Ah Fall…the heat gives way to crisper temperatures, the greenery changes to orange, golden hues and a whole new collection of delicious produce comes into season! When we think of Autumn food favorites, pumpkins and apples often come to mind but there is actually a whole bounty of seasonal fruits and veggies to explore to add to your weekly menus to promote healthy eating with diabetes. Below are some additional choices to incorporate into your diet to enjoy all of their nutritious benefits, flavor and to add variety to your meals and snacks.
Beyond pumpkin, other tasty squashes include acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash. These thick-shelled squashes come in a multitude of colors and shapes and keep for quite awhile. Store them in a cool dry place like a pantry shelf or countertop for up to 1-2 months. Acorn and butternut squash are very versatile and can be roasted, baked, streamed, or sautéed and have a consistency similar to potato. Serve them mashed as a delicious side, cubed to place atop an autumn inspired salad or blended into thick velvety soup recipes. Spaghetti squash has its own unique texture- packed noodle-like insides, that when cooked well can be pulled apart and used in place of pasta topped with your favorite sauce. Fuss- free prep for most any winter squash can be achieved by placing the whole squash in the oven, roasting it at a high temperature (like 425 degrees) until soft when pierced with a knife. Then simply allow it to cool, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and add a little bit of butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon or garlic salt for extra flair. You can even save and roast the seeds for a snack. Winter squash is packed with antioxidants like vitamins A and C, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and is also very high in fiber. A generous serving of one cup with range provides 40-90 calories (depending on the type) averages about 10-20 grams of carbohydrate per cup.
Pomegranates and Pears
These two Fall fruits pack a powerful nutritious and flavorful punch. Pomegranates can be bought whole and stored in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator for few weeks up to a month until ready to cut/eat, whereas ready to eat seeds are found in the refrigerator section and last for a week in an airtight container. These crunchy and juicy seeds, called arils, are delicious eaten by themselves as a snack, sprinkled on salads, stirred in yogurts, or mixed in whole grain side dishes like couscous or brown rice. Pomegranate seeds are super high in fiber, high in vitamins/minerals like vitamin C, K, folate and potassium and ½ cup only contains about 72 calories and 16 grams of carbohydrate. Pears also pop up in all sorts of varieties in the Fall, including Comice, Bartlett, Forelle, Bosc, Asian and Anjou to name a few. Available in an assortment of colors including green, yellow, brown and even red, pears each have their own unique flavors and textures ranging from sweet and soft to and tangy and crispy. Unripe pears can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, and keeping on them the counter will allow them to ripen in just a few days. Pears are a delicious on their own as a snack, sliced on salads, chopped in chutneys and even baked or grilled as a dessert, Pears are a good source of fiber and micronutrients like vitamins C and K as well as potassium and copper. A small pear or ½ of a large contains just 70-80 calories and 15-16 grams of carbohydrate.