There’s a lot to love about fall: cooler weather, less crowded beaches, and cozy candles and throw blankets making it back into our living rooms. But when most people picture the season, they think of their favorite fall treats.
While many of the season’s most celebrated staples can be heavy and loaded with calories (we’re looking at you, PSL), you can enjoy your favorite fall flavors guilt-free by opting for these nutrient-packed seasonal foods instead of their processed counterparts. Here are five favorite fall foods that taste as good as they are good for you.
Pumpkin is a common fall food and beverage flavoring, but when eaten fresh, it packs a powerful nutritional punch. These vibrant orange gourds are rich in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that can help boost your immune system and promote healthy skin. Additionally, pumpkins are a good source of fiber, aiding in digestion and helping you feel fuller for longer. Don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are high in magnesium, zinc, and healthy fats, making them a perfect crunchy snack for heart health and immunity.
Apples are packed with dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar. Apples also contain antioxidants, such as quercetin, which can support heart health and reduce inflammation. Plus, they’re a convenient, portable snack that can satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way.
Kale, often hailed as a superfood, is a green leafy vegetable that thrives in the cool temperatures of fall. It’s exceptionally nutrient-dense, providing a significant amount of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. Kale is also packed with antioxidants and fiber, making it an excellent choice for supporting heart health and digestion. You can use kale in salads, smoothies, or sautéed as a side dish.
A warm cup of coffee on a chilly fall morning can be incredibly comforting, but it also offers health benefits. Coffee is a rich source of caffeine, which can increase alertness and improve mental focus. Additionally, coffee contains antioxidants that may protect against certain diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Just be mindful of added sugar and excessive consumption, which can negate these benefits.
If you’re looking to make the most out of your nightly sweet treat, swap the Halloween candy for organic dark chocolate. It contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health and cognitive function. Dark chocolate may also help reduce stress and improve mood, making it an excellent choice for a cozy fall evening.