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As the leaves change colors and kids pick their Halloween costumes, many fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients become staples in our gardens and on our supermarket shelves. With a little knowledge about these common fall foods, you can rev up and revamp your diet to deliver maximum health benefits for you and your family.

“Many of the foods we enjoy during the fall have natural benefits for our health,” said Kim Segiel RDN, LDN, a clinical nutritionist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. “Turnips, for example, are a good source of vitamin A, C, K and folate.”

The following fruits and vegetables are brimming with flavor and health benefits, so grab a second helping of them this fall.


Pumpkins are rich in potassium, B vitamins and deliver up to 20 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber. They are also rich in phytosterols, which may help to reduce bad cholesterol. Pumpkin pies and cakes are delicious ways to get these nutrients, just keep track of the amount of sugar and fat they contain.


Apples are rich in vitamin C to support your immune system, and pectin, which can help fight cardiovascular disease. Make sure you keep the skin on your apple, since it has high levels of flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

“The old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ might not be technically accurate, but apples are a great snack that will help you get the nutrients you need,” said Segiel.


Winter squash has a thick skin, which makes it perfect for storing. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A. It’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, the same “good fat” that you’ll find in fish such as salmon. Sprinkle it with cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger before baking for a distinctive fall flavor.


Leeks are part of the Allium family of vegetables, which includes garlic and onions. They contain high levels of a flavonoid called kaempferol, which is known to help protect blood vessels and may also have anti-cancer effects. Slice them thinly and include in soups and stir fry.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin K and folate. They are also very high in iron, which makes them the perfect dish for people who have anemia. Instead of boiling them, roast them to bring out their naturally tangy flavor – and that way they won’t remind you of those bland things your mother used to make you eat.


If you’re not familiar with them, parsnips look like light-colored carrots. They are rich in potassium and fiber, and their nutty flavor makes a great addition to fall soups and starch dishes.


Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to kill cancer stem cells and slow tumor growth. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, and has 77 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Try “smashed cauliflower” instead of mashed potatoes for a lower carb treat.


Pears are one of the lowest calorie, highest fiber-containing fruits. One medium-sized pear has nearly 20 percent of your daily requirement of fiber, as well as vitamins A, C and B-6. For a unique appetizer, try wrapping pears in bacon with bleu cheese crumbles.

“Fall fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest and most nutrient-rich foods around,” said Segiel. “Instead of taking a daily supplement, eat these foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need naturally.”
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