My husband once had the idea of opening a fruit and vegetable shop called “Little Packets Of Goodness”. Sadly the idea never came to fruition but I love the name! (Excuse the pun!)
Despite all the confusing, controversial nutritional advice out there, there is one thing that (pretty much) everyone agrees on. Vegetables are good for us!
They are packed with fibre that does more than just keep us regular. A recent “meta analysis” study from New Zealand stated that eating more than 30g of fibre a day reduces “all cause mortality”. (Dying from anything.)
For more details of the study, check out Dr Orlena’s Fit and Fabulous podcast, “How to Eat 30g of Fibre a Day.”
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Colourful vegetables have antioxidants called “phytonutritients”. (Hence why people talk about “eating a rainbow”.)
Vegetables are also the mainstay of the Mediterranean Diet which is the only “diet” to have good medical research behind it saying that it will help us to be more healthy.
Find out more about the research behind the Med Style Diet on the Fit and Fabulous Podcast “Health Benefits of the Med Style Diet”.
Living in Catalunya in Spain, I’m lucky to have a daily market. Close to many producers. (Spain is often referred to as the “Bread basket” of Europe.)
I buy whatever is in season. I love a bargain and often find myself at home with a mountain of vegetables that I need to use up.
I often just throw them in the oven drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Here are 25 of my favourite autumnal veggies and a few words on why they’re good for you.
Leafy greens are a great way to bulk out any meal and add extra fibre to your diet. I recommend at least one portion with dinner!
I’m not going to tell you that any particular vegetable is a “superfood” and has amazing healing properties.
All vegetables are superfoods and you should try to eat as much variety as possible.
Traditionally fed to cattle by the French, the artichoke is a fantastic source of fibre. Plus it’s easy and tasty. You can either boil it and serve it with a vinegarette or homemade mayonnaise. Or cook it in the oven like my Spanish friends.
Full of phytonutrients, red cabbage reminds me of Christmas. I love to cook it in the oven. It goes really well with a handful of blackberries and juniper. Also great for fermenting.
Nothing says “Autumn” (or “Fall”) more than pumpkin. High in anti oxidants and vitamins. The seeds are a fantastic source of fibre, especially if you leave the shells on. Toast them lightly in the oven.
Packed with minerals and vitamins. A really versatile vegetable. You can add it to pretty much any dish! Especially hearty soups and stews.
A great source of fibre, vitamin C and K. Pairs nicely with garlic. And extra virgin olive oil of course!
Sweet potatoes will spike your insulin levels far less than their white cousins. Delicious by themselves or in dishes such as risotto or stew. If you’re a potato lover, try swapping them for sweet potatoes.
Here in Catalunya we celebrate October 31st as “Day of the Chestnut”. I have my own little chestnuts as my twins were born on “Chestnut Day”.
Although they are high in carbohydrates, they won’t spike your blood sugars as much as refined carbohydrates. They are great to eat by themselves or add to recipes.
So many to chose from. They say there are 3 different ways to know if your mushrooms are poisonous or not. The French way, the Russian way and the English Way. The French way involves going to the local pharmacy and asking the pharmacist who’s trained to know. The English never eat any of them as they’re worried they’ll die. The Russians eat all of them and hope they’re lucky!
Mushrooms are a good source of non animal vitamin B and selenium.
They are best stored in a paper bag as they go sweaty if they’re kept in a plastic bag.
My favourite way of cooking them is to grill them with cheese, thyme and olive oil. Super easy and tasty.
Sprouts aren’t just for Christmas! Full of fibre and healthy nutrients (like all vegetables!)
Cauliflower offers a fantastic alternative to refined carbohydrates that won’t push your insulin levels up. It’s easy to make into “cauliflower” rice or a pizza base. Or mashed instead of potatoes. Cauliflower cheese is a healthier alternative to the all-time favourite “mac and cheese”.
I once bought a giant bag of radishes. In my desire to not waste them, I discovered that they’re even tasty cooked! They contain vitamins and minerals and have even been reported to help ward off fungal infections.
Parsnips are one of my favourite winter veggies, roasted in the oven. They contain fibre and antioxidants.
Another of my favourites! (I think they’re all my favourites.) Leeks are full of fibre and are considered a probiotic. (Meaning they help the good bugs in your biome.)
A member of the brassica family, they are great for your gut flora (aka “biome”.) Also many kids will eat broccoli before they’re ready to try other green vegetables.
I am not a smoothie person but I do love to cook spinach. A bed of “wilted spinach” sounds like it’s off a posh restaurant menu!
The little loved turnip! You can cut off the greens and eat them plus you can eat the root. You can add it raw to salads or cook it. Both are delicious.
We all know kale is full of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. I prefer my kale cooked lightly and simply (in olive oil and garlic). Kale crisp haven’t made it to this corner of Spain but I’m sure they’re delicious.
High in vitamin A, carrots can be used either in savoury dishes or sweet dishes. Who doesn’t love carrot cake?
I add celery to everything when I cook up my onions. It adds a lovely salty flavour. It’s also fantastic by itself in simple dishes such as braised celery.
Another great vegetable for your biome. No dish is complete with some onions!
A great source of vitamins and another fantastic alternative to potato. Celeriac mash is delicious.
Remember, not only is variety the spice of life, it’s also one of the key’s to a healthy diet! Try to eat as many different types of vegetables as you can.
Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.