November is usually seen as the start of the holiday season, and with this comes food that isn’t always good for you. Weight gain is easy this time of year because we are spending less time outdoors and more time comforting ourselves with food that “sticks to our ribs”—normally high in processed carbs and animal fats. Fortunately, there are several plants you can add to your cool-weather repertoire to ensure you are staying healthy.
Here are 4 health-boosting foods that are in-season in November:
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes aren’t only good for you, they are substantial enough to take the place of their white cousins in recipes or alongside main dishes. They can be mashed, added to soups, or baked just like you would a normal potato. But they are far better for your health.
Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, which means they will have a less dramatic impact on your blood sugar levels. They are also high in beta-carotene, potassium, and soluble fiber.
Cranberries come into season in mid-November, just in time for the holidays. But don’t limit your consumption of these to some high-sugar gelatinous sauce. Toss them raw onto a salad, using lemon juice to contrast the tartness. Also use them with oranges and other fruits topped with a bit of local honey as a oatmeal topping in the morning. Finally, cranberries make a great dried snack or can be added raw to casseroles.
Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and fiber. known to protect the heart. They have been shown to be especially effective at treating urinary tract infections.
Hard winter squash is versatile and healthy. You can make an amazing butternut squash soup or use spaghetti squash in place of pasta. Roast them or add them to a vegetable bake.
These vegetables are a great source of carotenoids. As a matter of fact they are the greatest source of these powerful antioxidants in many parts of the world. Winter squash also have high vitamin C content, are anti-inflammatory, and can help regulate blood sugar.
Known for their anti-cancer and heart-healthy properties, apples are still in season and are a great option for everything from salads to meat dishes. You can eat them whole and raw or bake them slowly in the crockpot with some cinnamon. When you bake with apples, using a several varieties makes it possible to use no sugar at all. Talk to your local apple farmer at the farmer’s market to find out which varieties are the sweetest.
Loaded with fiber, apples can protect the heart, keep the digestive system running smoothly, and are proven to aid in weight loss.