Published on 27 Sep 2023

Fall Swaps for a Healthier Season

‘Tis the season for specialty foods and drinks! With so many enticing pumpkin and apple treats hitting the market, it’s hard not to get side-tracked from your healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, these kinds of foods pack more than just flavor—they dish out a lot of fat and calories, too. We’ve rounded up eight common offenders, along with some tips on how to make healthier choices so that you don’t feel like you have to miss out on your favorite fall fare.

Here are eight simple swaps for a healthier fall:

1. Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake

While it may be the signature drink of the season, many of the pumpkin spice drinks on the market pack a ton of fat and calories. Some even clock in over 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Don’t miss out on the full coffee shop experience. Instead, just order smart with these simple ways to lighten up your latte. Better yet, save your money and whip up a healthy fall recipe instead! Enjoy our Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte or Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake recipes. Or get your pumpkin fix with this delicious Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.

2. Hard Apple Cider

Three glasses of apple cider surrounded by fresh apples

Pumpkin beer is the adult beverage of choice for the fall season. But lately there’s been growing interest in the various hard ciders out there. While a serving of alcohol from time to time isn’t going to destroy your weight loss, it’s still best to make smart choices. The biggest difference between beer and cider is the sugar content. Because cider is made sweet by a slow fermentation of apples, the sugar content typically rises. And in the vast majority of cases, it’s going to be higher than beer.

At Nutrisystem, we recommend limiting alcohol while trying to lose weight, so consider these healthy mocktail recipes that are flavorful and alcohol-free. Our Booze-Free Appletini recipe is another delicious option that will satisfy your cravings for hard cider.

If you do choose to enjoy alcohol, opt for a light beer or one glass of dry wine, then switch to seltzer. Check out these low-calorie beers that actually taste good!

3. Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie

If you’re a lover of all things pumpkin, than pumpkin pie is likely your ideal dessert. But with over 300 calories for the average slice (made with full-fat ingredients), it’s not doing your waistline any good.

Fortunately, there are many easy and healthy fall pumpkin recipes out there for healthier versions. You can also get your pumpkin fix with something different altogether like a pumpkin muffin or slice of pumpkin bread—so long as they’re made with healthy ingredients like whole wheat flour and skim milk.

Better yet, get your pumpkin pie fix with our guilt-free Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe or this delicious Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake. Both are simple to make and even easier to eat!

4. Apple Fritters

apple fritter

Because they’re deep fried, apple fritters are one of the worst possible donut choices out there. Still, they pop up at local pumpkin patches and outdoor fall festivals everywhere. Don’t let their fruity name or the fact that they’re not frosted mislead you. The glaze that apple fritters are dunked in is primarily high fructose corn syrup.

Make your own apple fritters at home that fit into your Nutrisystem plan! Our Air Fryer Apple Fritter recipe clocks in at just 128 calories per serving.

Craving more healthy and delicious apple treats? Check out these apple recipes that are filled with fall flavor! You’ll love our easy and Healthy Apple Pie (no sugar added!) and Air Fryer Apple Chips. Or, get your apple fix with this delicious No Sugar Added Slow Cooker Apple Sauce.

5. Halloween Candy

Halloween candy

Bagged candy started showing up in grocery stores in August and now seems to be everywhere. If you buy candy for trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, fight the temptation to buy it early as you may end up snacking on it yourself.

If you really need your candy fix, avoid chocolates with caramel or nougat, which tend to contain an excess of fat. Try satisfying your sweet tooth with a piece of fresh fruit. If you must have candy, opt for the hard kinds, which deliver about 24 calories. You’ll avoid a major sugar rush!

You can also whip up some of your own healthy Halloween candy, such as these delicious 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups. Check out this article for 20 easy and healthy homemade Halloween candy recipes!

5 Healthy Halloween Swaps for Every Kind of Candy Craving

Read More

6. Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

While they’ve long been a fall favorite, caramel apples are packed with sugar and saturated fat. You may have also caught wind of a big news story that unrefrigerated caramel apples—as they are often sold at festivals or when hand-dipped and given out as Halloween treats—can pose a deadly listeria risk.

If caramel apples are your go-to fall treat, consider making them fresh at home and keep them in the refrigerator. Try our recipe for Chocolate Caramel Apples! You can also whip up another healthier idea like caramel yogurt dip for dunking fresh apple slices. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these guilt-free healthy dessert recipes under 200 calories.

7. Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate

Though hot chocolate may be the quintessential cold weather drink, it can be a sneaky fall beverage. The problem with getting hot chocolate from your favorite coffee shop is that it comes with added syrup and whipped cream. While the cocoa powder mixes you make at home with water are typically 100 calories or less, when you factor in milk, syrup and whipped cream, the calorie count can seriously climb.

Stick to water and cocoa powder for a low calorie, no-fat option. We also have lightened up recipes, such as Peppermint White Hot Chocolate (188 calories), Almond Joy Hot Chocolate (83 calories) and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (136 calories). Or, warm up while you slim down with one of these Hot Drinks for Cool Weather.

8. Comfort Foods

chicken pot pie

When fall arrives, there is a sudden switch from fresh summer salads to heavier, more filling dishes like chicken pot pie, hearty stews and chili. While the original full-fat versions of these foods can pack in a ton of calories, there are many ways to make them healthier.

Homemade chili is super easy to make a healthy meal with beans, vegetables, lean meat and plenty of zesty seasonings. Try our recipes for One-Pot Ground Beef Chili, Butternut Squash Turkey Chili and Pumpkin Chicken Chili.

Be sure to also check out our favorite fall soup recipes and get our easy tips for cooking healthy comfort food. With some simple changes you can still enjoy your favorite fall dishes and healthy fall meals for dinner or while watching the football game.

Looking to lose weight this autumn? Check out these easy ways to lose weight this fall and learn more about the Nutrisystem plan! >

*Nutritional info taken from company websites or USDA food search database on 9/14/2021.

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