As we’re already well into the swing of autumn, be sure to seek out the best fall Trader Joe’s foods that offer benefits for your heart and gut—you know, before they inevitably sell out and we’re off on new hauls with gingerbread and peppermint aplenty. We asked Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, of Real Nutrition in New York City, to get a feel for what’s most worth adding to cart from a dietary perspective.
5 must-have fall Trader Joe's foods packed with gut and heart health benefits
1. Butternut Squash
Shapiro says that Trader Joe’s stocks this type of winter squash in whole and cubed varieties. “This is a whole food item that screams fall,” she says. It’s gut-friendly since it’s rich in fiber, which “will act as a prebiotic for the microbes in your gut and will help to decrease cholesterol.” In addition, Shapiro calls out squash's rich vitamin A content, which helps boost immunity and eye health. Better yet, butternut squash is both tasty and versatile. “It goes great with everything; I love using it when cooking since it’s naturally sweet, [whether] as a soup or a side dish,” Shapiro shares.
2. Organic Pumpkin Puree
Available in the canned food aisle, the Organic Pumpkin Puree at Trader Joe’s is definitely worth adding to your fall haul. “Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients like fiber to promote heart health and to keep you regular,” Shapiro explains. In other words, this shelf-stable, quintessential fall item is one of the best things to add to your pantry this season. As is the case with butternut squash, there are countless ways to get creative in the kitchen with it. “You can use pumpkin puree in everything from pies to muffins to soups,” Shapiro says. For those who plan on baking with it and want to keep their wellness game in check, she adds one last word to the wise: Aim to avoid using premade pumpkin pie filling (or use it sparingly at the very least), as she says that it’s loaded with added sugar.
3. GT's Synergy Living in Gratitude Kombucha Raw Fall Edition
Kombucha has long been one of my go-to fermented beverages for gut health, and I look forward to sipping on GT’s limited edition fall kombucha—which is flavored with apple, turmeric, carrot, and spices—every year. The drink gets Shapiro’s stamp of approval for the taste, calling it “a fun way to bring in fall flavors,” but more importantly the benefits you might not get from other seasonal faves. “Everyone loves a pumpkin spice beverage, but when that beverage is kombucha, we benefit from the good bacteria that crowd out the bad germs we may be exposed to during cold and flu season,” she says. Moreover, Shapiro reminds us that fermented foods and drinks aid digestion and immunity, both of which are at top of mind as we gear toward holiday festivities.
4. Harvest Blend Herbal Tea
If you want to sip on something warm that still taps into the flavors of the season (think cinnamon, ginger, roasted chicory, orange peel, apple, and more), Shapiro recommends opting for Trader Joe’s own caffeine-free Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. “I love this tea for so many reasons,” Shapiro says. Chief among them? “It’s rich in polyphenols and antioxidants to fight disease and promote heart health,” she explains. But the benefits don’t end there, as she notes that herbal tea can also soothe us before bed and provide a worthy substitute to less nutritious drinks like soda, alcohol, and sugary beverages.
5. Dry Roasted Maple Almonds
While you can surely find many other heart- and gut-friendly foods at Trader Joe’s (both festive for fall and year-round), Shapiro selected the grocer’s Dry Roasted Maple Almonds to round out her top five finds for autumn. “Almonds contain heart-protective fats and fiber, which help to lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels, and [improve] digestion and satiety,” she shares. These maple-flavored almonds are approved by the dietitian for their delicious, mildly sweet flavor, and also because they’re low in sugar. “They’re an easy addition on a salad, or on top of roasted squash or mashed sweet potatoes to add texture and nutrition to a side dish or a meal,” Shapiro continues—that is, if you have any left over after snacking on them straight from the bag.
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