Fall always brings to mind thoughts of cooler weather, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrides. I also think of the wonderful array of autumn fruits and veggies, which are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help ward off cancers and heart disease. This time of year, grocery stores and farmers’ markets are stocked with root vegetables like parsnips and sweet potatoes – as well as winter squashes like acorns, butternuts and spaghetti squash. You’ll also find kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. Fall fruits include a variety of apples, pears, figs, grapes, cranberries and pomegranates. When buying produce, try and purchase foods in-season.
These fruits and veggies are generally cheaper than out-of-season options and tend to be more succulent because they’ve naturally ripened – giving them the taste nature intended. With all the delicious (and healthy!) fruits and vegetable options available to us this time of year, it’s easier than ever to “produce” well-balanced and nutritious meals! So get to your local grocer or farmer’s market and start falling for healthy choices.
By Dianne Staso, Registered Dietician, Center for Health and Fitness