It’s that time of year again: Fall. The leaves are changing, the air is getting cooler, and you and your family are getting ready for the busy holiday season ahead. However, autumn is also a time to enjoy some seasonal foods that are super-good for you. Introduce your palate to these flavors today:
Pie is only the beginning. Pumpkin is full of healthy antioxidants and may help fight many cancers, particularly lung cancer. Pumpkin is a good source of potassium and heart-healthy dietary fiber. You can bake pumpkin chunks, as you would butternut squash, and serve it with some butter or brown sugar. Or purée it for use in breads, pumpkin brownies, and pumpkin muffins.
Despite the name, the Jerusalem artichoke is neither from Jerusalem nor is it an artichoke. It's actually a tuber from the Americas. It looks like a small knobby potato and is high in minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium, and an array of B vitamins. Jerusalem artichokes are also a good source of inulin, a prebiotic which fuels the healthy bacteria in your gut. This helps to keep your intestines clean and your belly flat. It can be cooked, mashed, and served as a sweet substitute for mashed potatoes, or as a thickener for soups and stews. You can also buy special pastas made with Jerusalem artichoke to help with constipation.
One may not think of apples as a fall food because we can find them in stores year-round; however, autumn is as apple-picking time in my family, and we go on at least one apple-picking trip every year. Each apple packs a punch of heart-healthy soluble fiber and vitamin C. Apples also have the ability to fill you up with fewer calories to keep your waistline slim. Try our apple cinnamon frittata, our gluten-free apple walnut amaranth, and Hungry Girl’s Red Hot Apple Pie in a Mug.
This tangy and bitter leaf adds a distinctive energy to any salad. Many experts attribute arugula's lively flavor to its exceptionally high mineral content. It contains a group of anti-cancer compounds known as glucosinolates, which not only function as an antioxidant but also stimulate natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. Though it's available in stores throughout the year, it's best purchased in the fall months because the arugula plant thrives in cooler weather. After rinsing it under cold water, you can either lightly steam it or use it raw in salads, our chicken arugula pizza, or even top your sandwiches and burgers with it.
These tasty veggies look just like white carrots, and they have been prized for centuries because its high fiber content fills you up fast. (Many medieval families used them during the Lenten season.) In addition to the fiber, it is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid. In fact, one cup of cooked parsnips has 23% of the RDI of folic acid – an equal serving of potatoes only has 5%. Parsnips can be baked, boiled, sautéed, mashed or steamed. I especially love to roast them and serve with some lean turkey or chicken.