The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. It’s a great time for long walks and enjoying the fall colors. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), this is also a great time to celebrate seasonal fall flavor. When you head out to your local market, keep an eye out for these fall produce picks. They’re part of a healthy diet that is essential to good oral health.
Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween!
“Fall is the season for winter squash — satisfying, hearty vegetables perfect for a cool night,” Academy Spokesperson Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, said. “While butternut squash is a go-to winter vegetable, pumpkin is another delicious squash, even after Halloween! Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, which is great for your skin and eyes.” Foroutan likes to balance pumpkin’s sweetness with savory herbs, such as sage and curry. “Dishes such as pumpkin curry soups are the perfect balance between sweet and savory. Use coconut oil and coconut milk instead of butter and cream to switch up the flavor profile. Turmeric is curry’s base, so you get great anti-inflammatory benefits with each bite.”
Talk about fall color! The beets you will generally see at the grocery store are probably red beets, but there are other interesting varieties, including golden or bull’s blood, which has a bullseye pattern of rings. Beets are great because they’re edible from their leafy greens down to the bulbous root. As the AND explains, the leaves are similar to spinach and are delicious sautéed. Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off after cooking. They also are delicious raw, shredded and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.
According to the AND, sweet potatoes leave white potatoes in the dirt when it comes to fiber and vitamin A. “Sweet potatoes can make a great breakfast side dish” Foroutan suggests. “Cube left-over baked potato and sprinkle them with cumin and coriander. Toast them in the oven until golden and serve them with poached eggs and sliced avocado.”
Spaghetti squash is a fun, kid-friendly vegetable that is a lower-calorie and gluten-free alternative to grain-based pasta. Cut it in half to reveal a pocket of seeds; scoop those out and pop the two halves into the microwave or oven and cook until tender. Scrape a fork into the flesh and spaghetti-like strands appear! Voilà! Toss with pesto or marinara sauce for a quick veggie side dish.
Raleigh pediatric dentist Dr. Hollowell, says that vegetables and fruits are among the best, and healthiest, snacks to try to tempt your child with. Fresh produce offers endless health benefits. And get this – fruits are jam packed with natural sugars that aren’t necessarily bad for your child’s sensitive primary teeth!
If you have questions about the connection between a healthy diet and oral health or any other aspect of kid dentistry, from types of trauma to the best toddler toothbrush, you can count on Dr. Hollowell.