Summer produce might make the top of most people’s list: fresh berries, stone fruit, watermelon… need I say more? However, I’ll be the first one to admit that fall produce has a special place in my heart for a few reasons.
First, after some long and hot summer days, it feels refreshing to cozy up to a warm bowl of soup or a cup of tea in a sweater. Second, it’s nice to be able to turn on your oven to actually cook said soup without melting into your own puddle of sweat. I am also a big fan of cooking foods to optimize our digestion, so turning the oven or stove top on is a pretty regular thing.
Since I am such a big fan of lightly cooking my fruits and veggies, I opt for heartier veggies and fruits that can withstand a little heat. Plus, soups, stews and stir-frys are some of the easiest ways to get a lot of veggies in all at once!
Here are 9 autumn fruits and veggies to add to your meal plans:
Apples are a great source of carbohydrates for a pre-workout boost! As well, they are high in pectin, a soluble fibre, that has been shown to help with digestive health and cholesterol (1).
I love to add apples into oats, chia pudding, or make a healthy dessert with a sugar-free apple crumble!
Just like many of the other fruits and veggies on this list, pears are very high in fibre. Ensuring that you consume a lot of foods that are high in fibre is especially important for digestion, weight loss, and blood sugar control. Bake pears in with some cinnamon and top with coconut yogurt for a sweet treat!
Aside from making a great dip, or being a delicious pizza topping, artichokes are also high in magnesium and fibre. In fact, many of us in North America lack both magnesium and fibre, which can be helpful to promote proper digestion and reduce chronic inflammation.
If you are purchasing packaged artichoke hearts, be sure to look for those in olive oil or water, not canola or sunflower oil.
As we get back into our normal routines in the fall, I hope that you include exercise on a regular basis. One vegetable that can be very beneficial for your fitness journey is beets! Beets produce nitric acid, which is known to help increase blood flow in the body and help our endurance.
Beets are also super supportive for our livers! Try adding beets to a juice, shave raw beets into a hearty fall salad, or bake them alongside your other root vegetables.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Call me crazy, but Brussels Sprouts are one of my favourite vegetables. They are high in antioxidants, which are essential during cold and flu season. Brussels Sprouts also contain more than your daily recommended intake of Vitamin K (2)!
I love to roast up Brussels Sprouts with some garlic, avocado oil, salt and pepper! Plus, I’ll make a large batch to include in lunches during the week.
Basically large versions of Brussels Sprouts, cabbage is another very versatile vegetable that is a wonderful addition all year round. Also very high in fibre, as well as vitamins K and C, cabbage can be used both raw or cooked into a soup or stir-fry for the perfect crunch! You can also separate the leaves and lightly cook them to use as a wrap if you are following a paleo or ketogenic diet.
If cauliflower can be rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, even gnocchi, you can be anything you want to be! Adding cauliflower to your weekly meal plans is beneficial, particularly as it is high in numerous B-vitamins as well as fibre.
We all know that carrots are good for our eyesight, but did you know they can also benefit our nails and metabolism?! Carrots are high in Biotin (vitamin B7), which is needed by enzymes in our body to assist with macronutrient metabolism.
Add carrots to soups, vegetable stock, or roast them!
Kale is one of the kings (or queens) of vegetables! High in fibre, as well as vitamins A, K , and C, it’s the perfect hearty leaf to add to soups and stews, casseroles, and warm winter salads.
Just remember, when eating uncooked kale, like in a salad, be sure to massage it well with some lemon juice, salt and olive oil!
Other fall produce to enjoy, especially as the season cools down even more include varieties of squash and gourds, which all make excellent soups or additions to warm winter salads! What is your favourite way to enjoy fall produce? Tell us!
If you want to learn more about seasonal eating, and why it is important for you, chat with our nutritionist, Rhiannon!