I’M OUT OF MY GOURD

Bountiful and Delicious: Healthy Harvest Foods
Bring Color and Nutrition to the Table

When you think of autumn, you most likely envision the beautiful orange, yellow, and red hues of the season. Stroll down the produce aisle of your neighborhood grocery store and discover those same vibrant colors in the form of seasonal vegetables and fruits, such as pumpkins, squash, and apples. Best of all, these harvest foods also are packed with nutritional value. Encourage those you care for to try some new and different varieties of fall produce this year, and give them the gift of health along the way!

Winter squash and pumpkins


Winter squash and pumpkins (both members of the gourd family) come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They are becoming increasingly popular because of their versatile use in both sweet and savory recipes, and they are good sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Pumpkins are especially good sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin (an antioxidant), vitamin C, riboflavin, and iron. Cooking pumpkins (also known as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins) are delicious in pies, cookies, custards, and soups. Their seeds are easily toasted for a crunchy high-fiber snack.

The seeds are great when eaten by the handful or added to fruit and vegetable salads. Pumpkin and squash seeds contain:

  • Phytosterols
  • Vitamins, including:
    Folate
    Tocopherols
    Carotenoids
  • Minerals, including:
    Phosphorus
    Selenium
    Zinc

I TOAST THEM ON A COOKIE SHEET SPRAYED WITH NON-STICK COOKING SPRAY AND SPRINKLE A LITTLE SEA SALT ON TOP!

Bright orange and yellow squash
Bright orange and yellow squash contain significant amounts of carotenes, as well as some lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants). Butternut squash is good sliced, stewed, boiled, or baked in a pie. It is a particularly good source of calcium, magnesium, and carotenes. Spaghetti squash makes a wonderful casserole or side dish. Try it with tomato sauce in place of traditional spaghetti. Acorn and Hubbard squash are particularly good sources of potassium and fiber. Acorn squash also is high in thiamine.

Apples

APPLES
Apples come in countless varieties, each with its own color, flavor, and texture. While some types of apples such as Golden or Red Delicious are best for eating fresh and crisp, other varieties such as Crab, Bramley, and Jonathan apples are best for cooking in pies, cakes, crisps, and chutneys. Look for sauce, butter, pickle, and relish recipes that include apples. Apples are powerhouses of flavonoids, such as quercetin, as well as a great source of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Apples also are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. In addition, apples with skins are one of the best known sources of pectin—a type of soluble fiber shown to help reduce cholesterol. Try making tea by steeping oven-roasted and dried apple slices for an old-fashioned hot beverage.

RECIPE:  BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH APPLES – VEGETARIAN AND GLUTEN FREE

Squash sections with seeds removed form small hollows that become natural containers for seasonings.

2-pound butternut squash
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or sliced almonds
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 red medium unpared all-purpose apple, chopped (about 1 cup)

Wash squash and pierce with tip of a sharp knife in several places to allow steam to escape. Place squash on paper towel in microwave oven. Microwave uncovered on high 4-6 minutes until squash is hot and rind is firm but easy to cut through; cool slightly. Carefully cut into halves; remove seeds. Arrange squash halves, cut sides down, on 10-inch plate. Cover tightly and microwave on high 5-8 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl. Cover tightly and microwave on high 1-2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture is hot; stir. Cut squash halves in half. Spoon apple mixture over squash.
4 servings; 210 calories per serving.

Fruit and vegetable tips

vegetables

  • Thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruits, as you would any produce, before eating or cooking to destroy any bacteria and to remove any pesticides or herbicides from their surfaces
  • Select produce without soft spots, blemishes, or cuts
  • Eat fruits and vegetables fresh or lightly cooked to obtain the most nutrient value—avoid boiling when possible
  • Experiment with a variety of spices, herbs, and cooking methods

Fall activities


Autumn’s cool weather and beautiful foliage is a call from nature to get outside, enjoy the scenery, and get physically active. One great event for fun family fitness is visiting a pumpkin patch and picking your own pumpkins and gourds. In addition, many pumpkin patch locations feature other activities, such as corn mazes and hayrides.

