While it is recommended that most adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, only 1 in 10 adults are meeting fruit and vegetable recommendations. [1,2] Eating fruits and vegetables daily is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting adequate vitamins, minerals and eating a well-balanced diet. While summer certainly has great produce, like juicy watermelon and berries and crunchy celery and carrots, fall has its own delicious variety of fresh seasonal produce, including fruit like apples, bananas, grapes, and pears and vegetables like beets, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squash. 
When shopping for fall produce, you don’t have to limit yourself to the grocery store. Don’t forget about visiting a roadside farm stand, a farmer’s market, or joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to support local businesses. Or, if you’re like my family, you can shop for produce straight from the orchard! One of our favorite fall activities is going apple picking. There is nothing better than the freshness and crispness of an apple picked right off the tree. And there are so many ways to incorporate those apples into recipes – you can make fresh applesauce, healthy apple crisp, or apple muffins. Throw chopped-up pieces into a salad or slice and sprinkle with cinnamon for a tasty snack.
When making produce selections – look for fruits and vegetables of all colors of the rainbow to help ensure that you are getting all the valuable nutrients and fiber into your diet that fruits and vegetables provide. As the seasons change, so do our eating habits. The drop in temperature should inspire you to think about new ways of preparing your produce. Maybe a vegetable you love to grill over the summer would be delicious in a warm stew in the fall! So, put away those grill tongs and kebab skewers, dust off the slow cooker, and warm up the oven – a whole new cooking adventure awaits you this fall!
If you’re looking for some cooking inspiration, check out our #VitalityKitchen cooking series and let us know what recipes you’d like to see us make next!
Janine is an Implementation Manager with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator at her daughters’ athletic events, participating in water sport activities with her family, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming almond butter and taking hot yoga classes. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks and listening to podcasts.