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Healthy Living Blog

Information and inspiration to help you make a habit out of living healthy.


Cooler Weather, Cozier Foods: 5 healthy fall recipes

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

By , YMCA Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Bring on the Crock-Pots and soup! The air is cooler, the nights are crisper, and the earthy smell of leaves signals that fall is upon us.

A new season means new recipes to try and new ways to cook warm, cozy meals. Check out these 5 recipes that welcome sweater weather.

1. One-Pot Quinoa and Lentils


This reminds me of the old-world Italian lentil recipe my grandmother makes when my whole family comes to visit. Protein-packed lentils and quinoa combine with antioxidant-rich spinach in an easy, one-pot meal. Creamy, filling, and flavorful—this is the perfect fall comfort food.

Why it's wow!

This meal provides a whopping 32% of the recommended daily amount of iron! Iron is essential for maintaining brain health, preventing anemia, supporting lean muscle mass, and reducing levels of fatigue.

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2. Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples


Sweet and savory are the star flavors of this recipe. Roasting the sweet potato, fennel, and apples allows their natural sugars to caramelize, which pairs perfectly with the crispy pork chops and tangy Dijon mustard.

Why it's wow!

Fennel is a bulb vegetable that has a wonderfully crispy texture and mild licorice taste.

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3. Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


Tomato soup takes me back to my childhood. My mom would make a large pot of creamy tomato soup and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches that were a favorite among me and my brothers. This recipe is lighter on calories since it uses almond milk in place of whole milk or half-and-half like traditional recipes. The best part is that it has less than 10 ingredients, so this can be a fast dish for those hectic weeknights.

Why it's wow!

Pairing this soup with a grilled cheese sandwich or these panini recipes makes for a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

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4. Pumpkin and Sage Stuffed Shells


Pumpkin isn’t just for spicing lattes! It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Good news for you is that this recipe combines both. Pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sage are mixed and stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells, and are also used to make a creamy, aromatic marinara sauce.

Why it's wow!

Part of this recipe can be put together the night before to save time. You can make and stuff the filling into the shells, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the following day. All that’s left to do at dinner is to make the marinara sauce, and into the oven it goes!

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5. Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup


Who doesn’t love coming home to the delicious smells of dinner? Using a slow cooker is one of my favorite methods of cooking in the fall. Another favorite of mine is using seasonal squash. This recipe's simple ingredients like carrots, apple, and coconut milk accentuate the dense and nutty flavor of the squash. Pumpkin seeds, cayenne pepper, or extra coconut milk can be drizzled on top as garnish and are sure to add some flavor.

Why it's wow!

An immersion blender makes this soup silky and smooth in texture, but a traditional blender or food processor can be used instead. This recipe can also be made in a pressure cooker!

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Hungry for more?

Check out these recipes for cooking over a campfire. You can also learn more about nutrition counseling offered by our experienced team of RDs at a Y near you. Let us help you reach your wellness goals!

YMCA of Middle Tennessee

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