Fall brings an abundance of flavorful, seasonal foods that are packed full of nutrition! October is National Pork Month, Apple Month, Cranberry Month - and October 29 is National Oatmeal Day! Now is the time to take advantage of these flavorful fall foods and the nutrition they provide.

• National Pork Month – Pork Month was originally started because October was the time most hogs were brought to market. Now the month has evolved into a way to educate consumers on pork production and the nutritional benefits of eating pork. According to the USDA, pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, making up 42% of meat consumption worldwide. To choose the leanest cuts, look for the words “round” or “loin” in the name. These cuts will contain higher amounts of quality protein and lower amounts of saturated fat. Pork tenderloin contains the same fat content as a skinless chicken breast, and offers a good source of many B vitamins and minerals. The pork tenderloin is not only lean, but it is versatile and flavorful as well! Oatmeal works great as a coating for both tenderloin and pork chops. You can leave the oatmeal whole, or grind it up into a flour for a flavorful twist.

• National Cranberry Month – October is the peak month of harvesting cranberries. Cranberries are grown on vines in bogs, or wet marshy areas. Cranberries are known for their bacteria-blocking compounds that have been linked to the prevention of urinary tract infections. New research is showing these compounds may also be helpful in preventing ulcers and gum disease. Cranberries’ rich antioxidant content may help reduce inflammation and increase heart health. Cranberries come in a variety of forms with varying nutrition content. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and cranberry juice all contain the bacteria-blocking compounds. If fresh or frozen cranberries are too tart for you, make them into a sauce by boiling them with water or low-sugar orange juice just until they pop. Overcooking the cranberries will increase their bitterness. Fresh cranberry sauce is excellent stirred into oatmeal or plain Greek yogurt. Better yet, stir all three together for a creamy fall treat. When choosing dried cranberries or juice, look for ones with no or less added sugar.

• National Apple Month – More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the U.S. There is sure to be a variety to please even the pickiest eater! The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has scientific merit. One study found eating an apple a day helped reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol. Regular apple consumption has also been linked to weight loss, improved gut health, cancer prevention and reduced inflammation. There are many ways to add apples to your daily diet. The easiest way is to wash and eat! Or add chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon to oatmeal before cooking it for a flavorful fall treat. Apples and oatmeal make a great fall combo in bars, cookies and breakfast breads as well. Keep in mind, apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature, so if you want your apples to last longer, store them in the refrigerator.


Roasted Pork with Apples and Potatoes

All you need:

1 tablespoon apple jelly

1 1/2 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 apples, cored and cut into one-inch thick slices

1 pound small red potaoes

10 pearl onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground pepper

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 pounds boneless pork loin

All you do:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together apple jelly, brown sugar and ginger; set aside.

Combine apples, potatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.

Place pork in the center of a roasting pan. Arrange apple mixture around pork in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for another 20 minutes; stir apple mixture.

Spread apple jelly glaze on pork; continue to roast 15 to 20 minutes or until center of pork loin reaches 145 degrees.

Daily Values:0% vitamin A, 2% calcium, 25% vitamin C, 8% iron. Nutrition Facts per serving:Calories: 260, Protein: 24g, Carbohydrate: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 270mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 7g, Fat: 10g, Trans fats: 0g.


-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.