The cooler seasons of fall and winter are typically associated with cozy evenings with your loved ones, hot drinks like cider, and a variety of hearty comfort foods that you can’t resist consuming all year. Many of these recipes can be modified to be healthier, but when it comes to dishes served at family gatherings, local cafes, or your go-to diner, there may not be many options for moderation. While it’s common to treat yourself a little during this time, there are certain foods you should try to avoid. Unfortunately, many of the classic dishes that we love during the colder months have made their way onto our “do not eat” list, so make sure to take a look before you dig in at the next holiday feast.
Soup From The Can
The arrival of chilly temperatures often calls for a steaming bowl of soup to warm up and comfort you. While it may be convenient to grab a can off the shelf, these premade soups are loaded with harmful ingredients, including high levels of sodium, acids, and even BPA. Instead, take the time to make a large batch of soup or stew on the weekends and freeze individual portions for quick and healthy meals throughout the week.
One of the most enjoyable parts of autumn is indulging in the abundance of seasonal treats. However, many of these tempting snacks, such as pumpkin spice lattes and candy apples, can be detrimental to our health goals. Rather than completely depriving ourselves, it’s important to make smart choices about our food intake.
Take the popular pumpkin spice latte, for example. While it may be a delicious fall drink, it is typically loaded with calories, sugar, and unhealthy additives. A better alternative would be to make a homemade version with real pumpkin puree, unsweetened almond milk, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. This way, we can enjoy the flavors of the season without compromising our health.
Similarly, candy apples may be a beloved treat for both kids and adults, but they are definitely not friendly for our waistlines. Instead of drowning apples in caramel, candy, or chocolate, why not try offering them sliced and peeled with a side of warm chocolate or caramel dipping sauce? This way, we can still enjoy the sweetness of the apples without the added calories and unhealthy ingredients. It’s all about finding healthier options that still satisfy our cravings.
When Fall arrives, the temptation to indulge in all things pumpkin spice can be irresistible. From pumpkin spice lattes to whipped cream-topped frappuccinos, these seasonal drinks from certain popular coffee chains can be a delicious treat on a chilly day. However, it’s important to remember that these designer pumpkin spice beverages are often high in saturated fat, calories, and sugar.
That’s because the combination of sugar and spices in these drinks can activate the reward centers in our brains, just like addictive drugs do. This season, instead of giving in to the hype and trying every new pumpkin spice concoction, consider enjoying a simple cup of coffee with a hint of spice to satisfy your cravings without overloading on unhealthy ingredients. Save the overload for sharing on social media and prioritize your health this fall.
Even though fall means football season, it also brings with it the temptation to overindulge in baked goods. While it may be tempting to spend your weekends in the kitchen whipping up sugary treats, it’s important to be mindful of the excess calories, fat, and sugar that these goodies often contain.
Instead, try finding healthier ways to enjoy the baking season. Experiment with using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, incorporate whole wheat flour, and add in nutritious ingredients like nuts, oats, and fruits. You can also try reducing the amount of sugar and fat in your recipes for a lighter alternative.
By making these small changes, you can still enjoy delicious baked goods without feeling guilty about indulging. So put on your apron and get creative in the kitchen this fall, all while staying mindful of your health and well-being.
Apples, Potatoes & Green Beans
You may be surprised to find apples, potatoes, and beans on our list, considering they are typically considered healthy. After all, fresh fruits and vegetables, including crisp apples, are often recommended for a healthy diet. However, many of these produce items have been found to contain high levels of harmful pesticides. As a result, it is important to be cautious when consuming these foods. Opting for organic options or peeling the skin before eating can help decrease exposure to these potentially harmful substances.
Candy corn has long been a popular Halloween treat, but its nutritional value (or lack thereof) may come as no surprise. This festive candy is primarily made up of pure sugar, which is not considered healthy for anyone. The main ingredients in candy corn include corn syrup or honey, and food coloring is often added to give it its signature appearance. Despite being fat-free, candy corn is still a major source of added sugar, with 28 grams of sugar in each serving. This can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and contribute to health issues such as obesity and diabetes.
Granola, Protein & Snack Bars
Eliminating unhealthy junk food items like chips and soda from your diet is an excellent method for improving your overall health and achieving weight loss. However, when looking for replacements, it’s important to be cautious of supposedly healthy options such as granola bars, protein bars, and snack bars. These items may seem like nutritious choices, but upon closer examination, they often contain high amounts of added sugars and calories, sometimes even more than a standard candy bar. Therefore, before stocking up on a stack of “healthy” snacks for your desk or on-the-go, make sure to carefully read through the ingredient list.
Chicken Pot Pie & Beef Pot Pie
Pot pies are a popular choice for cold-weather comfort food in the United States. However, they are not the healthiest option. Store-bought pot pies often contain chicken or beef that is full of hormones. They also tend to have overcooked vegetables and heavy cream, which can be high in calories. To top it off, the filling is usually packed into a puff pastry and topped with a hefty amount of butter. While this may sound delicious, it’s best to avoid such calorie-dense ingredients and opt for a healthier alternative. Your heart will thank you for making this smart choice.
As the temperature drops and football season kicks off, many of us look forward to indulging in finger-licking snacks while watching the big game. Buffalo wings and chicken wings are popular choices, but they are also one of the unhealthiest foods you can feast on this season. These wings are typically drenched in high-fat sauce and fried before being coated in egg batter. However, you don’t have to give up chicken altogether on game day. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives, such as baking or grilling your wings and using lighter seasonings. This will help cut down on unnecessary calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. So, forget the deep fryer and make a healthier choice for your next game-day snack.
As the temperature drops, many people turn to yogurt as a nutritious breakfast or snack option. While it is often praised for its high calcium and beneficial bacteria content, flavored yogurts are often loaded with added sugars. To combat this, consider swapping out flavored yogurts for plain ones and topping it with fresh fruit for a healthier on-the-go meal. Not only will this provide the same nutrients, but it will also help regulate digestive enzymes.
Enjoy Cold Weather Comfort Food In Moderation
Summer may be coming to an end, but it’s time to embrace the colder weather and all the delicious foods that come with it. As the leaves change and the temperature drops, now is the perfect time to gather around the table with your loved ones and enjoy hearty and comforting meals made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. However, it’s important to be aware of the foods that may not be the best choice for optimal health during the colder months.