A new season has arrived! Many of us tend to enjoy fall because of the cooler temperatures and colorful leaves, but did you also know that fall is a wonderful time of year for seasonal produce? There are many benefits to buying seasonal produce, that include, but not limited to, better flavor, lower cost, higher nutrient content, and a reduced carbon footprint. North Carolina has a wonderful variety of seasonal fall produce that can be purchased from your local grocery store or a local farmer’s market.
Here are some examples of the seasonal fruits and vegetables in North Carolina, and some tips on how to use them:
This staple fruit is in season from August through February in North Carolina. There are many places that even allow you to go pick your own! Apples are high in soluble fiber, which can help with weight management, improved heart health, and blood sugar control. Apples are a versatile fruit that can be eaten alone as a snack or incorporated into other dishes such as oatmeal and salads.
In season from October through December in North Carolina, beets are a great source of many vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Beets can be a flavorful addition to salads and sandwiches or even blended into a healthy dip with plain Greek yogurt.
Cabbage is in season from mid-October through mid-December in North Carolina. Cabbage comes in many different colors. It is low in calories, but high in both vitamin K and vitamin C. It can be eaten raw in a coleslaw or salad, but it can also be cooked and added to soup or fermented into sauerkraut.
Collards are in season most of the year in North Carolina! Collards are a great plant-based source of calcium, which can help to promote bone health. Individuals avoiding dairy for health reasons can get a lot of their calcium through plant-based foods such as collards and other leafy greens. Collards can be made into a stir-fry, cooked into soups and stews, or eaten alone as a side.
5. Sweet Potatoes.
Also available year-round in North Carolina, sweet potatoes can make a fabulous and colorful addition to any meal. High in vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C to name a few, sweet potatoes can be cooked many ways including as roasting, steaming, or sautéing.
Persimmons are a wonderful fruit that are seasonal this time of year and are known for their sweet flavor. Just like sweet potatoes, persimmons are orange, which indicates a high content of vitamin A. They are also high in fiber and low in calories for those looking for a sweet snack while trying to manage their weight. They can be eaten on their own, sliced into salads, or even blended into a smoothie.
Keep in mind that these are only a few of the wonderful fall fruits and vegetables grown in North Carolina. Many grocery stores will have signs indicating which of their available produce is in season, making shopping for seasonal produce even easier! Make an appointment with an Avance Care registered dietitian to learn more about ways you can add fun flavors to your meals while improving your health, one small change at a time. Book online at avancenutrition.com or call (919) 237-1337, option 4 to schedule your appointment today. Happy fall!