Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice

How to avoid the fattening foods of Fall.

Cooler temperatures mean football, falling leaves, and favorite foods. Perhaps you had an easy time sticking with your diet throughout the summer, but you know the upcoming holidays, tailgating parties, Halloween candy, and everything pumpkin will make it hard to stay on track.

This time of year isn’t without its share of diet pitfalls. Be aware of the dangers, face them head on, and implement simple but effective ways to avoid the weight gain that’s so common this time of year.

Game Day

You’ve waited for football season all year and now it’s finally here. Watching the game at home or tailgating with friends may be a couple of your favorite fall activities, but beware! When you combine sitting on the couch for hours on end with beer, soda, nachos, wings, pizza, ribs, and hotdogs, you’ve got a recipe for weight gain.

Don’t worry. You can still have fun and enjoy the game. You’ll just need to make a few game-time snack adjustments. Mindless eating is one of the top causes for overeating. One way to avoid this diet pitfall is to save your snacks for half time. You’ll also need to know that yummy food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Swap out light beer for regular beer, diet drinks or water for soda, whole grain chips with salsa or hummus for nachos, baked chicken for wings, or a veggie burger for hot dogs.

Halloween

Trick-or-treating, block parties, and costume parties have one thing in common: candy. Made of sugar and high in calories, one piece of candy won’t do much harm. But how often are you able to eat just one and quit when a bowl full of yummy sweetness is sitting there tempting you all day?

The best way to avoid the pitfall of Halloween candy is to keep it out of sight or better yet, keep it out of your home. When you’re craving a sweet treat, chew a piece of sugar-free gum, munch on a handful of dried fruit, or enjoy a bite of dark chocolate.

Seasonal Treats

What’s your favorite fall indulgence? The options are nearly limitless: pumpkin muffins for breakfast, caramel apples at the fall festival, pumpkin-spice lattes on a cool evening, apple pie for dessert, and the list goes on. While there’s nothing unhealthy about apples and pumpkins, pair them with creams, fats, and sugars and they quickly lose their low-calorie goodness. Surprisingly, one pumpkin muffin contains up to 630 calories, a 16-ounce pumpkin latte 380 calories, and a caramel apple 500 calories. At the end of the day, the treat just isn’t worth it.

Avoid the seasonal treats altogether or choose low-fat, reduced calorie options.

Fall Harvest

Like apples and pumpkins, other fall harvest foods like squash, nuts, potatoes, stews, and soups can be part of a healthy diet. It’s the way these foods are prepared that matters. Anytime you fry; smother in gravy; serve in a bed bowl, or prepare with heavy cream, butter, or cheese, these foods can become the downfall of your diet.

Continue to enjoy the best of the fall harvest by grilling, baking, or boiling your vegetables, holding off on sauces, creams, and extra cheese.