Take a Bite: Must-Eat Fall Foods | NBC Chicago
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Take a Bite: Must-Eat Fall Foods

Updated 1:53 PM CDT, Fri, Jan 13, 2012

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It is officially fall and as seasons change so does the produce that's readily available.

Seasonal produce is less expensive, tastes better and contains more nutrition since it's picked at peak growing time.

Here are five must-eat fall foods.

1) Beets: Cancer Protection

Beets contain antioxidants called “betalains” which may protect cells against cancer.

How to: Scrub clean and eat raw or roasted.

Raw: Peel under running water to decrease mess. Slice very thin and add to salads.

Roasted: Wrap in foil. Bake 400 degrees Farenheit for about 40 minutes and remove skin. Chop and toss with walnuts and balsamic vinegar for an easy side dish.

2) Parsnips: Immune Boosting and Regularity

Parsnips are an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C and contain double the regularity enhancing fiber of standard potato fries.

How to: Cut into fry shapes. Toss with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Then, place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes, and then broil for 5 minutes until golden and crisp.

3) Pomegranate: Heart Health

Pomegranates are rich in “polyphenols” which may prevent plaque build-up in arteries.

How to: Cut pomegranates in half. Put in bowl with water. Remove red seeds under water. Seeds will sink and the pulp will float to the top for easy disposal. Snack on the seeds or use them to top yogurt or salads.

4) Squash: Lung & Eye Health

Squash contains “beta-carotene” which may reduce risk of lung cancer, asthma symptoms and cataracts.

How to: Cut squash in half. Scrape out seeds and bake or microwave. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil.

Bake: Put halves flesh side up in baking pan with 1/4” water. Bake at 400 degrees Farenheit for 45-60 minutes until squash is tender.

Microwave: Put halves flesh side down in microwave-safe dish, cover loosely and cook about 15-20 minutes until squash is tender.

5) Kale: Bone Health

Kale is rich in vitamin K, magnesium and calcium. This trio promotes healthy bones.

How to: Clean, chop and eat raw or sautéed.

Raw: Try double sesame kale. Click here for video of recipe.

Sautéed: Put in pan with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until wilted and crisp-tender.

First Published: Sep 27, 2010 7:30 AM CDT

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