Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Healthy Fall Flavors

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Bushels of fresh fall fruits and vegetables. We’re in the heart of the fall with leaves changing and falling lightly to the ground.  This time of year also provides some uniquely fall flavors packed in nutrition and good taste. Here are some of my favorite fall foods -- try to incorporate them into your favorite meals and snacks this season!

Apples

  • Apples contain fiber, vitamin C, B complex vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, pyridoxine) potassium, and calcium
  • Add to salads or oatmeal in the morning for a sweet treat. Can also add to pasta salad or chicken salad for some extra crunch. You can also incorporate them in muffins, pies, or even make salsa with them. One of my all-time favorite snacks is apples and peanut butter!!

Pumpkin

Pumpkins contain many nutrients including fiber, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, and pantothenic acid.

  • Fiber: ½ cup of pumpkin contains 5 grams of fiber. Fiber helps to control blood sugar, reduces bad cholesterol, promotes healthy digestion, and may also help aid in weight loss.
  • Beta Carotene: Benefits include powerful anti-aging properties and protection from damage caused by free radicals. Beta carotene can be converted by the body into Vitamin A.
  • Potassium: Helps to maintain heart, brain, kidney, and muscle function.
  • Magnesium: Effective for treating migraines and helps with absorption of calcium.
  • Pantothenic acid: Important for energy metabolism
  • Pumpkins are very versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes including muffinssoupsbreads, moussedessertssmoothies, and pancakes.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be a healthy alternative snack to candy or chips. Pumpkin seeds are great sources of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Iron: The main role of iron is to carry oxygen to the tissues where it is needed. Iron is also essential for the proper functioning of numerous enzymes involved in DNA synthesis, energy metabolism, and protection against microbes and free radicals.
  • Phosphorus
  • When roasted, they taste absolutely delicious alone, on salads, or with sautéed veggies. Usually I only think of pumpkin seeds as something to eat in the fall but they can actually be eaten year round.

Persimmons

  • Contains fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, B6, potassium
  • Add to salads, yogurt, or eat by themselves

Pomegranates

  • Pomegranates are especially high in antioxidants that may help in the prevention of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. They are also a great source of vitamin C and fiber.
  • Pomegranates are also quite low in calories—an entire one contains about 105 calories.
  • Pomegranates can be eaten as is, or sprinkled in salads and yogurt. Pomegranates can also be used in marinades and glazes on your favorite dishes, or as a garnish to add some color to your plate.
  • You can also drink pomegranate juice. The seeds are often used to create juice, so pop the seeds in a juicer or blender, or add them to smoothies for refreshing and healthy drinks!

Beets

  • Beets contain dietary fiber, free radical scavenging vitamin C, copper, magnesium (good for bone health), and energy-producing iron and phosphorus. Beets are full of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. They are also a wonderful source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium and iron. Beets also contain choline, folic acid, iodine, organic sodium, iron and fiber.
  • Add to salads, juice them for some beet juice, steam them, roast them or boil them.

Brussels Sprouts

  • These mini-cabbages are loaded with healthful benefits that help fight cancer and boost your immune system.
  • This little vegetable is packed with fiber and vitamins C and A. 
  • Try slicing brussel sprouts in half and roasting them for an hour with a salt free seasoning of your choice and a little bit of red wine!

Cranberries

  • Like many other fruits and vegetables, cranberries are packed with antioxidants which have been recognized for anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cranberries are a definite superfood as they also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Fiber, and Manganese, plus a unique antibacterial effect against urinary tract infections
  • These are some great and easy ways you can incorporate cranberries into your diet daily!
    • Add dried or fresh cranberries to your cereal
    • Add cranberries to breads and muffins for some added color and flavor
    • Drink 100% juice that contains cranberries
    • Make your own cranberry sauce to pair with dinner entrees
    • Make sandwiches with cranberry sauce as a spread for sandwiches
    • Add dried cranberries to dips like guacamole 
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Tags: Healthy Eating

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MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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