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12 Fall Superfoods You Can’t Miss

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Fall starts innocently enough: hot tea, lattes, and a whole new slew of foods in season. But gradually, it can spiral out of control (you know, seconds of pie and questionable-at-best deep fried treats). But with a little effort, autumn's superfoods—as selected by DietsInReview.com nutrition expert Mary Hartley, R.D.—can benefit the wellness efforts you’re pursuing (assuming you eat them whole or close to whole, that is). While pumpkin-spice-who-knows-what lattes, cakes, and cookies can throw your diet for a loop, a scoop of pure pumpkin in a smoothie can pack a serious nutrition boost that can fuel all of those fall activities you’ve been dreaming about all year. Here, 12 fall superfoods to make room for this season.

Apples
“If you’re not hungry enough for an apple, you’re probably not hungry,” says food activist and author Michael Pollan. It’s the easiest grab-and-go snack in the world. Want pie? Dice fresh apples in a bowl of oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pumpkin/Butternut Squash
The two fruits otherwise known as gourds are nutritionally and texturally similar. The puree of either (rarely if ever found in any of those pumpkin treats you like) adds depth of flavor, vitamins, and fiber to anything it touches. Dollop pure pumpkin in smoothies, oatmeal, or this pumpkin hummus. Add butternut squash puree to your baked macaroni and cheese!

Brussels Sprouts
When was the last time you tried these baby cabbages? Do no more than toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the herbs of your choosing and roast for a simple and hearty side dish that you’ll actually enjoy.

Sweet Potato
Put down the marshmallows and the butter. Now, just bake this sweet little tuber on 425 degrees for 45 minutes and eat it up! We pile ours high with turkey and black bean chili, chicken fajita vegetables, or loaded with kale and white beans (two fall super foods further on the list). It’s the easiest, healthiest brown bag office lunch.

Cranberries
Tart and maybe a little bitter, the cranberry can be off-putting. It can also be a nutritional treasure trove. Add a handful of fresh berries to muffins or breads you’re baking for a sweet boost. They make a lovely addition to Chef Rocco’s Herb Turkey Sausage Stuffing.

Carrots
Is there an easier vegetable in the world? We think not, and we think you need more. Use babies to scoop hummus, shred in salads, juice in smoothies, or roast for a tasty side. Better yet? Serve carrot cake pancakes for a surprisingly healthy (and vegan) breakfast. On the go? Pick up a delicious Carrot Orange Fusion smoothie from Jamba Juice to help fuel your day! This nutritious blend of carrots, fresh-squeezed orange juice, fruits, and other wholesome ingredients delivers 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, Vitamins A and C, Omega-3s, and a full serving of good-for-you carrots. 

Leeks
Big flavor being part of the onion and garlic family, this vegetable can transform any fall dish you’re preparing. They’re a popular addition in soups, stuffing, casseroles, and even to boost the popular cauliflower mashed potato dishes.

Parsnips
Hartley suggests that they are nutritionally similar to the more popular turnip, but the taste is milder and easier to enjoy. Her suggestion is to add them to a homemade chicken soup.

Concord Grapes
These are ripe for the picking at farmers markets right now and ideal for juice, wine, jams, and just snacking! Slice with goat cheese for a simple green salad. Freeze and enjoy a poppable snack. Or swap roasted turkey for your common chicken salad and bring it to life with these grapes.

Shell Beans
These are “woefully underutilized,” according to Hartley. Shell beans—which include lima, black eyed peas, edamame, black beans, chickpeas, and butter beans—are an exceptional source of vegetarian protein, not to mention a host of other vital vitamins and minerals. Their versatility is endless; enjoy them as veggie burgers, in soups, pureed for hummus, tossed in salads, atop tacos, or steamed on the side.

Fennel
This flowering plant is used in cooking similar to an herb and offers a hardy, sweet flavor to many recipes. We shave the fennel in this arugula salad to complement homemade Chickpea and Feta Fritters. Offering protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins, this flavor agent can’t go wrong in just about anything you’re preparing.

Kale
We’re kind of over kale, afterall, research says it’s not as healthy as we thought it was! However, it’s still wildly popular, it’s fresh and in season right now, and offers a load of nutrients. If you’re willing to massage the kale to make it worth your while, we suggest using it to bulk up your next green salad.

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com

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