Nutrition Articles

What to Eat This Fall

Enjoy the Season's Freshest Foods

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For most of us, eating seasonally is a foreign concept. Many people don't even know that foods have a season, let alone what foods are in season at any given time of year. In the US, we enjoy practically unlimited access to any food at any time of the year. Tomatoes in December are nice, but not without consequences. Flavor suffers, nutrient levels decline, and environmental impact soars with each mile a food must travel to reach its ultimate destination.

Seasonal food, on the other hand, is fresh and local! Boasting a host of benefits, including better flavor, more nutrients, and less environmental burden, it's usually picked just hours or days before you buy it (while standard supermarket produce can weather many days or even weeks in transport). It’s also healthier for the environment because the food has traveled a shorter distance, meaning fewer fossil fuels are used in its transport from the farm to your table.

Possibly the best benefit though, is that seasonal food is always interesting, as each season brings a new crop of foods that you haven't had for an entire year. Before you've had a chance to tire of its bounty, the season changes to bring new, flavorful foods to add to your pantry.

Shopping for seasonal foods is easy—a fun trip to your local farmer's market will yield the majority of the ingredients you need. Availability will vary from region to region, but here's a general list of foods that make fall their season, along with tips on how to incorporate these ingredients into your meals.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Around here going to a farmer's market is just the same as going to a grocery store. So many set up a stall claiming to be fresh produce which they have gotten from a warehouse. I don't even try going to them anymore as it was just a waste of time. Mostly all they had was baked goods or sweet stuff. Not many people actually grow the stuff they sell, they just go to a warehouse buy and then resell it with beefed up prices. - 10/6/2014 12:29:30 PM
  • Good article until it got to the fruit section. Why add sugar to fresh fruit? And why suggest adding it to ice cream? But I guess this isn't just for people trying to lose weight. - 10/6/2014 11:43:15 AM
  • I love how they assume that EVERYONE has access to a farmers market all year long. Ours run from July to the end of September, period. After that? It's back to Walmart. Food desserts do exist. Try to keep in mind that not all of us live in California or NYC, okay? - 10/6/2014 9:23:21 AM
  • Why all the hate for butter? Butter is DELICIOUS, healthier than any of the so-called
    healthy alternatives, and fits nicely in to your plan in moderation. - 10/6/2014 8:53:53 AM
  • Yum! 'nuff said. - 9/9/2014 1:13:02 PM
  • Parsnips, sweet potatoes & cauliflower all are wonderful roasted in the oven. Please don't just boil. Roast cauliflower is a revelation!

    You can "bake" an apple with some cinnamon & raisins in the microwave. No sugar, fat, & takes just a couple of minutes. I love autumn produce! - 9/5/2014 3:05:28 AM
  • The author did not mention that you can cook squash and pumpkin in the microwave. I used to cook pumpkin and preserve it by drying it. In the oven, this takes forever. Cooking in the microwave gives perfectly acceptable results. Two nights ago, I cooked a half butternut in the microwave, using the potato setting. It came out perfectly. I can go ahead and use it just like canned pumpkin. - 11/9/2012 8:53:30 PM
  • -BENI-
    Giventhanks - I thought the same thing. I enjoy many of my foods plain now. Or if you have to have something - olive oil is great on cauliflower. My apples I now "bake" them in the microwave. I core them, cut in half, sprinkle with just cinnamon - no sugar, in for a few minutes, they are wonderful. You can even put a splash of vanilla or almond soy milk on them!
    Also for squash - butternut - use a really good peeler, peel it, chop it into big squares - a splash of olive oil, bit of salt and pepper and roast in the oven. Then mix them with potatoes or risotto or have plain. They are delicious.
    I grew up with my mother always making acorn squash, cut in half with butter and brown sugar. I made it recently - plain! It was amazing.
    Before adding the added calorie ingredients try the fresh vegetable first - you may like it! - 11/9/2012 6:56:12 AM
  • Figs and pears are good in in mesclun mix salad with balsamic vinagrette, nd a sprinkle of goat cheese. - 11/2/2012 7:31:51 AM
  • I was surprised at many of the unhealthy suggestions about using butter, sugar and syrup. Since I have been eating healthier, I have grown to love the natural tastes of fruits and vegetables. I never would have thought of eating a sweet potato without lots of butter or margarine and now I love it all by itself. WOW, have I changed! LOL!

    Have a great day everyone!

    Pat - 10/10/2012 10:15:56 AM
  • JEAN_W_1960
    Thank you, it's good to know it's safe to buy apples again without bringing home a bagful of bruised apples. - 10/18/2011 10:51:44 PM
  • I agree that I would prefer not to see sugar and butter as suggestions for everything. Sugar on pears, even. That would kill my caloric intake right now.

    I do enjoy half a pear chopped and added to my baby green salad these days.

    Regarding apples. I also like sauteeing them in just a little coconut oil and water. Add to oatmeal with chopped pecans and cinnamon. Sweeten with agave nectar, if desired, and add a little coconut or almond beverage (unsweetened). YUM!

    I have a hard time finding swiss chard, though I like it. I'll have to look harder. - 10/18/2011 10:01:48 PM
  • You know I take issue with the comment about not knowing how to eat seasonally- it wasn't that long ago that I had difficulty getting decent tasting produce in my supermarket in the winter in Canada. - 10/18/2011 9:07:53 PM
  • One of my favorite fall and winter breakfasts is apples with oatmeal or any other hot cereal.
    I cut up and sautee apples with a little real maple syrup and walnuts, add the liquid (milk or water) and oats and cook til the oats are ready. - 10/18/2011 4:22:49 PM
  • The very easiest way to cook winter squash is to pierce it with a knive 3 or 4 times and then microwave it for 7 to 12 minutes depending on the size. - 10/18/2011 8:05:44 AM

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