Fall can be an incredible time of year with the weather cooling down and the trees changing colors. However, Fall can also be a pitfall for many of us when it comes to nutrition. With the cooling weather we start to crave comfort food and aren’t as motivated to cook and/or exercise. There are also tons of different temptations lurking around ever corner as football tailgates become a weekly event and holiday parties begin. There are a few great substitutions and adjustments you can make to your eating habits in the Fall that can keep your nutrition on point.
1. Specialty Drinks– Pumpkin Spice everything has hit the market and it’s not the only one. Tons of different flavors of hot chocolates and coffee, etc. will start to come out and beg for you to try them. Your best bet is to prepare more of these specialty flavors at home on a regular basis. The specialty drinks often pack a lot of sugar and fat, where you brewing the flavor at home means you’re more in control (They actually make pumpkin spice flavored coffee as well as, tea). Leave the chain-made drinks for an occasional treat.
2. Soups and Stews– Soups and stews can be one of the easiest and most comforting meals after a long day. They are relatively simple to make and are nice and warm on even the coldest of days. To make them even more nutritious, add a bunch of vegetables that can serve as good filler, but also good fiber (broccoli, carrots, onions, etc). Avoid cream based soups on a regular basis as they are often high in carbohydrates and fat. You can even try using an immersion blender to create that creamy texture without the added ingredients!
3. Make Substitutions– One of the best ways to watch what you’re eating over the fall season is to make substitutions. This is extremely helpful when tailgating. Bring chopped veggies to eat with dip instead of chips. Substitute Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in a dip or recipe. Use applesauce as a way to decrease oil in recipes. These substitutions don’t mean that a certain recipe or food is then considered ‘healthy’, but it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable and feel good about the changes you’re making.
What is your favorite way to stay on track in the Fall?
Katherine Horner, MS, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
St. Francis Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist