If you're not sure what to shop for lately, we're to help. SheKnows got some insight from food and nutrition authority and registered dietitian Jasia Steinmetz, author of Eat Local: Simple Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food. She shares her top picks for what to add to your table this fall. "The beauty of seasons is reflected in our change to a fall diet as we get ready for winter," she explains. "The abundance of autumn whole foods from your local farmers is flavorful and nutritious."
Don't discount this odd-shaped vegetable, Steinmetz says. "Rutabagas are back on fall plates owing to their great versatility in the kitchen." High in fiber, this versatile veggie provides vitamin C -- essential for healthy cells and immune function, and potassium, which helps regulate the cardiovascular system. The crisp texture and mild turnip-cabbage type flavor lend themselves well to a variety of dishes both raw and cooked.
Kale is the darling of the dark green, fall vegetable crop – with good reason. It's a rich source of calcium, fiber and vitamins B6 and C, and the phytochemicals in kale have been associated with lowering the risk of cancer, as well as anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering activity. "Kale is part of nature's pharmacopeia for the cold and flu season," Steinmetz says. Kale is also a sturdy vegetable that stands up to longer cooking times without withering and it adds interest and a slight spiciness, with a hint of bitterness that can easily be offset with seasoning.
Wild rice, indigenous to North America, gives an earthy, nutty flavor to any meal and adds protein, phosphorus, iron, potassium and magnesium to your diet. It takes slightly longer to cook than brown rice (from 45 to 60 minutes) but the result is worth the effort. Steinmetz recommends cooking wild rice in chicken or vegetable broth for added flavor.
Squashes are available in a wide variety of textures, colors and flavors, from mild to bold. The high carotenoid and vitamin C content help boost your immune system while providing manganese and potassium. From soups to desserts, you can use squash in every course of the meal.
The much-loved spud has a lot more nutrients than we give it credit for. Potatoes are packed with vitamins C and B6, copper, potassium and manganese, and new research has highlighted the purple potato for its association with lowering blood pressure. Other phytochemicals in potatoes help boost your immune system and scavenge free radicals.
Beets have the dual culinary advantage – beet leaves make a tasty and nutrient-dense stir-fry addition, while the phytochemicals in beets provide many health benefits. Lutein and zeaxanthin are important for healthy eyes, betalain has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification functions, not to mention beets also provide more than one-third of your daily value in folate. To retain the nutrient and phytochemical content of this powerhouse vegetable, cook lightly.
Learn how easy it is to pickle your own vegetables at home!
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