How to Use the Foods of Fall

As much as the Texas heat wave may have had us thinking otherwise, fall is actually here and it seems that the fall weather may finally be arriving (fingers crossed).  As we dive into this new season we see less of the summer strawberries, mangos, peppers and tomatoes and more of the fall & winter favorites like greens, parsnips, pumpkin, butternut squash, apples and pears.

At times it can seem like a lot fewer options.  And many of you may be thinking, "What do I have to work with now?  Parsnips?  What the heck am I supposed to do with a parsnip?"  Well, let me tell you - you can do a lot of things with a parsnip, as well as the other array of fall and winter fruits and vegetables.  I discovered this in grad school when we had to choose a new fruit or vegetable every week and use it in a recipe.  I distinctly remember getting the parsnip.  But I digress...

I have put together a list of ideas below that I incorporate into weekly meals and snacks or that I'm excited to work on incorporating this year (so many new foods and combinations to try!).  From these I hope you can find at least a few fun and fueling fall meal and snack ideas for you and your active family to enjoy.

Happy Fueling!


  • Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash

  • Sweet potatoes and white potatoes

  • Parsnips

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Grapes

  • Oranges

  • Greens (mustard, collard, turnip, etc.)

  • Pumpkin

  • Cranberries

  • Cauliflower

  • Mushrooms


  • Make a cinnamon apple oatmeal (let the apples and oatmeal simmer over the stove together until the apples are sweet and soft and the flavors blend into the warm oats.)

  • Top plain or vanilla yogurt with diced pears and a dash of cinnamon.

  • Add sautéed greens to your omelets.

  • Stir pureed pumpkin into warm oatmeal and top with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

  • Add cranberries to breads, sauces and trail mixes.

  • Add pureed pumpkin to breads to get that fall flavor and, if trying to make your item a bit healthier, to keep a moist crumb while decreasing the butter

  • Make peanut butter apple rings by coring & slicing an apple so that you have apple rings. Taking 2 rings, spread about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on one side, sprinkle cinnamon onto peanut butter, and top with the 2nd ring for a fast and easy apple & peanut butter on the go.


  • Add thin slices of your favorite apple variety to your turkey & cheese sandwich.

  • Try a lunchbox sweet potato bar (Include the small baked sweet potato wrapped in foil accompanied by small containers each filled with a variety of toppings to choose from!).

  • Make a hearty salad by filling your bowl with mixed greens, roasted cauliflower, roasted pumpkin seeds, quartered baby bella mushrooms, diced apples, & your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

  • Make a Fall Vegetable Soup but filling your regular vegetable soup recipe with hearty fall and winter vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, greens, parsnips, mushrooms, cauliflower).


  • Balsamic Glazed Chicken with roasted carrots and broccoli.

  • Grilled Dijon salmon with roasted parsnips and brussels sprouts.

  • Make your own Fall Garden Pizza by including roasted cauliflower, mushrooms & greens on your homemade pizzas (one of my favorite restaurants in Memphis, Trolley Stop Market, will do this and even add sweet potatoes. They have a pizza that constantly rotates and they throw on whatever is fresh out of their garden. It's the BEST!)

  • Put a spin on the traditional summer salad & instead make a hearty fall dinner salad with roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms & sweet potatoes. Top with beans, chicken or other protein of choice, a sprinkle of dried cranberries & a drizzle of dressing.

  • Pull out your favorite pumpkin soup recipe and top with roasted pepitas and a side of rustic whole grain bread.

  • Keep dinner simple and stuff a whole - wheat pita with grilled or rotisserie chicken, mixed greens already drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, sliced pears, and crumbled cheese like feta.

  • Try serving mini cheeseburger sliders with oven - roasted parsnip fries and diced sauteed cinnamon pears for dessert.