The bounty of the autumn harvest makes it easy to keep your menu fresh and inspiring with seasonal fruit and vegetables.
We could all benefit from more servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Even if you make healthy food choices, the chances are pretty high that you don’t meet the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings. An average adult should aim for about five servings of vegetables (one serve being one cup of raw vegetables or a half cup of cooked vegetables) and two serves of fruit each day but statistics suggest that 95 percent of us fail to meet the guidelines for adequate fruit and vegetables!
If you are using an Isagenix® System, an essential part of planning your balanced 400-600 calorie meal is ensuring that you fill at least half of your plate with vegetables. The abundance of autumn produce is an opportunity to refresh your third meal menus with greater variety and can help inspire you to get more vegetables (and fruit) every day, too. Make the most of autumn with these tips for finding what’s in season near you, selecting the best-quality produce and bringing out natural flavours in the kitchen.
What’s in Season in Autumn?
Because so many foods are available in large-chain grocery stores all year round, it’s not always obvious what’s in peak season. Your local farmer’s market can be a great spot for the freshest seasonal produce near you. These are some favourite fruit and vegetables that are in season during autumn:
- Fruit: Avocado, apples, pears, pomegranates, strawberries, blackberries, figs, mandarins, passionfruit and honeydew melon
- Green vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, zucchini, silverbeet and artichokes
- Orange vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash
- Red/purple vegetables: capsicum, beetroot and eggplant
How to Pick the Best Produce
Most people have a favourite trick to selecting the best quality fruits and vegetables from the market, from thumping and tapping to squeezing and sniffing. In general, you can select quality produce by looking for fruits and vegetables that are free of blemishes and discolorations and have a firm, uniform texture. There are a few additional tricks to picking certain types of produce.
- The best pumpkins are firm, smooth and heavy for their size
- Pears are ready to eat when the flesh near the stem yields slightly under firm pressure
- A ripe pomegranate is plump, rounded and feels heavy in your hand
- Quality artichokes are large and rounded at the base and have tightly closed leaves
- The most tender beetroots are the size of your fist or smaller and are firm with smooth skins
Serve up Seasonal Flavours
When you start with the freshest seasonal produce, it can be nearly effortless to create a delicious and nourishing meal. Simple preparation techniques are often your best choice to allow the natural flavours of seasonal fruit and vegetables shine through in any recipe. Consider these ideas for a fresh, seasonal third meal.
- Bring out intense flavours by roasting
Any vegetable with a firm texture can be roasted with delicious results, from beetroot to brussel sprouts. For even roasting, cut vegetables into uniformly-sized pieces, lightly brush with olive oil and spread the pieces in a single, even layer on a baking sheet.
- Don’t skip salads in autumn
Autumn fruits and vegetables can make hearty additions to salads. Toss shaved brussel sprouts with a light dressing, add grated beetroot for bright colour, or throw in some of your roasted vegetables. Sprinkling pomegranate seeds or adding a crisp, sliced pear offers a sweet crunch to any fresh salad.
We can all benefit from adding more servings of fruit and vegetables to our day. Take advantage of the seasonal abundance and variety of autumn produce for fresh inspiration for your third meal on Shake Days.
- Heart Foundation. HeartWatch Survey 2016
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey 2014/15.