Diet and Nutrition – Blog Series Fall is Here!

Fall is here and it’s a great time to make comfort food!

You can start soups in the crockpot with chicken andvegetables or just vegetables and broth with beans for the protein. Add herbs and spices to season in place of salt.  Thyme is a great herb to use in place of salt and adds a nice flavor to any soup.  Simmer on low all day, add a side of quinoa, brown rice or a salad for a complete meal.

Try apasta sauce in the crockpot adding zucchini, carrots or squash for more nutritional value.  Sloppy joes (ground beef or ground turkey) are easy to make in the crockpot as well.  Simmer the meat all day, add a side salad or vegetable.

Try overnight oats in the crockpot.  For one serving use 1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1/2 cupalmond milk (or any milk of your choice), 1/4 cup peaches (or the fruit of your choice), 1/4 cup cashews or other favorite nuts, and add 1 teaspoon chia seeds and 1 teaspoon French vanilla.

This is a perfect time to celebrate the seasonal gems of autumn.  Head to your local market and fill your basket with any of these fall produce picks.

*Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A and can boost immunity as flu season rolls around.  Make muffins  with pumpkin puree and whole wheat flour.  Throw in some ground flaxseed and walnuts for an omega-3 boost.

*Beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the bulbous root.  The leaves are similar to spinach and are delicious sautéed.  Rich in naturally occurring nitrates, beets may help to support healthy blood pressure.

*Sweet Potatoes have more fiber and vitamins A and C than white potatoes and make a great breakfast.  Bake in the oven, add a teaspoon of buttery spread and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

*Spaghetti Squash is a fun, kid-friendly vegetable that is a lower-calorie and gluten-free alternative to grain-based pasta.  Cut it in half to reveal a pocket of seeds; scoop those out and bake the two halves in the oven until tender.  Scrape a fork into the flesh and spaghetti-like strands appear!  Toss with pesto or marinara sauce for a quick veggie side dish.

*Kale is a nutrient powerhouse and tastes sweeter after a frost.  One cup of kale has only 8 calories and is loaded with vitamins A, C and K as well as manganese.  Kale is great sautéed and cooked in soup, but is also excellent raw in salad with something sweet like carrots or apples.

*Pears are the most delicious in the fall when they’re at their peak.  Try pears on the grill, poached in red wine, tucked into a panini, pureed into soup or a smoothie or sliced with cheese and wine.  One medium pear has 6 grams of fiber.

*Okra is commonly fried but also is wonderful in more nutritious dishes.  The seed pods of okra are high in vitamins K and C, are a good source of fiber and folate and low in calories.

*Parsnips are cousins to carrots, have the same root shape but have white flesh.  You can eat them cooked or raw.  One half cup of cooked parsnips has 3 grams of fiber and a good amount of vitamin C and folate.

*Cranberries have a wealth of nutritional benefits and may protect against urinary tract infection.  Fresh and dried cranberries pair well with a variety of meats and poultry.  Fresh cranberries can be eaten raw but are often cooked and dried cranberries go well in grain or vegetable salads.

Happy Fall!

Be Well!

Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Wellness Coach