Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Four Classic Fall Superfoods

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | 10:49 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments

The fall is here! Not only does it mean leaves are changing, bulky sweaters are being pulled out of storage, and football games are being watched, it is also a great time to celebrate some of Autumn's classic fruits and vegetables!

There are many pumpkins carved up this time of year, and while this is a fun tradition, don’t forget that pumpkins are also delicious and nutritious! Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A and can be cooked in a variety of ways:
  • Pumpkin oatmeal - Add fresh cooked or canned pumpkin to your morning oatmeal
  • Pumpkin muffins - Add fresh cooked or canned pumpkin to your favorite muffin or pancake batter
  • Pumpkin smoothie - Mix together pumpkin, fat-free milk, frozen vanilla yogurt, cinnamon, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice in a blender
Also be sure to save the seeds! They taste great when toasted and they're also a great source of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat. To toast pumpkin seeds, first rinse the seeds to remove the pulp and strings. Next, spread the seeds on a medium baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt or seasoned salt then bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir occasionally during cooking and be sure to let them cool before you enjoy!

The apples have been picked and now it is time to enjoy apple pies, caramel apples, apple cider … the possibilities are as endless as to how to enjoy apples during the fall:
  • Snack on an apple for a simple, low-calorie on-the-go snack
  • Cut up an apple and eat it along with whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese
  • Slice an apple and enjoy with peanut butter
  • Mix a few of your favorite types of apples together to make applesauce
  • Shred apples into your favorite pancake or muffin recipe
An apple with the peel still on is also a great source of fiber and vitamin C!

These little berries have a historic background. They were originally named "craneberry" by the Pilgrims because of the plants' resemblance to the head of a crane. Cranberries are a great source of disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants (vitamins A and C). Cranberry juice is well known for it’s role in reducing the risk for urinary tract infections.
  • Fresh cranberries can be used in a variety of recipes beyond a traditional sauce.
  • Add them to your favorite bread and muffin recipes.
  • Add them to a roasted root vegetable side dish or a sweet-potato mash.
  • Mix into stuffing to balance savory and sweet.
  • Dried cranberries (i.e., craisins) are great tossed in a salad

Many types of squash can provide a fair amount of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, iron and calcium. Butternut and acorn squashes are also good sources of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, and may aid in prevention of certain types of cancer and macular degeneration.
  • Winter squash can add color, texture and nutrition to stews, casseroles and soups. It also goes great in pies, soups or mixed with grains and beans.
  • Cooked winter squash can be served mashed with cinnamon, ginger or allspice.
  • Serve cooked spaghetti squash like you would serve pasta - top it with olive oil, tomatoes and basil.

Want to know what all these superfood nutrients can do? Here's a helpful chart to explain it all!

Vitamin C As an antioxidant it minimizes cell damage in the body, aids in wound healing and may even help to shorten the length of a cold
Vitamin A An antioxidant that minimizes cell damage and is necessary for normal vision
Folate Important for new cell development. Vital in the prevention of neural tube defects
Potassium Important for nerve and muscle function and fluid balance
Iron Found in the red blood cells and helps to transport oxygen in the body
Magnesium Involved in muscle and nerve function
Calcium Essential for bone health and muscle contractions
Fiber Helps to regulate digestion and can reduce ones risk for heart disease and diabetes


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