by Sarah Muntel, RD
Ready or not, fall is in the air! It’s time for school, sweaters, bonfires and football. Fall brings with it a new variety of produce, tastes and spices. As we move into a new season, it is important to stay true to your health and nutrition goals and find new options that are fall-friendly.
We all know there is not one set healthy eating plan that works for everyone. A health professional can guide you toward a plan that works best for your long-term health goals. Regardless of your plan, fall recipes can be added in for greater variety and more nutrition. One key to staying on track is finding recipes you enjoy. Keep reading to find some that work for your plan!
Many people are following a low-carbohydrate plan. This can include a variety of plans, such as Keto or diabetic meal plans. These plans limit pasta, rice and bread but are rich in nutritious vegetables packed with vitamins, minerals and lean meats that are high in protein. Here is a recipe for lean turkey meatballs with vegetables.
Plan to have these on a Sunday evening and use the leftover meatballs in your kids’ lunch boxes during the week. They can also be an easy protein source for another meal later in the week. A useful tip for a busy fall schedule is to consider doubling the recipe to use for other meals throughout the week.
Turkey Meatballs with Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
- Cooking spray
- ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 ½ oz. Asiago cheese, finely shredded (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 ¼ oz. slices prosciutto, finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped yellow onions
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 12 oz. fresh green beans
- 3 tbs. oil
- 2 cups multicolored cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. shaved Asiago cheese
- Preheat oven to high broil with rack positioned 6 inches from heat source. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Stir together breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl. Stir together eggs, shredded Asiago, prosciutto, onion, parsley, and ½ tsp. each of the salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add breadcrumb-milk mixture and turkey; mix gently using hands until combined. Shape into 24 meatballs. Arrange meatballs spaced 1 inch apart on half of the prepared baking sheet.
- Toss together green beans, 1 Tbsp. of the oil, ¼ tsp. of the salt, and remaining ¼ tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on unused half of a baking sheet with meatballs.
- Toss together tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. of the oil, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Coat a separate baking sheet with cooking spray; spread tomatoes in an even layer on baking sheet.
- Place baking sheets side-by-side in preheated oven. Broil until tomatoes are browned and have burst, about 5 minutes. Remove tomatoes from oven. Continue broiling meatballs and green beans until meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Transfer tomatoes (along with any tomato juices on baking sheet) to a bowl; add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and stir gently to combine. To serve, arrange 1 ½ cups green beans and 4 meatballs on each of 6 plates. Spoon tomatoes evenly over green beans; drizzle tomato juices in bowl over meatballs. Sprinkle evenly with shaved Asiago; garnish with parsley.
Vegetarian Meal Plans
Vegetarian diets limit meat and sometimes other animal products. Adding more vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts to your daily meal plan can be a great way to fill your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimum nutrition. This fall, add in fall favorites such as apples from the orchard, squash and pumpkin. These diets have been shown to help you reduce cholesterol, decrease the risk of obesity and increase lifespan. It can sometimes be difficult to make sure you are getting enough protein, so it’s important to take in enough beans, legumes, nuts or tofu.
Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash and Black Beans
Adapted from SkinnyTaste.com
- 1 cupred enchilada sauce, homemade or canned
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 ½ cups peeled butternut squash, diced into half inches
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic,minced
- 1 jalapeño,seeded and diced
- 10 oz. can tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 ½ cups reduced-sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cupcilantro
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ cupwater
- 8 medium low-carb whole wheat flour tortillas (I use e La Tortilla Factory)
- 1 cupreduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese
- 2 Tbsp.chopped scallions, for garnish
- Reduced-fat sour cream, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place ¼ cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeño and cook 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant.
- Add together cubed butternut squash, tomatoes with chilies, black beans, water, cilantro, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Place about a generous one-third cup filling in the center of each tortilla and roll the tortillas together. Place them on the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with the remaining filling.
- Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese and bake, covered with foil until hot and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Top with scallions and eat with sour cream if desired.
Many people choose to limit added sugar in their diet. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends only 100 calories per day of added sugar (6 teaspoons/24 grams). Sodas, cookies and sugary snacks pack hundreds of grams of sugar. This plan does not specifically limit carbohydrates, but it does limit the sugar added to your meals. Limiting added sugar can decrease the risk of developing obesity and other health conditions.
Finding low-sugar snack options can be a challenge. Consider a sweet yogurt treat with fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can sub in any fruit of your choice to add a fall flair to the recipe shown here!
Greek Yogurt Bark with Mango and Strawberry
Adapted from Tasty.com
- 2 cups 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 cup mango, diced
- 5 strawberries, sliced
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- Zest of 1 lime
- Combine Greek yogurt and mango in a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Spread mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet tray into an even ¼-inch layer.
- Top with sliced strawberries, shredded coconut and lime zest.
- Freeze uncovered until frozen, about two hours.
- Break into pieces and serve immediately. Keep any uneaten bark in freezer.
As bariatric surgery becomes more popular, so do bariatric recipes. After bariatric surgery, the volume of food you can eat is limited, so each bite must be delicious and nutrient-packed. Bariatric meal plans are high in protein and lower in carbohydrates. For many, the holidays can be a struggle, but the recipe provided is a great way to combine a bariatric diet with a holiday favorite.
Thanksgiving Superfood Stuffing
Adapted from BariatricFoodie.com
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup red quinoa
- 1/3 cup amaranth
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage (like Jennie-O)
- 1 honey crisp apple, cored and diced (peeled, if desired)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp. ground sage
- In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa and amaranth, drop heat to low, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. The mixture is done when little white coils appear from the quinoa. (Note: there may be some liquid remaining.)
- Meanwhile, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray, set it over medium heat and allow it to get hot. Add onion and peppers and sauté 1-2 minutes, or until softened
- Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage into small bits.
- Add quinoa/amaranth mixture and diced apple and stir before adding spices.
- Transfer to a baking dish and bake on 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until stuffing appears crispy on top.
Make this fall a season of health and wellness by combining fun fall activities with good nutrition. Adding a healthy weeknight dinner to your day or bringing a festive fall dish to your backyard bonfire can keep you on track while enjoying the season.
Don’t forget: it’s the small changes that add up to big successes!
About the Author
Sarah Muntel, RD, is a registered dietitian from Indianapolis, IN. She has worked in the field of bariatrics for the past 18 years, working with both bariatric and metabolic surgery patients as well as medical weight-loss patients. Sarah is an active member of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and frequently contributes to OAC’s Weight Matters Magazine and Your Weight Matters Blog.