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Healthy Fall Foods

Fall is here, and with it comes an abundance of comfort foods. But instead of indulging in these heavy meals, why not fuel our bodies with delicious, healthy foods? Here are some great nutritious fall foods to make your fall dishes a bit more healthful.

Eggplant
These purple beauties house excellent benefits. The compound nasunin protects your brain cells from oxidation, while chlorogenic acid gives eggplants anti-cancer, anti-viral, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Because they act like sponges when cooking, eggplants fried in oil or loaded with cheese will negate its positive effects. With only 20 calories per cup, there are healthier ways to enjoy eggplant.

Skip the heavy Eggplant Parm and try an easy veggie roll up. Start by slicing the eggplant along the long edge. Sprinkle the slices with salt, let it sit for 10 minutes and use a paper towel to blot the excess water. Next, drizzle the slices with olive oil and roast at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes (flip halfway through). Let it cool then layer each slice with your favorite hummus and veggies (ex. raw or grilled zucchini and bell peppers slices). Lastly, roll each slice and secure each roll with a toothpick.

Butternut Squash
With the beautifully orange flesh of butternut squash, you have an excellent source of beta-carotene (300% of your daily value per cup). Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, which supports healthy skin, eyes, and bones. It also contains vitamin C to support your immune system along with dietary fiber for overall gut health.

Add pureed butternut squash to your tomato soup, pancakes, or even your morning smoothie. Experience a new flavor combo plus more health benefits.

Pomegranate
Pomegranates are great for your heart. The juicy little seeds help to reduce the buildup of harmful fat in your arteries, which prevents circulatory damage in the long run.

Aside from tearing it open and enjoying the seeds alone, you can use it as a topping on your oatmeal, salad, or mixed into pancakes.

Cranberries
Anthocyanins are compounds that give cranberries that deep-red color and act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Cranberries can help to improve bladder health, defend against cancers (breast, colon, lung, prostate) and even add a little fiber to your diet.

Instead of making a sugar filled cranberry sauce for the holidays, try a spiced cranberry relish instead.

Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli rabe contains about two times the amount of zinc as broccoli (yet bears no relation to it). Zinc is especially good for your immune system, and with the cold and flu season approaching, your immune system could use a boost. It also contains about 1.5 times as much fiber as kale, which is good news if you’re over kale and ready for something new.

Step up your avocado toast game by adding sautéed broccoli rabe and a poached egg. Or sauté broccoli rabe with some garlic and olive oil for a lovely side dish.

Leeks
Leeks are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions (they resemble large scallions). Because of this, they are a great source of polyphenols, which prevent oxidative damage to blood vessels and atherosclerosis while keeping heart disease at bay. Leeks are also high in vitamin K, which research has shown can be anti-cancer forming, can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, and is great for bone health.

Aside from their traditional use in Potato Leek soup or latkes, you can braise leeks and serve them as a side dish. Or sauté leeks and add them to your omelet.

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Get your fix of freshly made sandwiches and salads at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Visit us weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.