Part of the fun in living in a place with changing seasons is being able to sample the flavors of spring, summer, fall, and winter. This autumn, incorporate some healthy options that celebrate the best veggies that are in their prime right now.
Summer is peak season for sweet, light, juicy fruits, but if you ask us, there's nothing like the flavor of fall. Rich, hearty root vegetables and traditional fruits like apples and pears make September through November a real treat for anyone who likes to cook, and even if you're time crunched (and who isn't?) you can still incorporate these healthy autumnal options into your every day menu.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, red potatoes, beets, and turn-ups are packed with nutrients and serve as a great resource of carbohydrates for a busy family. The perk? They're also incredibly easy to plug into your diet as quickly needed; from the microwave to the oven to a boil, there's a way to prepare that is as quick as necessary! We recommend incorporating roasted root veggies into a spinach salad. It's easy to prepare a few trays on the weekends and add to salad a few nights during the work week. Supplement with sunflower or pumpkin seeds and a light balsamic for even more flavor!
Here's our go-to sheet pan recipe!
Apples are a treat on the go, or prepared as a healthy dessert, too! Northern Michigan is home to thousands of acres worth of apple orchards, and you can't go wrong with any local farmer's seasonal offering. Pick up your favorite variety and then check out this great recipe for healthy, nut-based apple fruit bars. You can always replace sugar with honey, and we've actually had really good luck replacing butter with almond butter in this recipe as well.
When you do have a bit more time, one of our top recipes for butternut squash is a real treat. It's easy to get in a habit of always making soup with squash, but what about reducing the sodium in stock and making a turnover? It's a bit of a longer project, but these delicious, savory butternut squash turnovers will steal the show at any meal.
Finally, pumpkin is king after Labor Day. From your latte to your lip balm, pumpkin spice has made it into nearly every part of your day-to-day existence, but actual pumpkin doesn't get used as often as you'd think. There are dozens of great pumpkin cookie, bar, and pie recipes out there, but we wanted to offer you a chance to put the pumpkin somewhere that's quick, easy, and is a bit more healthy.
In your oatmeal.
This is truly one of our seasonal favorites. Grab a tin of pumpkin pie filling and get your oatmeal going on the stove top. Make sure you've got the heat set just high enough that it's going to cook well, but not burn to the bottom of the pan. When you're getting close, put in a few table spoons of the pumpkin pie mix; the more you like pumpkin, the more you'll want. Add a pinch or two of pumpkin spice, or just a bit of nutmeg and ginger, and maybe put in some raisins for added texture. Take off the heat and eat! You can adjust the amount of puree that you use to taste, and don't be afraid to experiment with a little granola, dried cranberries, or pumpkin seeds, too.
Remember, eating well means using healthy, natural ingredients, prepared fresh in your kitchen. You should enjoy the process, take pride in what you create, and make it fun! For more on nutrition and how to build a diet that's right for you now and all year long, stop by Core Health & Wellness and let's talk great food and better health!