Fall season is upon us, and there's a lot of foods to get excited about – and we're not just talking about pumpkin spice everything. Fall comes with an abundance of vegetables that are delicious, satiating and nutritional all at once. So if you happen to be pregnant this season, try to get those essential pregnancy nutrients, like folate, iron, calcium and fiber, by taking advantage of the vegetables that are in season. Sticking to seasonal produce is also an eco-friendly way of life: you'll reduce your carbon footprint, limit pesticide exposure and take full advantage of more nutritious foods.
Here are 5 fall vegetables to add to your pregnancy diet, plus a few recipes to get you inspired (and hungry).
1. Spaghetti Squash. This low-carb pasta substitute is an excellent way to obtain your dietary fiber as well as calcium. By subbing this squash for pasta, you'll feel more energetic and you'll give your GI system a boost! Most grocery stores and farmers' markets will have spaghetti squash in season by September. You could roast them, fork out the insides and just toss with pasta sauce, garlic, and fresh Parmesan. Or better yet, start the day with this delicious spaghetti squash breakfast!
2. Beets. You'll see beets taking over menus between September and December. That's because they're at their best in the fall. Whether they are red, golden, white or multicolored, beets are a good source of iron and vitamin C. They also contain nitrates, which help blood flow and lower blood pressure – a huge bonus if you're susceptible to hypertension during pregnancy. Here's a helpful guide for selecting and cooking beets, and here's a carrot and beet salad recipe -- perfect for fall.
3. Brussels Sprouts. Sometimes referred to as the “mini-me" version of cabbage, these little buds are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Not to mention, they are low in calorie. They're full of fiber, and they contain vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6. Pairing Brussels sprouts with any protein side provides a tasty, well-balanced, wholesome meal. Here's a simple recipe for roasting them.
4. Pumpkin. Your Halloween pumpkin could easily turn into your week's meals! Part of the greater squash family, the pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, iron and fiber, and its seeds are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3!), which has become a nutrition recommendation in recent years for pregnancy. With the inevitable cold weather approaching, try this pumpkin soup for a hearty way to warm up.
5. Sweet Potatoes. This root vegetable is the most popular in the fall as it's its peak season. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. What's more, if you keep the skin, you're packing in fiber as well. Whether you decide to bake it, make sweet potato fries or mash it up for a side – it's a delicious fall staple.