As November rolls in, so does the excitement of the holiday season. However, it's no secret that the holidays often come with indulgent feasts and treats that can derail your healthy eating habits. But it doesn't have to be this way. You can embrace the flavors of the season while nourishing your body with wholesome, seasonal foods. In New Jersey, November offers a bountiful harvest of fresh, locally grown produce that not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides a range of nutritional benefits. Here, we'll highlight five seasonal foods in New Jersey during November and explore their health benefits.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a staple of Thanksgiving tables across the nation, and for good reason. These vibrant orange tubers are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients. One cup of cooked sweet potato provides more than 700% of your daily vitamin A needs, making it an excellent choice for eye health. They are also a good source of fiber, which aids digestion and helps control blood sugar levels. Plus, their natural sweetness can satisfy your holiday cravings in a healthier way.
2. Brussel Sprouts
Brussels sprouts may not have the most favorable reputation, but when prepared correctly, they can be a delectable addition to your November meals. These mini cabbages are a rich source of vitamins C and K, essential for a strong immune system and healthy bones. They're also packed with fiber, which promotes a feeling of fullness and aids in weight management. Roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of seasonings for a crispy, flavorful side dish.
Cranberries are synonymous with the holiday season, and they have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. These tart, red berries are packed with antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage. They are also known for their role in promoting urinary tract health. Cranberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber, which contribute to a strong immune system and good digestion. You can use them in sauces, salads, or baked goods for a burst of seasonal flavor.
Apples are available year-round, but they are at their best in the fall, including the month of November. New Jersey boasts a wide variety of apple orchards that offer a range of delicious options. Apples are not only low in calories but also high in fiber, which helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps your digestive system in check. Additionally, the antioxidants in apples may reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote heart health. Snack on them fresh, make a healthy apple pie, or add slices to your salads for a crisp, sweet twist.
5. Winter Squash
Winter squash, such as butternut and acorn squash, comes into its prime in November. These hearty vegetables are loaded with nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A supports healthy vision, while potassium aids in maintaining blood pressure. The fiber content in winter squash can help keep your digestive system functioning smoothly and contribute to a sense of fullness. Roast them, make a savory soup, or use them as a side dish to make the most of these nutrient-rich gourds.
Tips to Eat Seasonally
To make the most of these November seasonal foods in New Jersey and their nutritional benefits, here are some tips to help you incorporate them into your diet:
1. Plan your meals: Incorporate seasonal ingredients into your meal planning. Try out new recipes or adapt your favorite dishes to include these seasonal foods.
2. Visit local farmers' markets: New Jersey is known for its vibrant farmers' markets. Explore your local markets to find the freshest, most flavorful seasonal produce.
3. Experiment with cooking methods: Don't be afraid to experiment with different cooking methods to bring out the flavors of these seasonal foods. Roasting, steaming, and sautéing can all yield delicious results.
4. Snack smart: Keep a bowl of fresh apples or cranberries on the kitchen counter for quick, healthy snacks that will curb your cravings without added guilt.
5. Share the joy: The holiday season is about coming together with loved ones. Share your passion for healthy eating by preparing nutritious dishes that everyone can enjoy.
As November unfolds, take advantage of the delicious and nutritious seasonal foods that New Jersey has to offer. Incorporating these locally grown ingredients into your holiday meals not only adds depth and flavor to your dishes but also provides a wealth of health benefits. So, embrace November nourishment, savor the flavors of the season, and make your holiday season healthier and more delicious than ever.
Questions? Call PIH at 609.512.1468 for more information.