Fall is the season of cooler weather, shorter days, and a whole harvest of healthy fall foods to choose from. Not only are the seasonal foods delicious and full of good nutrition, but if you stick with mostly local, seasonal produce, you can also help with your local economy and reduce your carbon footprint. There are no downsides to healthful fall foods, at least not as long as you can keep your calorie intake at a respectable level.
Just about all the foods listed below can essentially be purchased throughout the year, but depending on where you live, that could mean they’re trucked in from far away in the “off-season.” By purchasing your produce from local farmers’ markets, you’re not only supporting local businesses, but you’re also reducing any negative impact on the environment when it comes to transporting them.
Many of the healthy fall foods listed below can be enjoyed raw while others require cooking to be their best. Of course, many can also be turned into deliciously addicting seasonal desserts. That’s where you need to be careful. The reasons these are considered healthy fall foods is because most are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite healthy fall foods:
Apples and Pears: You can find these year-round, but they’re still seasonal favorites you can enjoy on the go or cut them into slices as simple snacks. Of course, it’s also the time of year when apple pie and apple cider make great seasonal treats. Plus, there’s added family fun if you live near an orchard that allows you to pick your own fruit.
Winter Squash: The varieties of squash available this time of year are a bit more robust and can be stored longer than summer squash varieties, so they can also be used as seasonal decorations around the home until you’re ready to use them.
Pumpkins: Sure, they technically fall into the squash category, but with their popularity, pumpkins deserve to stand out on their own. They make great decorations right through the end of November and into December, but they also make the base for a lot of great food. Pumpkin pie is the obvious go-to treat, but if you’re up for the adventure of a pumpkin-curry soup, watch out. It can be addicting. And you can even give our Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe a try but with fresh pumpkin rather than canned.
Sweet Potatoes: Mash them, bake them, slice them up and bake them into chips or fries, or make a good old-fashioned sweet potato pie. Regardless of how you prepare them, sweet potatoes have a wide range of ways they can be enjoyed.
Cranberries: Whether you like cranberry juice or tea, or if you prefer cranberry sauce or cranberries in your stuffing, these are the definitive holiday treat as the winter weather gets closer. Plus, they’re chock-full of health-boosting nutrients. So, as long as you avoid too much sugar to sweeten them up, enjoy!
There are plenty of other great produce products you might not even realize are in season right now, such as pomegranates, beets, dates, grapes, tangerines, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pecans, pine nuts, and so much more. Get out to your local-only stores or farmers’ market and get ready to enjoy the fantastic flavors of fall.