Super foods are defined as foods that not only provide essential nutrients, but also deliver an added benefit that protects our health.

Whether it’s a carotenoid, polyphenol or anthocyanin guarding us, research shows many of these foods have one thing in common. They contain tannins, which give them their unique colors. Each color is known to provide one or more beneficial phytonutrient that prevents disease. It is no wonder dietitians consistently encourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables with the colors of the rainbow.

Repeated studies for years have proven that people who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, of various colors, are healthier longer. This situation is similar to adding fertilizer to your lawn. The lawn grows greener, stronger and more resistant to disease.

Fall in the Midwest brings us a harvest of wonderful super foods. Take advantage of this bounty while protecting from disease. Eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables of different colors every day will indeed protect you from disease.

Fall super foods with color:

• Yellow/orange – carrot, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato.

• Red – apples, cranberries, tomato.

• Purple – beets, plums, purple grapes.

• Green – broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale.

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


Roasted Acorn Squash with Cider Drizzle

Serves 4

Active time: 15 minutes | Total: 45 minutes

All you need:

1 medium acorn squash (about 1 3/4 pounds)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

3 to 5 whole cloves

2 teaspoons butter

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut-side-down, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, turn the squash over so the opposite cut side is down, and continue roasting until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, combine cider, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves to taste in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thin, syrupy glaze, 20 to 25 minutes. (Watch carefully toward the end to prevent burning.) Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in butter until melted. Serve the roasted squash with the cider drizzle.

Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Nutrition facts per serving: 195 calories; 3g fat (1g sat, 1g mono); 5mg cholesterol; 43g carbohydrate; 3g added sugars; 2g protein; 7g fiber; 153mg sodium; 744mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: vitamin C (34% daily value), potassium (22% DV), magnesium (19% dv), vitamin A (16% DV).