Your Guide to Fall Eating

The school year has started and fall is here. This can feel like one of the busiest times of the year, but don’t forget to make time for healthy habits!

With the arrival of fall you’ll begin to see seasonal fruits and vegetables in your local grocery store and grocery stores. Buying local is not only beneficial to your body and the environment but it also helps to support local farms. Local farms are usually run and supported by families and their community, rather than a big corporation producing the food. As a result their fruits and vegetables are fresher and they don’t need to travel long distances to get to your kitchen table, meaning the food can be harvested closer to the time it’s ripe. Local farms also tend to use fewer pesticides and cause less harm to the environment with their farming methods.
Produce you can look forward to this fall are beets, brussels sprouts, peppers, pears, carrots, artichoke, figs, escarole, pomegranates, potatoes, and of course, pumpkins! Click here to see a full list of grown produce in Massachusetts and the best time of the year to buy it.

Artichoke Dip
Artichoke Dip:
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
• Fresh artichoke hearts (not the marinated kind)
• In a food processor, mix together artichoke hearts with 2 cups of plain fat free Greek yogurt
• Dice 2 cloves of garlic and mix them in
• Chop 1 cup fresh spinach and add in
• Sprinkle in 1 ½ cup of parmesan cheese, low fat
• Combine everything together in the food processor and chop lightly. Try not to make it too creamy or smooth
• Put the mixture into an oven safe dish and spread evenly
• Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
• Place in oven for 30 minutes or until sesame seeds are golden brown
• Serve right away with whole grain crackers or vegetables

Pomegranate Salad
Pomegranate Salad:
• Choose your favorite type of lettuce and put it into your salad bowl( I love using a mixture of kale, Boston Bibb lettuce and some fresh basil)
• Add some chopped tomatoes and ¼ avocado
• Toss in ½ cup of cooked quinoa
• Slice some apple very thin and add to your salad
• Top it all off with some pomegranate
• Pour a little extra virgin olive oil on top and some apple cider vinegar for the perfect fall salad

With kids back at school it’s the perfect time to ensure that they are getting the nutrients their bodies need to keep them full and satisfied throughout the day and you can start with breakfast. Start your family’s day right by never skipping breakfast. . An easy option on-the-go is homemade egg muffins;pack a few for your kids to take with them to school and it will leave them feel full and fueled all day. Throw egg muffins into the freezer if you want to use late and re-heat when ready to eat, yum!

egg muffins
Egg Muffins (makes about 12 medium sized muffins):
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• In a large bowl, whisk together 1 dozen eggs
• Chop up some onion, basil, tomato, mushrooms and whatever other vegetables you want. Add them to the raw eggs
• Shave some cheese into the raw eggs if desired
• Pour in ¼ cup almond milk or water if desired
• Mix everything together in the large bowl
• Add a pinch of sea salt and some black pepper
• Using a muffin tray, coat the sides with olive oil so nothing will stick and pour in the mixture. Fill each muffin cup up about half way
• Stick the tray in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes
• Once the muffins are a light brown on top, take them out and let them cool
• Stick them in the refrigerator and enjoy them for the week!

Now that the kids have a hearty breakfast to begin the day, you’ll want to keep the momentum going with a balanced lunch. A balanced lunch means fruits, veggies, protein and fiber. Examples of a balanced lunch include:
• Chicken sandwich with hummus
• Salad with tuna and quinoa
• Pita wraps with turkey
• Salmon burgers with sliced avocado

Make sure each lunch contains a fruit and a veggie. Throw in an apple or pear, some slices of carrots and dried chickpeas (try Biena) to snack on.

Finding time to prep food for you and your family is time consuming. The best way to ensure healthy eating is to plan ahead. Try to pick a prep time when you know you have an hour to spare and get ready for the week ahead. Sunday and Wednesday evenings are usually the best times. When you pick a day or two per week to plan ahead it ensures healthy eating for all. Now, about that Halloween candy….

Sky’s Bottom Line:
1. Eat seasonal foods whenever possible this fall, it’s good for you, the local farmers and the environment.
2. Make sure your family keeps up with healthy habits with kids back at school.
3. Set aside time to plan and prep food for the week; pick 1-2 days per week you can spare at least 30 minutes-1 hour.

Source: http://www.sustainabletable.org/254/local-regional-food-systems