How To Avoid These Fall Food Pitfalls
Warm weather doesn’t tend to have us craving the healthiest of foods. I think we can all agree on that. When the sky looks gloomy, and everyone is hiding indoors due to the icy sidewalks, one thing we can rely on to beat the loneliness is butter. And cheese. And bread. And pasta. Heavy food seems to sit well with the heavy heart that can come with fall, knowing those sunny mimosa brunches and beach days won’t be back for a while. Most of my dark aka fall clothes have a bit of stretch in them, for that very reason. But maybe that was a mistake, since I only enable my unhealthy fall and winter eating habits. And it’s a good thing there isn’t as much natural light since I want it dark as can be when my partner and I do the deed—I put on a few pounds this time of year! But, I should really stop making excuses. Here are ways we can all avoid common fall food pitfalls.
You don’t need fat for warmth
First, let’s dispel this myth that we must put on weight during the cold months in order to stay warm. It’s the 21st century. You have a thermostat. We have insulated clothing and insulated homes. We don’t need to rely on a high BMI to stay warm. So put the cheese dip down.
Evaluate those coffee drink specials
The coffee drink specials at your favorite café are going to be problematic. They’re going to have syrup and cinnamon and whipped cream and marshmallows. If you can, avoid the seasonal favorites because they’ll have all the sugar.
Ask for half the sweetener
If you must get that pumpkin spice latte, ask for half the sweetener. The barista will be happy to adjust those levels for you. Opt out of the whipped cream. You can have a caffeinated fall treat that isn’t 500 calories.
And low or non-fat milk
You can also opt for low-fat, non-fat, or non-dairy milk in your favorite caffeinated beverage to cut calories and fat content.
Choose lean meat in stews
It’s a great time of year for hearty stews. Everybody loves to come home to a big pot on the stove with meat, veggies, and potatoes that have been marinating for hours. Opt for lean cuts of meat. Sirloin tip side, top round roast, bottom round roast, and top sirloin are some of the leaner cuts. Your butcher can pick these out for you.
Opt for broth-based soups
Soups abound, and you’ll probably find that most restaurants have a few options. Opt for the broth-based, not the cream-based. So get the minestrone, the chicken noodle, or the veggie soup. Don’t get the cream of corn or the broccoli cheddar.
Easy on the seasonal cocktails
Your favorite happy hour spot has seasonal drinks, just like the café. These will also be loaded with sugar. Your candy apple martinis and your cinnamon spiked cider. If you want something festive, have a cranberry vodka with a cinnamon stick or rum hot toddy.
If you must eat pie…
It’s pie season, but not all pies are created equally. First, some have dough layered on the top, and some don’t. You instantly cut calories and carbs by eating those that don’t. Avoid your cream pies (banana cream, custard…) and choose things like apple or rhubarb.
Or, try baked apples
You can cut the dough entirely and just make baked apples for dessert. Add cinnamon, a little honey, and raisons, and you have a delicious, healthy, high-fiber dessert.
Embrace squash pasta
It’s the time for casseroles, noodle soups, lasagnas, and all the things that involve pasta. So embrace squash for these dishes. Spaghetti squash is great in noodle soups and casseroles. Or you can cut thick pieces and layer in them in lasagna in place of noodles.
Make those potatoes roasted
Potatoes complement many fall entrees, but make roasted potatoes. Drizzle them with olive oil and your favorite seasoning and bake them. Stay away from your potato gratin or whipped potatoes with butter or baked potatoes stuffed with bacon and sour cream.
Use these oils in place of butter
A lot of your recipes will be calling for butter, and it can really add up. Instead, explore coconut oil for desserts, olive oil for savory items, and Ghee.
Use this in place of sour cream
Between the artichoke dips and creamy grits, there is a lot of reason to reach for the heavy sour cream. Instead, try using Greek yogurt, silken tofu, or soy yogurt in recipes that call for some creaminess.
Grilling is a healthy way to eat, but when it gets cold out, we don’t feel like standing at the BBQ. That’s okay. You can still grill inside so long as you have a good grill pan.
Use ground turkey in place of beef here
Many fall recipes call for ground beef like sloppy Joes, chili, lasagna, and cabbage rolls. Just use lean ground turkey instead to cut back on your red meat intake.