Written in collaboration with Nourished Routes, LLC
There are few things better than the flavors of fall: maple, cinnamon, apples, pumpkin…the list goes on! But these foods are full of much more than comforting flavors and a change in the weather. Our favorite fall ingredients are also packed with nutrients to help kids grow up healthy and strong, and to help the grownups keep up with them, too! Here are some popular fall ingredients and the nutrients they contain, so you can feel good knowing the whole family is getting the best that these foods have to offer. We’ve also included some fall-flavor recipes kids are sure to enjoy.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, containing almost 200% of the daily value in a 1 cup serving! Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant, and fiber. It’s very versatile, and tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes.
Beets come in a variety of colors, but the red variety is most commonly used. They are high in folate and fiber and are a good source of vitamin C and iron. You can encourage skeptical kids to eat beets by adding them to smoothies, muffins, and even pancakes – plus, kids will love the bright pink color they give off!
Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. They’re also sweet and delicious, making them an easy no-fuss snack. Fuji and Goldrush apples are in season later in the fall (think November), while Gala and Honeycrisp are popular in the earlier weeks of fall.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and fiber, as well as potassium and vitamin C. They’re also super versatile, and can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Spaghetti Squash
An excellent option for gluten-free kiddos, spaghetti squash is a fun vegetable that can be used as a pasta alternative for a side or main dish. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and the B vitamins, as well as fiber.
Carrots have twice as much of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A, and are low in sugar. They make a great snack when eaten raw, or can be added to stews, soups, or glazed and sweetened as a side dish.
Pears are high in vitamin C and copper, and when eaten with the skin on they are a great source of fiber. They can be prepared in a salad, in breads and pies, and even mixed in with pasta.
Cranberries deserve more love outside of the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce! Just a half cup of cranberries contains fiber and vitamin C; they’re also an antioxidant! Cranberries can be used in pancakes and oatmeal, but also work well in savory dishes made with quinoa or brown rice. Just be mindful, as they may pose a choking hazard for the younger kids.
These classic foods can be incorporated into so many dishes that the whole family will enjoy. Not only will they provide the yummy flavors we associate with the fall season, but they will provide a lot of important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to ensure your family is getting a well-rounded diet.
Here are some recipes that use some of the foods above to help you get started!
Butternut Squash and Bean Tacos
This recipe is quick and easy, and almost everything can be purchased pre-prepared for busy weeknights. Get the kids involved by having them help organize taco toppings into individual bowls, letting them stir together the sauce, and by letting them construct their own tacos! Adjust the spices to a level everyone will enjoy, if needed.
1 butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (15 oz) reduced-sodium black beans or chickpeas
½ teaspoon each: paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bag broccoli or kale slaw, or coleslaw
2 avocados, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425. Peel and deseed the squash, then cut into 1-in cubes. In a large bowl, mix with olive oil and spices. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet, with no pieces overlapping. Use two sheets if needed.
- Bake squash for 10-15 minutes, remove from the oven and toss, then return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- While squash is baking, drain and rinse black beans. Once squash is tender, remove pan and mix in black beans with squash to warm. Alternatively, they can be warmed in a saucepan on the stove and drained before constructing the tacos.
- Char, grill, or warm tortillas if using flour tortillas, and top with slaw. Then add scoop of beans and squash, and top with whatever toppings and sauces you prefer.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
What kid doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies combine a year-long classic with a classic fall flavor – pumpkin! Get the kids involved by letting them help fold in the chocolate chips and prepare the balls of cookie dough to go into the oven. And since there’s no eggs, they can even lick the bowl.
1 cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
- Cream butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in pumpkin puree and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Roll cookie dough into 2 tablespoon-size balls, or use a cookie scoop and place on a baking sheet.
- Cover the baking sheet with cookie dough balls with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove plastic wrap and place the baking sheet in the oven.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
About Nourished Routes:
We work with women who are struggling with a variety of health concerns, including confusion and a feeling of being overwhelmed about what to eat and how to eat for their condition, a lack of energy, gut discomfort, and food allergies and intolerances.
We help our clients to implement a highly personalized whole foods nutrition approach so that they can enjoy food again and achieve a sense of empowerment and food freedom while feeling nourished and ultimately live their best lives.