It’s that time of the year when everything seems to be flavored with pumpkin. But are you missing healthy alternatives that also comes with fall’s bounty? Rediscover amazing alternatives that deserve a spot on your plate this autumn.
Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, meal prepping for lunch or getting ready to host a crowd, these in-season superfoods are full of hearty and healthy flavors.
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, we believe this is also true of pears. Pears are as nutritious as they are tasty: they’re especially high in fiber, which makes them a great choice for gut health, weight loss and detoxing. Pears can also help fight inflammation.
There are many different varieties of pears that range in sweetness and textures. Visit the USA Pears has a chart to help choose the best one for your taste buds.
The combination of sweet and buttery flavors in pear and gorgonzola pizza is a tasty way to mix up your next pizza night.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussel sprouts may not have been a childhood favorite, but our taste buds change and evolve over time. These veggies pack a powerful punch. They’re high in fiber, vitamins and minerals that all support bone health, strengthen your immune system, prevent blood clots and improve gut health.
Try roasting up Brussels sprouts with turkey bacon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a savory, tangy side dish.
3. Butternut Squash
If you like pumpkin but want to try something different, butternut squash is the perfect fruit for you. Similar to pumpkin but slightly sweeter, butternut squash is high in fiber and potassium and known to help reduce blood pressure.
Made with a hearty blend of squash and apples with a hint cinnamon, a bowl of thick and hearty butternut squash soup is perfect for a chilly fall day.
Slightly spicy and slightly sweet, ginger has a truly distinctive flavor that can liven up lots of fall recipes. Ginger also has loads of health benefits: it helps fight nausea and can help soothe muscle aches and inflammation, making it a delicious choice for athletes and those who suffer from joint pain and osteoporosis.
Try soy ginger salmon for a quick and healthy dinner option – it strikes just the right balance of spicy sweetness!
If you’re looking for a sweet snack without the guilt, figs are the perfect treat for you. Known for their rich, sweet taste, figs are especially good for your skin and hair thanks to their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Since figs are so sweet, they can often be used as an alternative for sugar in many recipes. Try pairing them with dates to make a healthier (but still satisfying) pan of fruit-sweetened fig and walnut brownies.
In season during the fall, the soft, buttery taste of fresh artichokes can’t be beat. The unique-looking veggies are rich in vitamin C, folate and potassium, and they’re brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants. When shopping for fresh artichokes, look for ones with dark green leaves that are tight like a fist and squeak when lightly squeezed.
Once you’ve found the perfectly ripe artichokes, use them to make a creamy, rich artichoke dip for your next football party!
Beets can add color and immune-boosting power to your plate this season. Ranging in color from golden yellow and deep red, the root vegetable is loaded with nutrients like folate, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Beets can be enjoyed cooked or even raw (the green, leafy stalks are edible too), but roasting them intensifies their sweet flavor. Their distinct taste couples with the sharp flavors of goat cheese for a savory combination in a balsamic roasted beet salad.
Cauliflower is no longer destined to be a side dish. These days, it’s showing up in everything from pizza crust to tacos. It’s probably because the increasingly popular and versatile veggie is blossoming with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins B6, C and K. It’s also incredibly low in carbs, which makes it friendly for paleo and keto dieters, as well as gluten-free folks. Since it’s high in fiber, it can also help you feel fuller and aid digestion.
Cauliflower’s mild flavor and sturdy texture hold up well to many preparations. It can be a side dish, base layer or centerpiece, and a substitute for lots of things including potatoes and meat. Even wing fans will enjoy the kick of baked buffalo cauliflower bites!
Cranberries don’t have to be reserved for Thanksgiving. They’re in season as early as September and pack many nutrition benefits that will make you want to eat them all season long. The distinctive red berries are high in antioxidants and vitamin K, and they’re also helpful in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) and boosting kidney health.
A one-pan cranberry balsamic roasted chicken is simple yet healthy way to bring this fall fruit to your table.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Fall is the perfect time to change up your potato game and swap your usual white potatoes for sweet potatoes. The creamy, comforting potatoes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that aid digestive health, and they’re known to improve vision and brain function.
Similar to white potatoes, sweet potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for something more diverse (but still healthy!), try adding sweet potato chickpea curry to your meal rotation.