When it comes to cooking healthy and delicious meals, a common adage is, “Eat the rainbow.” Incorporating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet is a surefire way to get a wide variety of beneficial vitamins and nutrients—plus an array of mouthwatering flavors. There’s no easier time to take this colorful approach to eat than fall; the harvest season offers a wealth of products to brighten your table. To make the most of autumn’s bounty, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite nutrient-rich superfoods to serve this season.
Squash: We all love to decorate with squash and pumpkins during the fall, but did you know that squash is also an incredibly healthy addition to your seasonal menu? Winter squashes with dense, orange flesh—like butternut and Hubbard—are packed with more than five times the recommended daily value of vitamin A in less than a single cup. They’re also rich in potassium, iron, and magnesium, which helps your body absorb calcium. Squashes are long-lasting, inexpensive, and versatile—try baking them with butter and spices, transforming them into a soup, or blending pureed squash into hummus for an autumnal snack.
Pomegranates: Another favorite for autumn decorating, pomegranates reach peak ripeness from late fall through early winter. Along with their rich color and deliciously tart taste, these exotic fruits offer up an important antioxidant: polyphenols, which are thought to improve heart health and provide anti-cancer benefits. Pomegranates are also a good source of potassium and vitamins B, C, and K. To reap the many benefits of this super fruit, try sipping some pomegranate juice or sprinkling the seeds over salads and roasted vegetables for a burst of fresh, tart flavor.
Sweet Potatoes: Root vegetables are the stars of many autumn dishes and sweet potatoes reign supreme in our book. These flavorful veggies are superstars during cold and flu season, offering vitamin A and vitamin C to boost immunity and fight inflammation. Enjoy sweet potatoes simply roasted, mashed, or in the classic Thanksgiving casserole (mini marshmallows optional).
Brussels Sprouts: Once known as the bane of many childhood dinners, Brussels sprouts have experienced a well-deserved renaissance in recent years. These bite-sized members of the broccoli family are surprisingly nutrient-dense; a cup of Brussels sprouts contains the recommended daily amount of vitamin K1 and vitamin C. Most interestingly, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of glucosinolates, compounds that can trigger cancer-fighting enzyme systems. To enjoy this superfood at its best, skip the boiled sprouts in favor of pan-roasted Brussels with bacon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Cranberries: The final food on our list is another Thanksgiving staple—cranberries. These tiny, tart berries are incredibly rich in antioxidants, which work to prevent cell damage and fight free radicals (great for skin repair and wrinkle reduction!). Cranberries are also a superb source of fiber and vitamin C. Fresh cranberries offer up the most beneficial nutrients, so skip the canned sauce in favor of juice or a sprinkle of fresh berries in salads or baked goods.
What’s on your menu for a healthy and delicious fall? Share your favorite seasonal superfoods in the comments!
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