Apples | Fiber & Antioxidants
Fact: It’s not fall without apple-themed activities. I haven’t been able to go apple picking in a hot minute because I’m always away at school and don’t have many opportunities to do so. Let me tell you, I am going to make a valiant effort this year. Not only are apples delicious and versatile in cooking- they’re also extremely good for you! A diet high in fiber prevents spikes in low blood sugar, meaning you won’t get hungry again soon after. Eating a lot of fiber also reduces your chances of developing colon cancer, because it keeps your intestines healthy by cleaning out bacteria. It’s noteworthy to add that although many fruits contain fiber, fruit juice does not, so you can’t get in your fiber by downing tons of apple juice. Sorry about that.
Grapes | Vitamins C & K
Grapes are one of those foods I can eat mindlessly, and before I know it, half of the cluster is gone. I could have worse eating habits- after all, grapes are a fantastic source of vitamins C and K, and can even help prevent certain chronic diseases. Vitamin C can help protect you from immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems, and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your skin. In a nutshell, a heavy dose of vitamin C will just help you live longer. The vitamin K in grapes can help to improve your bone health, heart, and can even aid wound healing. I’m not too familiar with any ways to cook with grapes, and I’m not a raisin person, so my favorite way to eat them is fresh off the bunch, or tossed into a fruit salad. I heard somewhere that grapes in chicken salad is actually really yummy, so I’ll have to try a vegetarian version and put that to the test!
Green beans | Folate & Cell Growth
Green beans are adorable- try to change my mind. They’re also a perfect vegetable side dish, cooked or not, and come with a variety of health benefits. Green vegetables in general are recommended for decreasing your chance of heart disease and obesity, and some studies have shown that green veggies can even brighten up your skin! I personally enjoy eating them raw, because canned green beans can contain a lot of sodium unless you rinse and drain them properly. In regards to other health benefits, green beans can promote cell growth, a healthy metabolism, and even fertility. This has to do with the high iron content in green beans, which is yet another nutrient essential to the vegetarian/vegan diet.
Corn | Eye Health & Digestion
Have you ever met a person who didn’t like sweet corn? Seriously, I want to know. There’s nothing quite like the smell of pulling apart some fresh farmstand corn and shucking off the ears, especially on a crisp fall evening. Maize is one of the most widely used staple foods in the world, and sweet corn in particular is one of the most popular types. The high fiber content of corn makes it excellent for digestion, and also contains carotenoids that benefit eye health. It’s an extremely versatile food to work with, and one of my favorite recipes with corn is Beth Moncel’s loaded enchilada pasta. I can’t find a copy of it online, but it’s featured in Budget Bytes, a cookbook I previously mentioned on my blog. I also enjoy buying bags of frozen corn, and will heat some up when I’m in need of a sweet snack.
Carrots | Weight loss Friendly
Similarly to grapes, carrots are one of my favorite things to snack on. My dog loves them too, and when I’m home we like to munch on them in bed together. Messy, but adorable! Carrots are a great snack for your dog and can keep his teeth healthy, but be sure to cut the carrots into small pieces (or give your pet baby carrots). It’s a little known fact that carrots can help to prevent vision loss, but they can also protect you from different kinds of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The great thing about carrots is that you can use them in a variety of dishes- savory, sweet, juiced, pureed, whatever you’re feeling. I’m going to include a link to a vegan carrot cake at the bottom (WITH vegan frosting), so let me know if you try it!
Zucchini | Anti-inflammatory Nutrients
Squash in general is in season this month, so be sure to pick some up at your local farmer’s market. I love zucchini because it’s nearly impossible to fuck up- even my college dining hall serves some pretty delicious baked zucchini. Zucchini is an extremely nutrient-dense fruit (yes, a fruit), packing fiber, potassium, and manganese. It also contains no fat and has an extremely high water content, making it a great snack if you’re trying to lose weight. To get those anti-inflammatory boosts from the vitamins C and A, you should eat the skin of the zucchini together with the flesh (that’s where large amounts of these nutrients are found). Once I eventually have my own garden, I’d like to grow zucchini myself to make sure I always have access to these health benefits. But first, I need to learn how to keep my basil sprout alive.
Cauliflower | Learning & Memory
I’ve definitely written about cauliflower in another produce guide, but for those of you who aren’t up to speed, cauliflower is a delectable and healthy snack, renowned by vegans for their invention of “buffalo cauliflower bites.” I’ve said I’m going to make those for months now, but I promise I’ll get around to it. The choline in cauliflower is what helps with improving learning and memory, and the antioxidants can even protect against cancer. There are so many unique ways to cook with cauliflower, including soup, pizza crust, and mixed in with fried rice. It’s always been a go-to vegetable for me, because the taste is mild and responds well to other flavors. I’ll link the buffalo cauliflower bites I’m interested in making below, so let me know if you end up trying them as well! It’s very easy to sub in dairy-free options with this recipe.
There were a few other fruits and veggies in season, but I’ve written about many of them before and don’t want to sound like a broken record. If you’re interested in reading my other produce guides, you can find them all under my Vegetarian Journal tab.
Vegan Carrot Cake: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-carrot-cake-macadamia-frosting/
Buffalo Cauliflower bites: https://theforkedspoon.com/easy-buffalo-cauliflower/
Coming up next: My Numbers Have Colors: Synesthesia