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Autumn, you’ve arrived for sure!

In some places in the northern hemisphere, fall is still hanging onto summer, providing tee-shirt weather in some places, while elsewhere trying to rush in winter with early snowfalls. Regardless of the temperatures, it’s autumn and you see it everywhere.  Fall is probably my favorite season of the year! 
Don’t get me wrong. I love everything about the summer: warm to hot weather, long days, more beach walks, vacation, and the amazing luscious summer fruits. But when, the days start growing shorter and the weather turns more crisp, it means the house will feel cozier, holidays are coming, and the fruits and vegetables in season will change, along with what I plan for meals! 
Why?  Because our bodies were designed to eat with the seasons!

You’ve probably already noticed your produce department looks different.  There’s a bigger selection of apples, along with an array of pumpkins and other squashes, and a different selection of root veggies and greens. There are so many delicious and colors for produce options that we wait for all year long.  Autumn knows how to deliver! 
Pumpkin season is officially here this month. While traditional pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin bread may not be the healthiest of options, there are enough up-dated healthy versions available that we don’t have to give them up!  Pumpkins are excellent for creating hearty, satisfying soups in your slow cooker that not only warm you up but boost your health. 
In addition to the great pumpkin, there are other fall seasonal produce you should snap up from your local farmers market to put on your table. Your local health food store or Whole Foods, will carry the freshest, organic options, too!
APPLES
Like pumpkins, we see a larger variety of apples and apple-based recipes in the fall. That’s because it’s also prime apple season.  If you’re lucky enough to live near apple orchards where you can get the freshest apples just picked from the tree and indulge in fresh apple pie and apple cider, plan an outing soon!  You can also enjoy the fresh-picked, crisp taste of this ultimate natural health food right out of your fruit bowl.  Apple are extremely rich in antioxidants, flavanoids, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients – no wonder the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was coined! Add apples to salads or top your spiced oatmeal. Baked apples stuffed with nuts and raisins and drizzled with pure maple syrup make an amazing dessert – to make it even better add a scoop of a healthy vanilla ice cream.  Apple slices make a great snack dipped in your favorite natural nut butter.
POMEGRANATES
Juicy and delicious, pomegranates are a superb choice to add a pop of color and flavor to many fall dishes. They do take some effort to eat, but the little bit of extra work to get to those gorgeous jewel like seeds is worth it.  Super rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, you can also purchase packages of pomegranate seeds ready to eat – just be sure you’re getting them from a store that provides the freshest pre-packaged pomegranate seeds.  If you’d like a recipe for a great fall harvest salad, just click here – this salad is one of my most asked for recipes! 
PEARS
Wow! There are so many types of pears to choose from in the fall season right up to Christmas and the new year.  While Bartlett pears are probably the most well know, your farmers market and grocery store will likely have several different, lesser-know varieties to fall in love with. They’re juicy and a delight to eat on their own, but if you want a dessert that tastes sinfully delicious without wrecking your goals, try poaching your pears for genuinely class finish to dinner.  Like apples, pears are rich in dietary fiber, important antioxidants, and flavonoids. Their natural sweetness, coupled with the fiber, provides a greater sense of fullness and satisfaction than a sugary snack!
SWEET POTATOES
Did you know sweet potatoes are botanically unrelated to the potato? It’s true – while potatoes actually related to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, sweet potatoes are in a whole different family with flowering morning glory vines! Sweet potatoes should neither be confused with yams.  Most people think the long, red-skinned sweet potatoes are yams, but they’re not!  Yams are yet another different plant family as a true yam is a starchy, edible root generally imported from the Caribbean and are native to Africa and Asia (there are some 600 varieties!). Yams are rough, scaly, and very low in beta carotene – and sweet potatoes pack a lot more nutrients and fiber!  Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and B vitamins, are high in beta-carotene, and have iron, calcium, and selenium.  They’re also lower in calories than a white potato and provide more protein!
SQUASH
More than just a Jack-o-lantern and center pieces for the Thanksgiving season, all kinds of squashes grace produce counters across the country in grocery stores and farmers markets. Squashes are perfect for slow simmered soups, are fabulous oven roasted, and make great pies!  This versatile vegetable is packed with Vitamin A and is a good source of potassium and manganese, along with healthy a dose of fiber and Vitamins E, B, B6, folate, thiamin, and calcium!  

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

These cute little veggies look like miniature cabbages, but unlike cabbages these tiny cruciferous veggies grow like buds along the side of long, this stalks.  Brussels sprouts as they are now known were possibly grown as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium! They’re high in vitamin C and also contain good amounts of B vitamins, such as folate and B6.  Roasted, carmelized Brussels sprouts are my favorite and they make a delicious not-so-common dish to serve at Thanksgiving!  Note that because of their high amount of vitamin K, these tasty veggies eaten in excess may not be suitable for people on blood thinners! 

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