September brings with it that familiar feeling of ‘back to routine.’ The perfect time to start making some nutrition changes. It took me a long time (even during nutrition school) to simply start eating more veggies. Most of us know how to eat, we know that vegetables and fruits and whole grains are good, organic meats and less processed foods is ideal, but we don't necessarily know the ins and outs of what whole foods really looks like. So my seasonal food lists (listed below) will give you some good reasons why these foods are so powerful as well as easy ways to incorporate them.
And! With this new fall list, my seasonal foods list has finally come full circle!
Here's my top 7 favourite Okanagan autumn foods, with delectable root veggies taking home the gold.
(In Europe & the UK known as “courgettes”) zucchini is high in water and fiber and contains significant amounts of vitamins B6, riboflavin, folate, C, and K, and minerals, like potassium and manganese. Due to the fiber and water content it’s helpful for our digestion and bowels, circulation, heart health and helpful for our energy levels because of the B vitamin content. This squash also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a nutrient-dense food that you can easily include in your diet. Here’s one easy way: Read [Zucchini & Mashed Potatoes.] You can also make zucchini bread [recipe] or chop and sauté it in any stir fry or your morning eggs.
2. Green Cabbage
I love cabbage for its simplicity and versatility. Also, my Austrian heritage. Fry it up, add it to any lunch/dinner stir-fry or breakfast dish, add bacon & caraway seeds to it and make it a salad, coleslaw it, roast it, steam or bake it. [recipe] Cabbage is a brain food that also helps our immune system. With its powerful anti-inflammatories and high nutrient content, adding cabbage to your grocery cart each week is a smart step. If you’re into fermenting foods, sauerkraut is a good basic place to start (or try my recipe for easy fermented pickles!)
We know that eating raw food is important [Read: Stoking the Flames of your Digestive Fire] and apples are the easiest way to get some raw fruit in your diet in the fall. They are an easy snack and travel food that’s super tasty, and offer up a great dose of fiber, vitamin C and prebiotic benefits. Most people eat them on their own, or have them sliced up with a natural peanut butter. My absolute fav is in a breakfast or dessert [Recipe: Easy Apple Crisp]
While pears aren’t everyones favourite due to their texture, they are a nutritional powerhouse. According to Dr. Axe, “pears are capable of lowering cholesterol thanks to their high fiber content. They contain special phytonutrients, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids, anticancer polyphenols and anti-aging flavonoids. Studies regarding pear nutrition have linked the fruit’s consumption with lower levels of constipation, kidney stones, high cholesterol and even diabetes.” Pretty awesome reasons to eat more pears.
Carrots are those famous sweet orange veggies we all know and love, and they are chock full of antioxidants and easily enjoyed both cooked and raw. Due to specific nutrients concentrated in carrots, they support our eyesight, liver and heart health. I love my carrots in a nice fall soup, like this one. [Root Vegetable Soup] Carrots are hardy root vegetables that will keep longer than many others if stored properly. The trick to preserving the freshness of carrot roots is to minimize the amount of moisture they lose, so store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel, which will reduce condensation. Loss of some nutrients in carrots is likely to be slowed down through refrigeration, and properly refrigerated they should keep fresh for about two weeks.
6. New Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are a great source of B vitamins, potassium and an array of vitamins. I never peel my potatoes (not even for mashed…) as many of the nutrient content is in their skin. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are a great place for people to start who are new to cooking from scratch or eating whole foods [Read:5 Reasons You Need Whole Foods] because they are EASY. You can chop them and boil them and serve them as a side dish with butter and sea salt and pepper, mash them up with butter and greens or herbs and voila! They make a great side dish or breakfast [Recipe: Sweet Potato Oats] and are an easy way to eat seasonally and support local, as potatoes are at the farmers’ market very late into the season.
Fiber, zinc and minerals are the shining stars of oats, nutritionally. But if oats conjure up images of thrown-together breakfasts or packaged/sweetened/microwaved meals for you, there is another way to view them! Number one is to make them taste good so you actually eat them - whole oats are an amazing food for grounding and calming us [Read: 7 Food & Lifestyle Shifts to Calm Your Anxiety] and are super filling. They aid weight loss goals (blood sugar balance, loving our liver and feeling satisfied after meals are important for weight loss) and mental health. They are easy to make, easy to digest and many different ways to make them taste super yummy and unique so you aren’t just having plain oats all the time. Steel-cut whole oats are my favourite, with microwaved oats making the lower end of the list [Read: Are Organic Packaged Foods Healthier?]
The best cozy Okanagan autumns are filled with root veggie dreams, which is an easy way to get settled for the upcoming short days, cozy nights season as well as to help you seriously relax, since root veggies make my top list for calming foods. [Read: 7 Ways to Calm Your Anxiety] Hope you enjoyed my top 5 favourite Okanagan fall foods, happy pumpkin season!
While most of us know how to eat and that way less processed foods is ideal, we don't necessarily know the ins and outs of what whole foods really looks like specifically tailored for us, and how exactly to make those changes. It happens. And its’ what I help my clients with every day, if you need support - let’s chat.
(P.S. Tempted by the pumpkin spice season? Recipe: [Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe])