Thanksgiving meals don’t always have to be gut-busting. It’s time to enjoy a new variety of fruits and vegetables that can help you power up your immune system and keep you healthy all winter long. Here are some super fall foods and easy ways to include them on your Thanksgiving menu.
Pears are a nutritional bargain. At only 100 calories per serving, one pear provides 6 grams of fiber; that’s 20 percent of the RDA for fiber. They are also a good source of vitamin C and are known to be the least allergenic of all fruits. Try pears on the grill, pureed into soup or a smoothie, or simply sliced and tossed with a salad.
Simple Pear Salad
2 Bosc pears
1 orange, peeled, cut into sections
1 cup green grapes
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
Directions: Core and slice the pears, sprinkling them with lemon juice so they do not discolor. Add the oranges, grapes and lemon zest, and sprinkle with the grape juice.
Just one medium sweet potato provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin A and 35 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are a source of fiber, vitamin D, and iron. Try this recipe and add sweet potato power to your breakfast.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Spread:
1 medium sweet potato
½ teaspoon olive oil or light margarine
Toppings: cinnamon, pecans, cranberries, and honey to taste.
The evening prior, bake one large sweet potato in the oven for 30-60 minutes or cook in the microwave 7-8 minutes. Remove the inside of the sweet potato and place in a bowl, add toppings, mash well, cover and refrigerate. Before serving, take a spoon full of sweet potato spread and warm in the microwave. Add it to whole grain toast or crackers.
Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. One serving provides 300 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Pumpkin is also rich in vitamins C, E and iron. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, minerals, and essential omega 3s. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a family fun activity and healthy way to enjoy the fall season.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups of pumpkin seeds, cleaned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Directions: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the seeds in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and pat dry. Toss the seeds with olive oil, sugar and cinnamon. Line a baking sheet and spread the seeds out evenly. Bake until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven, let cool.
Join the kale craze. With its growing popularity, kale is being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness and delicious flavor. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in beta carotene, vitamins K, C, B, and minerals calcium, potassium and iron. Kale chips are an easy and fun way to add the benefits of kale to your diet.
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Directions: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and dry the kale. Place leaves evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
One medium orange meets the RDAs for a day’s worth of vitamin C. But did you know that oranges also provide potassium, calcium, vitamin A, fiber and folate! Orange slices make a wonderful addition to salads. Oranges complement the flavors of onions, olives and fennel.
2 tablespoons of vinegarette salad dressing
1 bunch arugula
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 bulb fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced red onion
Directions: Place the arugula in the bottom of a salad bowl; scatter the orange segments, fennel slices, olives and onions over the arugula; drizzle the dressing over the salad to serve.