Pumpkin spice and everything nice for your waistline
Blustery days and colorful foliage mark the return of pumpkin spice coffee drinks and comfort foods that keep you warm. Summer has its own overeating events, but you’re probably more physically active in warmer weather than in the fall, says Kristie Finnan, RD, owner of Eat Right Bucks County in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “You’re always going to have temptations no matter where you go,” she says. “[And] people definitely eat to get warm.”
To keep things healthy, use these tips to soothe your cravings without the loaded calories.
The Craving: Anything Apple
Apple is an iconic autumn flavor, but rather than apple pie a la mode, go for a baked apple topped with cinnamon. You can serve it with ¼ cup of granola as your “crust” and whipped evaporated milk (To make, whip ½ cup evaporated milk in a large glass bowl with a hand blender until fluffy). Warm apple cider to wash it down, anyone?
The Craving: Comfort Food
Swapping salads for creamy soups? “You can definitely take fuller fat recipes and make them healthier,” Finnan says. Try cream of mushroom soup, a loaded baked sweet potato, or roasted veggie Cobb salad on cold days that call for comfort foods.
The Craving: Hot Drinks
Think about café drinks as a treat or reward, not something you buy every day, she says. Ran two miles? Treat yourself to a green tea latte, but for daily fuel, make your own at home. For a super seasonal coffee, add pumpkin spice seasoning or cinnamon to your coffee grounds, Finnan suggests. It’ll taste as flavorful as the store-made kind, but will save you calories since it won’t include sugary syrups.
The Craving: Anything Pumpkin
Sadly, pumpkin pie isn’t the healthiest way to enjoy antioxidant-rich winter squash. Try lighter takes: pumpkin quick bread, pumpkin spice smoothie, or a spiced Honduran yucca cake, which is a fun alternative to pumpkin desserts. Or, try replacing up to half the potatoes in any recipe with pumpkin, rutabaga, turnips, or any in-season squash or root veggie to add bulk and nutrients to meals.