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Fall Festival of Foods: Fun Flavors to Fight Cancer

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES October 15, 2014Pearls of Wisdom Blog

A friend recently gave me half of a bushel of Honeycrisp apples from East Tennessee. Boy, were they delicious! But, what do you do with so many apples? In fact, what do you do with the abundance of fall foods that are now in the grocery stores and farmer’s markets? It’s a fall festival of foods, full of tasty nutrition to fight cancer.

Deep yellow and orange fall vegetables carry carotenoids and beta-carotene, which changes into vitamin A. The American Institute for Cancer Research’s expert report found that foods containing beta-carotene may lower the risk of esophageal cancer and that diets rich in carotenoids may reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and lungs. Fall’s fruits and vegetables often also contain fiber and vitamin C which are two more cancer-fighting nutrients.

Many autumn foods can easily be roasted, baked, grilled, or eaten fresh from the garden. With just a few slices and spices, you can turn squash, apples or turnips into a feast with just a few steps.

Here are some steps and ingredients to consider:

  • Select fruits and vegetables that look fresh and blemish-free.
  • Wash food before peeling under cold, running water with a brush or scrubber. Some healthcare professionals suggest you use a drop of dish soap with water and then rinse the food well before eating.
  • Slice fruits and vegetables into snack sizes to roast or grill.
  • Use olive oil and your favorite spices in a bag or mixing bowl to prepare for cooking.
  • Sprinkle spices into the oil to bring out the flavors such as: black pepper, garlic, basil, tarragon, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and parsley.
  • Grill, roast, or bake fall foods such as squash, yams, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, apples, greens, mushrooms, onions, parsnips and peppers.
  • Stir up some soups in your slow cooker, such as lentil, potato, or veggie soup.
  • Add protein to soups with soy, chopped meat and poultry, and/or dried beans.
  • Display fresh fruits in a bowl on your desk, dining table, or kitchen counter.
  • Grab fruits to bulk up on cancer-fighting nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.

Match the fall foods with their colors in this matching activity:

Color Fall Food
1. Orange a. Cranberries
2. White b. Honeycrisp Apples
3. Red c. Mushrooms
4. Green d. Parsnips
5. Burgundy e. Acorn Squash
6. Brown f. Brussel Sprouts

By choosing fruits and veggies in a variety of different colors, you also get a variety of nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

Match Game Answers:

  1. e Acorn Squash
  2. d Parsnips
  3. b Honeycrisp Apples
  4. f Brussels sprouts
  5. a Cranberries
  6. c Mushrooms
Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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