Foods in season during fall may appear less appealing – especially if you aren’t sure how to prepare them or how healthy they can be. Eating seasonally and locally are great ways to stretch your food budget, be environmentally friendly and of course, to be healthy.
Kate Geagan, M.S., R.D., author of Go Green, Get Lean, suggests eating seasonal because “it often means shorter transit times from being picked at the peak of harvest until when you enjoy it.”
“That means more flavorful food and better preservation of nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidants,” she says.
Here are 9 healthy foods you need to eat this fall season.
1. Spaghetti Squash
The yellow, football-shaped winter squash derives its name because its cooked flesh resembles spaghetti strands when you shred it with a fork.
Here’s a simple way to prepare it: With a fork or sharp knife, poke about a dozen holes into the squash. Place it in the microwave for about eight minutes on high. If you can easily pierce the skin with a knife, it’s done. If not, put it back in for a few more minutes. Then halve it with a knife and remove the flesh inside with a fork. Eat with your favorite sauce as a lower carb alternative to spaghetti.
Dark leafy greens such spinach, kale, and arugula love colder weather. Spinach is great in salad, but you can also mix it into scrambled eggs, soups, smoothies, and pasta dishes.
It’s not just for pie. This nutrient-rich squash is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and beta carotene.
Try slicing a whole pumpkin into wedges, brushing olive oil, and then sprinkling with a pinch of salt and rosemary. Grill each side about 3 to 4 minutes, until flesh is tender and can be scooped out easily with a fork.
4. Pumpkin seeds
They’re also filled with the good stuff. Sports nutritionist Jenna Braddock, R.D., C.S.S.D. suggests these snacks regularly to her athletes. “They’re a great source of magnesium providing almost 50 percent of the daily value in a quarter cup,” she says. Once you remove the seeds from the pumpkin, rinse them well, season them, and roast them until they’re crunchy.
The seeds inside are called “arils” and they are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. They’re only available for a few months in the fall, so it’s wise to take advantage. The sweet-yet-tart arils are a nice topper to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or oats.
Pomegranates are sold whole, but you can find convenient packages of ready-to-eat arils in your grocery store that are easier to work with.
6. Matcha Tea
Matcha is crafted from the Camellia sinensis plant. Its leaves are steamed and dried and the stems and veins are removed before the leaves are ground into a fine powder.
“Since you’re ingesting the entire leaf of the tea plant, you’re also getting a small amount of fiber as well as larger amounts of phytonutrients and antioxidants,” says Willow Jarosh, R.D.
They’re part of the brassica family of vegetables; research studies have found that regularly eating foods from that category may reduce the risk of disease. Try adding chunked rutabaga to potatoes for a mashed mix of awesome.
Whole cranberries are particularly high in the antioxidant family anthocyanins.
Skip the jellied cranberry sauce for this simple, cranberry relish: Blend one 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries with the rind and juice of one orange. Add 1/2 cup of sugar (or more, to taste, depending on your preferences). Enjoy as a side for chicken, pork, or even white fish.
These fruits are often overlooked, yet the average pear boasts an impressive six grams of fiber for just 100 calories. Definitely take advantage of the many varieties this fall and swap out your traditional apple pie for a pear dessert.
Source: Mens Health