After the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables all summer long, fall might seem lacking in variety. However, with a little research, there are some great fresh fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of flavor and nutrition in the colder months. Not only do they taste better, many of them are grown locally, and local produce is always a great choice. If it’s not shipped in, odds are pretty good that the fruit is more fresh and it’s also a great option to keep your food budget in check, a win-win situation. Add these cold weather choices to your meals for great taste and exceptional benefits to your diet.
1. Apples – Studies have shown that apples can help lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, and prevent several diseases, including cancer. Apples peak in the fall, and the flavor can’t be beat. They are full of fiber, around 5 grams per fruit, and are comparatively low in calories.
2. Pears – High in both Vitamin C and fiber, pears are a low calorie and delicious fruit choice that add dimension to a chicken salad and make an excellent snack when paired with a low fat string cheese and a handful of walnuts.
3. Winter Squash – An awesome source of vitamin A and fiber, and lower in calories than you might think – one cup baked squash has only 80 calories with more than six grams of fiber. Add chunks of winter squash to your soups or stews or bake a halved squash and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup.
4. Sweet Potatoes – Among all of the root vegetables, the sweet potato is lowest on the glycemic index and chock full of fiber, so the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar which helps you to feel satisfied longer. Baked, they are delicious plain or with a smattering of cinnamon.
5. Kale and dark leafy greens – Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and other nutrients shown to help prevent cancer. In fact, most of the dark, leafy greens are also a good source of calcium, folate, and vitamin B-6.
Make a goal to add at least three of these fruits and vegetables to your daily diet and reap the benefits of eating seasonally!
October 13th, 2009