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Healthy Recipes for Seasonal Fall and Winter Foods

  • Mike Jensen

    Squash

    Health benefits: Squash is high in vitamins A and C, which aid your body's metabolic functioning and help ward off chronic illnesses. However, some winter varieties, like butternut squash, contain more sugar than others, such as acorn and spaghetti squashes, so be knowledgeable about which kind you're buying if you're watching your calorie count.

    Nutrition: Acorn squash (1 cup, raw): 56 calories, 0.1g fat, 14.6g carbohydrates, 2.1g fiber, 1.1g protein. Butternut squash (1 cup, raw): 63 calories, 0.1g fat, 16.4g carbohydrates, 2.8g fiber, 1.4g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Quick-Roasted Acorn Squash
    Curried Butternut Squash Soup

     
  • Scott Little

    Sweet Potato

    Health benefits: Bursting with vitamin A (377 percent of your daily recommended intake per cup!) and high in potassium and fiber, this versatile vegetable can be worked into a variety of dishes, from sides to desserts. One point to note: Its high sugar content translates into a fair number of calories, so consider this ingredient more like a starch than a vegetable.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, raw) 114 calories, 0.1g fat, 26.8g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 2.1g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Warm Sweet Potato, Apple, and Sausage Salad
    Curried Sweet Potato "Fries"
    Sweet Potato Soup

  • Sarah Kehoe

    Apples

    Health benefits: High in vitamin C and dietary fiber, apples are an easy way to fill up on relatively few calories. Tote one as a portable snack — the USDA recommends 2 cups of fruit per day for women.

    Nutrition: (1 medium apple) 72 calories, 0.2g fat, 19.1g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 0.4g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Thyme Sauce
    Apple Phyllo Tart
    Baked Apples with Cinnamon and Walnuts

     
  • Amy Haskell

    Pumpkin

    Health benefits: Boasting high levels of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse vegetable. The only bad point is that also contains a fair amount of natural sugar (1.6g per cup), so beware the calorie count when making it into an even sweeter dessert.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, raw): 30 calories, 0.1g fat (0.1g saturated), 7.5g carbohydrates, 0.6g fiber, 1.2g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Spicy Pumpkin and Shrimp Soup
    Pumpkin-Date Muffins
    Bacon and Pumpkin Soup

  • Blaine Moats

    Mushrooms

    Health benefits: Forget its reputation as a worthless fungus — mushrooms are high in vitamin C, iron, potassium, and zinc. With no cholesterol and low levels of sodium, they also pack a good amount of protein for a veggie.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, raw) 15 calories, 0.2g fat, 2.3g carbohydrates, 0.7g fiber, 2.2g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Mushroom and Asparagus Fettuccine
    Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Leeks
    Mushroom Soup
    Shrimp and Mushroom Risotto

     
  • Andy Lyons

    Pears

    Health benefits: Tired of apples already? Try their oblong sister fruits. Pears are high in fiber and vitamin C — 12 percent of your daily recommended intake, in fact. However, they're also pretty high in sugar (16.3g), so treat them as a sweet snack or even a dessert.

    Nutrition: (1 pear, medium) 96 calories, 0.2g fat, 25.7g carbohydrates, 5.1g fiber, 0.6g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Pears
    Baked Pears with Almond Crunch
    Arugula-Fennel Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

  • Andy Lyons

    Figs

    Health benefits: Though figs are naturally high in sugar, they earn points for being high in dietary fiber.

    Nutrition: (1 fig, medium) 37 calories, 0.2g fat, 9.6g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 0.4g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Banana, Fig, and Walnut Bread
    Endive, Radicchio, and Poached Figs with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
    Chocolate-Covered Figs

     
  • Andy Lyons

    Beets

    Health benefits: High in fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin C, these vegetables are sweet as a roasted side dish or as a colorful salad add-in.

    Nutrition: (1 beet, raw) 35 calories, 0.1g fat, 7.8g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 1.3g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Beets with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts
    Mixed Greens with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese
    Scarlet Salad

  • Jason Donnelly

    Cauliflower

    Health benefits: Perhaps considered the ugly stepsister of its more popular veggie sister broccoli, cauliflower is bursting with vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C — 77 percent of your recommended allowance per cup! As if that weren't enough, the veggie also happens to be low in calories and high in fiber, so eat up!

    Nutrition: (1 cup) 25 calories, 0.1g fat, 5.3g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 2g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Curried Chickpeas and Cauliflower with Brown Rice
    Seared Scallops with Orange Sauce and Broccoli-Cauliflower Saute
    Wheat Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Shrimp

     
  • Blaine Moats

    Cabbage

    Health benefits: Cabbage is way too versatile to be used for just coleslaw filler. High in vitamins C and B6, the winter green also boasts a good amount of potassium, magnesium, thiamin, and dietary fiber for very few calories.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, raw) 22 calories, 0.1g fat, 5.2g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 1.1g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Savoy Cabbage Salad with Salt-and-Pepper Chicken
    Grilled Chicken and Rice Salad
    Asian Chopped Salad

  • Blaine Moats

    Carrots

    Health benefits: Not just rabbit food, one cup of carrots provides an astounding 428 percent of one's daily recommended amount of vitamin A. The veggie is also high in vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium, thiamin, and fiber.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, chopped) 52 calories, 0.3g fat, 12.3g carbohydrates, 3.6g fiber, 1.2g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Roasted Salmon with Carrots, Molasses, and Chili
    Stir-Fried Vegetables in Thai Peanut Sauce
    Wheat Germ Carrot Muffins

  • Andy Lyons

    Winter Citrus Fruit

    Health benefits: Like their sister summer citrus fruits, winter citrus fruits — mandarin oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, and clementines — are very high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity to fight off pesky colds and flu. They're high in fiber, to boot.

    Nutrition: (1 tangerine, medium) 50 calories, 0.5g fat, 3g fiber, 1g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Papaya and Tangerine Sorbet
    Fennel, Red Onion, and Blood Orange Salad with Miso-Lime Vinaigrette

  • D.Hurst/Alamy

    Potatoes

    Health benefits: We're not talking fries or a sliver of skin drowning in cheese and sour cream. In their most basic form, potatoes provide an abundance of vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium. With the skin, a large potato also provides 32 percent of your daily fiber intake.

    Nutrition: (1 potato, large) 284 calories, 0.3g fat (0.1 saturated), 64.5 carbohydrates, 8.1g fiber, 7.5g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Rosemary New Potatoes
    Warm Tarragon Potato Salad
    Twice-Baked Potato with Melted Cheese and Broccoli

  • Thinkstock/Punchstock

    Broccoli

    Health benefits: Yes, you may have hated it as a kid, but broccoli is a power vegetable that you should try to grow to like. High in vitamins A, B6, and C, these little green trees are a very versatile ingredient. Being very high in potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber is just icing on the proverbial cake.

    Nutrition: (1 cup, raw) 30 calories, 0.3g fat, 5.8g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 2.5g protein

    Recipes to try:

    Stir-Fried Beef, Broccoli, and Tofu
    Broccoli Frittata
    Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

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