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Fall brings a cooler climate, warm sweaters, and rich, hearty produce. Its the perfect time for a family outing to a local apple orchard or a nearby pumpkin patch. From grilled cheese and apple sandwiches to fresh salads and thick soups, falls produce is versatile and fun to eat. Take advantage of the natural nutrients these foods offer and make sure your kids are getting their share of the gardens treats!
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1: Zucchini or Summer Squash
These may be some of the most adaptable summer vegetables out there, and lucky for us, their season extends into early fall! Zucchini is low in calories and full of vitamin C, folate, and beta-carotene. Vitamins C and A, also found in summer squash, are effective anti-inflammatory agents, which can deter the development of asthma.
Simple suggestion for kids: Shred zucchini and add it to a low-fat banana bread recipe or your favorite marinara sauce. No one will ever know its in there!
You can also try these chocolate zucchini muffins! »
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2: Winter Squash
There are many varieties of winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash), each with their own special texture and flavor. One thing they all have in common is their rich color and their high concentration of carotenes, which help protect the body from free radical cells that can damage the body and lead to disease. Winter squash also contains folic acid, an essential nutrient for women who are expecting because it is critical for the babys spinal cord development.
Simple suggestion for kids: Take your kids to a pumpkin patch to pick up a few fresh squash of different varieties, then have a taste test to find out which they like best!
16 seasonal squash recipes for the whole family »
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You can tell broccolis packed with nutrients just from looking at its dark green, leafy appearance. This veggie contains a high amount of potassium, which is good for promoting brain function and muscle growth. Its also loaded with calcium for developing strong, healthy bones and vitamin C, essential in fending off free radicals and colds.
Simple suggestion for kids: Pretend the broccoli stalks are little trees and challenge kids to eat the leaves before the trunks and vice versa. If that wont do it, steam the broccoli for a few minutes to soften it and dip the ends in hummus.
Or, if that doesnt work, check out these 14 broccoli recipes for kids »
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Research has shown that the vitamin C in cauliflower can help reduce wheezing in children with asthma. With high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, cauliflower can also reduce inflammation, and its been known to strengthen your immune system and protect your stomach lining.
Simple suggestion for kids: Break cauliflower into pieces and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper. Bake cauliflower for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees. The cauliflower will resemble popcorn and be flavorful and delicious!
For a flavor boost, try these curried cauliflower cracklins! »
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Grapes are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules. They help the heart function properly and even posses antibacterial and antiviral properties that can protect us from infections. Grapes are also good for those with asthma, as they aid in increasing the moisture present in the lungs.
Simple suggestion for kids: Have kids carefully stick grapes onto a toothpick to make a grape caterpillar. Use both green and red grapes to make fun patterns!
Grapes add an unexpected twist to this classic roast chicken recipe »
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In addition to having an interesting apperance and texture, the figs crunchy seeds and sweet, chewy flesh are full of fiber, potassium, calcium, and manganese. Even the leaves of the fig have been shown to possess anti-diabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by those with diabetes who require insulin injections.
Simple suggestion for kids: Buy a few fresh figs and a small bag of dried figs. Cut open a fresh fig for your kids to try then let them sample a dried fig. Talk about the differences between the same fruit. If they arent interested, make a batch of homemade granola bars and add chopped figs — they wont know the difference!
Feelin fancy? Make roasted figs with honey and hazelnuts »
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Not only do mushrooms contain 80-90 percent water, they are low in calories and high in fiber and potassium. A Portobello mushroom actually contains more potassium than a banana, helping to keep blood pressure low, prevent muscle cramping, and encourage brain development.
Simple suggestion for kids: Try adding mushrooms to something you know your child will like. Cut them up very thin and add them to a pizza or dice them and cook them with the meat you make for tacos. By serving mushrooms in small doses, you can help your child get comfortable with their texture.
Who needs chicken? Kids will adore these sunny mushroom nuggets »
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Apples are one of the most common and beloved fall fruits, with a sweet, crisp taste that makes them irresistible. Theyre great for digestion because they contain a high amount of fiber and have detoxifying properties. They also help to strengthen gums and clean teeth.
Simple suggestion for kids: Take the kids to the orchard and pick the apples fresh from the trees! Or do an edible craft: cut apples in half and use them as stamps. Dip the inside of the apple into edible ink (such as a mixture of 2 tbsp. almond butter + 1 tsp. milk) and press onto a piece of clean paper. When the stamping is done, enjoy your apple dippers.
Make the most of the fruit with 17 apple recipes »
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Packed with protein and essential amino acids, edamame makes a great meat alternative to a vegetarian meal. This green soy bean also contains isoflavones, which help to lower cholesterol and keep bones strong. And its packed with calcium, to boot!
Simple suggestion for kids: Purchase edamame in the pods and tell your kids you need their help with dinner. Show them how they can use their hands to eat this fun food. If they arent interested in popping the pods open, theyll be excited to dive into some green monster dip! Simply puree the soybeans with a tablespoon of olive oil, a little garlic, lemon, and salt and pepper.
For another kind of dip, make edamame hummus »
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Pomegranates are one of the oldest known fruits. They have a tough outer layer but inside contain hundreds of tiny seeds filled with juice. The pomegranate is very high in powerful antioxidants and can help keep your blood and heart healthy. A recent study also suggests that drinking pomegranate juice could help protect newborns brains during traumatic births.
Simple suggestion for kids: Let your kids help you get the seeds from the pomegranate. Slice the pomegranate into quarters then peel and deseed over a bowl. Be sure to wear old t-shirts; pomegranate juice stains!
In the mood for a cool treat? Make pomegranate sorbet »
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11: Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes have more nutrients than regular baking potatoes and are a fun and bright color! They contain carotenoids that seem to help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. Being rich in potassium and vitamin C makes them a top choice for feeding kids!
Simple suggestion for kids: Slice a clean sweet potato in thin strips to make fries. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle salt and pepper and a little cinnamon. Bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes, turning at least once.
10 of our favorite sweet potato recipes »
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