Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well
10 healthy fall fruits and vegetables
Melissa Bess, former Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Some fruits and vegetables are easier to come by in the summer months, but a good variety is available in the fall and winter as well. It’s important to include fruits and vegetables in your diet year-round to stay healthy and ward off diseases. Here are some of the superstar fruits and vegetables of the fall and winter months.
- Sweet potatoes. They are loaded with beta carotene
(which the body makes into vitamin A), vitamin C, potassium,
fiber, iron and vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes have more nutrients
than regular white potatoes and can replace white potatoes in
some recipes. Try them mashed, baked or as a dessert.
- Apples. Apples are a traditional fall favorite and
are easy to find in the supermarket or you can pick your own
at a nearby orchard. They are a quick, easy snack and can be
paired with peanut butter or cheese for protein. Apples contain
antioxidants, which may help protect against certain cancers
and reduce levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Apples have vitamin
C, vitamin K and fiber. Remember the old saying, “an apple a
day keeps the doctor away.”
- Broccoli. This is one vegetable that can be eaten
raw or cooked, hot or cold, by itself or with other foods. Broccoli
can help prevent cancer and heart disease, and boost the immune
system. Nutrients in broccoli include vitamin C, vitamin A,
vitamin B6, iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E.
- Pumpkin. Pumpkin is a great source of potassium
and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is good for
the eyes. Canned or prepared fresh, pumpkin can be
made into a variety of soups, baked goods and desserts.
- Kiwi. This fruit can be eaten alone (after peeling)
or can be added to many different dishes, including soups, salads
and desserts. Kiwi contains antioxidants, which can help protect
the eyes, heart and colon. Kiwi also provides vitamin C, fiber, potassium,
magnesium and vitamin E.
- Avocado. Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated
fat. Even healthy fat is a dense source of energy, so it’s important
to eat avocados in moderation. They also contain vitamin E,
fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin C. Avocados can be used
on sandwiches or salads, or made into guacamole.
- Green beans. Green beans are high in vitamin K which
protects red blood cells and helps reduce the severity of asthma,
osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They also contain vitamin
C, potassium, folate, iron and magnesium. Green beans can be
served as a side dish or used in salads, soups or casseroles.
- Spinach. Dark green veggies contain a variety of
nutrients a healthy body needs. Spinach is packed with vitamin
A, vitamin K, iron, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, calcium, potassium,
fiber and vitamin E. Spinach also has antioxidants and anti-cancer
agents. Frozen or fresh spinach can be added to just about any
meal. Try using it on pizza or lasagna, or use it instead of lettuce in
- Pears. They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants
and vitamin C. Research suggests that regularly eating pears
and other fruits may guard against macular degeneration. Pears
seldom cause allergies and are usually safe for infants and
- Winter squash. It contains fiber, potassium, iron and vitamin A. Vitamin A helps ensure healthy skin, hair, vision and bones. Winter squash can be mashed, used in breads, desserts and soups, or as a snack or side dish.
Try a new recipe using one or more of the superstar fall fruits and vegetables. For healthy recipes see http://missourifamilies.org/nutrition/recipes/.
Last update: Monday, September 25, 2017