As the weather transitions into gloomier, shorter, rain-laden days, we can say goodbye to many summer delicacies which gave your menu that lovely rainbow-like colour palette. Versatility is summer’s second name, but autumn can be a tricky time for maintaining a level of diet diversity.
However, this isn’t an excuse to give up on your health goals or lower your diet standards! On the contrary, this dreamy season offers a plethora of healthy bites ideal for keeping you in good shape, cold-resilient and revelling in autumn feasts.
Think seasonal thoughts
We all wish we could eat watermelons, apricots, cherries, and strawberries all year-round, but the change of scenery also brings a whole new gang of tasty fruits and veggies for nutrient-dense meals. And truth be told, you can always choose the frozen or dried varieties that are available any time, but going seasonal lets you eat fresh produce brimming with vitamins and minerals that bring numerous benefits for your cardiovascular health, weight management and mental wellbeing.
For instance, autumn is ideal for apple pies and bell peppers filled with minced meat, munching on raw pears and grapes, while leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach and lettuce can serve as a mighty kick of prevention to all those flus and colds skulking around in the autumn.
Not only will you support the growth of your community, but shopping at your nearby farmer’s market is a sure-fire way to supply yourself with healthy, locally-grown groceries well into the colder season. It might take you a few extra trips to keep your kitchen cabinets full, but you will get fresh, recently-picked fruits and vegetables with more nutrients preserved than those in the supermarket.
Plus, locally grown food tastes better and is grown in conditions best for the specific type, so you can always enquire with your local farmers as to the best times to shop for certain produce and the best ways to prepare them. You’d be surprised just how many incredible recipes you can hear from those who grow food in their own gardens –they are the true foodies of the modern times!
Superfoods for immune support
Unlike the easy-breezy summer weather that lets you stay healthy for months on end, the volatile winds and rains of autumn bring a whole new batch of viruses to keep you occupied with sniffles, sneezes and the like. As a result, your body needs a boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to be on the safe side of autumn.
However, a slightly less versatile menu makes it more difficult to provide your body with all it needs through diet alone. That is why it’s best to supplement your nutrition with reliable Solgar vitamins that include various mixtures of vitamins and minerals designed to ward off threats to your immune system. You can even start a few weeks early just to prepare yourself with proper preventative measures and greet the gloomy days with more resilience.
Autumn days will have you tempted to eat more, according to numerous studies, even as much as 200kcal more than your summer diet. Blame it on the lack of light, the sheer number of holidays or the need to prevent the winter blues with sugar cravings, but you will need to keep track of your meals to stay healthy.
Empty your kitchen of all those processed sugary sweets and candy, and replace them with healthy, filling snacks such as nuts, seeds, dried and raw fruits, or homemade treats you’ll eat in moderation. A handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds can help you control your appetite, and still provide your body with many healthy ingredients, unlike marshmallows or sweet pastry.
One sip at a time
The summer heat and plenty of physical activity easily inspire you to drink plenty of healthy fluids during summer to stay hydrated. However, as you switch to sweaters and turtlenecks, you will probably crave hot cocoa and coffee to keep you alert in the early morning. Still, caffeine and sugary sodas aren’t the best choice to support your autumn diet.
Instead, opt for fresh water, an occasional cup of coffee or soothing herbal tea and plenty of hydrating fruits that will keep the water weight off, keep your metabolism at full speed and also help you manage your appetite better. You can combine the power of lemon by starting your day with a glass of lemon-infused water and a dab of ground ginger.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative autumn recipes and clever solutions to keep you healthy, so make the most of the colder season and use it to unleash your inner foodie one healthy choice at a time.
Samantha Oliver has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Ripped.me, or in a tea shop
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.