It’s November and holiday time. We all associate this time of year with an expanding waistline. Many accept the months of October, November and December as a time to indulge and ignore any practice of self-control. It is commonplace to share baked goods and sweet treats with family, friends and coworkers during this time of year. After all, food is how we express our gratitude for one another and it is often what we use to make ourselves feel better. Quick reflection: Do these foods actually make us happier and healthier? If we really want to comfort our body, mind and spirit and express our gratitude to others, it might be time to indulge in the foods that do just that. I want to teach you how to make fall favorites work for your body. And by fall favorites, I am referring to foods that are in season during this time of year. Check out the following ingredient list to learn why they are important and how to incorporate them into your meal plan. Stay tuned for next week and learn about other foods you can add to your repertoire.
Almonds I am talking about the real thing not the processed milk that you buy at the store. Almonds are a good source of fiber, fat, protein, vitamin E and magnesium. It is this combination of nutrients that makes the almond a powerhouse. Use fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and five spice to add a taste of fall to this convenient snack food.
Apples will keep the doctor away. Why? If you eat an apple and its skin, you are consuming a good source of fiber. This fiber will help promote gut health which will have a domino effect on your overall health. If you do not like apples, try to incorporate apple cider vinegar as an acid in your cooking. I use it when making sauces or salad dressings. A little goes a long way when it comes to gut health.
Beets will give you a jump start for immunity and cognitive functioning. Doesn’t everyone want to think clearly and reduce risk of infection? I do! The bulb of beet when paired with carrots is a good substitute for tomatoes. I use it to make a tomato-less “red” sauce. I also sauté the beet greens and mix with baked apple slices for a warm winter salad.
Brussel Sprouts. This is probably one of the least favorite vegetables of the season. However, I think it has gained this poor reputation because people do not understand how to prepare it. I like to roast it and add bits of bacon. You can also purchase shaved brussel sprouts and add them to any salad. Why should you give this vegetable another shot? It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and research has shown that is decreases cellular damage.
Cranberries are often associated with sauce or juice. Neither of which are my favorite. If you like it, go ahead and enjoy. It is a healthy ingredient because it is rich in antioxidants. Specifically, these nutrients help decrease cell damage that may lead to heart disease and cancer. This fruit can easily be added to oatmeal, incorporated into a muffin or swirled into a plain or vanilla yogurt.