Autumn has officially arrived and brought a crisp feel in the air, beautiful colors in the changing leaves and the growing desire for comfort foods. When the weather turns chilly, you might be able to think of nothing else for dinner than a warm bowl of chili or a hearty stew.
Fall offers a variety of delicious food options to add to your menu, and many of them also provide the health benefits you need as part of a healthy senior lifestyle. In between carving pumpkins, sipping hot cider and enjoying walks around the neighborhood, you can pick up these foods at the grocery store that taste great and have been found to boost your health:
Healthy fall foods
A fall staple, apples can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. This fruit comes in both sweet and tart options and you might like to eat them whole, added to granola or baked into a pie. Best of all, apples offer 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving and are rich in antioxidants – just be sure to eat the skin as it features flavonoids to help heart health. The peak apple harvest season, according to Health magazine, is between August and November.
Another option that's synonymous with this season is squash. Butternut and winter squashes are popular options, and they provide a sweet flavor and creamy texture. Eating Well suggests that you can add cubes to a stew or roast squash with potatoes and root vegetables for a warm side dish. One cup of winter squash, cooked, has a good amount of vitamin A (214 percent of the recommended daily value, according to the source) as well as plenty of vitamins C, B6 and K, folate and potassium.
When you're not carving them into jack-o'-lanterns, pumpkins are a healthy treat that provides a sweet taste. That's why they're so delicious in pies, puddings and cakes! What's more, pumpkins are rich in potassium, B vitamins and fiber. The meat also provides you with vitamin A and carotenoids, which boost your immune system. Be sure to save the seeds to snack on as they offer vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants themselves.
There's a good chance that you'll find sweet potatoes on your Thanksgiving table, but these vegetables can be enjoyed throughout the season whether you bake, roast or mash them. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, iron and calcium. Additionally, the antioxidants found in sweet potatoes provide you with anti-inflammatory benefits, which are useful for those suffering from arthritis or asthma, according to CNN.
If you're wondering about a new and delicious way to incorporate some of these delightful fall foods into your meal planning, you can whip up this roasted pumpkin apple soup recipe from Eating Well:
Roasted pumpkin apple soup
- 4 large sweet-tart apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into eigths
- 3 pounds of pie pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss pumpkin or squash with apples, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper in a large bowl. Spread the mixture evenly in a large-rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring once
- Add sage and continue to roast for 15 to 20 minutes
- Transfer about one-third of the pumpkins and apples to a blender with 2 cups broth. Puree until smooth then transfer to a large stock pot. Repeat the process for two more batches.
- Season with the remaining salt and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 6 minutes.
- Serve with hazelnuts and a drizzle of hazelnut oil.