There’s nothing quite like autumn. The trees are painted in a brilliant but fleeting array of colors. The sunsets always seem just a bit more golden. The temperature manages to find that perfect harmony between warmth and crispness.
But let’s face it. When we think about the fall season, we’re really thinking about the food! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Football Sundays. The fall season and good eating go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean you should start gorging like a hibernating bear. The great thing about this time of year is that there are so many delicious seasonal treats that are actually healthy for you. Spice up your autumn by adding a few of these nutritional recipes to your rotation.
According to Nutrition and You, the butternut squash is something of a superfood. Not only is it true to its namesake with its sweet and succulent flavor, but butternut squash is rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins too. Specifically, butternut squash is an amazing source for Vitamin A, which helps the body to protect against certain cancers and builds skin and mucus membrane integrity.
You can bake, roast or grill butternut squash and combine it with pasta, risotto or even just serve it by itself with a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar. The taste can’t be beat and this squash is as high in dietary fiber as it is low in calories. This makes for a fall dish that delights and promotes nutritional health.
Nothing says harvest season like a plate of fresh greens. Kale is the perfect food for the job. According to Health.com, this leafy green fulfills your entire recommended daily dose of vitamins A and C. It also contains a week’s worth of vitamin K. What’s great about Kale is that it works as a main dish, a side dish or even just a snack. Marinade a bunch of kale in vinegar and lemon juice overnight and you’ve got yourself a refreshing lunch. Throw it on some olive oil, add some seasoning and sauté it for a side that goes great with meat, poultry or fish. Or just drizzle olive oil and seasonings, put your Kale on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for a crunchy snack. However you make it, Kale is great for your health.
This is a great autumn twist on a familiar favorite. Apple-picking is more than just a great family activity on a sunny autumn afternoon. It’s also a way to stock up on a food that is rich in disease-fighting anti-oxidants. According to Best Health, apples may be effective in delaying the onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease and can help in the fight against diabetes and certain cancers. Instead of baking a pie though, which can call for a lot of sugar or butter, consider just baking the apple itself with a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon. The result is a sweet and delicious dessert that’ll only cost you 100 calories.
Sweet potatoes are another of nature’s superfoods, a tuber that is every bit as tasty as it is healthy. World’s Healthiest Foods calls it an unsurpassed source of beta-carotene and notes that sweet potatoes are proven to raise the level of Vitamin A in the bloodstream. A baked sweet potato with a bit of clarified butter makes for a nutritious but filling side. Or follow a recipe for sweet mashed potatoes to enjoy one of the fall season’s most transcendent dishes. If health is your top priority, World’s Healthiest Foods says boiling is the preferred method for yielding the greatest nutritional value form your sweet potatoes.