8 Simple Swaps for a Healthier FallArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
With the autumn season upon us, we often see an influx of some beloved seasonal treats and are easily tempted by the familiarity of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon aromas. The cooler weather also beckons us to warm up by overeating some of our favorite (unhealthy) comfort foods. This fall, make the effort to be more mindful of your diet choices and opt for some lighter, but just as festive, foods so you can still enjoy all the fun the season has to offer—all while enjoying a healthier fall.
We’re holding some of our favorite fall treats accountable for their large calorie counts and unhealthy amounts of carbs and sugar. Find out which substitutes can compete with some of your favorite seasonal foods for a MUCH healthier fall!
Try these eight food swaps to make healthier fall diet decisions:
1. Seasonal Sweets
With Halloween creeping up on us, the smells of giant candy bags full of chocolate, caramel and other sweets seem to surround us. Other sweet options widely available this time of year are seasonal fruits! Ditch the empty-calories and excess sugar in the candy aisle and head for some fresh fruits such as cranberries, pomegranate or even the Honeycrisp apple—which we celebrate this time of year. If you still can’t satisfy your candy cravings, check out our Halloween Survival Guide.
A classic slice of apple pie is pretty hard to pass up, but don’t let the name fool you—the apples don’t outweigh the excess sugars, fats and carbs often contained in pies. In fact, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one small piece of an eight-inch apple pie has a whopping 277 calories. Try turning your search for festive apple flavors to a healthy, yet sweet snack. You can easily slice an apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon or even look to our recipe for a Creamy Apple Cinnamon Smoothie Bowl for a much healthier fall treat.
3. Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin is the fall’s most famous fruit, decorating almost every home and flavoring all our favorite cookies, drinks and pies. But, avoid going for those heavy pumpkin spice cookies and try your pumpkin in a different way besides pie or coffee. Pumpkin is a superfood that is rich in antioxidants, so eating it is still quite beneficial. Try roasting pumpkin slices after tossing them with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar for a sweet, yet nutrient-rich snack. Find out all the facts of this superfood here >
4. Fall Beverages
Hot chocolate is an iconic cold weather treat for all ages, but according to USDA, one cup of this sweet drink contains around 192 calories—even when it’s homemade and without the marshmallows and other unhealthy add-ons. Instead of sipping on a heavy and high-fat hot chocolate, try our Chocolate Chai Smoothie recipe to get a healthier twist on a fun fall drink.
Fall meals are often accompanied by mashed potatoes—a long-standing comfort food. Not surprisingly, mashed potatoes are usually loaded with high amounts of butter, sodium and carbs. A one cup serving of mashed potatoes can have as much as 243 calories and 30 grams of carbs, according to USDA. Squash is a great alternative to a potato and delivers great flavor along with many healthy vitamins and nutrients. Try a delicious roasted squash dish to capitalize on this delicious fall veggie or check out our recipe for Cheesy Southwest Spaghetti Squash.
6. Slow Cooker Meals
With chillier sweater weather settling in, we tend to reach for heartier and heavier meals to keep our bodies insulated and warm. While they’re very tasty, slow-cooked stews, roasts and even chicken pot pies easily conceal their excess calories, fats, sugars and carbs. When you want to get a taste of these filling seasonal stews, try these delicious recipes for Chunky Turkey Chili or Apple Butternut Squash Soup. Both dishes showcase healthy proteins and many seasonal fall veggies for a great way to get a hot and hearty meal.
7. Roasted Treats
You’re likely to see lots of things coated in caramel around the autumn season such as apples, drinks, candy and popcorn. Caramel corn gives a sweet twist to a classic snack—but at what cost? Caramel is just empty calories from sugar that will stick to your waistline. To get a substitute for this sweet and savory treat, toss some protein-rich pumpkin seeds in a teaspoon of cinnamon and light Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then roast them in the oven. Portion out your roasted seeds in individual bags for healthy South Beach Diet snacks all week long.
8. Football Favorites
A warm soft pretzel dipped in cheese may be all too easy to find at your local fair, festival or town carnival this fall season. But, with all the excess carbs and fat, these salty twisty treats won’t be doing your body any favors. If you want something to satisfy your savory cravings, think of making your own Sweet Potato Fries! Sweet potato is an antioxidant-rich superfood with many health benefits—which means you can indulge guilt-free in fries anytime this fall. Learn more about this superfood here >