While we bemoan the loss of summer produce (goodbye, avocados; farewell, tomatoes) we can’t complain about the fresh crop of fall fruits and vegetables currently in season.
Maybe you’ve already taken a trip to the orchards to pick your own apples, but don’t forget about the other tasty and nutritious produce coming to grocery stores and farmers market this fall.
1) Sweet potatoes
Loaded with more nutritional value than white potatoes, sweet potatoes are a terrific source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium.
Cooking tip: Registered dietitian Jenna Christina says the orange tubers are extremely versatile: “Bake them, cut them into fries, or add cinnamon to make them even sweeter. There are lots of different ways to prepare them.”
2) Brussels sprouts
In season now until February, these cruciferous vegetables are rich in phytonutrients. Just half a cup of sprouts contains more than 80 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.
Cooking tip: Try this salad recipe with almonds and dates.
Loaded with potassium, fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, and copper, pomegranates can do no wrong nutritionally. Adds Christina, “They also have a lot of antioxidants, which fight off disease-causing compounds.”
Cooking tip: Try nutritionist Robyn Webb’s pomegranate seed recipe.
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving, says Christina—they’re a good source of folate and vitamins C and A.
Cooking tip: Christina recommends this Weight Watchers-friendly recipe: a 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée, one package of sugar-free vanilla pudding, ⅛ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve atop sliced apples for a nutritious, calorie-saving dessert.
A variety of squashes are in season now, and all of them are good sources of fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A and C.
Cooking tip: “Spaghetti squash is a good, light way to make pasta without all the extra carbs,” says Christina. Or try this yummy recipe for butternut squash and apple soup.
There are 100 varieties of apples grown commercially in the US, and they’re all rich in fiber and vitamin C. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that Red Delicious apples contain more antioxidants than other varieties, including McIntosh, Cortland, and Empire. And don’t peel the skin—that’s where you’ll find the most fiber and polyphenols.
Cooking tip: Bake your choice of apples filled with an oatmeal stuffing.
Learn more about nutrition and weight loss from dietitian Jenna Christina at the free Beat the Scale event hosted by Virginia Hospital Center and Well+Being this Saturday. For more details and to register, visit Virginia Hospital Center’s website.