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
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
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|