Autumn is here, and with it comes the harvest season. Now is the best time to try out new, healthy, in-season foods. More than just starchy potatoes and turkey, fall is filled with a wide variety of produce, and many of them can help weight loss efforts. Most of the foods below are popular for their delicious flavor. Lucky fo us, they’re also low in calories and high in healthy, necessary nutrients. So, head on down to your local farmer’s market and scope out these 20 fall foods that boost weight loss.
Everyone knows the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are filled with fiber and antioxidants, and are a traditional harvest-time food. They permeate many fall dishes, so incorporating them into a diet is simple, such as this apple and butternut squash soup. If all else fails, eat one whole as a simple snack.
Pumpkin spice recipes have become a cliché among fall dishes, but not without reason. Pumpkins themselves contain potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C, while their seeds contain magnesium and omega-3s, making the entire squash an excellent addition to this season’s meals.
3. Brussels Spouts
While notoriously hated by children and adults alike, Brussels sprouts contain Vitamins C and K along with numerous other nutrients. They are as just good for you as your mother said, and when prepared well—like this garlic sauteed brussels sprouts recipe—they can taste as delicious as any other vegetable.
Cauliflower is known to be very high in fiber, which aids in digestion and thus weight loss. Amazingly, cauliflower also has about 77% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C in one serving alone, along with numerous other vitamins and nutrients. And with so many versatile and delicious cauliflower recipes available, they’re a great way to to shave off some pounds.
5. Acorn Squash
Squash in general is delicious and good for you. But, acorn squash specifically is loaded with carotenoids, which can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is filled with many other nutrients and Vitamins A, C, and B-6, making it a worthy edition to any diet. Check out our curry-roasted acorn squash for an example of this winter squash in action.
A cross between a cabbage and a turnip, rutabagas have few calories but plenty of nutrients and numerous health benefits. Rutabaga can improve metabolism and digestion, lower blood pressure, and help prevent some forms of cancer.
A simple handful of pecans is full of healthy, unsaturated fat and can help lower cholesterol. Whip up a clean pecan pie and enjoy this nut to its fullest.
8. Swiss Chard
Packed full of protein, calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals, Swiss chard is also known as silverbeet. It can be a delicious addition to other meals or simply sauteed and enjoyed on its own.
This superfruit is a well-known antioxidant and a staple of harvest-time meals. With numerous health benefits and few calories, cranberries should be a welcomed part of a weight-loss diet. Cranberry sauce is a favorite traditional holiday meal, so check out these cranberry sauces and this cranberry jam.
Another seasonal staple, sweet corn contains the same amount of calories as an apple with less sugar. Corn also contains antioxidants and minerals which can promote healthy vision. Corn itself is perfectly healthy and delicious, but beware its toppings; butter and loads of salt will of course offset all of corn’s benefits. Simple preparation is enough for this sweet vegetable.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Often wrongly called yams, sweet potatoes are packed full of beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium, so they’re an easy spud to love. Like many of these foods, they are best served simply, as in this skinny sweet potato sticks recipe, though they can easily be prepared just like potatoes.
Cabbage is an extremely healthy vegetable, packed with potassium, proteins, vitamins, iron, and other minerals. They’re already a delicious part of many meals, so try this spicy roasted cabbage recipe if you’re looking for a different take.
Though a spice rather than a food itself, cinnamon is bandied around for its flavor, but this seasonal spice is filled with health benefits. From lowering blood sugar to reducing heart disease, there are so many versatile, cinnamon-filled recipes you can use to spice up your weight loss.
Mushrooms are packed full of potassium, protein, and vitamin C, but must be cooked in order to be edible. This low-carb food is versatile and can be added to a wide variety of dishes, and can be eaten whole or stuffed full of other delicious foods.
15. Stone Crab
Being seafood, it is no surprise that stone crab is full of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. With no carbs, sugars, or fats to speak of, stone crab is an excellent meat to add to your diet this season.
Figs boost immune system health to help fight colds, and are packed full with fiber, calcium, and iron. However, dried fig is higher in sugar than fresh fig, so try to spring for the fresh ones whenever possible to help you make delicious and nutritious treats this fall.
While a little high in calories compare to other items on this list, persimmons have no fat content and plenty of antioxidants. They can help improve blood circulation and increase your metabolism, speeding up weight loss.
Pomegranates are known to be full of antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C, important for weight loss, and they also work as an anti-inflammatory. Pomegranates can also help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They can be a little tricky to open, so check out this guide on seeding a pomegranate.
Pear with us; pears are packed full of fiber, making them a valuable fruity addition to a fall diet. The skin of a pear contains about half of its fiber content, so make sure to eat it up! Pears don’t need to be eaten by themselves, though—try them in a creamy sweet potato and pear soup.
Kiwi is filled with antioxidants and fiber, but is not a traditional autumn food (thought it is in season). Adding kiwi to your salads this season is a great way to stay healthy and seasonal while adding an unexpected punch.
For more information on seasonal produce, check out our seasonal produce guide by region.
What autumn foods have helped you lose weight? Tell us in the comments below.