As humid summer days turn into crisp fall evenings, you may find yourself craving comfort casseroles, hot beverages, and, let’s be honest: pumpkin-flavored everything. The autumnal shift doesn’t have to halt your weight loss journey. There are many ways to enjoy the flavors and beauty of fall without sacrificing your healthy habits. Enjoy these tips and recipes, courtesy of Kim Meeuwsen, registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program:
Shop local fresh produce. We’re blessed in Michigan with an abundance of local orchards, roadside farm stands and farmer’s markets. Fall crops include apples, pumpkin, sweet corn, beets, Asian pears, cabbage, plums, squash and sweet potatoes.
Backyard football. Get the whole neighborhood or family over for a healthy and friendly game of football. Who needs a field? Use the backyard or head to a local park for a grassy area. Feel free to make your own rules and don’t forget to bring helmets and cheerleaders!
Go on a color tour. Take your family on a long walk or hop on your bikes to take in the beautiful colors of falling leaves. West Michigan trails can be found here.
Indulge in the fall flavors. Try one (or all!) of these great fall recipes:
Crock-Pot Pumpkin Chili
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water (or broth, if desired)
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. pepper
1. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Brown turkey with chopped onions and drain excess grease. Place in Crock-Pot or slow cooker.
2. Add all remaining ingredients to the Crock-Pot or slow cooker and stir well to mix.
3. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Makes about 8 servings with 200 Calories, 8.5g Fiber and 18g Protein.
Microwave Apple Chips
- apples, washed and dried
- cinnamon (if desired)
1. Cut off ends of apple, core out middle and thinly slice into 1/8 inch rounds. Easily done with a mandolin slicer, but a sharp knife works as well. Use caution when slicing.
2. Line a microwave-safe plate with parchment paper.
3. Place a few slices in a single layer (may need to complete in “batches”). Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
4. Microwave 4 ½ to 5 minutes, or until apple edges start to curl.
5. Flip each slice and continue to microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until edges are crisp.
6. Remove from microwave and let cool 10 minutes, or until crispy and dry. Serve immediately.
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 cups freshly brewed coffee
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ¼ heaping cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- sweetener of choice, to taste (a pinch of Stevia or Splenda, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey/agave nectar/etc.)
1. Make coffee.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well by hand or with an electric mixer. Warm mixture for about 1 minute in the microwave.
3. Pour pumpkin mixture into mug of choice – fill about halfway. Pour brewed coffee on top of mixture and stir to combine. The remaining pumpkin mixture may be stored in refrigerator for a few days. Makes 2 servings, each providing about 30 calories when using calorie-free sweetener.
4. Top with fat-free whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice, if desired.
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas
Find the recipe from Skinnytaste.com, here.
Time seems to fly by especially during the back to school whirlwind. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the season! What kind of fall activities do you enjoy?