The seemingly inevitable pattern of winter weight gain always begins in the fall season. It starts innocently enough at first with a few pieces of Halloween candy, though “festive” eating rarely ends there. With pumpkin spice flavored everything and sweet baked goods filling the air with tantalizing aromas, how can you say no to the rich and luscious cuisine of the season? Knowing the worst culprits for autumn weight gain is a good start, but it also helps to have a backup plan for some of your favorite dishes that you won’t want to resist.
We can all agree that pumpkin has gotten out of control in fall desserts, expanding well beyond pie into cheesecakes, doughnuts, custards, and ice creams. It can be tough to resist the call of these desserts, but you might think twice knowing that the average slice of pumpkin pie packs in more than 300 calories. There are some ways to cut down the calories in these desserts (try ditching the crust on your pumpkin pie for starters), so you don’t have to go completely without pumpkin this fall.
On the subject of pumpkin, it may be time to say goodbye to those pumpkin spice lattes that everyone loves so much. A 16 ounce pumpkin spice latte has even more calories than pumpkin pie with 380 along with 13 grams of fat and a staggering 49 grams of sugar. Instead, try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to hot or iced coffee sweetened with vanilla almond milk. You will cut down calories significantly and still enjoy a lovely beverage that captures the essence of the fall season.
Creamy soups and stews
Desserts and sweet treats aren’t the only calorie bombs you might encounter this season. Soups and stews, which start with a healthy foundation of seasonal veggies, can add up in calories with the addition of fatty meats, cream, and or cheese. If you want the creamy consistency of a classic baked potato soup, you can shred a potato with a box grater and cook in broth at a rolling boil for 15-20 minutes. This naturally thickens the soup base and dramatically reduces the need for the addition of cream at the end of the dish.
Staying healthy in the fall may require a little will power, but it can be done with some creativity to put a nutritious spin on some not-so-healthy fall dishes.