Healthy Twists on Fall Favorites

As the temp falls, don't let the numbers on the scale rise...

The end of summer brings a lot of sadness. We reluctantly say goodbye to barbecues, beach days, and endless sunshine…but then we remember fall food. Yes, summer may have an edge in many ways, but nothing can beat the comforting, rich flavors of autumn Bring on the foliage, we’re ready to eat!

Some favorites of the season may not fit your healthy eating plan, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip them altogether. There’s always a way to modify foods that may seem off limits—it’s all about balance! Here are some tips to healthify classic fall treats:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

It can seem too convenient (and tasty) to resist, but a grande Starbucks pumpkin spice latte can pack a 380-calorie punch. Luckily, it’s easy to make a lighter, equally delicious PSL at home. Just plop a few spoonfuls of pumpkin purée and a bit of your milk of choice to a saucepan and heat over medium-low. Add in some Stevia, brown sugar, or a splash of maple syrup, and then go crazy with spices—pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, whatever tastes good to you! Once combined, blend this mixture until frothy, then add it to a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

These delicious fall treats use freshly pressed cider to make spicy-sweet doughnuts with a hint of apple. To get the same flavors without the sugar and fat, slice up an apple into rings, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and add a drizzle of maple syrup, then bake until soft. Voila: Baked apple “doughnuts!” If only the real deal will do, look for a baked recipe (There are tons online! Here’s a great one.), or share one with a friend.

Mashed Potatoes

I don’t know about you, but my dream house would come with a swimming pool full of mashed potatoes. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to make this comfort food healthier without compromising taste. Use roast garlic to add a rich flavor that replaces butter or heavy cream, or sub in Greek yogurt or vegetable broth in place of the high-calorie dairy ingredients. You could also use half potatoes, half cauliflower for a nutrient-packed, silky-textured version. And leave the skin on! You’ll get tons of extra fiber that way.

Mulled Spiced Wine

The standard recipe for this soothing sipper comes with a boatload of sugar: there’s the wine, added sweetener, and often juice or other alcohol. If it’s the wine you’re craving, get your fix with a heart-healthy 5-ounce glass of red. If it’s the experience of sipping something warm and comforting, brew up a cup of spiced tea and serve with a cinnamon stick and a squeeze of honey. Snuggle up in your favorite chair and enjoy.

Crisps and Cobblers

Whether it’s apples or pears, crisps or cobbler, the combination of hot, spiced fruit bubbling under a crispy, crumbly crust, topped with vanilla ice cream, is unbeatable. Recreate that magic by baking spice-dusted apples or pears until soft and adding them to a bowl of thick, slow-cooked oatmeal. Add a splash of your favorite milk, sprinkle with cinnamon, and drizzle with maple syrup if you wish.

Make it WayBetter

No matter which treat you make, set aside dedicated time to enjoy it distraction-free. Savor the tastes—and the moment—before diving back into your busy life.