Fall is finally here! Now that the kids are settled back in school and the household has recovered from a wild summer, it's time to enjoy the cooler weather and shorter days. That means your favorite pair of boots, football games, raking leaves and enjoying some delicious fall flavors. It's easier than you think to make your favorite fall comfort foods healthy. There are lots of seasonal fruits and veggies that are freshest and tastiest in the fall. Check out this list of 10 fall foods and flavors with some recipes to try.
Pumpkin: It's at the top of this list for a reason. Pumpkin is one of the most popular fall flavors! Believe it or not, Pumpkin Spice Lattes aren't the only comfy fall treats to enjoy! The many varieties and sizes of this orange squash can be used for food and for recreation. Head to a pumpkin patch during mid to late fall to pick your own pumpkins to carve, or attend one of the many pumpkin festivals around the country. When it's time for some fall baking, lighten up your pumpkin desserts with 9 Skinny Pumpkin Recipes you won't be able to resist.
Apple: Another quintessential fall flavor, apples are so versatile and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. They're also the perfect daily snack because they are low in calories and sugar and high in fiber. If you're not lucky enough to pick some fresh from an apple tree this season, check your local farmer's market for the best selection. Be sure to select firmer varieties of apples for cooking or baking, such as Granny Smith or Jonathan. Apples are perfect in these Autumn Apple Oat Bars. Also try apples in your lunch sandwich or wrap, such as this Turkey Wrap with Apples and Brie.
Cinnamon & Spice: Okay, spices seem like such a generic fall flavor, but spiced drinks and foods are comforting and warming. But sugar doesn't always have to accompany the spice! Try some lighter recipes that are big on flavor and low in sugar. Spice up your morning routine with a Vanilla Chai Breakfast Shake. Bake up a spiced treat with some added protein power with Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Coffee Cake. You can even try combining the fall flavors of apple and spice to make your own spiced apple cider.
Maple: Canada, oh Canada, we thank you for making our fall breakfasts just a bit sweeter with maple syrup. The pure grade A or B syrup is by far the best. Add it to homemade granola or drizzle a touch over your protein pancakes. Maple Glazed Turkey Sausage hits both the sweet and salty flavors perfectly. If you're feeling adventurous, try adding maple in a new way in some Healthy Maple Roasted Strawberry Muffins.
Butternut Squash: Butternut squash can stand as a side, or doll it up and serve it as a main dish. Though tough to cut into at first, this curvy orange gourd can be cooked in many different ways, from steaming to sautéing to roasting. Squash looks beautiful in a salad or stuffing, such as Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing, which is perfect for a side or light main dish. Or, serve it simply in Skinny Butternut Squash Soup.
Spaghetti Squash: Trick your kids into eating a veggie with dinner! Spaghetti squash looks like its namesake when cooked and makes the perfect low-carb replacement for pasta. Cut the squash open before you cook it to shorten cooking time. Plus, it's much easier to scrape out the seeds and pulp when the squash is raw before cooking. Expand your spaghetti squash repertoire with these 11 Divine Spaghetti Squash Recipes.
Chard: Lighten up your fall dinner table with some greens! Chard packs in lots of vitamins and minerals in a serving, especially vitamins A and K, as well as iron. Look for crispy, crunchy leaves when selecting chard at the grocery. Larger chard will have tougher stems. Served simply, Sauteed Swiss Chard with Ginger is a quick cooking and healthy side. Or, try replacing kale with chard in your favorite savory recipes as an easy seasonal swap.
Pomegranate: These beautiful, exotic fruits are a sweet, cheery addition to your autumn produce list. It may take a little work to get to the seeds, but Martha Stewart has a great video to show you an easy way to open a pomegranate. You may be familiar with pomegranate juice as a great addition to smoothies, but the fresh pomegranate seeds add a pop of sweetness and color to salads and sides, too. Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad mixes fall flavors perfectly.
Cranberry: Forget the plain ol' cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. There are lots of other opportunities to enjoy tangy cranberries. In the fall, you may be able to find them fresh at your local farmers market or grocery, or look for unsweetened dried cranberries. Stay away from over-sweetened sauces and juices. Mix up a bowl of Skinny Cranberry Punch for your fall harvest party. Cranberries also add surprising flavor to Cranberry Feta Turkey Burgers.
Pear: It may be a little too early to start singing about a partridge in a pear tree, but fall is the perfect season to enjoy this oddly shaped fruit. Mail order pears and fruit baskets are popular gifts around the holiday season, but you can find delicious seasonal pears at your local grocer. Add pears to Warm Steak and Pear Salad for added crunch and texture. They are also great poached in liquid or baked into a light dessert, such as Cardamom Almond Pear Crisp from Oh She Glows.
Seasonal fall flavors won't be around for long, so enjoy them while they are fresh!