When most people think about fall foods, the first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving. Between the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and general overeating, it’s no wonder that fall (and colder weather in general) is associated with comfort food and weight gain, but that’s certainly not the extent of what fall has to offer.
When considering weight loss goals in the fall, many people think it’s all about cutting back, but it’s important to realize that certain foods can be a big help when it comes to weight management and maintaining your overall health. When considering the best foods for your body and your goals, it’s important to eat in-season.
"Fall harvest and cooler weather bring a slew of new delicious produce for autumn recipes,” said Certified Nutritional Consultant and Co-Founder of Project Juice, Lori Kenyon Farley. “I grew up in the Northeast, picking apples from the local orchards and grapes from the vines in our backyard. On Saturday mornings, our house would be toasty and smell delicious from the combination of apples and cinnamon, cumin and chili, and chicken roasting in the oven. There was no mistaking the season. Cooking and baking with seasonal ingredients is the easiest way to embrace the change in seasons and it means you are using fresh locally grown produce, which will be most nutritious and least costly.”
With that tip in mind, be sure to keep an eye out for these in-season superfoods, which were chosen by top dietitians and nutritionists.
“Our body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of fuel; therefore, eating whole grains is an important part of creating natural long-lasting energy,” said Rebecca Lewis, in-house registered dietitian at HelloFresh. “Whole grains are well known for their high fiber content which contributes to maintaining healthy digestion. Moreover, research has found that eating whole grains (as opposed to refined and processed grains) substantially lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels. Lastly, it’s been found that whole grains help lower the risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes – all diseases that have become much more prevalent in recent years.” She recommends including brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole wheat pasta in your diet to reap the benefits of whole grains.
“What makes beans such a super food? Well to begin with, they’re a fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fiber—two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied (a bonus when watching your weight),” Lewis said. “The protein and fiber in beans also stabilize the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating, which has also been shown to help stabilize mood. Moreover, as a meat substitute, they are a rich source of iron. Beans are low in fat and have a very high antioxidant content—something we could all use in these winter cold and flu months. They are a great source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work together to lower blood pressure, maintain healthy cholesterol, and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.” Black beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and lentils are all good choices that are packed with fiber.