By Edith Clogg, RD

Savor the Flavors
Fall flavors are here!  Sweet potatoes, pumpkin everything, opportunities to eat and drink spiced foods and beverages around every corner, there is good reason to focus on these nourishing and hearty flavors.

Spiced Everything
If you want to spice up your meals and life, look to cinnamon, sage, turmeric, and ginger. All of these scream “fall” and research shows benefits of cinnamon on glucose levels, which could help prevent rising levels with pre-diabetes. Initial studies suggest turmeric contains curcumin which can have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. Get motion sickness in the car or airplane when visiting friends or family over the holidays? Ginger may help subdue nausea.

What’s in a Favorite?
Taste and flavor are the top reasons why people identify specific foods as their favorites. With this in mind, pairing these rich flavors into foods could boost health benefits and flavor. Cinnamon can add a sweet flavor to oatmeal and stews, and a dash of ginger in stir-frys gives a kick. Add turmeric into a butternut squash soup or a pinch of nutmeg tossed into sweet potato spears.  You won’t miss the marshmallows on your sweet potato casserole or cream in the butternut squash soup.

Savor with Mindfulness
With many events this time of year, savoring our food may help prevent overeating and can fill us with gratitude for the flavors around us. Get in the habit of placing even small snacks and desserts on a plate to help you acknowledge what and how much you are eating. Work to identify all the ingredients in what you are eating. You may notice more dimensions of flavor that you may have initially been aware of. Lastly, put your fork down periodically between bites to remind yourself of your surroundings and beyond just what is on your plate.

Pumpkin Squash Soup

Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala
Makes 4-6 Servings
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp salt
28 oz- diced tomatoes with juice
2 (15-oz) canned chickpeas, drained
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved, seeds discarded

Squash Delight

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spaghetti squash on a greased roasting pan and roast for 30-40 minutes or until squash pulls easily.
• While squash is roasting, in a large stockpot on medium heat, sauté onions in oil until tender, about 5 mins.
• Stir in garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cayenne powder, salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
• Reduce heat, add the tomatoes and stir. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine. Simmer 10-15 minutes to let flavors combine.
• To serve, top pulled spaghetti squash with chickpea mixture. If desired, top with plain yogurt, cilantro, or a squeeze of lemon.

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