Fall is in the air! The nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the seasonal produce of autumn. Head to your local market (before it’s too late!) and fill your bag with this wonderfully nutritious produce.
Pumpkin is full of fiber and beta-carotene, which is where pumpkins get their orange color from. In our body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your skin, immune system, and eyes. It also helps our organs, such as heart and lungs, work properly. Pumpkins are great roasted with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic and chili powder for a savory side dish. It can also be roasted and pureed to make pumpkin pie, or pretty much anything pumpkin, this time of year!
Beets are a very nutritious veggie! They are a powerful anti-inflammatory thanks to the red pigment from betalains. Beets also support healthy blood pressure, heart health, and brain health. There are many variety of beets. The most common are red beets but there are fun varieties such as golden or bull’s blood, which has a bullseye pattern of rings. These fun varieties may be more prevalent at a Farmer’s Market. Beets are commonly roasted or pickled, but they can also be consumed raw, shredded and tossed in salads, or thinly sliced and baked into chips.
Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. Much like pumpkins, sweet potatoes get their orange color from the beta-carotene that is later converted in our body to vitamin A. Fiber promotes the growth of good gut bacteria to help you have a healthy gut. Sweet potatoes are great roasted in the oven or baked like a baked potato and topped with butter, salt, and pepper. If you like a sweeter version, try adding cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, and salt. You can even peel, boil, and mash for mashed sweet potatoes.
Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash. It is a lower-calorie option to grain-based pasta. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and B6. To cook, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and cook in a microwave or oven until tender. Once it’s cooked, use a fork to create spaghetti-like strands. Spaghetti squash is delicious with pesto, marinara, or meat sauce.
Kale is a wonderful leafy green to add to your diet. It’s packed with great nutrition such as vitamins A, C, and K. One cup of raw kale contains only 8 calories! Kale can be added to many things. It’s great sautéed with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, added to soup, or used raw in salads. Since kale can be a little more fibrous, it’s beneficial to add the dressing ahead of time. This gives the kale a chance to become more tender without it wilting like other leafy greens.
Pears are at their peak during the fall season – from late July through early October. When they are at their peak, they taste the best and have the highest nutrition. Pears are high in vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and other antioxidants. They are also high in fiber, which helps us have a healthy gut. Try grilling pears and drizzle with honey and cinnamon or poached in water with cinnamon, sugar, and topped with a scoop of ice cream! Pears are great as a snack. The fiber will help to keep you full until your next meal.
Next time you are at your local Farmer’s Market or at the grocery store, try adding one of these fall treasures to your shopping bag!