Fall into better eating habits with the season’s healthy harvest

Source: BonAppetit.com

Source: BonAppetit.com

Now that the days are shorter and the nights are cooler, it’s a natural tendency to want to hole up for the next few months and console ourselves with comfort food.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with doing that once in a while (after all, who doesn’t love a good chicken pot pie?), but remember to weave in some warm and cozy menu options that won’t decimate your diet.

Below are a few wholesome picks from fall’s fresh crop of fruits and veggies, including ideas for hearty – yet healthy – autumnal recipes.

Apples

  • An excellent source of vitamins C, K and B6, plus they’re low in calories and high in fiber
  • Fall is prime picking time, so look for non-bruised, firm flesh with unbroken skin
  • Enjoy the proverbial “apple a day” with the Food Network’s 31 days of apple recipes here

Broccoli 

  • A hardy vegetable harvested in late fall when the heads are dark green and compact
  • Keep fresh florets in the fridge for about a week for healthy munching – or blanch and freeze for quick access to this nutritional superstar all winter long
  • For a delicious twist, try Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Cranberries 

  • Too tart to be eaten as picked, yet delicious when boiled or baked
  • Eschew sugar in favor of complementing berries with bright citrus flavors
  • Check out Cooking Light’s take on traditional recipes here

Eggplant

  • It’s not just for Parmesan anymore!
  • This shiny, purple berry (yup, it’s true) acts as a base for everything from dips to sauces, plus it’s a source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and thiamine
  • Click here for some healthy eggplant recipes and cooking tips from Eating Well

Figs 

  • A delicious, all-natural energy source
  • One handful (dried or fresh) provides five grams of fiber or 20 percent of the daily value
  • FitSugar celebrates this ancient fruit here with recipes for late summer and early fall

Leafy greens (collards, mustard greens, kale, cabbage and spinach)

  • One of the top food groups you can put on your plate, according to dietary experts
  • Superfoods densely packed with nutrients, rich in calcium, magnesium, fiber and vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as heart-healthy folate and carotenoid antioxidants
  • Bon Appetit offers recipes here, guaranteed to make your other veggies green with envy

Pears 

  • Popular year-round, but available in an abundance of varieties in the autumn months
  • Packing plenty of fiber, plus vitamin C and potassium, pears typically need to be ripened after purchase, so avoid fruit that is bruised, blemished or extra hard
  • Click here for recipes from Epicurious, plus tips for this favorite fall fruit

Pomegranates 

  • Those tangy, burst-in-your-mouth seeds are well worth the effort to disassemble
  • Snack on them by the handful, sprinkle them on salads or drink a glass of pure juice for a massive amount of antioxidants
  • Give one of Huffington Post’s 13 best recipes for pomegranates a whirl here

Pumpkins 

  • Ah, fall embodied…
  • Perfect for baking and full of seeds for toasting, they’re a tasty source of vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium
  • If you’re looking for alternative recipes to the usual pie, Women’s Health offers these so-good-they’re-scary fall pumpkin recipes for your post-Halloween get togethers

Squash 

  • Not only one of the most colorful fall veggies, but it’s also one of the more versatile
  • Extremely easy to cook and loaded with potassium and fiber, it can be added to soups and salads, as well as broiled, baked, stewed and sautéed
  • Taste of Home highlights a harvest of healthy squash recipes here

Sweet potatoes 

  • Rich in potassium, beta carotene, fiber, iron and calcium
  • One baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438 percent of your daily value of vitamin A – all at a mere 105 calories
  • Tempt your taste buds with Health’s top 25 sweet potato recipes here

What are your favorite fall veggies? 

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