Healthy Fall Treat Swaps
Fall is usually a season that we look forward to – between kids getting back to school and getting back into a daily routine. This year we have found ourselves searching for comfort to ease our minds. Pair this with the endless availability of holiday treats and Halloween candy and our willpower doesn’t stand a chance. Although these treats may be comforting, they ultimately provide empty calories, mood swings, and energy dips – things none of us need these days. Let’s talk about how we can watch out for tempting comfort foods that ultimately make us feel worse, healthy fall treat swaps as alternatives and other healthy habits that we can focus on instead.
What to Look Out For:
Halloween fun-size snacks: Although they are portion-controlled, the ingredient lists are scary enough!
- What they lack: NUTRIENTS – fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Look out for: artificial colors and flavors, additives, stabilizers, and added sugars.
- What to do: Ask yourself, am I hungry or do I just want this? If you are hungry, eat a more nutritious and filling snack. If you still want it, allow yourself to have it but know your limit. Keep them out of reach and site, and only eat your absolute favorites.
Pumpkin spice latte/seasonal beverage: Who doesn’t enjoy a seasonal warm pumpkin spice latte to cozy up with? Did you know that most coffee shops use pumpkin-flavored sweeteners or syrups instead of real pumpkin to achieve that delicious taste?
- Other things to consider: whipped cream adds twice the amount of calories, crunchy toppings, and the type of milk used.
- If you must – order the smallest size and make it a treat.
- Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte:
- 390 Calories, 50g of sugar and 9g of saturated fat.
- 50g of sugar is equal to 12.5 tsp of sugar!
Fall special baked goods: Pumpkin muffins, apple cider donuts, seasonal pies, maple everything may sound good but they are not the healthiest options when it comes to meals or snacks. They are often calorically dense, high in saturated fat and carbohydrates & contain tons of added sugar and refined carbohydrates. This can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, further cravings, low energy, and weight gain.
Just one apple cider donut has 190 calories and 14 grams of sugar. The question is, did it even fill you up?
Cleaner options or Dark Chocolate: These days there are a variety of ‘healthier’ snack alternatives made with higher-quality ingredients, free from artificial colors and flavors, and contain less added sugars. We recommend dark chocolate, homemade treats or “candy” snacks with a short ingredient list (5-7 natural ingredients) and less than 3-5g of added sugar per serving. Don’t forget, dark chocolate is full of fiber and antioxidants!
- Choose dark chocolate with >60% cocoa for the least added sugar and higher antioxidant content.
- Smart Sweets have <2g added sugar and >12g of fiber
- Healthier Pumpkin Recipes
Healthy fall snacks: Who said treats have to be sweet or unhealthy? Individual packages of Halloween-themed popcorn, nuts, roasted seaweed, and pretzels are all great for satisfying that craving and sharing too! The smaller sizes are also great for portion control!
Pumpkin pie spice drinks: Make your own! This gives you control over the ingredients while making it so much healthier. Need an idea? Try Ambitious Kitchen Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. We like this one because it’s made with real pumpkin which adds fiber, a customizable milk option, more than half the amount of sugar, and tons of flavor!
Homemade baked goods: Pumpkin itself is a very nutritious ingredient packed with fiber and various nutrients. With making your own baked goods you can control the size, quality of the ingredients, and amount of sugar in your treats! There are many delicious ways to incorporate the comforting taste of apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon, filling your home with a warm aroma.
While focusing on healthier treats, don’t forget to enjoy all the seasonal hearty recipes that incorporate fresh fruits and veggies. We love a delicious turkey chili with squash and various vegetable soups. The options of healthy options seem endless. We hope you are as excited as we are to incorporate these tasty and nutritious tips and tricks (no pun intended). Be sure to vary your healthy choices so it never gets boring!