Say goodbye to heat waves and humidity, and hello to crisp leaves and cool breezes! These healthy harvest picks will put you in the mood for fall. There’s no need to wait for the leaves to change, head to your local famer’s market and check out our top five favorite superfoods of the season.
Whether it’s as a gift for your favorite teacher or in a warm cup of spiced cider, few things conjure up thoughts of autumn quite like apples. Ranging from tart to sweet and from soft to super crisp, apples come in hundreds of varieties. With four grams of soluble fiber per medium apple, they’re heart protective. (Soluble fiber has been shown to lower LDL levels.) So whether you’re enjoying them raw or cooked (like in our no-sugar-added cinnamon applesauce), apples are one of our favorite fall foods.
Squash! Its versatility and sheer beauty (have you seen that golden orange flesh?!)—not to mention that it’s a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants—makes squash one of my all time favorite foods—especially this time of year. Types like butternut and kabocha can be made savory (a great addition to salads with a sprinkle of sea salt) or sweet (roasted with cinnamon and honey); either way, they’re bound to be crowd pleasers. And that bright orange flesh we were talking about? That’s where all the powerful, protective antioxidants like beta-carotene are stored. Even better, with less calories and carbohydrates per serving than sweet potatoes, it’s an easy swap that will save an inch from your waistline.
Pomegranates were all the rage a few years ago and with good reason: they’re loaded with antioxidants. With a harvest season between September and December, pomegranates are another autumnal favorite. Tangy, tart, and subtly sweet, the seeds can be sprinkled on salads or added to smoothies—and the juice can be used as the base for flavorful marinades. The one drawback to these beauties? They stain like crazy! So wear an apron and consider yourself warned.
Brussels sprouts were once regarded as the redheaded stepchild of the vegetable world—mostly because people really didn’t understand how to cook them. Not anymore! Roasted simply with coconut oil and sea salt, or sautéed in garlic and olive oil, these mini cabbages are nutty, slight sweet, and totally divine. As a member of the cruciferous family, Brussels sprouts contain cancer-preventing glucosinolatesas (much like their relatives kale, broccoli and cauliflower). If that wasn’t enough, they’re chock-full of vitamins like C and K.
Turnips are often neglected, but they shouldn’t be. They’re low in calories, loaded with flavor, and stocked with health benefits. If you want healthy joints and bones (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), you’re gonna want to eat your turnips. They inhibit joint damage, lower the chance of rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, thanks to their calcium and vitamin K content. With additional vitamins A and C in there, turnips can also keep your skin looking radiant. So roast them or throw them in a soup this fall!
Photo Credit: Hannah VanderWeide