Nutrition, flavour, and versatility: Some seasonal selections have it all.

When thinking about autumn foods, it’s tempting to go right to comfort foods like soups and homemade pies. Although it’s OK to indulge occasionally, it’s smart to guide clients toward healthier (but just as delicious) autumn flavours, says Courtney Walberg, RD, NASM-CPT, founder of Nutrition for Body and Mind in Beverly Hills. “I use a lot of EatingWell recipes, which are well-balanced and presented with their nutrition facts.” Walberg also browses farmers markets for inspiration. Here are some of her favourite seasonal tastes:

  • Apples

Buy organic, and eat the skin: The fibre found there is a prebiotic that works with the probiotics in your digestive system to bolster immunity. Spread fresh apple butter on whole-grain toast, or toss apple chunks into salads.

  • Brussels sprouts

Just five of these green buds pack more vitamin C than an orange. Steam or sauté them until tender, then toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thinly sliced Parmesan cheese, and finely chopped prosciutto.

  • Kale

This cabbage relative contains more vitamin K than any other leafy green veggie. Serve steamed with quinoa and lightly sautéed bell peppers, or blend a handful of raw leaves into a mixed-berry protein smoothie to pack it with green antioxidant power.

  • Pomegranate

People who eat pomegranate seeds before exercising may have an easier time maintaining healthy blood pressure during their workout. Eat out-of-hand, or stir them into whole-grain cereal, Greek yoghurt, or salad.

  • Pumpkin

Just half a cup of cooked pumpkin provides more than enough of your daily sight-saving vitamin A needs. Pumpkin seeds also contain iron and zinc, which are necessary for healthy skin and nails. Enjoy pumpkin soup, a pumpkin protein smoothie (see recipe below), or a handful of lightly toasted pumpkin seeds.

Power-Up Pumpkin-Pie Smoothie
Walberg suggests this quick recipe as a pre- or post-workout treat. Blend all ingredients until combined, and enjoy—guilt-free!

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice or cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 scoop protein powder
1 tablespoon honey

Nutrition: 261 cal, 21 g pro, 32 g carb, 12 g fibre, 23 g sugar, 5 g fat, 101 mg sodium

 

By National Academy of Sports Medicine

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