Find farm locations in your area that allow visitors to pick their own fruits and vegetables by watching your local newspaper or searching the Internet for more information. TRY pickyourown.org  Whether picking apples, pears, squash, peppers, or sweet potatoes, this is great way to connect with nature, burn some calories, and come home with healthy, nutritious foods. Try canning to preserve your favorite varieties for the rest of the year, or grow your own harvest fruits and vegetables and enjoy eating them even more.

ENJOY AUTUMN!

Advertisements

VITAMIN AND MINERALS QUIZ: WHICH FOOD HAS MORE?

DON’T LET THE PICTURES SWAY YOUR SELECTIONS!

  1. Which has more vitamin C?
    a. 1 cup (C) orange juice
    b. 1 C strawberry halves

OJ

2.  Which has more potassium?

a. 1 medium-sized banana

b. 1 medium-sized white potato (baked)

BANANAS

3.  Which has more vitamin A?

a. ½ C carrot strips or slices

b. 1 C raw spinach

SPINACH LEAVES

4.  Which has more iron?

a. 3 ounces (oz) cooked 90% lean ground beef

b. 1 C cooked black beans

GRILLED HAMBURGER

5.  Which has more vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)?

a. 4 oz chicken breast (broiler or fryer)

b. ½ C raw green peas

GRILLED CHICKEN

6.  Which has more vitamin E?

a. ½ C shelled English walnuts

b. Two large egg yolks

HARD BOILED EGGS

7.  Which has more calcium?

a. 3 oz canned salmon with bones (drained)

b. ½ C 2% milk

MILK

8.  Which has more magnesium?

a. ¼ C dried sesame seeds (whole)

b. 1 C shredded romaine lettuce

SESAME SEEDS

Answers
1.  b. The strawberries win, but just barely at 89.4 milligrams (mg) vitamin C, while the orange juice contains 81.9 mg.
2.  b. The baked potato wins by quite a bit. It contains 926 mg, while a banana contains 422 mg.
3.  a. The carrots contain 10,190 international units (IU) of vitamin A, compared to 2813 IU for spinach.
4.  b. The black beans provide 3.6 mg of iron, while the ground beef provides 2.4 mg.
5.  a. The chicken contains four times as much vitamin B6 as the peas do—0.4 mg vs 0.1 mg.
6.  b. The egg yolks contain twice as much vitamin E as the shelled walnuts—0.8 mg vs 0.4 mg.
7.  a. The salmon contains 212 mg calcium, and the milk contains 143 mg (yes, you eat the tiny bones).
8.  a. The ¼ C of sesame seeds provides 126 mg of magnesium, while the romaine lettuce provides only 6.6 mg.

HOW DID YOU SCORE?

5 SUPER REFRESHING FOODS

Slugging water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated!

You can get 20% to 25% of your daily water intake from food. A high percentage of fruits and vegetables weight comes from water AND they are packed with nutrition.

Cantaloupe: 90% of its weight is water yet this fruit contains 30 times more beta-carotene than oranges!

eggplant

Eggplant: 92% water weight, it draws its color from plant pigments called anthocyanins, antioxidants that protect our cells!

Spinach: 92% water, can be eaten raw or cooked (look for some of my upcoming recipes) and is very rich in antioxidants. Great source of potassium, folate (any women planning on getting pregnant should eat lots!), and magnesium. Did you know all these nutrients also help keep blood pressure down.

Slice of Watermelon

Watermelon: 92% Water but super high in lycopene, a phytonutrient important for cardiovascular and bone health (all you 50’s and older folks). Lycopene may also help protect against some cancers.

yellow pepper

Yellow Pepper: 92% water too plus 184mg of Vitamin C which is 307% of the Daily Value.