Co-written by Maddie Metzger, a Nutrition & Health Student at Boston University whose favorite season is Fall
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking at WGBH’s #BostonTalks event. Alongside Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and love expert and the team from VirZoom, a virtual reality exercise bike, I spoke about five foods to keep you feeling healthy this fall. In case you weren’t able to make it out to the event, here are the tips I shared!
GO GREEN AND LEAFY! Examples of cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, etc. These vegetables are full of fiber and contain antioxidants that have cancer-fighting properties. Plus – cruciferous vegetables are super easy to cook with; you can roast, sautee or bake many of your favorite green, leafy veggies. I love to roast them in the oven at 350 – 400 F for about 20 minutes with a bit of salt, pepper and other seasoning while I cook the rest of my meal.
Squash is the perfect in-season fall food in New England and available at nearly all of your local farmers’ markets! Some of my favorite variations of squash include butternut squash, spaghetti squash and delicata squash.
Mushrooms are versatile and easy to cook with! My favorite ways to prepare them are to add them to sauces, soups, roast them, pan fry them and even add them to taco meat with a bit of sautéed onions.
I am a huge fan of chickpeas in any form – whether roasted, atop a salad or bowl or as hummus. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein and it’s this combination that makes them a winning pick! Similar to chickpeas are lentils and other canned beans. Keep canned beans in your pantry and when ready, wash off in strainer before eating to avoid the added sodium.
Fall is the perfect time to re-familiarize yourself with seeds. I love to roast pumpkin seeds or squash seeds in the oven with salt and pepper. Other seeds including sunflower, flax, and chia, are amazing sources of healthy fats and magnesium – a powerful mineral that has properties that aid in sleep. Seeds are a filling, healthy addition to any salad, yogurt, smoothie, etc.
Final Tip – Fiber.
I am a huge fiber fan and believe it deserves more attention than it gets. Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. I prioritize fiber intake with all of my patients. Fiber helps with digestion, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Additionally, fiber aids in weight loss, especially when paired with protein, to keep us feeling full for a longer amount of time. Pairing a fibrous food with a healthy fat, like almond butter or avocado, or protein, like greek yogurt or eggs, is the perfect combination to create a filling, healthy meal or snack.