It seems like the summer has flown by, and now it’s fall. When I think of fall, I think of dressing layers, tall boots, and all things pumpkin spice. Even though it’s projected to be in the 90s here in Northern California for the next few weeks, my farm box has started that transition to fall. Winter squashes and apples are becoming the stars of my food prep side dishes.
Last week I prepped this amazing stuffed acorn squash recipe, packed with protein and in-season apples, mushrooms, onion and sage. I even tried chickpea panko for texture and to keep the carbs a little lower. Pinterest win!
This week, I will be searching for something awesome to go with spaghetti squash.
Winter squash is great nutritionally as it’s full of fiber and slow-digesting, keeping you full longer.
So why eat seasonally? And locally!
Selecting fresh fruits and vegetables that are harvested locally means they are picked at the height of their readiness, meaning more flavor and more nutrients. And local foods don’t have to travel as far, which is good for both the local economy and the environment. When you buy locally directly from the producer, you can learn more about how the food was grown, where it comes from, and who grew it. Eating in season means that there’s also more of an abundance of foods in the market, keeping the prices low. We’ve been visiting a local farm stand lately and are getting the most delicious fruits and vegetables, both summer and fall since our seasons really blend together here in California, and the price really just can’t be beat. We also have a lot of organic options locally as well. When you buy organic, you definitely know what you’re getting.
Plan around what’s available
Each week, I come up with a game plan for my meals. I start with planning my proteins, as that’s the most important part of my diet, post-bariatric surgery. Pinterest has led me to some awesome recipes. I get a farm box from Farm Fresh to You full of local, seasonal food. I can pick what goes in my box, so I will search for recipes that go with whatever is in season. This has forced me to get creative – but it’s also forced me to do more home cooking. Cooking from scratch with whole food ingredients is the best way to know what’s in your food. This is important for folks with food sensitivities, but it’s also a way to avoid pesticides and chemical ingredients. I prefer my food from the earth, not from a lab.
Choose organic when you can
Organic is always better when it’s available, but it’s not a must. Your goal for nutrition is to go for the most nutrient dense selections without any additives. Follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen List to read more about when to choose organic.
Use the change in seasons as an opportunity to branch out and try new things. Look for root vegetables, winter squashes, new apple varieties, and some greens and slice, dice, and roast your way to better health.