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Fall Foods That Fill You Up, Not Out

Sep 20, 2013

Fall has nearly arrived and those dog days of summer will soon, thankfully, be a thing of the past. That means it’s the season of sweaters and boots, goodies and goblins, breathtaking fall colors and raking up all those leaves. It also means fantastic fall food time!

Eating fresh, whole foods in season is the key to good nutrition. So here are five super-nutritious fall foods to fill up your plate while at the same time curbing your waistline:

Fabulous Fall Food #1: Apples
Don't overlook the most ubiquitous fall fruit, as an apple a day truly does keep the doctor away (and the numbers on the scale low). Packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber as well as Vitamin C, calcium and the powerful antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, apples should be number one on your fabulous fall food list. And don’t forget the hot apple cider with cinnamon to add some spice to your fall days!

Fabulous Fall Food #2: Pumpkin
Before you toss this nutrition gold mine away after Halloween carving, think again. Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita family which also includes squash and cucumbers. Nutritionally speaking, this bright orange vegetable is a virtually fat-free superfood. The deep orange color is a giveaway that pumpkin is rich in the disease-fighting antioxidants called carotenoids (especially the alpha and beta-carotenoids), that fight free radicals. Half a cup of pumpkin has about a full serving of Vitamin A in the form of its vitamin A precursor called beta carotene, plus a healthy dose of the blood-pressure-lowering mineral superstar potassium.

Fabulous Fall Food #3: Brussels sprouts
A bona fide anti-cancer cruciferous vegetable (the sprouts are a member of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, kale, broccoli and collard greens), Brussels sprouts are an incredibly nutritious vegetable that comes packed with nutrients, fiber and disease-fighting plant chemicals. At just 38 calories a cup and super-simple to prepare, this humble cabbage cousin should make numerous appearances on your fall dinner plate.

Fabulous Fall Food #4: Chestnuts

Chestnuts are truly a nutritious and delicious fall snack that you can feel good about. Just a handful supplies a half-day's worth of Vitamin B6. This vitamin plays a role in keeping your energy level up, boosting the immune system and possibly even fighting some forms of cancer. Chestnuts are also high in fiber, which helps satiate so you eat less. Eat them raw, boiled or roasted; at just 55 calories an ounce this is one nut that will certainly fill you up and not out!

Fabulous Fall Food #5: Winter acorn squash
Arguably America’s favorite (and the most ubiquitous) fall vegetable, winter squash (a term that encompasses a number of different varieties such as acorn, butternut, spaghetti and pumpkin) is a fall food that should definitely make the cut to your top five fall favorites. One half of an acorn squash contains just 116 calories, 4 grams of dietary fiber and 24% of the DV for Vitamin C, 5% of the DV for iron and 4% of the DV for calcium. Whether simply roasted with olive oil and sage or baked, steamed, mashed or sautéed, acorn squash is versatile and simple to prepare.

Eating locally grown, fresh and seasonal foods is the key to getting the best flavor form your food as well as the best nutrition. Living by this mantra not only helps your waistline, it also helps your wallet. It is ultimately cheaper and better for small farmers and your community's economy to eat fresh, seasonal and locally grown when feasible.

However you do it, make sure you tap into fall’s cornucopia of healthful foods!

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