Fall brings a harvest bounty of produce from grocery stores and local farms to our home tables, helping us load up on vitamins and fiber to feel good all winter long. Whether you’re shopping at Town & Country, the Food Roundup Supermarket or your local farmers market, you can easily find tons of nutritious fall vegetables to take home to your kitchen. Eating foods that are in season encourages a varied diet and helps you take advantage of produce when it’s the richest with nutrients. Plus, produce tends to be priced lower when it’s in season, helping you shop and eat healthy within your budget. Look for these seasonal fall foods to cook at home this year.
Pumpkin, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and acorn squash are just a few of the hearty options for fall foods that pack a lot of health into a small package. For sweet or savory dishes, you can’t go wrong with squash. Think pumpkin pie oatmeal, curried butternut squash soup or acorn squash stuffed with kale and sausage. Squash’s long shelf life helps you enjoy it longer without creating waste.
You’ll find quite a few root vegetables on this list since they go into the ground while it’s warm out, but need cooler temperatures to ripen fully. Beets are high in betalains, which give them their vibrant color. This type of pigment is high in antioxidants and offers up anti-inflammatory properties that can promote overall health. Beets are a great addition to salads and pair well with goat cheese, basil and honey.
High fiber, plus potassium, vitamin C and B6 give parsnips a high health factor in fall. This carrot-related root veggie tastes a bit sweeter than their carrot cousins when cooked, and they taste even sweeter if they’ve spent more time in the ground when temperatures reach frost level. Slice parsnips and roast them in a spicy honey glaze or add them into a mash of other root vegetables.
While the medical community isn’t quite settled on just how many carrots you would need to eat to make an impact on your eyesight, it’s no question that the beta-carotenoids in carrots have positive health benefits, on top of the other vitamins that this garden favorite holds. Raw carrots with dip are an easy go-to snack, or you can add some to a soul-warming vegetable soup.
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, the foundation that produces vital vitamin A. You’ll also find vitamin B6 and C, along with plenty of potassium and fiber. You can whip up this root vegetable by roasting it in the oven with your favorite seasonings, adding toppings like parmesan cheese, walnuts or pecans, or cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.
Hearty leafy greens with longer cool-weather growing seasons, like kale, come to a head in autumn. It’s not just a trendy superfood, but rather a leafy green packed with vitamins A, K and C. Vitamin K is behind the creation of proteins needed for blood clotting and strong bones. Getting plenty of vitamin K in your diet can help head off hemorrhaging and osteoporosis. Kale is a great base for salads or a nutrient-dense addition to any soup or stew.
With their fiber-heavy peels that are rich in phytochemicals like quercetin, apples can reduce inflammation and help keep your body’s cells healthy. You’ll also appreciate them as a source of pectin, a type of fiber that can improve digestion and encourage beneficial gut bacteria that can help ward off cancer and bowel disorders. They also can be stored for longer periods, helping you save money as you ward off food waste. Apples make wonderful on-the-go snacks on their own, but they also add sweetness to salads and create a base for desserts like cobbler and pie.
This grocery store chain found in Bozeman and Belgrade has a generous produce section that carries seasonal fruits and vegetables like those mentioned above.
West Yellowstone’s largest grocery store carries a variety of in-season produce you can use to build healthy, fall meals.
The Bozeman Winter Farmers Market picks up in the fall where summer markets leave off. This market gives you access to the crops of local farmers, all winter long. At the Gallatin Valley Fairground on select Saturdays, find stored fall harvest root vegetables and greens grown year-round in hoop houses and heated greenhouses.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a type of subscription box that delivers local farm-fresh produce to easy pick-up sites near you, sometimes dropping off at your door for the ultimate convenience. Some farmers in Montana even accept SNAP, making fresh, locally grown harvest more accessible to all. Search for farms in your area and call them or check their websites to find out if they participate in a CSA.
For more ways to incorporate healthy practices into your daily life, reach out to your neighborhood CHP clinic to find affordable access to services, advice and programs to promote living well.