The Health Nut Blog

5 Tips to Enjoy Autumn Without Added Pounds

by Robin Hebard, RD, CSOWM | Nov 16, 2018
Fall Trees and Trail

Fall is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited! Fall brings so many wonderful things, such as the cool, crisp air, the changing colors of the leaves, back to school activities, football games, and Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, with this beautiful season also comes the temptations of warm comfort foods and layers of clothing that hide our potentially expanding waist lines.

How can we enjoy this season while still staying on track? Here are five tips to help keep you motivated and on track throughout this challenging time!

  1. Avoid Game-Day Grub: Hot dogs, chicken wings, pizza, chips and dip, beer/wine, etc. Game-day “grub” is full of extra calories, specifically starches and unhealthy fats. If you’re going to someone’s home, always try to bring something you know you can eat, so you aren’t left to choose among the unhealthy options. If you plan to attend a sporting event, try to eat before you go and pack a protein-rich snack so you aren’t starving while watching others indulge in the concessions.
  2. Get Outside and Enjoy the Weather : If you enjoy the cooler weather, now is the time to go out for an evening walk or bike ride. Michigan offers a wide range of beautiful trails and gardens to explore that look lovely during the fall. By increasing the calories you burn, you are more likely to keep your weight in check and fuel weight loss during this busy season. Plus, fresh air is good for everyone!
  3. Find Recipe Substitutions: Comfort foods will be different for everyone; however, majority of people associate creamy, high fat, and high starch items as their “comfort” foods (macaroni & cheese, chili, soups, pasta, mashed potatoes, etc.). There are recipe substitutions all over the internet to help you reduce those calories and find a good replacement, such as mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or using skim milk or plain 0% fat Greek yogurt for your cream based soups rather than heavy whipping cream. Try not to change too many items in the recipe at once, but start to experiment! If you need ideas, just let us know. Also, watch out for warm beverages! When focusing on weight loss, we recommend that you avoid drinking your calories. Just think, based off the Starbucks website, a tall decaf skim Pumpkin Spice Latte still has 260 calories and 39 grams of sugar! Just because the caffeine and fat are removed, doesn’t mean the drink became a good option. Those empty calories from sugar will fight every pound of weight you want to lose. If you can’t resist warm fall beverages, consider decaffeinated tea or coffee and try a sugar alternative to sweeten it instead.
  4. Start a New Hobby: As the weather cools and we spend more time inside, be careful not to develop too much idle time. Idle time creates idle fingers that generally want to find food to munch on. Find an activity you like to do, or start a new hobby such as reading, crocheting, knitting, puzzles, exercising, meditation, etc. to avoid munching throughout the evening.
  5. Meal Prep on the Weekend: It can be difficult to muster the energy to cook a healthy meal every night for the family if you are working all day, must run errands, or have extracurricular activities for the kids. By the time you get home, you are TIRED. By meal prepping on the weekends, you can cut down the daily burden of cooking a healthy meal by quite a bit! By marinating your protein or cutting up the necessary fruits and veggies on Sunday, whipping up a healthy week night meal can be done quickly. I highly recommend considering crock-pot or instant-pot meals to help reduce your efforts as well. To make meal prep easier on the weekend, get the whole family involved and give each member a task to complete. Kids can be great helpers in the kitchen!