It’s Fall, Y’all! The leaves are beginning to hit the ground, SEC football season is kicking into high gear, and the 2021 Holiday season has arrived in a flash. We can all agree that nothing brings a group of loved ones together during the fall season like a good gathering around the table. However, you don’t have to “fall off the wagon” with your healthy lifestyle until the New Year. I am going to share some of my favorite tricks to stay balanced and mindful with your nutrition during this time of year.
Pumpkin Spice Latte [CHECK]
Let’s start with a trick for my coffee lovers. If you are like me, you absolutely cannot resist a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks with a side of warm pumpkin bread to celebrate the seasons changing. However, these treats should be kept in check, as they boast high sugar contents. Next time you pull in the drive thru, try ordering a Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte with only one pump of pumpkin spice syrup. Substitute regular milk for almond milk and skip the whipped cream. If you like it sweet, add in a pump of sugar free vanilla syrup. You’ll get all the happy fall feelings with this lightened up classic while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Your body will thank you!
Halloween Candy [CHECK]
We cannot talk all things fall without considering the first of the big holidays: Halloween. Whether you thrive off costume parties or avoid them like the plague, we can all agree that a candy-centered celebration is not always the most long term nutrition goal-friendly. When buying Halloween candy to pass out, consider buying a big bag of your least favorites. If you are a sucker for some Reese’s peanut butter cups (like I am), reach for the bag of Starbursts instead. For all my parents, do not deprive your children or yourself of having a treat. One fun-sized Kitkat is not going to wreck your body, I promise. However, you could consider keeping it out of sight and out of mind once the night is over. For example, if you find yourself reaching for the candy leftovers after dinner in the middle of November, it might be time to say farewell. Many local business offices accept leftover candy as donations. Find practical ways to allow treats in moderation, but keep in mind how the effects of one too many Fun Dips might make you feel in the long run.
Gather the Fall Produce
Fall can seem like an overwhelming time when it comes to healthy eating, but in reality, there are so many festive foods that are packed with nutrition benefits. Consider what you would see at a fall festival or a local pumpkin patch during this time of the year. Apples, corn, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are all focus ingredients in dishes of during fall. Keep this in mind when preparing a side dish to take to a gathering. There are countless recipes online for lighter versions of apple desserts, corn casseroles, pumpkin bread, and sweet potato casseroles. Try to avoid purchasing side dishes. You can have full confidence of the foods you are eating when you make them yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy complicated! Take time to sit down and find a recipe that focuses on mostly whole foods in the dish. You don’t have to skip out on events simply because it feels overwhelming. It does not have to be perfect, but it can certainly be more balanced.
The most important thing to remember during fall holiday season is to give yourself grace. The holidays should not be stressful or dreaded simply due to the idea of losing control at meal times. When you make your plate, remember to fill your plate with mostly nutritious foods that you enjoy, and leave room for your favorite treat. Everyone should have fun foods on special occasions. One holiday will not ruin your wellness goals, just like one day of clean eating and exercise will not perfect your health. Focus on making memories with those you love, listen to your hunger cues, and enjoying some fun and festive foods in moderation!
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