Plaintains, and Pomegranates, and Persimmons, Oh My!

So what do these three p's have in common? This is the most wonderful time of the year to enjoy them!

Plantains are of course related to the banana, but should NOT be eaten raw. Though plantains are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C, several B vitamins (including folate) and magnesium, proceed with caution when it comes to portion size. Plantains are delicious, but starchy and deliver about 170 calories for a cup of slices. My guess is you will fill up on far less than a cup due to the starchy, fibrous goodness that is plantains. Be especially careful when you order them out as they're often prepared with lots of oil and/or topped with some sort of cream or cheese. Your best bet will be to make them at home. A simple saute in olive oil with either a touch of sweet or a dash of salt and you're on your way to an excellent side dish. That said, don't be afraid to get creative by roasting, grilling, baking, or even boiling your plantains. With a little searching, you can find recipes for everything from plantain chips to plantain soup. All are delicious!

Selecting plantains at the supermarket is practically fool proof. Each stage of ripeness offers a different flavor palate which simply adds to the fun of cooking with plantains. When they're green, plantains are the most starchy and very similar to a potato. The riper it gets, the sweeter it gets, and the closer it becomes to tasting like it's banana cousin. However, though it sweetens, it doesn't soften much. Yellow plantains will be sweeter than green ones, but is technically only semi-ripe. A ripe plantain is one you'll think you should throw away-they're completely black! To speed the ripening process, use the paper bag trick. A green plantain should completely ripen within a week.

Wondering how to sneak a little pomegranate into your diet? Check out this post from Skinny Obsessions.

Click here to read some Persimmon 101.

Also, don't forget another Fall favorite in pumpkin which I posted about here. You can also get your pumpkin fix on Skinny in the City here (pumpkin seeds), here (pumpkin soup), and here(pumpkin pie). Enjoy!

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto