Incorporating seasonal foods into your diet is a fundamental aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Researchers, in fact, agree that this approach offers a multitude of benefits. Consuming seasonal and fresh produce enables you to get higher concentrations of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Furthermore, it aligns with sustainable practices and contributes positively to your local economy.
So, how can you maintain your habit of healthy seasonal eating as the temperatures begin to drop? Here’s an in-depth guide you can use to seamlessly find and incorporate these foods into your meal plans this season.
Nutrient-Rich Superfoods to Embrace
A superfood is characterized by its exceptional nutrient density. While superfoods may initially conjure images of blueberries or acai, it’s essential to recognize that there are likely local, seasonal superfoods flourishing in your region during the autumn season, such as these three tasty options.
Consider incorporating pumpkins into your fall diet, as they’re an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. While you can take on the task of carving, cleaning, and cooking pumpkins from scratch, a more convenient option is to purchase fresh pumpkin puree.
Alternatively, you can prepare a substantial batch of pumpkin puree using fresh pumpkins and freeze it for later use. This versatile puree can be added to your smoothies, chia pudding, or oatmeal, creating a quick and nutritious breakfast that supports your wellness objectives.
Sweet potatoes are a beloved fall favorite that many people cherish for their high antioxidant and vitamin C content. According to Elaine Moen, director of wellness relations at Arootah, “My two favorite vegetables I look forward to in the autumn months are sweet potatoes and squashes. They’re both so versatile and nutrient dense.”
An easy and delicious way to enjoy this superfood? When meal prepping, roast a generous batch of sweet potatoes to have on hand throughout the week. Simply cube or halve them, drizzle with a touch of olive oil, and season with herbs.
This season, take a trip to your local apple orchard and savor the rewards of some coupled with the tastiness of fresh apples. Apples are full of fiber and phytonutrients, making them a convenient and nutritious snack option. If you’re looking to balance this carbohydrate fix with some fat, try enjoying your apples with a dollop of almond butter for a satisfying snack.
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Seasonal Vegetables to Incorporate into Your Meals
While certain seasonal vegetables might not achieve superfood status, they remain exceptional choices to incorporate into your meals.
Brussels sprouts are abundant in vitamin K and folate, offering you valuable health benefits. If you’re not particularly fond of the taste of plain Brussels sprouts, consider enhancing their flavor by drizzling them with balsamic glaze for a delectable side dish. Much like sweet potatoes, preparing a sizable batch of these veggies in advance allows you to enjoy them conveniently throughout the week.
Rich in vitamin E and potassium, butternut squash stands out as a remarkably versatile ingredient in many meals. Harness its potential to create a velvety butternut squash soup, perfect for savoring on those chilly autumn evenings.
Kale continues to thrive during the fall, making it a robust seasonal addition to your fall meals. Elevate your salads with kale’s rich reserves of vitamin K, A, and C. Combine it with cranberries, pecans, diced apples, and roasted, cubed butternut squash or sweet potatoes for a salad that packs a lot of flavors and nutrients.
Opt for These Heart-Healthy Nuts and Seeds
Nutrient-rich nuts and seeds are a heart-healthy complement to the autumnal palette of flavors. Consider including these three options in your meals.
Walnuts, esteemed for their abundant omega-3 fatty acids, not only elevate the flavor profile of your dishes but also bring a wealth of health benefits. These nutrient-packed nuts can be chopped and added to salads or yogurt for a nice crunch.
Similarly, pecans are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. Toasted pecans make a tasty addition to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal. They can also enhance the nutritional value of your favorite baked goods when added in small quantities.
With its high fiber and protein content, chia seed pudding can serve as a speedy breakfast or anytime snack. You can whip it up with minimal ingredients, such as almond milk and berries, for a nutritious and convenient mealtime option.
Savor These Seasonal Proteins
Don’t forget to get in your protein this season, whether you go plant-based or otherwise. Here are some tasty options you can add to your grocery list for your next trip to Whole Foods.
To get the full spectrum of omega-3 benefits, purchase the freshest, most sustainable salmon available. You can bake salmon easily, in just a few minutes, for a dinner that’s equally quick and impressive. Elevate your salmon with a maple glaze or pair it with a seasonal salad for a truly memorable meal.
Boost your protein intake and benefit from turkey’s tryptophan content by roasting and slicing turkey breasts at home. Enjoy it as a nutritious addition to your sandwiches or wraps throughout the season.
If you’re looking for plant-based protein with essential amino acids, try quinoa. Quinoa makes a quick and easy base for a variety of dinners. Cook your quinoa and then add in other ingredients or toppings to create the flavor profile of your choice.
Spice Things Up with Autumn Flavors
The flavors of autumn offer their own benefits. Reach into your spice cabinet for these game-changing flavors…
With its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is a tasty addition to just about anything. Add it to your coffee, yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal in the morning; toss it into your homemade salad dressing at lunch; or sprinkle a bit on your roasted sweet potato at dinner.
Nutmeg supports digestion and can be added anywhere that you might use cinnamon. Pair the two together for even more flavor, and don’t forget to add them to your favorite baked goods.
Ginger is renowned for its digestive and immunity-boosting properties. Incorporate it into your daily routine by infusing it into your favorite tea, using it in a stir fry, or enhancing the flavors of your favorite soups.
Practice Mindful Eating and Balance
Whatever flavors you reach for this fall, be sure to practice mindful eating. While it’s easy to over-indulge in fall and winter, try to achieve balance by carefully choosing healthful meals and monitoring your portion control. Savor the flavors of all the fresh, seasonal, healthy fall foods available, and stay hydrated by enjoying plenty of herbal teas and water.
The Bottom Line
Eating according to the season is one of the best healthy habits to incorporate into your lifestyle. Whatever fall flavors you prefer, these seasonal choices can help you build a healthier, more nourishing life so you can achieve peak performance beyond the kitchen table.
Need more support in achieving a balanced diet and developing healthier habits? Learn about how working with an Arootah health coach can help you get on the right track.