by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
Fall brings an abundance of flavorful, seasonal foods that are packed full of nutrition! October makes us think of apples, pumpkins and slow cookers. Now is the time to take advantage of these flavorful fall foods and the nutrition they provide.
More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the U.S. There is sure to be a variety to please even the pickiest eater! The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has scientific merit. One study found eating an apple a day helped reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Regular apple consumption has also been linked to weight loss, improved gut health, cancer prevention and reduced inflammation. There are many ways to add apples to your daily diet. The easiest way is to wash and eat! Or add chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon to oatmeal before cooking it for a flavorful fall treat.
Apples and oatmeal make a great fall combo in bars, cookies and breakfast breads as well. Keep in mind, apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature, so if you want your apples to last longer, store them in the refrigerator.
Pumpkin contains B-complex, vitamins A, vitamin C and vitamin E, carotenoids, folate, manganese, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and other antioxidants. They are specially favored for their rich content of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
Pumpkin promotes eye health, boost immunity, can help relieve inflammation and more.
Pumpkin may not be the healthiest in muffin form, but you can add pumpkin to soups, stews, hummus and pasta sauce. Try adding pureed pumpkin to smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal for a nutritional boost and added flavor.
There is nothing better than walking in the door to the smell of dinner ready to eat. Slow cookers help with planning which sometimes can be the hardest part of putting a meal together. And slow cookers aren’t just for dinner.
You can cook steel cut oats overnight for a heart-healthy breakfast, or make some homemade applesauce for a delicious and nutritious snack. Whether it is a soup, a stew, a pot roast or pulled pork, nothing says fall quite like a slow cooker.
Try this delicious recipe for Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Oatmeal: