Explore fall’s seasonal foods

Some of the highest fiber and mineral content produce awaits you this season.

Before your begin planning Thanksgiving dinner, enjoy all that fall has to offer with its many in season fruits and vegetables.

Generally speaking, produce is usually of better quality and better tasting when “in season.” Not to mention, it is more abundant and affordable, too. Fall boasts some of the most nutritious “in season” fruits and vegetables of the growing season.

Not only can you literally eat your rainbow of nutritious foods during the fall, but these produce foods contain some of the highest fiber, minerals and calcium.

For Michigan produce visit the Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh page. Here is a list of common, favorite fall fruits and vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicory
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Oranges
  • Parsnips
  • Pears (late season)
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Quince
  • Shallots
  • Star fruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Winter squash

Hidden benefits of fall’s seasonal foods

Fiber – High fiber foods during the fall include blackberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, pears, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and apples.

The role of fiber:

  • Slows the absorption of sugar from food
  • May reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Helps control weight
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Relief of constipation/diarrhea
  • Lowers risk of bowel disorders
  • Lowers risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer

How much fiber do you need for your age?

  • Females ages 31-50 = 25 grams per day
  • Females age 50+ = 21 grams per day
  • Males age 31-50 = 38 grams per day
  • Males age 50+ = 30 grams per day

Minerals – Foods with high minerals are also on the fall list. Examples include green leafy produce such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and beets

The role of minerals:

  • Like vitamins, minerals help your body grow and stay healthy.
  • Your body needs minerals to perform different functions, from building healthy bones to transmitting electrical impulses along nerves.

Calcium – Foods with high calcium include dried figs, dates, broccoli and okra.

The role of calcium:

  • Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the human body.
  • Calcium helps form and maintains healthy teeth and bones.
  • Proper levels of calcium over a lifetime can help prevent osteoporosis.
  • When staying within healthy guidelines for calcium, the recommended calcium intake is 1,200 milligrams per day, for most adults.

Fall seasonal fruits and vegetables are among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend list of food for those with chronic illness. For maintaining good health, the CDC has identified the following target areas for improving nutrition and promoting active living:

  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Increase physical activity
  • Decrease consumption of sugar drinks
  • Decrease consumption of energy-dense foods, which are high in calories

For more fall activities, food recipes and nutrition information visit MSU Extension at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/chronic_disease

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