With all that candy lining the store shelves in preparation for Halloween, October can be a scary month for healthy eating. Have no fear; there are many delicious, nutrient-rich foods within reach as we enter the cooler months. And better yet, eating seasonal produce is cheaper, tastier, and more wholesome since you are consuming it at its peak.
So skip the sugary treats and try some of these seasonal superfoods this fall:
Apples: Apples are found in markets all year long, but now is the time they really shine. With over 100 varieties grown commercially in the U.S. alone, there’s one for everyone. Apples range from sweet to tart and from tender to crisp and crunchy. Try them chopped in salads, baked whole, or pureed into homemade applesauce. This filling snack averages 80- 90 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 14% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.
Carrots: These bright beauties contain vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which contribute to healthy vision. This antioxidant-heavy veggie also contains fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and zinc. Enjoy them sliced into sticks and dipped in your favorite hummus, shredded over salads, or steamed as an easy side dish.
Pumpkins: October is the month of pumpkins. Aside from being a great carving canvas, they pack in more than 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Pumpkin’s powerful combination of vitamin A and beta-carotene help maintain a healthy immune system and contribute to longevity. Try pureed pumpkin as a tasty addition to warm oatmeal or in a smoothie.
Pomegranates: These fruits are a little funny in that you eat little kernels from the center and spit out the seeds, but the reward is great. These tiny bursts of flavor are filled with fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Research shows that the antioxidants in pomegranates may also slow prostate cancer growth. If you don’t want to eat them in their natural state, buy a bottle of pomegranate juice at your grocery store and add a splash to sparkling or still water.
Cabbage: Often upstaged by dark, leafy greens, cabbage is another great green highlight of the month. It is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, which is key as flu season approaches. Cabbage is an easy addition to soups or can be shredded for homemade slaw.
These are just a small sample of the abundance of October produce offerings. Some others include onions, butternut squash, broccoli, pears, brussels sprouts, parsnips, grapes, cranberries, and more! To get the best produce in season, visit your nearest farmers’ market or talk to someone in the produce department at your grocery store. They are a great resource for storage guidelines and recipe ideas. So ignore those sugary temptations this month and start cooking up these seasonal superstars instead.