As much as I hate to admit, summer is over. The coming of the cooler weather means different things to different people, but as a dietitian I am mostly concerned with the variety of fresh, nutritious, affordable and locally grown vegetables that are coming into season.
This won’t be the first time you’ve heard me say this, but vegetables are the most important part of your diet and the unfortunate fact is that the majority of Canadian’s don’t eat enough of them.
Today’s article will introduce you to most nutritious seasonal fall vegetables and give you some inspiration to help you incorporate them into your diet as we drift into the cooler season ahead.
The Top 5 Fall Vegetables
Pumpkin: The famous Halloween vegetable is probably best described as a nutritional cross between a sweet potato and a carrot, and can be used to replace either in meals or recipes. Pumpkin is an excellent source of nutrients such as vitamin A, fibre and potassium, all three of which Canadians need more of.
Health Bonus: When you buy a whole pumpkin, don’t throw out the seeds as they are an extremely rich source of magnesium which many of us don’t get enough of. Instead, bake them at 375 F for 20 minutes and enjoy!
Don’t know how to cook a pumpkin? Don’t sweat it, check out this instructional link
Squash: Squash is nutritionally similar to pumpkin and can be prepared in the same way. It also comes with the added bonus of having extraordinarily healthy seeds and I highly recommend you don’t skip out on them.
Brussels sprouts: Don’t let their reputation fool you. I went a good 25 years thinking that I did not like Brussels sprouts. Last year, I finally decided to give them a fair shot. I dressed them in olive oil and threw them in the oven for about 7-8 minutes at 375F, and they turned out great. Long story short, they are easy to prepare, one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat and just about to come into season.
Eggplant: Eggplant is a well-respected classic that goes great sautéed on its own or as a component of a rice or pasta dish. Its secret weapon is soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels and also contributes to digestive health.
Parsnips: Parsnips are essentially “albino” carrots and although they may not pack the same nutritional punch as the other vegetables on the list, they are a solid source of potassium and fibre. The primary reason I have included them is that, unlike the other options I have provided here today, parsnips are sweet and crunchy and can be quickly and easily in their raw form.
I know that it is hard to say goodbye to summer, but hopefully these nutritious and delicious fall vegetables will give you something to smile about as the cooler weather starts to roll in.
Andy De Santis RD MPH