Eat This, Not That – Fall Foods
Written By: Emma Squillace
Fall is the time of year when many of us start craving warm comfort foods. Seasonal drinks, Halloween candy, and filling meals can put a dent in anyone’s diet. You can enjoy the treats of fall without ruining your diet, if you know what to eat and what to avoid. An extra 150 calories each day can add up to 15 pounds gained over the course of a year – so every choice counts for you and your family! Here are 5 favorite fall foods, and our suggestions for transforming them into healthier, more weight loss-friendly choices.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
The famous fall drink, a pumpkin spice latte, is warm, comforting, and perfectly seasonal. But you can enjoy those same feelings without hampering your weight loss efforts. A 16-ounce pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream has about 380 calories.
You can have the fall drinks you love by making a few modifications. Try cutting your calories by more than 50% by choosing a 12-ounce size made with non-fat milk and no whipped cream. Ask for a little less of the sweet syrup also. If you ask for two pumps of pumpkin spice syrup instead of the usual three pumps in a 12-ounce size at Starbucks, you’ll keep the flavor but cut even more calories.
A typical apple coated with caramel can run about 300 calories. The thick layer of caramel gives these treats more calories than some regular sized candy bars. For the same type of treat but half the calories, slice up an apple and drizzle 1 tablespooon of caramel sauce over the slices. You can sprinkle them with cinnamon first for an even more festive fall flavor. This can be a kid-friendly snack or dessert too. At about 50 calories calories for the caramel sauce, and 95 calories for a medium apple, your version of this treat can cut half the calories from a store-bought caramel apple.
Creamy onion dip
Fall is football season which includes some notoriously unhealthy foods. Whether you’re tailgating or watching a game on TV, you don’t want the snack foods to get in the way of weight loss. Some people make a healthy food choice by sticking to veggies with dip. The vegetables are a great diet option – but be careful with the dip. Often those popular French onion dips are made with a sour cream base, where the calories add up fast. Make your own dip by mixing a packet of onion soup mix into plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream. You can cut the calories by 70%, and triple your protein!
6 ounces of regular sour cream: 360 calories and 6 grams of protein.
6 ounces of non-fat plain greek yogurt: 100 calories and a bonus of 18 grams of protein.
Making chili on the stove or in the slow cooker is a great way to have a warm, satisfying fall dinner. Another benefit of chili is it can even get better over the next few days, because the flavors blend more – so you can look forward to easy, delicious left overs. To make chili more of a diet-friendly food, bulk it up with vegetables. Keep your favorite chili recipe, but add about 4 cups of chopped veggies. Bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and carrots can be good choices. Sauté the chopped vegetables for 3-5 minutes before adding them to the chili. Add them early in the cooking process if you like them soft, or add them nearer the end if you want them to keep some crunch. Not only will the vegetables reduce the calories of each serving, but they’ll give you fiber and help you feel full for longer. This can be a great way to “sneak” some extra vegetables into your kids’ diets as well.
Soups can be a good choice of food for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, and autumn is a great season for a big bowl of hot soup. Be careful with any cream-based soups though. They may be giving you more calories than a whole sandwich with potato chips. For example, New England clam chowder at Panera has 630 calories in a bowl. Add a bread bowl to that and you’ll be over 1100 calories! Broth-based soups are lower calorie choices. The same size bowl of chicken noodle soup at Panera has only 220 calories – a reduction of over 400 calories from choosing the creamy soup. For even more control over the calories and salt in soups, buy a container of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock, and make your own at home. This can be an excellent way to use up left over chicken or vegetables.
You can enjoy the flavors of fall without sacrificing the weight loss you’ve been working hard for. Taking your favorite foods and drinks, and finding healthier ways to make them, can pay off. If you can keep your calorie counts low and nutritional value high throughout the month, even enjoying a few pieces of candy on Halloween won’t ruin your hard work.
At West Medical our weight-loss specialists are here to help answer any questions you may have about weight loss or weight loss surgery. Call West Medical at (855) 690-0565 today.