Fall is a season filled with appetizing, home-cooked meals and comfort foods. From Thanksgiving trimmings to aromatic soups and ciders, no other time of year has quite the combination of culinary flavors, and many of these seasonal delights pack nutritional value. Consider those vitamins and minerals the perfect excuse to indulge in the variety of dishes that fall foods offer.
Nothing says fall quite like pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes to that slice of pumpkin pie after a Thanksgiving feast, this delicious flavor is easily used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes.
Health benefits: A cup of mashed pumpkin contains 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, and with beta-carotene, fiber, and more potassium than a banana, it's easy to convince yourself to cut an even larger slice of pie.
Try: Pumpkin chili
It's the season of apple cider and baked apple tarts. Fortunately, apples also keep the doctor away by providing ample amounts of fiber and antioxidants.
Health benefits: With 14 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 4 grams of filling fiber per apple, this antioxidant-rich fruit makes a sweet treat.
Try: Ravioli with apples and walnuts
3. Sweet Potatoes
The russet potato's healthier brother has more to offer than being a great alternative to french fries. With ample amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A, this flavorful addition to a fall menu is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Health benefits: Iron, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C make sweet potatoes ideal for increased energy, healthy cells, and improved immunity during cold season.
Try: Sweet potato casserole
Cranberries are far more useful than simply adding color to a Thanksgiving buffet. When it comes to food with vitamins, this sweet fruit boasts a hefty dose.
Health benefits: Known to help beat urinary tract infections, cranberries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and quercetin (a flavonoid that may help prevent both colon and breast cancer).
Try: Fettuccine with brussels sprouts, cranberries, and caramelized onions
With so many hearty fall dishes, vegetables often go unnoticed. Kale, however, is the ideal leafy green to add into practically any cooking creation.
Health benefits: Most people are aware that kale, like spinach, is high in iron, but it also contains vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties.
Try: Kale, quinoa, and avocado salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette
Not only does squash add texture and color to a variety of home-cooked dishes, it also packs a heavy vitamin punch with even more vitamin A than pumpkin.
Health benefits: In addition to vitamin A, squash contains energy-boosting B vitamins. Its low calorie content is also ideal for weight control.
Try: Baked spaghetti squash
This sweet spice is the perfect addition to desserts and lattes, but it also transitions well into heartier dishes.
Health benefits: Cinnamon may reduce LDL cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, and prevent blood clots.
Try: Cinnamon roasted almonds
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