Although Labor Day weekend isn't technically the end of summer, it often feels like the fall season appears only days later. Summertime is synonymous with parties, al fresco happy hours, and other social events, making fall the perfect time to recommit to a healthy routine.
Try utilizing this season as a way to reset after summer, or to experiment with new flavors to add to your healthy routine. From homemade soups and chilis, to including pumpkin and squash into your weekly routine, this season is the perfect time to fall back into a healthy lifestyle.
Follow along for my favorite ways to get the most out of autumnal eats.
Milou & OlinThink Beyond the #PSL
Whether you are a pumpkin spice devotee or can't stand the idea of pumpkin mania this time of year, I often encourage clients to think beyond the sweet side of pumpkin. This fiber-rich vegetable can be used in many savory dishes to increase nutrient content, including beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. Plain, unsweetened pumpkin can be stirred into pasta dishes for a thicker sauce, used in hummus as a veggie dip, or sliced and roasted as an easy side dish.
Choose More Plant-Based Protein
Cooler weather pairs well with cozier meals. Grilling season may be ending, but fall favorites like soup, chili and stews are on the menu and make for easy vegetarian options. To take advantage of the cooler temps, try to incorporate at least two vegetarian meals each week. Not only does opting for plant-based protein often result in healthier choices, but forgoing meat also means decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to those from meat-based meals.
Look for easy recipes like slow cooker vegetarian chilis and bean-based soups, or try using black beans in place of beef for recipes like stuffed peppers or tacos. However you choose, incorporating more plants results in leaner protein choices, extra fiber, and a more environmentally friendly meal.
Brumley & WellsEnjoy a Healthier Treat
Who doesn't love the comfort of autumn dishes like pecan pie, caramel apples, or cider doughnuts? However, instead of overindulging all season long, try working those classic fall flavors into lighter dishes. Pecans boast plenty of plant-based protein, along with heart-healthy fats. Toss them into salads for extra crunch or try using them in oatmeal with a swirl of maple syrup for a pecan pie-inspired breakfast.
Baking apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon brings out their natural sweetness and can be paired with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a fall parfait. Or, try this recipe for a healthier, RD-approved caramel dip. Get creative by experimenting with new dishes and save those truly indulgent treats for a few special occasions throughout the season.
Style Me Pretty Contributor - Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and writer from Chicago. She works in private practice, helping both pediatric and adult clients find healthy lifestyles. Follow her for nutrition tips @amandalemein_rd.