If my 15 + years as a Certified Nutritionist has taught me one thing, it's that variety is absolutely essential. Literally every one of my friends and clients eventually comes to a point where they just can't stand to eat one more salad or filet of salmon. Boredom is dangerous when you're learning how to be healthy - if you don't have plenty of options, you're more likely to fall back on the satisfying but bad-for-you foods you relied on in the past.
Luckily, Mother Nature is looking out for us. The start of fall doesn't only mean walking our kids to the bus stop and bracing for cooler weather. It also means we have a whole new treasure trove of fruits and veggies to choose from! Eating seasonally offers real taste, budget, and health benefits. Here are just a few of them:
- Fruit tastes better in season. If you're eating a summer fruit in the middle of winter, chances are it was produced in one of two ways: It was either grown in a hothouse or other controlled environment, or it was picked early so it could be saved and shipped to you on demand. While there's nothing wrong with either of these methods - an off-season apple is still an apple - both methods have a real effect on taste. Fruit that's allowed to ripen fully just tastes better. And when you're training your palate to like healthy foods, taste is essential.
- In-season fruit is less expensive. Shipping food across long distances in the off season costs companies money, and they'll generally pass that cost off to the consumer. Plus, with a few exceptions, fruit is scarcer in its off-season. That scarcity also drives up costs, which means that buying your fruit in season can significantly lower your shopping bill at the checkout counter. You can even buy in-season fruit and freeze it so you can keep it longer.
- Nutrients are more plentiful in seasonal fruit. Fruit has a certain amount of time it needs to ripen to be at its maximum free radical-fighting weight. Picking it early - or growing it in artificial conditions - depletes its nutrient store.
Keeping a list of what fruits and veggies are in season is a great way to make sure you aren't eating exactly the same thing, day in and day out, for the entire year. Here's a list of fall fruits to stock up on:
- Apples: Some researchers believe that apples may aid weight loss by reducing the number of calories you eat throughout the day. For the full flavonoid effect, make sure you eat the skin, which is packed with nutrients.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin is high in fiber and packed with vitamins A, C, and beta carotene, which help boost immune function. Plus, pumpkin makes a great entree (use it as a hearty soup base) and a tasty dessert (heat it up and sprinkle with a little cinnamon). Enjoy!
- Grapefruit: Research suggests that grapefruit may aid weight loss (though please don't try the "grapefruit diet"). Plus, it contains 75% of your daily value of vitamin C.
Other fall fruits to look for include cranberries, grapes, figs, pears, and pomegranates.
How about some recipes to go along with those must-have foods?
These are some of my favorites right now. They fit your Beyond Diet lifestyle (which makes everything easier), they're super affordable (who doesn't love that?) and most importantly...
They taste AMAZING!
>> Better Breads: 25 Quick & Delicious, Gluten-Free Paleo & Low Carb Breads
>> Paleo Breakfast Bible: 105 Great Tasting, Nutritious Paleo-based Breakfast Meals to Start Your Day