With a new season comes new foods! Fall has a tendency to creep up on us and alter our wardrobes, moods and diets. But I promise, it's possible to keep that summer bod tight throughout the fall. Nature's candy can spice up your diet and make autumn taste like a piece of cake. From apples to sweet potatoes, autumn flavors are delicious and savory. Here are five cozy fall superfoods and complimentary recipes that will give you the perfect excuse to visit your local farmer’s market and embrace the freshness of fall!

1. Pomegranate

Photo: [www.drfuhrman.com]

Fun fact: this is one of the oldest known fruits, found in many writings and artifacts of ancient cultures and religions. Pomegranate seeds are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber is said to help facilitate digestive health. Moreover, punicalagin, a compound found only in pomegranates, has been clinically proven to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and impeded heart blockages (atherosclerosis). Rearing the seeds is quite a task, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s a good recipe that incorporates pomegranate.

Autumn Arugula Salad:

Ingredients: 1 pomegranate (reared seeds) 1 seedless cucumber, sliced; 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 acorn squash sliced in 1/2 thick rounds (de-seeded), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/2 cup whole pecans, chopped 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 6 cups baby arugula, 1 sliced avocado, Ginger vinaigrette (recommended dressing) 

Directions: 1. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil, 2. Sprinkle squash slices with salt and pepper, 3. Sear until golden (approx. 5 minutes per side), 4. Add brown sugar while squash slices cook to help caramelize (optional), 5. While squash slices rest, add pecans to leftover caramelized mixture in skillet, 6. Toss in pumpkin pie spice until golden and fragrant, 7. Add salad ingredients and enjoy! 

Photo: [www.howsweeteats.com/]

2. Squash

Photo: [justhomemade.net/]

This fruit (yes, it's considered fruit because it has seeds) is said to be an excellence source of immune-supportive vitamins, such as vitamins A and C. It also contains nutritional fiber and heart-healthy potassium. Try this recipe and you’re bound to reap benefits.

Roasted Buttermilk Squash (Buffet Style):

Ingredients: 1 small buttermilk squash, 2 teaspoons butter/olive oil, ground pepper and kosher salt (per your taste), ground cinnamon and nutmeg (per your taste), 4 tablespoons cane sugar, pumpkin seeds (for garnish) 

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400°F, 2. Cut squash in half lengthwise, 3. Scoop out seeds, 4. Generously add seasonings, 5. Oven roast for 30-40 minutes and violà! 

Photo: [justhomemade.net]

3. Dates

Photo: [thespiritscience.net/]

If you need a good pre-workout food, dates might be your answer. They are a host to many vitamins and minerals that your body needs for energy, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, dietary fiber and magnesium. Try them in the form of granola bars; it’ll blow your mind! 

Crunchy peanut butter-date granola bars:

Ingredients: 20 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped; 2 cups rolled oats, 3/4 cup raw slivered almonds, 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar, 2-3 tablespoons of dried fruit (ex: blueberries or strawberries; optional) 

Directions: 1. preheat oven to 350°F, 2. Add oats, almonds and sunflower seeds to large baking sheet, 3. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. 4. In the last 5 minutes of baking, add the shredded coconut and roast until light brown, then remove from oven and set aside, 5. Stir peanut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup to a small saucepan over medium heat until melted, 6. Add chopped dates, toasted oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit (optional) to a large mixing bowl and top with peanut butter mixture, 7. Transfer mixture to prepared 8×8 dish and use a spatula to spread evenly and pack down on top of parchment paper, 8. Freeze for 30 minutes, 9. Cut into even square and serve! 

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4. Green Tea Matcha

Photo: [midnyteblu.com/]

Found more than 1,000 years ago, Matcha green tea is of Japanese origin and is a great source of antioxidants that improve your brain and body functions. One such antioxident found in Matcha is the catechin family, which counter the effects of free radicals from pollution, UV rays and chemicals that lead to cell damage. Come on, how much better than a cancer-fighting cup of joe can you get?! 

Matcha White Chocolate:

Ingredients: 2 teaspoons AIYA cooking grade green matcha, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup hot water 

Directions: 1. Melt the white chocolate together with ½ cup of almond milk. Stir until smooth, 2. Add remaining almond milk and set aside, 3. Sift matcha into 1 cup hot water and whisk until frothy, 4. Combine the milk chocolate mixture with the matcha froth in a mug and drink up! 

Photo: [www.loveandlemons.com/]

4. Peppermint

Photo: [pantrygardenherbs.com/]

If you're experiencing congestion or suffering from a cold, peppermint will do the trick. This herb has a refreshing and breezy sensation on the taste buds, palate and throat thanks to the menthol (an essential oil) that is in it. Peppermint contains niacin, a B-vitamin that lowers cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk, phosphorus and zinc. Try making a cup of fresh peppermint tea; it'll do your breath and your heart wonders. 

Fresh Peppermint Tea:

Ingredients: 7-10 fresh peppermint leaves, 1 cup of hot water, 1 lemon wedge 

Photo: [crunchyhealthy.com/]

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