Monday, November 22, 2010

Hearty Harvest Ideas for the Fall Season

by Lindsay A. Martin MS, RD, LDN, Northwest Hospital

As the fall weather sneaks in, the leaves fall and the holidays roll in, there are so many harvesting fruits and vegetables to help jazz up the dinner plate to perfection. The fall menus are packed with hearty flavors and beautiful colors of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and yams. One source - the Baltimore Farmer's Market, which you can see and read about in this morning's Baltimore Sun.

There are so many ways to incorporate these seasonal vegetables into your own recipes or even try new recipes. Some suggestions:
  • Mash steamed butternut squash and sweet potatoes together and flavor with ground ginger and cinnamon.
  • Bake butternut squash with peeled apples and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  • Mash sweet potatoes with a dash of orange juice and top with orange zest.
  • Bake roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish.
  • Add butternut squash cubes to stews or vegetable soups.
  • Jazz up your favorite potato salad by swapping the white potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Finally, pumpkin pie, or a good recipe for pumpkin bread are always favorites in my household.
Most deep orange or yellow colored vegetables like squash, sweet potatoes and yams are filled with vitamins A, C and also high in fiber. Vitamin A helps to keep eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections. Vitamin C has the benefit to provide antioxidant protection and helps with immune function. And finally, fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease and help with bowel mobility.

Experts recommend at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Try adding a variety of colors to your diet, and why not try switching up some of your traditional recipes to make the most of your harvesting season?

For more information about Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

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