Summer may be ending, but fall is here with a wonderful and colorful array of fruits and vegetables. Not only are these bright ingredients delicious, but they’re packed full of nutrients that your immune system needs more than ever, especially with the risk of contracting COVID-19. If you’re looking to spice up your Instagram story while improving your health, opt for these delicious meals instead of fast food.
Sometimes you can get colorful wild carrots ranging from cream to purple, but more often than not it’s a lovely shade of orange. Head to your local farmer’s market and drizzle them with honey before baking them in the oven—the result is juicy and contains more than double your daily dose of vitamin A.
2. Salad oil
If you’re not quite ready for kale, consider lettuce. This smooth salad is very decadent and doesn’t taste too good. It’s the perfect addition to a sandwich or even as a stand-alone salad base. Lettuce is packed with an important antioxidant called beta-carotene and a phytochemical called lutein. Both of them are key in the prevention of degenerative diseases.
There are so many different types of mushrooms. We love a juicy portabella or hearty mushroom soup on a cold day. Mushrooms are essentially an inflammation-reducing superfood, and they pack a punch of flavor—enough to compare them to meat! They are also rich in prebiotics, which nourish the microbiota in your gut and promote healthy digestion.
Apple picking is one of our favorite fall activities; there is so much you can do with them! From apple and squash soup to stuffing, there are plenty of savory options as well as classic unhealthy options like apple pie and strudel. Baked apple rings also hit the spot when you sprinkle cinnamon on the naturally sweet treat. Apples contain vitamin C and a lot of antioxidants. They also contain pectin, a prebiotic that is known to lower high cholesterol levels while keeping the gut healthy.
5. Brussels sprouts
Many of us have been traumatized by cooked Brussels sprouts, but there are better ways to get the most out of the flavor when cooking your own. Try to buy them fresh on the stem if possible and roast them in the oven with olive oil, pepper and salt. They’re packed with iron and other good-for-you vitamins that will boost your immune system.
6. Sweet potatoes
There are more ways to eat sweet potatoes than in a casserole with artificially sweetened marshmallows. You can bake them into sweet potato fries or serve them mashed with grilled fish or chicken. They’re packed with fiber to help you stay fuller longer, and they’re packed with vitamins C and A. When you cut them into chips, they also make amazing nachos.
The ultimate addition to any charcuterie board, figs both look and taste dazzling. They’re packed with fiber and are known to lower bad cholesterol while regulating blood sugar and potassium, both of which can improve blood pressure. If you feel like snacking all day or suffer from frequent constipation, consider making a salad with figs, goat cheese and walnuts. Figs are also delicious on their own.
This purple-red vegetable fascinates both with its color and health benefits. Root vegetables contain betalains, phytonutrients that fight inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Beets can also help our bodies absorb calcium better. When you buy beets, try to choose smaller ones, they will be more tender than larger beets. They’re sweet enough to sneak into dessert, but also make a hearty side dish or salad.
9. Butternut squash
If nothing else hits the spot, a hot bowl of pumpkin soup will. Its velvety texture is addictive when pureed, but when you dice one and fry it, the taste is no less impressive. Just don’t forget to add seasonings like garlic and salt! Vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, and beta-carotene helps optimize eye health.
Grapes are like nature’s candy. They’re hard to put down once you stop, and while they make one of the best inventions ever – wine, they also taste amazing on their own. There are endless varieties of grapes, and even though they taste like dessert, they contain things like vitamin K, which makes bones stronger, and polyphenols, otherwise known as micronutrients.