In a season perhaps best known for its fashion, today’s article will help you understand why the foods of fall could and should be irreplaceable components of a healthy, dynamic diet.
Seasonal produce shopping is as relevant today as it’s ever been, and I’m going to teach you how to make the most of it in the months ahead.
But this won’t be an article full of standard suggestions, I’m going to try to teach you something unique or unexpected about each of my four selections.
Above and beyond touching on their nutritional value, I’m going to emphasize efficiency and enjoyment with today’s superfood picks and offer you a fun, easy way to bring each of them into your life this season.
With that said, let’s fall into the good stuff.
My Top 4 Seasonal Superfoods
Variety in your fruit and vegetable intake is probably the most underrated aspect of good long-term health, after going through today’s selections you will absolutely understand why.
There are a lot of different ways to look at pumpkin.
On a nutritional level, it is very similar to sweet potato and butternut squash being an orange starchy vegetable that is high in potassium, fiber and Vitamin A while being suitable as a vibrant starchy base for any meal.
But pumpkin also has unique advantages over its other orange counterparts.
First, pumpkin is much higher in the antioxidant compounds lutein & zeaxanthin.
Second, if you buy pumpkin whole you can also roast the seeds which are superfoods in their own right, being an exceptional source of magnesium - a nutrient many people don’t get enough of.
If working with a whole pumpkin doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps my canned pumpkin challenge will.
Canned Pumpkin Challenge
If you’ve never worked with pumpkin in any capacity before, this challenge is for you.
Fall is chili season, so why not pump up the flavor with canned pumpkin?
My 5 Ingredient Pumpkin Chili
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1 can black beans, low sodium
- 1 pack ( ~300-400 grams) ground beef, turkey, or chicken ( vegans may use ground beef alternative)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp of olive oil + 1-2 tbsp of your favorite spices ( chili powder works great)
Sauteed together in a pan, medium-high heat 10-15 minutes.
The recipe above is suitable for any kitchen novice and may open the door to more adventurous use of pumpkin in the future – I hope you give it a shot!
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts are powerhouse vegetables in the same way that other cruciferous veggies like broccoli are.
They are high in fiber, various vitamins and minerals as well as unique compounds called plant sterols. But I know you are also probably thinking – what could possibly be fun about Brussels sprouts?
I do have one piece of advice to offer in that regard, and it’s an easy one that a TON of my clients overlook.
They taste WAY better halved.
It really is that simple.
If you are someone who has generally cooked or consumed Brussel’s sprouts whole, take that extra 5-10 minutes and halve them before cooking – it drastically changes their taste and mouth feel while increasing the surface area for spices and oils to do their job.
From there, I recommend air frying or roasting them with olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning.
Cut them in half, double your enjoyment – that’s my philosophy when it comes to sprouts.
Cranberry is another seasonal fall superfood that is very unique nutritionally.
Yes it contains good amounts of fiber and vitamin C like other fruits do, but it also happens to be among a relatively small group of foods that are high in what are known as flavonoids – specifically anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are an antioxidant compound with unique benefits, and one way to tap into those benefits is to make the most of your cranberry intake.
As with today's other superfood selections, I’m going to give you a unique suggestion on how to use them.
Frozen cranberries can be purchased in the freezer section of most retailers, and while you can absolutely use them in smoothies or other similar creations – I’m actually going to recommend pouring them into a bowl and enjoying them as a healthy post-dinner dessert.
Most people look at frozen fruit as blender fodder, but I regularly enjoy my frozen fruit slightly thawed right out of the freezer bag because it makes for a very unique and enjoyable experience.
I bet if you try it once, it won’t be the last time.
Artichoke is available jarred and canned for those who can’t be bothered to work with them whole – while that’s no slight, I’m one of those people.
If you are using artichoke in this way, pan or air frying them with olive oil and your favorite seasoning blend is your path of least resistance approach to having them ready to eat in no time.
The real punch line here though is that Artichoke is a legitimate superfood because it offers several unique nutritional advantages.
Very high in folate - Which is an extra relevant consideration for women.
Unique prebiotic fiber - Artichoke is one of very few foods that are exceptionally high in a special type of dietary fiber that acts as food for your healthy gut bacteria, stimulating their growth and improving the state of your gut microbiome.
Also contains soluble fiber – Since artichoke is generally a high fiber food, it contains multiple types of fiber including soluble fiber.
All vegetables are good for you, but artichoke has unique characteristics that really make it stand out.
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