Saying goodbye to the lazy days of summer is never easy. The transition into fall is easier when we remember what the season means: apples, pumpkins, harvested vegetables, and our favorite comfort foods. Enjoying the traditional fall foods can put a wrench in the healthy eating habits you worked so hard to master during the summer. Halloween treats alone can unravel the discipline you adopted just a few months before. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are healthy alternatives for fall treats that don’t skimp on taste or leave you feeling deprived.
Healthy Alternatives for Fall Recipes
Make many of your favorite fall recipes healthier by substituting ingredients with choices low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Substitutions can help you reduce trans or saturated fats, sugars, and salt intake with little difference in taste.
- Replace whole milk (one cup) with fat-free or low-fat milk (one cup), plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil.
- Use 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt or one cup of low-fat, evaporated milk and 1/2 cup low-fat unsalted, plain cottage cheese instead of heavy cream (one cup).
- Need a replacement for cream cheese? Try blending four tablespoons of soft margarine (low-saturated fat recommended) with one cup of cottage cheese (low-fat, unsalted recommended).
Heart-Healthy Fall Treats
Some fall holiday desserts are not the healthiest choices. Try these more nutritious alternatives that let you still enjoy seasonal traditions.
- Apple Toffee Tartlets. Low-calorie and freezable, make these fall favorites with muffin cups. Place pie crust in cups and refrigerate to shape. Then fill them with vitamin-rich apple slices and toffee pieces.
- Baked Pumpkin Pudding. Throw your canned pumpkin into a pudding cup to enjoy without the calorie-laden crust. You’ll still enjoy that pumpkin taste and the nutrients such as potassium and Vitamin C.
- Baked Pumpkin Seeds. Baked pumpkin seeds are a great fall snack, high in vitamins and low in calories. Drizzle olive oil or canola oil over the seeds and lightly salt before baking.
- Apple Chips. Swap these in for potato chips. Toss thinly-sliced apple pieces with cinnamon, sugar, or sugar substitute, then bake.
Healthy Alternatives to Candy
Famous worldwide, candy is made with sugar, artificial flavors, and food dyes. There are healthy and delicious alternatives you can enjoy at Halloween.
- Fresh fruit. Naturally sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, fresh fruits also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Bag up strawberries or grapes in sandwich bags to pass out for trick-or-treat.
- Fruit and veggie chips. Cut fresh fruit and vegetables into thin slices, then bake. Coat with cinnamon or honey glaze. Bag in small portions and thrill trick-or-treaters.
- Honey-roasted nuts. High in fiber, high-quality protein, and beneficial plant compounds, honey-roasted nuts are packed with unsaturated fatty acids.