Southern California’s 80-degree sunshine-filled days don’t exactly feel like autumn, but you can still experience fall in the produce aisle of your grocery store! Peaches, nectarines, watermelons and other summer fruits are beginning to give way to heartier fall fruits and veggies. When you buy foods that are in-season, they’re healthier, have richer flavor, and cost less. Try them as suggested, and they’re sure to become family favorites.
Apples have evolved from the Red Delicious you probably got in your school lunches, and there are many types of apples that have been grown to be sweet, crunchy, and more flavorful. You can slice them up and add them to salads, or bake them with cinnamon for a healthy, crunchy treat.
Choose apples that are firm and free of blemishes or bruises. Store them in a cool, dry place - away from avocados, bananas, or citrus fruit. To keep apples fresh after they’ve been sliced, give them a squeeze of lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning.
Benefits: Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C – so they’ll keep you feeling full and healthy.
Pie isn’t the only way to enjoy this delicious, festive food. Enjoy it baked, like spaghetti squash or zucchini, but ditch the butter and try coconut oil or coconut milk instead.
Benefits: Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, which is great for your skin and eyes. You’re also getting powerful anti-inflammatories that can reduce pain and swelling while promoting improved digestion and circulation.
Naturally-sweet beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the root. The hearty leaves are like spinach: use them in a salad or enjoy them sautéed with some heart-healthy olive oil or vinegar. Beets are also delicious raw, shredded, and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.
Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off after cooking. Fresh is always best, but in a pinch, you can make a delicious, healthy side dish by adding olive oil and oregano to canned beets.
Benefits: Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Once you try a baked sweet potato, you may never go back to the plain white spuds again. During the fall, there’s a huge variety of sweet potatoes available. Any of the varieties make a great breakfast side dish, and they’re equally delicious in desserts and savory dishes.
If you do eat them baked, skip the butter and cream and try using healthier coconut oil or coconut milk instead. Sweet potatoes stay fresher for longer when kept in a cool, dark place. Toss any that’ve grown sprouts.
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin E, potassium, copper, and fiber. They also have fewer calories and carbohydrates than white spuds.
Kale is definitely having a moment! The superfood is turning up everywhere, from juices and smoothies to salads and main dishes.
Think lettuce, only tastier and heartier. Kale is so durable, it tastes sweeter when it is cold! Sautee it with salt, pepper, and olive oil as a tasty side dish. Add it to salads, tacos, or any other food that could use a healthy crunch. Unlike other types of greens, you can add your salad dressing ahead of time. The kale becomes more tender and delicious, not wilted.
Benefits: One cup of raw kale has only 8 calories and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K as well as magnesium. Kale is also packed with fiber.
These are just a few of our suggestions. Check your favorite place to find healthy recipes – or get creative. With so many fresh fall flavors, the possibilities are endless.