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Healthier Fall Food Alternatives Part 1

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As colder weather nears in, many are already thinking about the tasty allure of soups and cinnamon rolls – the comforting combination of all our favorite foods. Not only do they warm you up, they offer at-home goodness that just can’t be found the rest of the year. However, these fall-time favorites also call for heavier ingredients, such as fried or fatty foods, thick breads, and more. Which means, delicious as they may be, these choices can also lead to weight gain and other unhealthy side effects, such as a raise in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, upsetting hydration levels, and more.

But just because fall foods traditionally mean “heavy,” doesn’t mean we have to stick to that norm. The next time a craving comes along, opt for a healthier for down-home meals without the nasty side effects.

Fall Healthy Foods

Sweet Potatoes

Offering a slightly different flavor than traditional potatos, sweet potatoes also have fewer calories and more nutrients. A win-win situation. Incorporate them as fries, mash them and serve with gravy, go with a traditional baked … or whatever other way you prefer to consume your starch.

Sweet potatoes are also known for their lack of salt and fat, making them a healthy addition to any fall favorite meal.

Brussels Sprouts

For decades Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap. They’re the veggie that no kid wants to eat, but every parent forces to “at least try.” However, they’re actually quite tasty and come with plenty of vitamins, such as vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, and are a huge source of protein – a feat that’s considered quite rare in the vegetable department.

Serve your sprouts as a side to any meal, or mix them into your favorite soup or stir-fry. It’s a colorful and tasty way to make your cooking more nutritious.

Parsnips

A cousin to the carrot, parsnips offer natural fiber that can be hard to find. Incorporate these root veggies into your favorite soup or crockpot recipe, or serve like traditional cooked carrots for a new take on the old favorite.

And even though carrots are no slouch on nutrients, the parsnip brings in plenty of health perks that are simply hard to find in fruits and veggies. You can even combine them for a healthy, yet unique, take on them both!

Winter Squash

A group name for all types of squash (butternut, acorn, buttercup, etc.), winter squash is a simple way to take a fall meal to the next level. Not only are these forms of produce not available until fall, they can be stored for months after they’re picked.

Winter squashes can be used in pasta dishes, veggie bakes, and more. They’re also on the list of healthiest non-green veggies, so you know they come packed with an added punch of nutrients.

Pumpkin

Adjacent to the squash sits the pumpkin, traditional fall fare. It’s known for its high doses in B vitamins, especially folate, niacin, and thiamin, as well as calcium, copper, phosphorus, and potassium.

Aside from the traditional pumpkin pie, however, it can be baked into all types of dishes – even savory ones. And for an added dose of healthy, use an actual pumpkin (ask a clerk about which ones are the best for cooking), rather than the canned kind, which is likely to be stuffed with artificial preservatives.

Pears

Apple is traditionally the fruit of the fall, but why not mix it up and opt for its healthier friend, the pear? Pears are naturally sweet, which eliminates the need for sugar, and also come with plenty of potassium and vitamin C. So each time you eat one, you’re sure to get a daily dose of vitamins.

Put pears in your favorite fruit dishes, bake them with brown sugar for a more nutritious take on baked apples, or incorporate them into salads for a tasty nutrient boost. 

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