The holidays are now in full swing, which means the treats and sweets of the season are everywhere. But it’s not just the cookies and pies that are great this time of year—there are a variety of delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables. And with the weather getting colder and the daylight hours diminishing, it’s the perfect excuse to get cooking! Here are 7 top foods you should eat right now:
- Apples – These sweet, crunchy fall favorites are packed with antioxidants, which may help prevent chronic disease and slow aging. There are more than 7,500 different varieties so you can eat them every day without getting bored. Apples are a convenient on-the-go snack for adults and kids and they help add beneficial fiber to your day.
- Beets – These veggies are bursting with dark purple or golden hues. Beets contain compounds that may reduce the likelihood of dementia and may enhance blood flow to the brain. Roasting them brings out their natural sweetness.
- Sweet Potatoes –Packed with potassium, fiber, and vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are at their full flavor right now. Baked or grilled, sweet potatoes are a great addition to any meal.
- Pumpkins – With a deep rich color that is loaded with beta carotene (an antioxidant essential to healthy vision and may boost immunity), pumpkins are popular for a reason. Don’t overlook the seeds, either— they’re a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health. Toast up some pumpkin seeds to eat by the handful or to sprinkle into salads or side dishes for a nutritious crunch.
- Brussel Sprouts – These mini cabbages are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and other cancer-fighting nutrients. Try roasting them with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt to bring out their sweetness.
- Pears – This fruit is a sweet source of soluble fiber, which is well known for promoting healthy blood cholesterol levels. Try them on their own, baked, poached, or chopped in a salad or soup.
- Cranberries – The bright, purple-red color of cranberries gives away their high level nutritional status. They are packed with fiber, vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants. Toss a handful of berries into a fruit salad, add them to hot cereal or bake them into muffins.
— Laura Quinn RDN, CDN Sodexo Dietitian at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital