Fall is a great time for produce! Right now there are several flavor-packed, versatile fruits and vegetables in season, and we want to highlight a few of them in this list of our favorite fall foods. Below you’ll find dozens of ideas for incorporating these highly nutritious foods into your meal plan.
Did you know that grapes hit their peak during the fall months? They’ll be most colorful, flavorful, and inexpensive this time of year.
Serving Suggestion: According to the Exchange Lists for Diabetes, a serving of grapes 17 small grapes (or about 1 cup) contains around 15 grams of carbohydrate. All fruit has carbohydrate, so be sure to count it in your meal plan!
Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable but they are also a great source of fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. Here are just a few ways to enjoy sweet potatoes:
Serving Suggestion:¼ of a large sweet potato or ½ cup of a cooked sweet potato has around 15 grams of carbohydrate. Be sure to count them in your meal plan. If you use the Create Your Plate method to plan meals, you can fill ¼ of your plate with your favorite sweet potato dish.
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that is easy to find in the grocery store this time of year. Other types of winter squash that you might see are acorn squash and spaghetti squash. For tips on peeling and cutting up butternut squash, check out this month’s video. Our Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpeas also includes a tip for cutting up butternut squash.
Serving Suggestion: Butternut squash is also a starchy vegetable, so it is higher in carbohydrates and calories than non-starchy vegetables. 1 cup of cooked butternut squash has about 20 grams of carbohydrate, so be sure to count it in your meal plan. For a lower carb option, you can also try a spaghetti squash, which has about 10 grams of carbohydrate per cup. You might be interested in our recipe Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
Non-starchy vegetables like cauliflower are the best bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber while also being low in carbohydrates and calories. If you have diabetes, a good goal is to fill about half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables – and cauliflower is a great option! There are lots of tasty ways to prepare cauliflower.
Serving Suggestion: Fill about half of your plate with your favorite healthy cauliflower recipe. Since many recipes will call for adding extra fats or cheese, be sure to check the nutrition facts and watch portion sizes!
Broccoli is another non-starchy vegetable that you don’t want to miss this fall. It’s high in vitamin C and folate, and is also a good source of potassium and fiber! There are many ways to enjoy broccoli.
Serving Suggestion: Broccoli is also a non-starchy vegetable. When you choose broccoli recipes, make sure they don’t over-do it with the cheese or added fat. Look for recipes that call for healthy ingredients and keep portions in mind. You can fill about ½ of your plate with a healthy broccoli dish.
It’s easy to make your own chili or stew at home, and both are perfect comfort foods for cold weather. When you use the right ingredients, chilis and stews can be packed with nutrients. What’s more, they are often made in large batches so you can save the leftovers by freezing them for an easy meal when time is tight.
Serving Suggestion: A reasonable serving for chili or stew is usually about 1 cup-1 ½ cups. Check your recipe for the nutrition facts so you know how to count it in your meal plan. Remember that any time you add beans, potatoes, or another starchy food, the carbohydrate content will increase.
Pears are also in season!
Serving suggestion: The amount of carbohydrate in a pear will depend on the size. According to the Exchange Lists for Diabetes, ½ cup of canned pears or 4-ounces of fresh pear contains around 15 grams of carbohydrate.
What about drinks? We talk a lot about food with diabetes but what you drink counts too! Unsweetened coffee and tea are good drink choices, and will warm you from the inside out on a blustery fall day. They both have fewer than 5 calories per cup and do not contain carbohydrates. Unlike sugary drinks, they do not have a significant effect on blood glucose or calorie intake! But be careful –adding cream and sugar will add extra carbohydrates, fat and calories. So, if you’re tired of water, try switching it up and incorporate some coffee and tea into the mix.
Note: One of the best places to get fresh produce is your local farmer’s market. Farmers usually only bring what they are harvesting at the time, so the food you buy from them is usually fairly fresh and is in season. Other nutritious fall foods to look for include apples, Belgian endive, broccoli rabe, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, garlic, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pomegranates, Swiss chard, and turnips.
by Robyn Webb
This cookbook provides easy and healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods that the whole family will enjoy.
The coldest months of the year seem to be when we crave comfort food the most. And the truth is, they don’t have to be packed with calories!Read More
Fall fruits and vegetables will add nutrition, color, and flavor to your meals. Here are some ways that you can fit more of them into your meal plan.See Meal Plan
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