sizes and flavors to meet your particular preference.
While the nutrition will vary slightly depending on which variety you choose, a standard, unpeeled medium apple (about 100 grams) has about 60 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber alone is one of the big reasons most health professionals recommend apples as a stellar addition to your daily diet.
Step aside summer zucchini zoodles, it's time for this winter squash variety to shine. Spaghetti squash is a wonderful addition to your fall menu and a great replacement for some of your favorite pasta and noodle dishes
One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has just 40 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates, whereas 1 cup of cooked pasta has about 200 calories and 35 to 40 grams of carbohydrates.
Note, there's nothing wrong with eating whole carbohydrates. You’ll certainly need them to fuel any successful fitness routine. Just be sure to choose plant-based whole food sources to help your body operate at optimal levels, and avoid refined carbohydrates sources like cookies, crackers, chips, soda, and sugar sweetened beverages.
Vibrant and versatile, sweet potatoes pack a wonderful nutrient profile that should have a seat at every holiday table. From sweet to savory, sweet potatoes can shine as the star of the show in appetizers, main courses, and even desserts.
One medium sweet potato, cooked with the skin on, has about 100 calories, 4 grams of fiber and almost 15 milligrams of choline (an important nutrient for growth and development in children and muscle function and memory as we age). Plus, you can always sprinkle a scoop of Amla Green on your sweet potato for an extra boost of antioxidants.
Brussels sprouts are back in season, and this doesn't have to look like the veggie that your grandmother once cooked. Prep it with some pizazz, and it can be a delicious update to your regular fall veggie roster.
Just a 1/2 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts is only 30 calories while packing 2 grams of dietary fiber, more than 100 percent of your Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin K and 48 of the 75 milligrams of vitamin C recommended per day.
From soups to fries to macaroni and cheese, there's something everyone will like when you add butternut squash to your menu. While there are many varieties of winter squash you can include in your meal plan, butternut squash has a smooth, nutty flavor that works well as a swap in many recipes in which you want to add a creamy texture without a lot of saturated fat from an ingredient like heavy cream.
One cup of cooked and cubed butternut squash has about 80 calories and delivers 6.5 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, it's packed with beta carotene (hello, gorgeous orange hue) that helps with keeping your eyesight strong and your immune system functioning at its best
Pears are another in season fruit for the cooler months. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in our guts! Plus, pears pack a nutrient punch being one of the highest fiber fruits on the shelf. A medium pear contains nearly 6 grams of it for just 100 calories. Just like apples, the pear skin contains most of the fiber.
While you may think cranberries are solely reserved to make a delicious sauce to top your holiday turkey, that is certainly not the case. Fresh, frozen, canned, juiced and dried, there's a form of cranberry that suits every cooking occasion.
One cup of chopped fresh cranberries has just 50 calories and packs 4 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, cranberries contain polyphenol antioxidants that help rid your body of the "bad guys," or foreign invaders that can disrupt your body. A recent study found that drinking cranberry juice twice a day helped support gut health while serving as a dietary management strategy to help treat patients infected with Helicobacter pylori -- bacteria that may cause chronic inflammation.
In addition to the eye candy its beautiful red hue provides, pomegranate packs a solid nutrient punch that you'll want to get in on ASAP. From 100 percent pomegranate juice to the juicy arils that contain the pomegranate seeds, there's a form of pomegranate that will please every palate.
One-half cup of pomegranate arils contains just 70 calories but packs nearly 3.5 grams of dietary fiber. On the other hand, an 8-ounce serving of 100 percent pomegranate juice has about 130 calories but packs 533 milligrams of potassium (about 11 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake).
All in all, the fall is an amazing time for your kitchen and table. Take advantage of it!