The change in the season is also a great time to change up your meals with delicious fall produce! Eating different foods throughout the year helps keep healthy eating interesting. Who likes to eat the same thing all the time? Buying seasonal produce is also much less expensive.
You may not be as familiar with some of the produce that is fresh in fall. I encourage you to pick something you haven’t tried before. You never know; it could become a new favorite! Here are some fall fruits and veggies to try.
Cruciferous veggies such as kale, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Cruciferous vegetables, named for their flowering petals, are nutrition powerhouses. They’re packed with antioxidants and fiber, plus they’re low in calories and carbs.
- Kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are great sautéed. Trim the hard stems off with a knife and cut into pieces (cut Brussels sprouts in half). Heat about 1/4-inch water in a skillet over medium heat, add vegetables and cover. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are turning a brighter shade of green. Remove the lid, add a teaspoon of olive oil, season and continue to cook for 5-10 more minutes, turning occasionally until the veggies are soft.
- Roast broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the oven on a baking sheet lined with foil.
- Add kale, cabbage or broccoli to soup.
- Snack on raw broccoli dipped in reduced-fat dressing or hummus.
Winter squash: butternut, acorn and spaghetti varieties.
I love winter squash! It’s surprisingly easy to prepare too–the easiest way is to roast it in the oven. Pick one up at the grocery store and give it a try! To roast squash:
- Cut the ends off with a sharp knife. You’ll need a little muscle. (Skip this step for acorn squash).
- Stand the squash up on one end and slice it down the middle, so that you have two halves.
- Scoop the seeds out. The seeds taste great roasted, if you’d like to save them.
- If you’re preparing butternut squash, peel the skin off and slice the squash into bite-sized cubes. Skip to the next step for acorn or spaghetti squash.
- Drizzle olive oil lightly across the cut sides of the squash and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Place squash, cut sides down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork and is turning a darker shade of golden yellow or orange.
- Acorn squash can be enjoyed right out of the “shell.”
- Mix butternut squash with brown rice or green beans for a simple side dish.
- Use a fork to scrape the inside of a spaghetti squash. It will resemble spaghetti! Enjoy it as an entree by mixing with vegetables or your favorite pasta sauce.
This is an easy one. Fall is a great time for apples! Try a new variety for a different flavor, like Macintosh, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp. Here are some great ways to enjoy apples:
- Slice an apple and dip it in peanut butter, almond butter or yogurt for a snack.
- Cut apple into small pieces and stir it into oatmeal before cooking. Top with cinnamon.
- Core an apple and “stuff” it with oats, raisins and cinnamon. Bake it in the oven and enjoy a warm dessert.
- Cut an apple into small pieces and stir it into stuffing or chicken salad for a fresh, fall twist.
Citrus fruits: oranges, clementines, grapefruit, tangelos and nectarines.
Fall and winter are great times to enjoy citrus fruits. I remember selling great-tasting fruit boxes in the fall as a fundraiser for my school. It was some of the best citrus I’ve ever tasted! There are so many other fruits that are in season during the summer that I often forget about citrus until the fall. It’s easy to enjoy and makes a great, portable addition to your lunchbox.
The cranberry is well-known around the Thanksgiving table, but it can shine at other times during the fall too! A bag of cranberries is inexpensive and will last you through several meals. For fresh, fall flavor, add cranberry sauce to toast, a turkey sandwich or wrap, yogurt or oatmeal. To make a simple (and healthier) cranberry “sauce:”
- Pour cranberries into a small pot with 1/4 cup water.
- Add Splenda, to taste (about 1/8 cup). Stir.
- Add the juice of one orange and a few scrapes of the orange rind. (Before slicing the orange, roll it on the counter to release some of the juices. Cut in half and squeeze into the pot).
- Stir until sauce thickens.
Other produce that is seasonal during the fall and winter months includes:
- Varieties of lettuce, such as spinach, endive and arugula.
- Sweet potatoes
Pick one that you’d like to try! You’ll discover a new taste and be doing something good for your health.
What are some of your favorite fall fruits and vegetables?