When you think of ways to get healthier, you probably first think of your diet. This is normal since food is such an integral part of life, not to mention your health. Many conditions can be improved just by switching up what you eat, not to mention getting in enough vitamins and minerals, and the healthy weight implications.
If you are looking to become healthier in the fall, here are some tips to follow when it comes to changing or improving what you eat during this time of year.
Choosing Seasonal Foods
The first thing you can do when you want to eat healthier in the fall is to choose more seasonal foods. This not only includes superfoods (listed below), but other fruits and vegetables, sweets, and comfort foods. Here are some ideas when you want to add in healthier foods in the fall season.
To start with, consider having some comfort foods this Autumn, but putting a healthy spin on them. Just because your favorite comfort foods are filled with ingredients like butter, cheese, and meat, doesn’t mean they need to be bad for you.
There are many comfort foods you can make a little healthier by using some substitutions, reducing the cheese, and bulking it up with more vegetables.
For example, if you love macaroni and cheese in the fall, why not add broccoli to it? This will not only give you a full serving of vegetables, but you will end up eating a little less of the macaroni and cheese.
Love chicken pot pie? Try a crustless chicken pot pie, where it is much fewer carbs, but still all the flavor, protein, and vegetables you love about this dish.
As you can see, there are many ways to adjust what you eat just slightly to be healthier and more filling during the fall season.
Alternatives to Sweets
We are going to talk about how to make healthier versions of your favorite baked goods for the fall season, but first – consider whether or not there is an alternative to your favorite fall sweets and treats.
If you are a chocolate person, just switch to darker chocolate, as it has more of the antioxidants from cocoa, but less sugar.
When you have a sweet craving, go for fresh fruit first before having something filled with sugar and refined carbohydrates. It just might be enough to curb that craving.
Superfoods include foods with a higher-than-normal nutrient amount, including lots of vitamins and minerals. These often include fruits and vegetables, especially when you are looking for more in-season produce for the fall.
Here is a list of some of the best fall superfoods that will help you to eat healthier this season:
Apples – Who doesn’t love to eat apples in the fall? This is definitely one of the most popular foods during this time of year – and it is a superfood! Apples are loaded with nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamin C, and lots of fiber.
They are sweet enough to be used in green smoothies so they don’t taste like kale or spinach and can be used to create healthier desserts. For the most nutrients, eat the skins of your apples.
Pears – The next fall superfood fruit is the pear. You can enjoy these along with apples, or on their own as a healthy snack. Pears also go great when combined with more savory dishes. You are also getting a good amount of fiber from pears, along with copper and vitamin C.
For something a little different, try making baked pears as a treat.
Cauliflower – Moving on to vegetables, we first have cauliflower. The great thing about this vegetable is that it is low in fat and calories, but also in sugar and carbohydrates. Just about every diet out there allows you to eat cauliflower, including Keto, Paleo, and other low-carb diets.
You can use cauliflower when looking to replace starchy carbs like rice or potatoes, plus you get nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, B6, folate, fiber, and magnesium.
Brussels Sprouts – Don’t count out brussels sprouts before you try them! These can be a wonderful and tasty vegetable to enjoy this fall season. You will get nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, B6, and so much more.
Squash – It should have as no surprise that squash is an in-season vegetable for fall, but it also happens to be a superfood. This is largely due to the fact that it has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. Squash can be enjoyed alone as a side dish, in a soup with pumpkin and spices like ginger and cinnamon, or in a casserole with your favorite fall meats and veggies.
Pumpkin – Yes – you can enjoy pumpkin and still eat a healthy diet! You just want to be careful HOW you have your pumpkin. Instead of a pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin cheesecake, which is loaded with sugar, try a pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin with other fall veggies, or even making your own pumpkin pudding.
You will get a lot of B vitamins, potassium, and of course that fiber you need for a healthy digestive system.
Sweet Potato – Last up is sweet potato. This is a wonderful alternative to white potatoes, since not only are they sweet, but they contain more fiber and other vitamins and minerals. These are not as starchy as white potatoes, so they are generally better for you all around.
Enjoying Fall Treats without the Guilt
One of the main downfalls of the fall season is that it tends to be when you increase all those yummy treats. But just because you are trying to be healthier (And possibly working on losing weight), doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all your favorite fall flavors.
Here are some ideas for turning your fall favorites into healthier versions:
These are both good for getting that crunch, as well as having something sweet. Slice up apples into thin slices, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and bake until they reach your desired crispness.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
You can also find quite a few recipes for pumpkin bread that doesn’t use any gluten or flour. In place of the typical flour in bread, they will use rolled oats or similar ingredients. This makes it healthier and great for your friends who are allergic to gluten.
Buy or make your own apple butter! This is a healthier alternative to regular butter or even nut butter that is usually loaded with fat.
Healthy Baking Tips
When it comes to baking during the fall season, all you need to do is make a few simple substitutions. Here are some ideas of where to start:
Use Less Buttercream or Frosting
The great thing about frosting a cake or cupcakes is that you have full control over how much is used. Instead of putting on a thick layer, especially buttercream that tends to go on thick, try to keep it as thin as possible. You can cut back on the calories and sugar quite a bit just by using a thinner layer.
Replace Butter with a Healthier Option
Many baked recipes will call for butter, but that doesn’t mean you have to use your full-fat butter! You can reduce the fat and cholesterol by instead using a heart-healthy oil like canola oil. Many recipes can also use nut butter or ground flax seeds instead.
Use High-Quality Ingredients
While not necessarily good for cutting back calories and fat, the healthier and cleaner your ingredients, the better your baked goods will be for you. For example, use vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract. When adding honey, go for local, raw honey instead of the supermarket honey, which is just filled with sugar.
Cut the Sugar
Whether you just use less sugar or a sweetener alternative, this is a really quick way to make baked goods a little healthier. Does it really need to be that sweet? Try cutting the sugar a little in some of your favorite recipes and see how it tastes.