It has finally started to get cold in NJ. I only just turned on the heat this past weekend. The change of weather is invigorating. I love being outdoors before it gets really cold, cleaning up the gardens and prepping the house for winter. I also love fall fashion. Boots, sweaters and scarves are some of my favorite clothing options.
Cool fall weather also means warming, cozy and hearty dinners. Now that fall fruits and vegetables are streaming into the grocery store, it inspired me to start meal planning and prepping a few key classics to make the most of the produce that is in season. According to the Washington Post, our bodies start to crave different foods as the seasons change.
"As we begin to feel the crisp, cool air of fall and winter, our bodies start to crave fewer raw salads and more cooked, warming foods such as soups, stews, meats and avocados. The fall harvest begins with an abundance of apples, which are high in fiber and pectin to help cleanse the intestines and support digestion, specifically the digestion of fat."
Produce that is in season right now are root vegetables, such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash. These make great side dishes or main dishes. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, pineapples and mangoes, are plentiful and can be made into yummy baked fruit desserts or snacks. The best part is nature takes care of us by providing foods that help keep us healthy. All of the fruits and vegetables I just mentioned are high in vitamins A and C, which can help boost the immune system.
I selected a mix of vegetarian, vegan and meat based meals to highlight the yummy fall flavors that you can easily find in the grocery store right now. If you are a strict meat eater, I hope some of the vegetarian or vegan recipes inspire you to try a plant-based meal at least once a week. Doing so has significant health benefits including, lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol), lowering blood pressure, preventing weight gain and increasing energy levels.
I hope you enjoy the recipes below. Food can be medicine! I share along with the recipes how the recipe helps support a healthy body.
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Healthier Spinach Lasagna is perfect for meatless Mondays! A combination of spinach and mushrooms make this lasagna hearty and full of fiber to support a healthy gut. Spinach is full of vitamin C and A, which is great for the immune system. Mushrooms are thought to have been the foods of gods. They are full of B Vitamins which are necessary for a healthy metabolism.
Pair this healthier spinach lasagna with a salad or a side of broccoli. I always keep frozen broccoli on hand because it is a quick side-dish and goes well with a lot of main dishes. If you are gluten free, there are plenty of alternative lasagna noodles to accommodate. Since this can be made on the weekend, it frees up time during the week - plus leftovers can be packed up for lunch!
Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash is full of protein and fiber. It does take some time to cook since the butternut squash needs to be roasted. It is so worth it! If you don't have time, you can take this recipe idea and make a stir-fry instead. The local grocery store sells chopped, raw butternut squash which will cook in about 15 minutes when in a pan with other veggies. Butternut squash is full of vitamin C and A, which help protects the lungs and promotes a healthy heart.
Easy Mushroom Risotto uses Arborio rice and it can be paired with a salad to increase the amount of veggies you eat in one meal. The recipe uses milk so if you are dairy-free, you can substitute any unsweetened nut milk. Also, if you want to make this vegetarian and not use milk, you can simply use vegetable broth. Arborio rices is very starchy so the rice will achieve the creaminess risotto is known for. Mushrooms are already mentioned for their health benefits above. When pairing this meal with a salad, the leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll and lutein. Chlorophyll helps to transport oxygen to the tissues in our bodies. Lutein is concentrated in the eyes and is necessary for healthy vision. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods)
Garlic Rosemary Pork Chops with Brussel Sprouts makes my mouth water! When the brussel sprouts get all crispy from being roasted, they are an awesome treat. Brussels Sprouts are full of sulforaphane, which boosts the body's detoxification enzymes to help reduce the risk of cancer. I try to incorporate them at least once a month. Pair the potent health benefits of Brussels Sprouts with garlic helps to keep you strong against colds and flu. Garlic is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral spice that helps to kill pathogens. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods)
Healthy Lemon Garlic Salmon is a quick and healthy recipe. Ready in just 15 minutes. We try to eat at least one serving of fish per week. When salmon is on sale, we make sure to eat some. But make sure it is wild caught not farmed. Farmed salmon is actually treated with chemicals to make it look pink like wild caught salmon. That makes it very unhealthy. When you eat wild salmon, you are getting a concentrated protein and a lot of Omega-3. Omega-3 helps reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow.
I hope you found this article inspiring and informative. Will you be trying any of the above recipes? Let me know in the comment box below.