Have you noticed that the days are already getting shorter? The transition from summer to fall seasons is in full swing! Likewise, most of us are still adjusting to life post-lockdown and finding our natural rhythms again. So, I recommend leaning in and letting Mother Nature guide you back to balance, starting with how you eat seasonally and nourish your body.
I’ve put together some simple tips to help you prepare your pantry and shake up your meal planning, so you can transition to the cooler weather and make sure you’re fueled right for whatever creative projects you have in the pipeline.
Prep Your Pantry For Fall
Like I have mentioned before, the change in seasons is the perfect time to do a little cleaning. Out with the old, and in with the new and (most importantly) clean. Especially before cold and flu season, be sure to give all the surfaces in your kitchen a good wipe down. And since most people cook more at home in the fall and winter, don’t neglect your oven.
Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer. Toss expired condiments and stale staples, so you can make room for fresh food and new energy. There is something very motivational about a clean slate, don’t you think?
When stocking up for the season, you want your food to come from as close to where you live as possible. This is where your local Farmers Market comes to the rescue. Consider these professionals your go-to green thumb gurus. They know all about the food you’re buying because they grew it themselves. There is no one better to ask about where your apples were grown, what gets sprayed on your zucchini, or whether this avocado is ripe enough. Extra bonus — they often know the best recipes too.
Once you have your goodies, why not tune into a new podcast and meal prep for the week. Make it a social gathering and invite some friends in your bubble to cook with you (or hop on Zoom and have a virtual cookoff).
This is the season of harvest and abundance, so schedule some gatherings around the dinner table over the next few months. When things are most busy in our lives, it’s important to make time to savor the smaller traditions and simple moments that actually mean the most.
Hydration is Always in Style
As the weather gets cooler, it can be easy to forget to keep hydrating, but your body needs water year round to stay in tip-top shape. A steady stream of fluids (pun intended) transports essential nutrients throughout our body, removes toxins, and keeps our joints limber. So it’s super important for performers, who use their physicality often, to get enough H2O.
I know, I know… it can be hard to remember to drink water when you’re busy on set, running to meetings or pitching for projects. Here’s a tip: start sipping earlier! Prep your water bottle the night before, pop it in the fridge, and start sipping as soon as you wake up. You’re more likely to finish off your first fill while you’re prepping breakfast and getting ready to go.
In addition to beverages, you can get extra hydration from eating seasonally too. Check out these fall vegetables and fruits: apples, beets, bok choy, cabbage, daikon radish, oranges, pears, pumpkins and spinach.
According to Maoshing Ni’s The Tao of Nutrition, these in-season eats will help add moisture to your lungs and large intestine, which are more affected by the fall and winter dryness. Fall favorite apples are also high in fiber and pectin, which helps cleanse the intestines and supports better digestion of fat.
Tips to Incorporate More Fall Flavors
Go For Whole Grains
As dishes get heartier, people tend to consume more grains. Instead of reaching for the pasta and rice, choose healthier alternatives like brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet or farro. You can swap your noodles for spaghetti squash or zoodles for a super tasty take on spaghetti and meat sauce. Or mix in more legumes like lentils and beans into your dishes.
Add Fall Vegetables Into Current Staples
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, loves to add roasted sweet potato to her morning frittata to get some complex carbs in her day. This delicious veggie is available year-round in warmer climates, but it’s traditionally in season from late summer through winter.
What fall vegetables can you easily add into your go-to dishes? Check out more of my favorite ingredient swaps here.
Eat More Soup
You don’t have to catch a cold to enjoy a good bowl of homemade soup. It is an excellent choice for a quick, healthy dinner, and a great way to use up leftover veggies or protein. Use organic bone broth as a base; it’s so good for your gut and super delicious. You can find both chicken and beef bone broth in most stores now, but if those aren’t available, an organic low sodium broth works well too.
Bone broth is super easy to make at home too! It’s also a great way to add flavor to your brown rice or other whole grains by using it as a substitute for water.
Try New Spices
Spices and fresh and/or dried herbs have the power to elevate simple home cooking to superstar status without much effort. Try out these warming spices in your next culinary creation: ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, mustard seed, clove and fennel. And add a sprinkle of these fall herbs: rosemary, parsley, thyme, and sage.
Add In Wintergreens
Wintergreens such as Swiss chard, collards, kale and spinach can pep up any soups or stir fry. You can even add them into your morning green smoothie.
Incorporate Nuts and Seeds
Speaking of smoothies, add extra nutrients and stay feeling fuller longer this fall by switching out your lighter greek yogurt for nut butters, like almond or cashew. Raw cacao is another great option.
Nuts and seeds are fall snack essentials, because they’re portable and store well. They also contain healthy fats, so curb cravings with a handful of nuts and seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower). Just don’t overdo it, since their size is deceiving in regards to portion control. 😉
Enjoy Your Pumpkin Pie!
Let’s be realistic, this time of year is ripe with sweet holiday treats we love. So go ahead and indulge in moderation. Or better yet, make healthier versions of your favorite sweet treats, like my Pumpkin Spice Latte! The season is meant to be enjoyed!
What changes do you make to how you eat in the Fall? Which tips for eating seasonally will you try first? Let me know in the comments below.