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Wright Way: ‘Tis the Season

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored health and fitness column is written by Virginia Wright, founder of BbG Fitness, which offers group fitness classes around Arlington. Sign up for a free class today.

As the seasons change so do our eating habits. Our bodies know best, and naturally feel best when connected with our environment. According to health expert Andrea Beaman, when we eat locally grown, seasonal foods, our internal environment (the body and its organs) aligns with the external environment (the world around us), creating a system that is physically stronger and prepared for the elements.

You’ve probably noticed that on a steamy hot summer day you crave cooling foods like crisp green salads, juicy fruits and refreshing smoothies. But as the weather changes these types of foods don’t seem quite as appealing. Innately we desire heavier, warming foods like soups and stews.

Fall leaves via Virginia WrightFor body, mind and spirit, it’s wonderful to eat what grows in our immediate environment and climate — it can help us feel more balanced, healthy and connected. Not only that, eating locally grown, seasonal foods tastes better; foods picked at the peak of ripeness are the most flavorful. In addition, eating everything from everywhere harms our environment because it burns large amounts of fossil fuel to ship foods to and from faraway places.

To find out what’s in season, just visit one of Arlington’s seven local farmer’s markets or do a little research and make your own list.

One of the best things about fall is squash! You’ll see many varieties these days in all the markets. In addition to getting the tastiest, freshest food, you’ll be supporting local farmers and strengthening the economic base of our community!

Here are a few of my favorite fall and winter recipes. Click on the links below for additional recipes. Happy, healthy cooking!

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Gravy

Preheat oven to 375.
Stand the squash on end and cut in half length-wise.
Remove seeds. Arrange squash on lightly greased baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your squash. Removed cooked squash from oven, let cool then, using a fork, pull the strands of squash away from the sides. Scoop the strands into a container or onto a plate to eat!

Turkey Mushroom Gravy:

1 large 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ pound ground turkey
6 mushrooms, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Heat oil on medium low heat in saucepan then add turkey and sauté until no longer pink. Add garlic and mushroom; continue cooking 3 more minutes. Turn heat to low and carefully pour in the tomatoes. Stir then bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking at low boil for 30 minutes. If too thick add a little broth until desired consistency is achieved.

Divide squash onto plates and top with sauce. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese if desired.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is as simple as can be and always sweetly delicious.

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks.
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat and sauté onions for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add squash, sweet potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil and add salt and ginger. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Use an immersion blender or remove approximately 3/4 of the vegetables and puree in a blender or food processor. Return to pot. Do a taste test and add more salt if desired. For a chunkier soup add 2 cups baby spinach and 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.

Oven Roasted Whole Chicken
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Chicken Stew

Interested in staying on track with healthful eating and exercise through the holiday season? Try the BbG Holiday Challenge! Give it a try and send me your results! Details here.

Ginny Wright has been a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor for more than 10 years. She received her Health Coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York in 2007. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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