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AutumnEatingFeature

Eat well in autumn: A seasonal guide to healthy eating

Kate Freeman

Eating seasonally is a key element to eating good quality fresh produce all year round. They say that variety is the ‘spice’ of life, but I’d like to argue that variety is the source of good health too.

We’re now well into March and the start of a new season. With the onset of yellowing leaves and cooler breezes comes a whole new range of fruits and vegetables that we can begin to include in out diets.

Here are 10 ways to eat your autumn produce this season:

In a Smoothie

Not a juice, a smoothie.

Juicing removes most of the pulp which contains fibre and a large proportion of the nutrients and all you’re left with is the flavour, liquid and sugar. The major health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from the fact that they contain fibre and large amount of nutrition (vitamins and minerals) for a very small amount of energy. Juicing defeats this purpose by removing the fibre and concentrating the energy.

A smoothie, on the other hand, is where you blend fruits and vegetables together keeping the pulp in the juice. It’s very filling, super nutritious and a creative way to eat your greens.

Check out my Green Smoothie recipe for a yummy combination.

Autumn produce to blend: carrots, celery, ginger, spinach, silverbeat, apples, kiwifruit, oranges, mandarins, pears etc

Dip, dip away

Mindless eating is a real problem in our culture. Eating whilst we’re doing other things often means overeating as we’re not paying attention to how much we’re putting in our mouths. If you’re going to nibble and snack on anything make it fresh vegetables. They’ll fill you up with fibre before you’ve even got close to overeating!

Cut carrot and celery into sticks. Serve with hummus or plain yoghurt and nibble to your hearts content. See my article on how to make a fruit and vegetables tasting plate.

Autumn produce to cut up and dip and/or nibble: green beans, capsicums, cucumbers, apples, kiwi fruit, custard apples, mandarins, oranges, pears etc

Stir fry your heart out…

Autumn vegetables are packed full of nutrition and are perfect for hot flavoursome stir fries. Stir fries take less than 5-10 minutes to cook and are easy to flavour. You’ve just got to learn how.

You might like to try this Sesame Chicken and Greens recipe.

Autumn produce to stir fry: asian greens (bok choy, pack choy, choy sum), ginger, carrots, broccoli, capsicums, cauliflower, chestnuts, silver beat, spinach etc

Marinade me

Many autumn fruits and vegetables are perfect for adding flavour to your meat, chicken or fish. The great thing about using these foods to add flavour is that they don’t add excess energy as well.

You might like to try my Rosemary, Lemon and Mustard Chicken recipe.

Autumn produce to use in a marinade: orange (juice & rind), lemon (juice & rind), ginger, fennel etc

Breakfast at Tiffanys

We don’t often think to have vegetables for breakfast, mostly because it’s not cultural to do so. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t! I’d also like to add that spreading your 5 serves of vegetables over 3 meals makes it so much easier to meet your daily intake.

You can add sweet potato, spinach, leeks and mushrooms to omelettes. I like to add baby spinach, mushrooms and tomato to my scrambled eggs.

Autumn produce to add at breakfast time: Grate apple or pears into your porridge, nibble on a mandarin on the way to work or spread avocado on your toast.

Food combination bliss

Try these combos…

Sauté pine nuts, diced bacon and chopped Brussels sprouts in a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil.

Fennel, carrot, celery, cabbage, parsnip and turnip are fantastic lightly sautéed in a large pot. Then add some meat such as diced beef or lamb, flavour with fresh or dried herbs. Add some stock or a can of diced tomatoes and simmer for a delicious stew.

Try baby spinach, feta and pear in a salad. Drizzle with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Leeks and mushrooms go really well together. Try this Risotto, it’s so warm and tasty.

Autumn produce you might not have tried before: chokos, okra, celeriac, witlof, quince, tamarillo, persimmons, custard apples etc

Healthy chips

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t like hot chips… Put a healthy twist on this meal time favourite by using sweet potato instead. Cut it into ‘chip like’ lengths. Toss in a little olive oil and salt and bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.

You can bake or roast a number of autumn vegetables like this and use mixed dried or fresh herbs, spices and garlic to flavour.

Autumn produce to roast: pumpkin, carrots, parsnip, eggplant, capsicum, cauliflower, potatoes etc

Make a pie

Pie has to be the ultimate comfort food but it’s not generally thought of as healthy. Oodles of pastry and creamy fillings tend to make them high in energy and fat.

I have good news for pie lovers out there, all you need to do is reduce the amount of pastry, increase the amount of vegetables and minimize the creamy sauces and you’ve got a winter warmer winner! Here’s a delicious recipe to try: Chicken and Vegetable Pie.

Autumn pie fillings include: leek, mushrooms, carrot, celery, parsnip, chestnuts, cabbages, silverbeet, sweet potato, turnips etc

Snack attack 

Slice up apple and reduced fat cheese. Eat them together it’s a great combination.

Slice up celery and spread with peanut butter or cream cheese.

Slice up pear and serve with cottage or ricotta cheese on a toasted wholemeal english muffin.

Spread wholegrain crackers with avocado and season with salt and pepper.

Autumn fruits to snack on: apples, bananas, grapes, kiwi fruit, oranges, passionfruit, pears, plums, mandarins etc

Fruit Salad

Cut up fruit is much more readily eaten compared to whole fruit.

Apples, pears, kiwifruit, oranges, mandarins all go lovely together. Make up a big bowl for your kids to munch on after school or to serve for dessert with some yoghurt.

Try these fruit salad chocolate cups. 

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Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman is a Registered Nutritionist and the founder and managing director of The Healthy Eating Hub. Kate’s healthy eating philosophy is all about whole, fresh foods, being realistic about life and creating long term healthy eating habits. She doesn’t believe in detoxes, fad diets or quick fixes. Once you’ve finished working with Kate, you’ll be empowered to feed yourself well for the rest of you life! More about the Author

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