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Easy recipe ideas for a healthier autumn: What to eat this fall

Fall is in the air and it’s the perfect time to enjoy Michigan’s tasty seasonal produce. Shopping at your local farmers markets is a great way to savor fruits and veggies at peak freshness, and meet the people who grow your food. Plus, shopping local has environmental benefits, too.

What types of food are hopping this time of year at the farmers market? Mary Free Bed registered dietitian Jessi Boehme offers eight seasonal options to try:

  • Pumpkin: They’re not just for jack-o’-lanterns! While carving pumpkins is a fun foodie activity, edible pumpkins and canned pumpkin are packed with fiber and vitamin A. Try it in your morning oatmeal, or look online for a curried pumpkin soup for a cozy, nutritious warm-up.
  • Sweet potato: Like pumpkin, sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, but they’re naturally sweet and can be a great addition to any meal. Try them sautéed with eggs in the morning, roasted with broccoli and chicken at lunch, or in this shepherd’s pie at dinner.
  • Spaghetti squash (or any squash): Try spaghetti squash as an alternative to your grain-based pasta (not to say grains are bad, because it’s important to incorporate grains into your daily meal plans). Squash can be inexpensive and versatile, whether used for spaghetti, baked and filled with a Tex-Mex filling, or eaten plain with salt and pepper. If you’re a fan of butternut or acorn squash, try this macaroni and cheese that incorporates squash.
  • Kale: This media darling is very low in calories/energy but rich in the vitamins A, C and K. Remove the stems, rinse the leafy section (and rub it under water to help decrease its bitterness) and sauté with your breakfast, or throw into a soup or salad combo.
  • Pears: These beauties are available year-round but are at their peak in autumn. Pears – fresh, frozen or canned – can have varying flavors and sweetness, much like apples. Enjoy them raw, grilled, poached or sliced thinly onto a sandwich or panini. Don’t forget: the peel/skin is good for you, and your body will thank you for the additional fiber. Any recipe calling for apples could be substituted with pears, including: Northwestern apple salad, apple wraps or apple crisp. Of course, this is a great time of year for apples, too.
  • Beets: This ruby-colored gem of a vegetable gets a bad reputation for its earthy taste, but have you tried it sautéed or roasted? Roast beets with chicken, like in this recipe here. You also can thinly slice beets and bake into chips. Fun fact: the beautiful red color in beets comes from a phytochemical called betanin.
  • Parsnips: The carrot’s cousin has a similar shape but is white instead of bright orange. Parsnips have a slight bite when raw, but the flavor mellows when roasted or pureed into soup. You can even mash and mix with mashed potatoes — see if your family can taste the difference.
  • Cranberries: Cranberry sauce is a traditional Thanksgiving recipe, but cranberries also are great with other meals. You can eat raw cranberries, but their sweetness really comes out when they’re cooked or dried. Add to your next chicken dish or try some dried (no sugar added) cranberries to your next salad. Rich in antioxidants, this fruit also makes a great on-the-go snack.

We hope you’ll check out some delicious new produce and recipes this season. If you’re in need of extra help with your nutrition or weight management goals, reach out today. There’s still time before the holidays to finish 2017 strong.

Mary Free Bed’s Weight Management Program encompasses much more than a number on a scale. Participants develop self-confidence and healthier relationships with food, improve mental health and well-being, and decrease medications. It’s not about “losing” weight, but rather, getting rid of it and not finding it again in the future. Our last graduating class lost 177 pounds total as a group!

Want to add yours to the mix? Sign up today using this form or call 616.840.8908.

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