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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Healthy Fall Produce

Now that the leaves are turning and summer crops are gone, purchase some healthy fall produce.   Some farmers’ markets are still open and if not, head to your local supermarket.  Here are some healthy choices for fall produce: (Adapted from:  9 Fall Produce Picks to Add to Your Plate)
  1. Pumpkins – not just for carving but for eating.   Pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A, full of fiber, basically fat free, offers lots of potassium.  Make some pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins.  Pumpkin pie does have some added sugar but also offers a lot of healthy nutrients.
  2. Sweet Potatoes – so many people avoid potatoes because they think they are fattening.  It is the add-ons like sour cream, that add the calories.  Sweet potatoes are low in fat but loaded with nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.   When eating out, choose the baked sweet potato over the baked white potato for a nutrition boost.  Enjoy some mashed sweet potatoes, or cut some up, top with cinnamon and bake in the oven with chicken or ham.
  3. Kale – this leafy green is a nutrition powerhouse.  Many restaurants now offer Kale in their salads.  Panera bread has it in many of their salads including the Cobb salad, Romaine and Kale Caesar Salad and in the Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken.  Like sweet potatoes and pumpkin, kale provides vitamin A, potassium, fiber and also vitamin K, a good amount of vitamin C and the mineral, manganese.  Kale is very low in calories, 1 cup chopped has only 36 calories.   Besides using kale raw in salads, try it in soup.  My daughter like to stir fry it with olive oil and some garlic.      
  4.  Pears – a fall crop and oh so good this time of year.  A good thing about pears is that they don’t need to ripen on the tree, they can ripen on your kitchen counter at room temperature.  How do you know when a pear is ripe enough to enjoy?  Look at the stem, “if the fruit near the stem gives to a little pressure, it is ripe.  Enjoy fresh, cut up in salads, in a smoothies or with some cheese and crackers. 
  5. Cranberries – loaded with nutrients and healthy antioxidants but unfortunately often loaded with added sugar.  My husband makes cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and cuts way back on the sugar but not the great taste.  Add dried cranberries to trail mix, salads, top your cooked oatmeal with some dried cranberries.  Ocean Spray now offers dried cranberries with 50% less sugar.  Look for this on the package label. 

Try this healthy Fruit, Cheese, and Walnut Salad this week, adapted from
o   1 apple, sliced with skin on
o   1 pear, sliced with skin on
o   2 T. blue cheese crumbles
o   1 T.  walnuts
o   1 T. dried cherries or dried cranberries
Combine in a bowl and enjoy.  Calories per serving:  300 calories, 5 grams of protein, 58 grams carbs, 9 grams fat, and a good 8 grams of fiber.

Reduced Sugar Cranberries

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