The shorter days and cooler nights of September are a sign that summer is coming to an end. You’ve been feasting on the bounty of summer fruits and veggies, and might be sad to see it go.

Remember that early fall is a great time for fresh, nutritious produce.

Why is it better to eat seasonal?

Eating produce when it’s fresh and in season has important benefits to you, local farmers and the environment.  

  • It’s tastier and more nutritious. When food is picked and eaten at its peak, it holds its flavour and nutritional value. Once picked, it loses nutrient content quickly - as much as 50% or more. 
  • It’s local. When food is local, you are getting it at its peak freshness. Buying homegrown stimulates your local economy and creates jobs. It also reduces environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions and extra packaging for shipping. Food that’s harvested locally, in season and abundant is much cheaper. Visit your local farmers market for the freshest produce. You may even consider picking your own.

What’s in season? 

Early fall has about as much bounty as summer. Much of the fresh fruit and veg you’ve enjoyed during the summer months are still available. Artichokes, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, tomatoes … the list goes on. Here are some additional healthy produce options that fall brings, and some recipe ideas to get you eating:

  • Apples and crabapples (low in fat, a good source of fibre and Vitamin C). Use them in salads, with oatmeal and in smoothies.
  • Brussels sprouts (low in saturated fat and cholesterol, a good source of riboflavin, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, a very good source of fibre, and Vitamins A, C, K, thiamin, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium and manganese). Use them cooked or raw in a variety salads or roasted as a delicious side.
  • Cranberries (very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a good source of Vitamins E and K, and a very good source of fibre, Vitamin C and manganese). Use them in sauces and vinaigrettes, salads, breads and smoothies.
  • Eggplant (very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a good source of Vitamins B6, C, K, thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of fibre, folate, potassium and manganese). Use it in dips, grain bowls and even curries.
  • Grapes (very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a very good source of Vitamins C and Vitamin K). Use them in salads, smoothies or just as a quick and easy snack.
  • Pears (very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a good source of Vitamin C, and a very good source of fibre). Use them in a variety of salads, with oatmeal, and as a perfect complement to pork.
  • Pumpkins (low in saturated fat, very low in cholesterol and sodium, a good source of thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamins A, C, E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese). Use them in soups, stir fry or chili.  You can even substitute them for pasta or fries, and eat the seeds too!

September is a bountiful time for you to embrace all of the healthy and delicious produce and meal options that come with early fall. It’s also a great opportunity to optimize on nutritious eating.