I may live in Florida but I LOVE the change of seasons throughout the year. Although we (Floridians) may not rake the leaves or shovel the snow, the hot humid temps will eventually go away and the cooler temps will grace our bodies as we bundle up for "winter" bike rides and runs.
Just like I love the change in temps (which reminds me that it is officially my off-season), I also love the change of produce. Enjoying seasonal produce keeps my creativity going throughout the year to avoid eating/cooking-boredom and I always look forward to the dark colors in my meals and robust flavors that fill my house. My crock pot, oven and panini maker get a lot of action in the fall/winter but before I know it, it'll be spring again.
My latest article from my Iron Girl column comes at a perfect time. With my best triathlon season ever ending on a high note, the next 3-4 weeks of unstructured activity allow for lots of (extra) time in my kitchen. Although we all need some downtime from structured training (for both body and mind), we must never forget the importance of nourishing the body with wholesome food.
I hope you enjoy my latest article.....happy cooking!
Fall into Seasonal Nutrition
Fall is around the corner but not to rush it, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is already in season. At 370 calories and 49g sugar (12 tsp sugar), make the Grande, 16-ounce Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks an occasional indulgence and save money (and time) by making your own.
Combine ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground allspice (or cloves) and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg to make 1 tsp pumpkin spice. Sprinkle a little of this mixture on coffee grinds before brewing and instantly, comforting pumpkin spice coffee to sooth your system on a cool fall morning.
From the smells of the crockpot filling your house to spiced ginger tea after a chilly morning run, the bold flavors and strong scents of the fall are not to be ignored. What more could you ask for when it comes to fall nutrition?
A few of my fall favorites
1) String Beans - an excellent source of vitamin C to keep the sickness away, as well as a good source of vitamin A and folate. Beans should be bright in color and should snap easily when you bend them. Use within 5 days of purchasing, stored in the refrigerator. For easy cooking, boil ½ lb beans in 1.5 quarts water for 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. When ready, stir in a little sunflower oil until golden brown and after cooking, toss in a little feta and sundried tomatoes for a sweet, salty side dish.
2) Broccoli Rabe - a good source of vitamin C and iron to keep you energized throughout the day. Choose bright, crisp and tender leaves with beautiful broccoli-like florets. To maintain moisture, wrap unwashed greens in paper towel and place inside a plastic bag (or vegetable fresh bag). Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and rinse before using. For a satisfying dish, combine with whole wheat orzo or quinoa and season with oregano and crushed garlic.
3) Celery root - an excellent source of vitamin C and to keep your body strong, a good source of calcium and iron. Celery root should be smaller than a softball, without bruised skin. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to a week. When ready, wash and peel before using. Add celery root to your favorite vegetarian stew or try it raw in your best potato salad recipe.
4) Winter squash - an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber and a good source of folate and thiamine. Squash should feel heavy and skin should be without bruises. Keep for a few weeks, in a cool, dry place. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and drizzle w/ olive oil. Roast for 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until lightly golden on top and tender inside. Add to Add cooked or chilled to any stir fry, pilaf or salad.
5) Apples - an excellent source of fiber to help control blood sugar and to ensure a healthy digestive system and a good source of vitamin C. Apples should be firm without blemishes. Store at room temperature for up to 7 days or for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Raw apples make for a great afternoon snack (especially with nut butter) or toss in a recovery smoothie or oatmeal for a dessert-like, filling meal.
To reduce inflammation and improve overall health, consider adding anti-oxidant-rich herbs and spices to your current diet:
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Runner's World Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to IronGirl.com, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.