Fall is my favorite season and the highlight for me has always been the delicious fall foods. I love exploring my local farmer’s market, the local apple orchard and pumpkin patch for seasonal delights. Remember, choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables ensures that the produce is at peak ripeness and chalk full of flavor and nutrients. Here are a dozen of my favorite fall foods.

Apples: Packed with filling fiber and the disease-fighting antioxidant quercetin, apples are the perfect fall fruit. Enjoy them chopped into salads, as a snack with almond butter, cooked into sauces, turkey meatballs and muffin batter. They can even be eaten in a Turkey Apple Wrap

Brussels sprouts: They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Brussels sprouts may also reduce the risk of cancer, decrease inflammation and improve blood sugar control. They make the perfect dinner side roasted or shredded into a salad. 

Carrots: The beta-carotene in carrots helps promote sharp vision and healthy skin and strengthens the immune system. Look for orange, yellow, red and purple carrots at your local farmer’s market. Try pureeing or dicing them into soups and sauces. Carrots also make a wonderful snack paired with hummus or peanut butter.

Dates: They are a good source of dietary fiber and a variety of minerals (like manganese) which play an important role in how you metabolize food. Dried dates make a delicious addition to oatmeal and whole grains like quinoa and whole-wheat couscous.

Figs: A good source of fiber, calcium, magnesium and energy-boosting iron. They are a yummy addition to salads or sliced on top of Greek yogurt with drizzled honey as a snack or dessert.

Kale: Everyone’s favorite green is a great source of bone-building calcium, heart-healthy potassium and fiber. Kale is wonderful sautéed in olive oil and garlic or blended into a fresh smoothie. You can also bake Cheezy Kale Chips

Onions: A kitchen staple that is a very good source of vitamin C, LDL-lowering quercetin and fiber. Onions are delicious when caramelized and give flavor to soups, sauces, frittatas, meatloaves, and stir-fries.

Pears: They are not only a great source of fiber, but pears are full of potassium, which helps strengthen bones and regulate blood pressure. Try baking pears (or apples) for a delicious fall dessert, topping salads or as a snack with a handful of nuts.

Pomegranate: Research suggests that pomegranates can benefit the heart by preventing, and even reversing, plaque buildup in the arteries. They are also rich in antioxidants. Sprinkle the seeds in salads, smoothies or eat them on their own as a crunchy, tart snack.

Pumpkin: Everyone’s fall mascot is loaded with carotenoids, fiber and vitamin C. Plus the seeds are full of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin is not only wonderful in pies but tastes great as the base of a fall soup or pasta sauce. It can also be baked into breads and cookies. The seeds make a wonderful snack as a delicious trail mix (see below).

Spaghetti Squash: This is my favorite squash, which is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has low-calorie content and may assist in weight loss and digestive health. It is a wonderful low-carbohydrate pasta alternative. Try my Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti Recipe

Sweet Potatoes: They are a healthy carbohydrate high in fiber and antioxidants. Like carrots, sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A to support good vision and your immune system. They are great baked into potato wedges or mashed. This versatile vegetable can also be used in a souffle for dessert. You can even share some Sweet Paw-Tato Fries with your doggy.