Mashed potatoes, mac-and-cheese, pies… the list goes on and on. When the weather gets cold outside, almost instinctively our bodies start desiring comfort foods. We crave the kind of hearty foods that are high in calories to raise our internal temperature on those chilly days.
Unfortunately, while the temperature drops outside, we tend to move less, which in turn, makes us dread the inevitable weight gain that comes with the season.
In the fall we gain a bounty of colorful fruits and vegetables that can easily rival that fresh flavors of summer. There are many ways of incorporating the amazing fall produce into your dishes to make them hearty, almost comfort food-like that will help you get in shape while making you healthier and giving you more energy in the process.
Give these superfoods a try, you won’t be disappointed!
There’s more to pumpkins than pumpkin pie. It’s a superfood. Don’t get intimidated by the size of those big boys. It packs an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Extremely high in fiber and low in calories, this fruit helps you feel full longer on very little calories (each cup of pumpkin contains 5 grams of fiber and only 49 calories).
If you are not up to cutting and cleaning a whole pumpkin, the convenient canned variety is just fine. There are many recipes out there that utilize the full benefit of this ingredient and this 60 Calories Healthy Pumpkin Bar is one of our favorites!
It sounds almost like a joke for a pasta lover, but this type of squash is actually a dream for anyone trying to cut calories from their diet. They are low calorie, low carb and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as lots of fiber to help curb your appetite. One cup of Spaghetti Squash has only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbs, compared to 220 calories and 43 grams of carbs of plain enriched spaghetti.
Whether you are making an Italian or Asian dish, this type of squash offers the tenderness of pasta and a slight crunch. If may not taste exactly like pasta, but it’s so delicious that you won’t even notice!
Try this Very-Veggie Spaghetti Squash
Whenever we think about fall fruits, apples come to mind. Fall is the perfect season to enjoy them at their peak and it’s an incredible food for dieters. Whether you bake it, cook it or snack on it, it is an important fruit to have on hand when hunger strikes. A medium apple has only 80 calories and 4.4 grams of fiber.
Apples contain a large amount of pectin, a soluble fiber that works as an appetite suppressant and limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb. The polyphenols found in an apple can help regulate your blood sugar and boost your metabolism.
Try this Low Fat Apple Cake – it has only 116 calories a slice!
Pears are just as nutritious as its celebrity cousin, the apple. It has lots of fiber as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to aid in weight loss.
Its delicious mild taste makes it easy to use as a star ingredient in every meal course.
For a light dessert that doesn’t make you feel like you’re on a diet, try this Baked Pear With Walnuts and Honey
Cauliflowers are one of the most versatile vegetables out there. You can enjoy it baked for a crisp side dish, or make a low-calorie, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes without losing flavor and texture, amongst many other ways of enjoying this wonderful superfood.
You can eat lots of it without having to worry about gaining weight. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids that help stimulate fat burning thermogenesis, helping your metabolism. All these components make cauliflower one of the best foods to eat to improve your health.
We love this easy Skinny Cauliflower Wings.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. Extremely versatile, this root vegetable should be part of your diet. A medium sweet potato has only 112 calories and a good amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They have a compound that increases the levels of adiponectin, a hormone known for regulating blood sugar.
It is a complex carb and has a low glycemic index. Your body digests it at a slower pace and it helps minimize blood sugar spikes. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar can help you burn fat throughout the day.
In a recent study to see the effects sweet potatoes had on appetite, rats were given sweet potato extract. The rats who were given the extract turned out to significantly reduce their food intake throughout the day. It is believed that the extract increased their satiety and reduced their appetite.
There are many ways of introducing sweet potatoes to your diet, just make sure you don’t drown it in butter or cover it with loads of brown sugar. Albeit delicious, it won’t do you any good!
This Skinny Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato is one of our favorites!
Besides offering a good amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it is also a source of betanin and vulgaxanthin, phytonutrients known for promoting anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. The crimson color root helps the liver get rid of unwanted toxins in the body, boosting your metabolism to burn more fat.
It has only 37 calories per cup, making it a very low calorie food that has lots of fiber to keep you satiated for longer. It is super easy to incorporate it in many dishes and our favorite is this Red Velvet Mug Cake made with beets.
Clementines are such a delicious fruit that most of us can’t be satisfied with eating just one. They are juicy, delicious and cute! At 35 calories for a small one, they are an awesome option to grab and peel when you want a sweet treat that’s healthier than a donut. It contains vitamin C, calcium and potassium.
Besides curbing your cravings for a sweet treat, clementines have a high concentration of digestive fibers which ensure that your digestive system works in tip-top shape to prevent constipation.
For a healthy and light breakfast, try this Clementine Sunshine Smoothie.
Everything we eat or drink during the fall and winter months seems to have a dash of cinnamon. From baking goods to smoothies, it is everywhere!
Cinnamon is a super spice full of antioxidants that can aid in the weight loss process more than we give it credit for. For starters, it helps lower blood sugar levels, cut back sugar cravings and help burn belly fat, but that’s not all.
According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, consuming only half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day leads to a noticeable improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, besides increasing your metabolism twenty times.
The cool thing is that you can sprinkle it on everything and help your diet without even noticing. It has only 6 calories per teaspoon and it will add flavor to your coffee, tea, smoothies or over fruit. The uses for this power spice are endless!
For a cinnamony drink that will make you feel warm and cozy whithout breaking the calorie bank, try this Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte!
This ruby red fruit can seem intimidating at first, but once you try it, you are hooked for life. Its sweet and tart flavors makes the jewel-like seeds the star of any dish.
As with many of the fall bounty of fruits and vegetables, pomegranates are also superfruits. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, pomegranates have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years for treating a myriad of ailments.
This power fruit can do wonders for your body and help you lose weight. A medium pomegranate has 145 calories and 7 grams of dietary fiber. It works as a natural diuretic, helping with water retention and bloating problems. Recent studies
have shown that pomegranates blocks triglycerides, the type of fat that gets stored in your body and can increase your risk of heart disease. This indicates that the compounds in pomegranates attack the bad fats before it gets stored in your belly.
On top of all the amazing benefits of this wonder fruit, pomegranates contain all three types of polyphenols, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains vitamins C and E, which can prevent the signs of age from appearing and boost the production of collagen, giving your skin a younger appearance. What’s not to love about this fruit?
For a tasty and indulgent snack, try these Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Bites!
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