Every month for the past six months I’ve written a nutritional newsletter for the facilities in Seward to use for training. The topics have covered a wide variety of dietary medical issues. But for my October subject, I decided to focus on nutritionally packed Fall fruits and veggies just for fun.
I figured, it would be ok to share it on the blog to try to encourage readers to broaden their Fall fruits and veggies horizon. The information is simple, short, sweet and straight forward.
If you aren’t taking advantage of the harvest, I highly encourage you to. Introduce your families to new options. The sooner, the better. And if you’re lucky, they’ll develop a life long love of fruits and vegetables. My parents did it for me, and I’ve never met a fruit or vegetable that I didn’t like!
Fall Fruits and Veggies
It’s no secret that it’s difficult for anyone to consume a diet balanced enough to meet all of the requirements for vitamins, minerals and fiber daily. That’s where a good general daily multivitamin can come into play. Some in the population both young and old on are one (along with other supplements like Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, etc depending on age or disease). However, most are not, leaving one at risk for deficiencies.
That’s where taking advantage of seasonal foods, and building them into your diet can really help boost the nutritional value of meals.
Take squash for example. There are countless varieties out there, each with its own different flavor. The darker the squash, the more Vitamin A and C it contains. It’s textures are versatile and can be made into soups, mashed, pies and casseroles; sweet or savory. Plus squash is generally easy to chew and swallow for the younger and older populations.
Think creatively, like using spaghetti squash in place of noodles, or a half/quarter of acorn squash stuffed with a meal filling and baked, or butternut squash soup. Pumpkins aren’t just for carving! Try making a homemade pumpkin pie. And Zucchini? Bake that right into desserts and breads.
Then there are potatoes, now fresh right out of the ground. These are high in Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6 and contain some fiber. Of course we all know the versatility of potatoes and in interviewing my patient population; it’s something most people really like.
Sweet potatoes or yams are a great source of Vitamin A, plus contain Vitamin B-6, Magnesium, and fiber. It’s nice to enjoy these as fries, or baked in lieu of “white” potatoes.
Fall fruits also pack a nutritional punch. Apples contain moderate amounts of Vitamin C, and a good amount of fiber if eaten raw. This is important to some of people who have a tendency to overeat. Fiber works well to help one feel full and to keep things moving regularly.
In Alaska we are quite fortunate that we can harvest many types of berries well into the early Fall. Cranberries are a popular fruit this time of year, high in Vitamin C and fiber. They are quite tart if not cooked and a little bit tough so it’s good to cook them down a bit and balance out the flavor with a little sweetness.
Dare to try new Fall Fruits and Veggies
The point is, be creative with the fresh ingredients found seasonally. Benefits include that they are cost effective, more nutritionally dense and flavorful. Many of them would fit in nicely with any age group’s needs, tolerances, and taste/texture preferences. Plus, Bonus! They generally hold and store very well if kept in a cool place.
So get out to the farmer’s market, grocer or hit the garden one last time and enjoy the fresh Fall fruits and veggies abundant after the harvest! If you don’t in Alaska, the moose will just eat it. They know what’s good for them!
*Moose Photo courtesy of John Pennell via Arctic Warrior. Moose steal mine during the cover of night, but I’m bound and determined to get a photo yet!