By Sara Lucero
Fall is in full effect, and swimsuit season is in the rearview, but that doesn’t mean you should throw your weight loss goals out the window. While fall foods are often synonymous with sweets and creamy comfort food, they can actually be champs at helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Pears – This sweet fruit is at its peak this time of year and can be enjoyed as a quick snack, healthy dessert or as part of a crisp salad for both fiber and a boost of vitamin C. Many restaurants incorporate pears on the menu this time of year. At home, try this Beet and Pear with Baby Kale salad recipe.
- Apples – Chances are you’re already pretty familiar with this fall staple. Similar to pears, apples help you get your recommended dose of vitamin C for strong eyes and immune system. They are also a great alternative to higher fat and calorie desserts and can add interest to savory entrées like One Pan Roasted Pork with Sweet Potato, Pear, Apple and Garlic.
- Spaghetti Squash – Best known as a lower carb, higher fiber alternative to traditional enriched pasta, spaghetti squash offers a slightly sweet base for savory pasta sauce, fresh vegetables, succulent seafood, and just about anything you can think to top it with. Get some extra potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A in your day when you include a serving of this vegetable. At home, try Lemon and Herb Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Shrimp.
- Squash – Acorn, delicata, butternut, kabocha and more varieties of squash are piled high in the produce bins and in the spotlight on restaurant menus this time of year. Each type offers a slightly different flavor but with many of the same nutrients and health benefits, including loads of fiber. At home, try this recipe for Roasted Delicata Squash With Pomegranate that pairs delicata squash with another popular fall and winter choice, pomegranate.
- Sweet potatoes – Similar to other veggies on our list, sweet potatoes are a good choice for vitamins A and C, making them a smart addition to your diet not just for weight loss but also for healthy eyes and a strong immune system. These are generally a year-round find on restaurant menus, but they are definitely a fall classic! Try a hearty recipe at home like Chicken and Sweet Potato Bake or look for them roasted, baked, mashed and more at a restaurant near you.
- Parsnips – These root vegetables are related to carrots and a great way to add extra vitamin C, folate and fiber to your diet. With a distinctive, slightly sweet flavor, these guys are generally found roasted with other root veggies, and they have so much potential that it may be time to get a little more creative with them. Restaurants are including them in mashes, purees and mélanges. At home, make the most of them in a recipe like this Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup.
- Brussels sprouts – They are often used as a threat, but this fall vegetable can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your meal. Brussels sprouts add not only fiber and flavor to your day but also vitamins C and K important for healthy eyes, a strong immune system, and bone and heart health. Take advantage of restaurants’ culinary expertise when you sample Brussels sprouts at a local restaurant, or give them a try at home with a recipe like this Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans.
- Persimmons – If you are already a fan of these sweet and delicately-flavored fruit or just intrigued by the more unusual option, now is the time to take advantage of the persimmon bounty. Enjoy them as a simple snack, sliced in salads or paired with more savory ingredients. They’re an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C. Look for them on restaurant menus that focus on seasonal offerings or give them a try in recipes like this Persimmon Sorbet.
How do you incorporate fall foods into your diet? Look for these and more nutritious and seasonal choices in dietitian-recommended Healthy Dining picks like these.