Blue Suit Mom

Help Your Family Fall into Good Nutrition

By Louise Goldberg, RD, CSP, LD, CNSC

The fall season is a busy time of year for a lot of families. School activities are in full swing, and for many of us, the cooler weather commences the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. With so much on everyone’s plate, it’s easy to forget about good nutrition.

In fact, research shows that many of us consume 200 more calories per day during the fall season than in the summertime. I’m not talking about an extra apple here or a handful of baby carrots there. Over-indulging on high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich food is the main culprit, and there is plenty of that during the holidays. Two hundred calories doesn’t sound like much, but it averages about three or four pounds of weight gain a year. Over a lifetime, those pounds can really add up.

So how can you help your family eat healthier this fall? Celebrate the fall harvest with seasonal fruits and vegetables that are packed with powerful nutrients. For those of you who are currently pregnant, carve out some time to focus on your health as well. It is vital that you provide yourself and your baby with nutrients and vitamins that will aid in growth and development. Case in point? Lutein.

Pumpkin, squash, apples, and kale all contain lutein, a carotenoid that supports eye health for people of all ages—including baby’s eyes during prenatal development. It’s important for expecting moms to get adequate amounts of lutein in their diet during this critical time. And it doesn’t stop there—breastfeeding moms should seek foods that contain lutein, and those using infant formula should check to make sure it contains this important nutrient, because the only way to get lutein is via diet. No matter the age, lutein is key for our eyes—and thankfully for us, it’s found in lots of fresh fall foods!

Here’s a good tip: Get the entire family excited about a new fall menu. Children are more inclined to sit down to a healthy meal if they’ve helped pick out and prepare the ingredients. Involve them in a fun fall activity that not only captures the spirit of the season, but also incorporates weekly meal planning. Enjoy the cool weather and fall foliage with a trip (or several) to the apple orchard, the pumpkin patch, or a local farmer’s market. Have your kids pick out a favorite fruit or vegetable for a healthy recipe during the week. They’ll almost certainly want to help out in the kitchen.

Are you ready to fall into good nutrition with these seasonal fruits and veggies, all of which contain lutein and more? Yes? Then read on…

  1. There’s nothing better than a crisp, juicy apple right off the tree. Apples are delicious and refreshing, and their high fiber content helps to maintain a healthy digestive track while keeping hunger at bay. Vitamin C promotes healthy skin, bones, and teeth, and vitamin B6 plays an important role during metabolism. Look for conventional and heirloom varieties for snacking, baking, or a crunchy salad addition.
  2. Kale is available year-round, but usually has a sweeter taste after the first frost. It’s delicious raw in salads or sautéed with just a little bit of garlic and olive oil. Manganese helps maintain strong bones, and vitamin A supports a strong immune system.
  3. Pumpkins aren’t just for decorating. Pumpkins and other squash varieties are chock-full of nutrients and have slightly sweet flesh. They taste wonderful simply cubed and roasted or added into pastas and gratins. Vitamin E reinforces the body’s immune system. Potassium helps with muscle function and balances electrolytes, and riboflavin (Vitamin B2) turns carbohydrates into energy—perfect for active families on the go.

Louise Goldberg, RD, CSP, LD, CNSC, is a registered dietitian and a nationally recognized expert with extensive training and experience in pregnancy, children’s health, maternal health, and family nutrition. As one of only 60 board certified pediatric nutrition specialists in the state of Texas, Goldberg has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients, from neonates to young adults and their parents. She writes monthly columns for Green Child Magazine. Louise Goldberg has also written articles for Special and She has been featured as a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare and Organized Wisdom and has been quoted on WebMD, Houston Chronicle, and more. Louise Goldberg practices at An Apple a Day and is working with Similac to educate moms and families about the importance of lutein.

Comments are closed.