The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

MARTIN'S Food Markets In-Store Nutritionist

MARTIN'S Food Markets In-Store Nutritionist

Dietitian Dialogues

November 27, 2011

The markets are overflowing with fall’s abundant harvest of fruits and vegetables. Of course, your customers can enjoy the taste of most fruits and vegetables year-round by buying frozen, canned, and dried versions. However, buying in-season fruits and vegetables at the peak of their freshness provides the best flavor and nutritional value!

Autumn’s Bounty:

Apples, Pears, Cranberries, and Citrus Fruits – Bursting with flavor, these fruits serve as sweet inspiration for your favorite autumn and winter recipes. Whether elaborate or quick and easy, many holiday recipes feature fruit as the main attraction. Warm up your kitchen with rustic cobblers, old-fashioned crisps, and fragrant compotes that will delight your family and friends.

Winter Squash – The arrival of pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, and other colorful, thick-skinned squash is a sure sign that fall has arrived. These flavorful vegetables are good for a lot more than just decoration! You might be surprised to learn that they provide Vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber, making them a delicious addition to your healthy eating plan.  

Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage – All members of the cruciferous or cabbage family of vegetables contain disease-fighting plant chemicals, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are important for your good health. To maximize the taste and nutrition of cruciferous veggies, do not overcook them. The strong flavors of cruciferous vegetables can be counteracted by cooking them with ingredients such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, citrus juice, herbs and spices.

Beets, Turnips, and Sweet Potatoes – These root vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and have so much to offer in taste and versatility. All root vegetables provide fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates. Root vegetables are especially suited to braising and roasting cooking techniques, which intensify the vegetables’ natural sweetness.

How much is enough?

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables. Consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases and may be protective against certain types of cancer. Also, most fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories. Eating them instead of higher calorie foods can help adults and children achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. 

10 Seasonal Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables:

1.    Pour pureed pumpkin into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store the cubes in zip lock bags in your freezer. Add pumpkin cubes to soups and stews throughout the winter for added nutrition and flavor.
2.    Add orange or grapefruit sections to your salad for a juicy burst of flavor and color.
3.    For a simple yet special dessert, slice oranges, add fresh mint, and top with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt.
4.    For a satisfying snack, spread peanut butter or almond butter on apple halves.
5.    Roast Brussels sprouts in the oven with olive oil and kosher salt. Add pomegranate seeds and walnuts and serve.
6.    Toss finely sliced apple rings into pancake batter.
7.    Add broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms to your egg or egg white omelet.
8.    For a colorful side dish, toss beets, carrots, and chunks of red onion with olive oil and kosher salt and roast until golden brown.
9.    Top fresh fish with julienned leeks and carrots. Bake or steam fish in a foil parcel with a splash of lime juice or white wine.
10.    Serve baked apples for dessert. Top with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, walnuts, and raisins.  

Roasting Fall Vegetables: 

Roasted vegetables are rich and aromatic, adding depth of flavor to any meal. Roasting softens their texture and caramelizes their natural sugars to produce a nutty flavor and a lovely brown color. Even reluctant vegetable eaters will be tempted!

Roasted Butternut Squash
2 lbs fresh butternut squash
1 Tbsp canola oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and threads (you can discard the threads and roast the seeds along with the squash). Cut squash into large chunks. Drizzle with oil and rub to coat evenly. Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Serve roasted squash as a side dish.  

Makes 4 1-cup servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Per serving: 120 calories, 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 2g protein

Lisa Coleman, MS, RD, LDN, is an in-store Nutritionist for MARTIN’S Food Markets. She is especially interested in the area of nutrition that focuses on food allergies and intolerances. Her program at MARTIN’S provides practical, hands-on nutrition counseling to meet customer health needs.

As a nutritionist working for a supermarket, you have a unique outlook on how retailers are increasing health awareness at the store level and the kind of questions that shoppers ask. Each month, we'll be featuring a guest column, written by a nutritionist, that communicates this point of view on a variety of topics. And we want to hear from you. If you are a supermarket nutritionist interested in sharing your perspective and insights, we would love to help you share your thoughts! Please contact Allison Bloom at