ADHD Seasonal Nutrition: Foods to Eat This Fall October 08 2014

 

Fall is the season of harvest.  Autumn's plentiful crop of fruits and vegetables offers a range of intense flavors and substantial nutrients. Grocery stores and farmers’ markets are full of a variety of apples, figs, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, zucchini, countless types of squash, and much more.  Review our favorite fall foods and implement the "Ways to Enjoy" suggestions into your daily diet.

Apples

There are thousands of varieties of apples, ranging from tender to crisp and sweet to tart. Apples are available year-round, but they're best during the fall months of the year, namely September to November.

If there is one piece of produce worth buying organic, it would be the apple. A conventional apple is sprayed with pesticides on average 20 times before harvest. Pesticides (of any large or small amount) are not meant to be in the body and must undergo filtration by the liver.   To select the best apple, look for firm, vibrantly colored apples with no bruises. They should smell fresh and skins should be tight and smooth.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Enjoy a whole apple – skin and all – for your afternoon snack. Keep things interesting by occasionally eating with all-natural nut butters.
  • Dehydrate apples so you have the healthy (and without extra, hidden ingredients) dried version all winter long.

Winter Squash

Winter squash are picked in the autumn and stored until spring. Some popular varieties include acorn, butternut, and spaghetti. To select the tastiest winter squash, look for produce that is solid and heavy. The stem should be full, firm, and have a corky feel. The skin of the squash should be deeply colored with a matte finish. Avoid squash with cracks, soft spots, and moldy areas.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Use butternut squash (and/or other varieties) in a quiche.
  • Lightly steam squashes with other vegetables. Add a light coating of olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes, with the high vitamin and antioxidant content found in their orange flesh, are an especially great and versatile fall food. To select the best sweet potatoes, look for the variant that is darker in color, which are sweet and creamy. Also pick small to medium-sized tubers with few bruises and smooth, even-toned skin.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Toss sweet potato wedges with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary. Roast at 400° F, tossing once, until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Boil peeled and cut-up sweet potatoes until tender. Mash with unsalted butter and honey. Season with ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are meant for more than Halloween activities. A staple for autumn festivities, the pumpkin makes its way into a multitude of dishes this time of year. Enjoy this versatile squash while it's fresh—the flavor is vastly superior to canned. To select, look for pumpkins that are small, about 5 to 8 pounds, with tough skin. They are prized for their rich flavor and sweetness.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Mix pureed pumpkin wit a touch of cinnamon and Grade B Maple Syrup. Spread mixture on whoe-grain toast and enjoy.
  • Replace applesauce with pumpkin puree in your favorite apple-brain muffin recipe for a festive fall treat.

Brussels Sprouts

As a member of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetable), brussels sprouts contain high amounts of vitamin K and vitamin C. Look for small, firm sprouts with compact, bright-green heads. Avoid soft or dull-colored heads, as well as those with loose or yellowish leaves. Choose sprouts of similar size so they'll cook evenly.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Add steamed brussel sprouts to your favorite pasta dish.
  • Add brussel sprouts to a vegetable stir-fry (with onions, peppers, carrots, potatoes, etc). 

Cauliflower

This member of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetable) is one you should be eating on a regular basis. Cauliflower comes in the well-known white variety, but you'll occasionally find a purple or greenish variety too. Choose a sturdy cauliflower that is compact; you want leaves that are crisp and green without signs of yellowing. The size of the head does not affect the quality.

Ways to Enjoy:

  • Add cauliflower to your scrambled eggs in the morning. The texture of steamed cauliflower takes on a consistency very close to the eggs so you’ll hardly notice this health-improving veggie is in your morning meal.
  • Combine rice and grains with cauliflower. Use a cheese grater to break cauliflower into small rice-size pieces then lightly steam. Using cauliflower as a grain replacement will benefit digestion and blood sugar.

Need more nutrition help?  Read "Nutrients to Eat Daily if You Have ADHD" and "Foods to Avoid if You Have ADHD."

Written by Melissa Warner