Seasonal changes can sometimes seem non-existent in Phoenix, but the truth is that even though our fall season may not warrant heavy sweaters and hot cider, we certainly benefit from the shift in temperatures! October weather is quite kind to those vegetables that you may have put off throwing into recipes until now or maybe just weren’t sure how best to prepare?

For starters, why not get healthy with some homemade cabbage soup? Homemade cabbage soup is well known for cleansing the body of impurities and promoting weight loss. Including cabbage soup in your daily eating routine offers a break from junk food or fast food, and does not require any unusual or expensive ingredients, or time consuming and complex recipes. Also, the soup can be stored in the refrigerator for convenience or frozen for later use.

Once you’ve started to cleanse your body, you’ll be surprised at how much more fresh produce appeals to you. The fact is our bodies crave fruits and vegetables closest to their seasonal best and without so many additives. One of the best examples of this is cauliflower. Once known only to be consumed in households if it had been smothered in cheese sauce, this vegetable is actually at its freshest and tastiest when roasted with some olive oil, lemon, and fresh garlic. For a tasty alternative to mashed potatoes, simply prepare the above ingredients, roast for 20 minutes, and toss them into a bowl and hit with a mixer on medium for one minute. Tah dah! Mashed cauliflower with savory flavor, minus the guilt that comes with potatoes laden with milk and butter.

Another alternative to the starchy white potato are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. Choose sweet potatoes for small children as an alternative to French fries. Kids love the bright, playful orange color that sweet potato fries have, and the soft texture makes for a great introductory food for toddlers. Smart adults choose sweet potatoes instead of baked potatoes and enjoy the benefits of a healthful alternative. Make no mistake about it: sweet potatoes may seem like a trendy alternative for the Idaho, but will remain a staple when consumers realize how easily and tastefully they contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Two other vegetables to include on your fall farmers market list are carrots and tomatoes.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit, but they are so often treated in the vegetable family that we wanted to include them here. All compartmentalizing aside, this food is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of thiamin, niacin, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, E and K.

Tomatoes and carrots have some similar health benefits, and also do well together when paired in fall favorites like stews, soups, or even a colorful twist on a ratatouille. Carrots and tomatoes also have the benefit of being enjoyed in their raw state, either alone or in a rich green salad.

So embrace October, and stock up on some hearty vegetables to rotate in to your meals. Goodness knows, with Halloween right around the corner, we could all benefit from some healthful alternatives!