Craving something sweet that brings out the best of fall’s favorite flavors? This roundup of delicious goodies features our top picks for seasonal ingredients: pumpkins, apples and cranberries. They not only add a depth of flavor, but also are dense in nutrients, so our bodies may benefit from a serving or two.
Pumpkin-spiced drinks are a popular choice in fall. But what about the pumpkin flesh itself? This well-rounded orange fruit contains immune-boosting Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which help protect our vision. Even the seeds pack a high-protein punch and a good source of several nutrients, like zinc, which can help with immune function.
- Sip-able Sweet: Blend up a batch of Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothies, featuring low-fat vanilla yogurt and only two teaspoons of added sugar. It will taste like cheese cake in a glass.
- Dippable Dessert: This Pumpkin Dip recipe with low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt and a generous measure of pumpkin goes well with apples, pears or pretzels.
Fall harvest brings bushels of crisp, juicy apples with many distinct flavors. This versatile fruit can work well as a dessert ingredient because it is naturally sweet.
From Ambrosia to Zestar varieties, apples are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and fiber. Antioxidants may prevent or slow some types of cell damage. Flavonoids help prevent cancer and inflammation. Fiber may lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Comfort Food to the Core: Easy and enjoyable, Baked Apple Delight is low in fat and high in fiber.
- Finger Foods: Combinations like Apple Wedges with Pumpkin Almond Butter provide the health benefits of the fruits with added protein.
Mini but mighty, cranberries have proven their nutritional value. They are packed with heart-healthy antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C. Some research has found cranberries may be effective in preventing urinary tract infections. They add a burst of crimson color and a refreshing tart flavor to these goodies:
- Cookie Jar Faves: Whole wheat flour and more than three cups of oats – as well as the cranberries – make Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies a high-fiber choice.
- Berry Good for You: The ancient whole grain kamut joins oats and pecans in Whole Grain Fruit and Nut Dessert Bars.
- Favorite ‘Pear’-ing: Nearly fat-free, Pear and Cranberry Crisp is a healthier version of the standard fruit crisp dessert.
With recipes in hand, jump into fall with a new favorite dish that delivers on flavor and nutrition. For more hints on making the upcoming holidays healthier, check out this article.