Fall is definitely in the air this weekend in Portland. I love the cool, crisp air and the occasional rain. It is a welcome change from the heat of summer. For many, the change of seasons brings some regrets with the perceived loss of the abundance of fresh produce. However, in the Willamette Valley, we are blessed with many tasty options to focus on in this cooler weather. Below are four of my favorites.
Apples: Oregon and Washington are overrun with different types of apples. There is a flavor of apple to suit everyone’s taste. I am not picky about my apple addiction because I know all varieties offer many health benefits. They are high in fiber for regularity and feeling of satiety. Their abundance of antioxidants and phytonutrients are instrumental in lowering the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. With a very low calorie count and almost no fat, apples are a great anytime snack for those following a healthy diet.
Figs: Figs are loaded with regularity producing fiber. As the natural pectin(a type of fiber) in figs makes it way through the digestive system it latches on to cholesterol, sweeping it out of the body. Figs are also high in calcium to protect your bones and high in potassium to help with sugar regulation.
Delicata Squash: I love all squash but delicata is my favorite because it can be eaten without removing the skin. Just slice it, brush it with olive oil and bake it in the oven until soft- yummy! And while you are enjoying such a tasty treat, you can comfort yourself with the fact that the squash is packed with fiber (keeps you full longer), vitamin A (good for the eyes) , potassium (important for muscle contraction), and folate (necessary for the production of red blood cells).
Kale: By now, everyone has heard of the super food status of Kale but it still remains one of my favorites for fall. A single cup of kale provides the daily recommended intake for vitamins A , C and K, making it important for blood clotting, immunity health and eyesight. It is also rich in B vitamins, manganese, calcium, potassium, copper and magnesium. It is also high in flavonoids which may help protect against lung and esophageal cancer.
These are just four of my favorite fall options. It is great to know that even though the weather is changing, you can still fill your belly with healthy, locally grown produce for many months to come.