Feasting on Fall Foods with Delicious Tips!
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
Fall is in the air and on all of our minds, especially when it comes to food.
SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast was joined by our trusted food expert and registered dietician, Stacey Silver with Mom’s Meals to help us navigate how to take advantage of the flavors of the season, including some delicious recipes!
Stacey always advocates for seasonal shopping. Not only is it more affordable, but buying what’s in season can add a healthy variety and excitement to your meals. It is even more important as we transition into the colder months where mental health and energy are more likely to deteriorate. By focusing on the right nutrition, you’ll be helping your body to support your mental health, energy levels, mood, appetite, sleep, and more.
Pumpkin is a staple food during the fall season (we all feel the excitement when Pumpkin Spice returns to coffee shops!) but it also provides many health benefits such as Vitamin A and three grams of fiber per serving (1/2 cup). It’s easy to add pumpkin puree to other foods like to mac and cheese or hummus for additional nutritional benefits. Stacey explained that pumpkin puree can be added to pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies, and more. Buy the canned option or make your own: put a pumpkin in the oven, peel it, and puree it. Pumpkin seeds are a fun snack, too! Rinse them, remove pulp/strings, spread on baking sheet, evenly coat with cooking spray/olive oil, bake those at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, and sprinkle them with your favorite spice! The seeds have zinc and other nutrients that support immune function.
However, not everybody likes pumpkin. The good news is that sweet potatoes are also a great option and can be switched out for most recipes that use pumpkin! Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, potassium, and the taste works in a lot of recipes. Make a potato puree, add it into macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, brownies, and more.
Brussel sprouts are a small but mighty powerhouse veggie. Just one cup provides four grams of fiber, and vitamins A, C K, iron, and more. And they’re super easy to throw in as a side to your meal. Pro tip from Stacey: Purchase the “everything but the bagel” seasoning from Trader Joe’s, cuts them in half, add the seasoning, drizzle with olive oil, and bake them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Add the brussels to salads, pasta, rice or even mix them with sweet potato and butternut squash.
Squash is rich in vitamin A, carotenoids. It also has many benefits to heart health and immunity which is especially important during this time because changes in weather can cause common colds as the seasons change. Incorporating squash into your diet promotes healthy skin, adds good fiber, and keeps blood sugar stable. Roast it, toss with cinnamon, and add maple syrup if you want something sweet.
Cauliflower is also a part of the veggie family and is known for its phytochemical content potential to prevent cancer and inflammatory responses, as well as offers Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B Vitamins, and promotes healthy bones and immune system. Cauliflower rice is a great alternative to rice and helps with digestion! It’s simple to put cauliflower into a food processor and then add it into a stir fry or other meals. There are even options to have cauliflower mashed potatoes or cauliflower pizza crust! Then you can get all these nutritional benefits just by switching up the kinds of food you eat, Stacey said.
Spaghetti squash can be combined with pasta sauce and makes for super fun way to get some fall flavoring! The best part of all these veggies is that if you don’t have the dexterity or ability to cut them all up, they are available already freshly cut or frozen.
Fall means apples are in season, and there are so many to choose from! Not only are they a great source of Vitamin C, but they also provide a lot of fiber, especially if you eat the skin. Slice them, add cinnamon, cheese, peanut butter (extra protein) for a fun snack! Apples are really delicious stewed, and even served with savory foods like roasted pork. Silver said that people don’t often think about fruit combined with dinner but there’s ways to incorporate all kinds of fruit seamlessly.
Clementines come out in the fall because they are a winter citrus. They contain Vitamin C and are beneficial for the immune system, too. Many are seedless, easy to peel, and are a simple snack. Add them to salads for a flavorful bite!
Oatmeal is a great way to transition into different seasons because you can add all sorts of toppings that are in season and change them up for a fun, different breakfast every morning. For example, Stacey recommends adding pumpkin to oatmeal because it is super heart friendly and are good source of fiber for slow burning energy. Or top with different nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, flax seeds, etc. You can even incorporate some of those fall fruits like apples, cranberries, and more. As an added benefit, oatmeal is not only very affordable, but also one of the healthiest breakfast options available.
Salmon is a wonderful source of protein during the fall. It is rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, and produces neurotransmitters that contribute to mood regulation. There is emerging evidence that links fish consumption to lower risks of depression, which is common during winter months, Stacey said. Seniors are even more predisposed to these mood shifts because the holidays can be a particularly tough time. Salmon is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids and is easy to make. Broil, grill, use your favorite marinades/sauces, cut them into small pieces, make kabobs, mix in with veggies. Get creative with this protein!
Overall, Stacey wants seniors to know that cooking healthy fall foods doesn’t have to be a big production. These quick little additions that she shared will add so much more nutritional benefits to your plate. Scroll below for some additional recipes to add some fall flavor to your season!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- sprinkle of nutmeg
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Combine all the ingredients except the nutmeg in a blender or food processor.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 4 cups chopped peeled sweet potato
- 1 sweet onion, cut into wedges
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Mix sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic in the bowl.
- Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and coat.
- Pour into roasting pan.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, turn halfway through for even cooking.
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