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Fall is coming. And that means pumpkin spice lattes and at least a dozen more reasons to indulge and forget about your desired physique. But remember, when you’re surrounded by pumpkin pies, candied apples, and pillowcases full of Halloween candy, the pilgrim founders of America celebrated this season as the harvest of fresh, healthy produce, not candy corn and caramel apple suckers.
So here’s your list of foods in season in fall that will help you celebrate the bounty of the harvest season, just like the pilgrims.
Pomegranates, Pears, and Persimmons
Pomegranate, the fruit that brought us the seasons, according to the ancient Greeks, are high in antioxidants and potassium. They’re fun to eat by themselves or to add to drinks and sorbets.
Considered by some to be a second to apples, pears in antiquity were actually considered to be the superior fruit. Originally cultivated in Eastern Europe, they are excellent in a harvest salad, or on an autumn cheese board.
The persimmon, truly an autumn fruit, is sure to charm with its uniqueness and is high in vitamin C. Known as “the food of the Gods” by the Greeks, it is very important to find this fruit ripe so as to avoid a tormenting flavor. It can be served similarly to a pear: on salads or with cheeses. If you’re still wondering “What do I do with persimmon!?” take a look at this tasty recipe.
Rutabaga and Pumpkins
The pumpkin is not only a seasonal icon, but also healthy and delicious – as long as you don’t go nuts on sugar filled pumpkin breads, pies, cookies, latte’s, and other baked goods that are popular this time of the year. It’s an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. Try it roasted with an assortment of winter squash and allow it to change your world. Don’t forget about the seeds!
The rutabaga originated in the wild as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. It can be treated similarly to a potato and served in soups and stews. Rutabagas and turnips were the pumpkins of the middle ages and kids in Scotland turned them into carved “tumshie heads” for Halloween.
Clams, Mussels, and Oysters
Common lore suggests to eat these shellfish only during months with an “R” – so September to April. That means Fall is prime time for these shellfish high in omega threes.
Get your clams fresh and shelled at the market, costco, or get them even fresher and dig them up yourself. Either way they’ll provide you with surprisingly high amount of iron.
Mussels have likely been used as food for over 20,000 years. They should a have a fresh-briny smell – not fishy – when you buy them. They’re high in omega threes just like clams.
Oysters are an experience. Eat them raw and taste the essence of the sea, or grill them in the shell for the more faint of heart. They are high in protein and zinc.
Chestnuts, Walnuts, and Pistachios
If you have ever had a local nut in season, you know it’s difficult to go back. The good news is Fall is the traditional season for nuts so it’s the ideal time to get them locally.
Chestnuts, once a visible icon of the season now nearly only live on in song lyrics. These nuts are higher in carbohydrates than other nuts and provide four grams of fiber per serving. Buy some fresh and take time to roast and shell them yourself to make the season bright.
Walnuts are a classic. Try them raw with the skin and reap their well-researched cardiovascular benefits. Walnuts contain the amino acid L-arginine which the body uses to manufacture nitric oxide,and keep our arteries flexible and blood clot free.
The world would be a grim place without pistachios. They’re high in protein and fiber, and their green color bring a brilliance to the season. Try them raw or go all in and make some spumoni.
This list is just to get you started; the abundance of the fall harvest makes it easy to eat right and keep that physique all year long.
Kevin Jones is a full time professional fitness expert. When he isn’t in the gym, he is offering practical research, fitness plans and nutritional tips to the world. Kevin regularly contributes to many fitness and health authority websites. With a passion for family, fun, and fitness, Kevin has found a way to manage and combine these three aspects in an effective and successful way. Connect with him online on LinkedIn and Twitter.