As autumn chills the air and the leaves start to fall, the scents of cinnamon, pumpkin, and squash fill your home. You’re trying to stick to your diet. After all, you worked hard to get in great shape for the summer months, and you don’t want to let go of that. But comfort food is calling and it’s hard to resist those familiar aromas. As sweater weather approaches, you may even wonder if you can simply hide away a few extra pounds under bulkier clothes. Keeping yourself healthy, however, means not overindulging, even when it seems as though your favorite baked goods are jumping off the shelves at you.
Looking for tips for sticking to your diet as winter approaches? Try some of these ideas.
1. Make the most of great fall foods.
Apples, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, garlic, pears, cauliflower, squash, and more: all of these fall crops are excellent treats that can come fresh from your garden or local farmer’s market during the fall months. When you indulge in local produce, you’ll help yourself avoid cravings for other foods, keeping your body full and well-nourished when you need it most.
Just like in the summer when there’s fresh produce around every corner, in the fall there are plenty of delicious choices that will help you eat well, even if you’re on a diet. Making use of seasonal produce will help keep your diet fresh and interesting while simultaneously providing you with a variety of nutrients.
2. Use those spices.
Many popular fall spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and even vanilla, have some excellent weight-loss properties. Adequately flavoring your food can also help you avoid cravings for other less-healthy treats. Make the most of those fall-favorite spices to watch the pounds continue to melt off, even at this difficult time of year for weight loss.
3. Increase your vitamin D intake.
As you hit the shorter days of fall and winter, you’ll probably have less exposure to the sun. For many people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) kicks in as the days get shorter. Increased levels of vitamin D can help combat SAD while simultaneously boosting your weight loss efforts.
Foods high in vitamin D include fish, mushrooms, tofu, dairy, pork, and eggs. By making these a regular part of your diet, you’ll discover that it’s much easier to keep your mood up, improve your weight loss efforts, and even boost your immune system—an important consideration as cold and flu season swings around.
4. Check out vegetable-rich soups and stews.
The fall months are the perfect time for curling up with a warm bowl of soup. While cream or potato-based soups and stews can be hard on the waistline, broth-based soups that are filled with fresh vegetables are a great way to get in those servings of vegetables you need every day. Some favorite recipes include:
- Leftover Ham and Bean Soup
- Tuscan Bean Soup
- Egg Drop Soup
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Turkey Tortilla Soup
- Vegan Carrot Soup
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup
- Cajun Corn Chowder
When possible, substitute fresh ingredients for canned. Use lower-fat dairy products or look for substitutions in soups and stews that use them. You’ll discover that this is a great way to cut the calories while still retaining all the great flavor of your dishes.
5. Check those desserts.
Does your sweet tooth get out of control in the fall months? You’re certainly not the only one! There are many people who struggle to avoid sweets during the fall and winter, especially when holiday treat tables are stacked with their favorite desserts. Maintaining portion control will allow you to munch on your favorites while still keeping your diet on track. On the other hand, slashing some of the calories by seeking out healthier versions of your favorite desserts can help reduce your intake even further.
Chocolate Covered Katie provides a range of recipes that make your favorite treats healthier and better for your body. From deep-dish cookie pie made from chickpeas to black bean brownies or chocolate cake made with cauliflower, there’s something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Even better, these recipes have a great flavor that won’t leave you feeling deprived.
Look for skinny cookie recipes that provide you with protein (to help keep you full) and other healthy ingredients (to fuel your body) instead of your usual high-calorie, high-fat standbys. Cookies might be a favorite fall treat, but that doesn’t mean you have to destroy your diet for them!
Revise your favorite dessert recipes to make them lower-calorie and to slash the fat. Healthy pumpkin pie, for example, is every bit as delicious as the real thing, but won’t have you piling on the calories with every bite.
Check out unique diet-friendly treats like banana bread brownies, healthy cookie dough, and more. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy these healthier treats—and by how much better you feel when you eat them instead of their higher-calorie alternatives.
The arrival of fall doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your diet. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout this season, you’ll discover that next year, you don’t have to make drastic changes in order to get your body ready for the summer—and even better, you’ll feel great all year long. You don’t have to give up your favorite comfort foods; instead, find new ways to add healthy foods to your diet and watch your body thrive under the new routine. Want to learn more about healthy diet and exercise habits for the fall? Contact us today.