By Betty Murray
Fall is in the air. You may notice that with the changing seasons, the foods you see in the produce section of your grocery store are changing. During the fall and winter, there are several new fruits and vegetables in season that are hard to find other times of the year.
When we say “fall foods,” don’t let your mind drift to pie, bread and turkey stuffing — all foods high in carbs and calories. Eating fall foods doesn’t have to equal weight gain. There are plenty of healthy fall foods that are rich in nutrients. Get out to the Dallas Farmer’s Market and pick up these and your other favorite fall foods:
Winter Squash — Winter squash is low in calories and a good source of fiber, complex carbs, vitamin A, vitamin C, omega 2 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. There are many varieties of winter squash, including: banana squash, butternut squash, acorn squash and spaghetti squash. Pumpkin is another type of winter squash. It is also sweet, which is why you so often find it in pies, breads, cakes and cookies. What you may not know about pumpkin is that it is rich in potassium, fiber and B vitamins.
Pomegranates — While they can be difficult to find, the Farmer’s Market is guaranteed to have pomegranates when they are in season (August through December). This tart fruit is high in vitamin C and folate. It’s also a great source of antioxidants.
Citrus fruits — Oranges, mandarins and grapefruit are all in season this fall. Each are excellent sources of vitamin C, but grapefruit is also a source of vitamin A and carotenoids, which are typically found in bright-colored fruits and vegetables.
Brussels sprouts — Brussels sprouts contain vitamin K, folate and are an excellent source of iron. If you don’t prefer their flavor, try baking them with a drizzle of olive oil and a few spices, or combining them with balsamic vinegar.
Sweet potatoes — Sweet potatoes can typically be found year around, although their harvest season is September through December. Chances are you’ll get a good dose of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving Day, probably in casserole recipe combined with a lot of sugar and maybe even marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are packed full of nutrients including vitamin A and iron. They can even act as an anti-inflammatory. Be careful not to combine sweet potatoes with too many other high-calorie ingredients. Roasted or baked sweet potato wedges are a healthy replacement for mashed potatoes or French fries.
Take advantage of these fall foods, especially the variety of winter squashes. Remember, when preparing these foods avoid cooking them with overly fatty or high-calorie ingredients. Many of them have a vibrant flavor, which can be enhanced with a dash of spices.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.