Aside from dropping temperatures and falling leaves, the turn of the season also brings a new crop of fresh, fall produce to liven up your dinner table – and chances are your side dishes could use a change.
Side dishes are typically an afterthought, or the same ones show up on your table every night because they are family-approved. I know – I’ve fallen into a side dish rut before, too. But preparing seasonal side dishes is a great way to make the most of this time of year while also getting your family to try new, healthy foods.
Here are four delicious ways to incorporate seasonal produce into simple, healthy side dishes that the whole family will enjoy:
1. Pumpkin. Pumpkin is a seasonal ingredient that can be found in many foods and drinks during this time of year. A great addition to soups, chili and oatmeal, fresh pumpkin packs a nutritional punch and adds color to any recipe, like this Cheesy Corn Casserole which makes a great side you can use throughout the week.
2. Kale. This superfood green is especially delicious during the fall when it’s in season. You can use it in place of lettuce in a side salad, like this Kale Caesar Salad. Or, if your child prefers a crunchy texture, try this recipe for “Krispy” Parmesan Kale Chips.
3. Butternut squash. This is the perfect fall vegetable for roasting. Roasting veggies is a great, convenient method for cooking them (check out this post for a general how-to), and it brings out a wonderfully sweet and nutty flavor in butternut squash. For quick and easy meal prep, you can buy pre-cut squash in the produce section of most supermarkets. This simple recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash is one of my favorites.
4. Seasonal fruit. Switch up your side salads with fruit that’s in season. Adding apples and cranberries is perfect for this time of year, and the fruit appeals to children even if they aren’t fans of leafy greens!
No matter the time of year, it’s always a good idea to switch up your meals by using produce that’s in-season. Use mealtime as an opportunity to instill healthy habits in your child while exploring all the season has to offer.