Autumn is upon us and one of my favorite parts of fall is cooking (and eating) the delicious fruits and vegetables that are back in season. There are endless recipes out there to help you take advantage of your favorite fall foods without worrying about the dreaded weight gain associated with the holidays. I’ve posted some of my favorite healthy recipes below to help inspire you in the kitchen this fall.
Pumpkins Aren’t Just for Carving
Pumpkins are low in calories and full of nutrients, so it’s important to take advantage of their rich taste and health benefits when they come back around each fall. Their high fiber content makes you feel fuller and their high vitamin C content helps ward off unwanted stuffy noses.
Ravioli isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think pumpkin, but this delicious recipe is a great way to indulge your Italian cuisine cravings without filling ravioli with heavy meats or cheeses. Bonus – a serving is only 162 calories.
This pumpkin and brown rice pilaf is another unique way to use pumpkin during the fall season. It uses a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs to create a healthy and flavorful side dish to one of your upcoming meals. The best part is that it only requires 20 minutes of prep time and a serving is just 115 calories.
Fall wouldn’t be complete without plenty of pumpkin-flavored sweets, but they don’t all have to be a source of guilt. This super-quick recipe for pumpkin pudding weighs in at only 95 calories a serving. It’s a simple substitute for traditional pumpkin pie and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.
Don’t Squash It ‘Til You Try It
Squash is an ideal ingredient to work with because it’s great for you and can be utilized in so many ways. Whether it’s roasted, boiled, baked or mashed it’s a perfect way to get in your vitamins without adding extra fats or carbohydrates to your meal.
Another spin on classic Italian food, this recipe simply calls for the substitution of linguini noodles with seasonal spaghetti squash. Its name comes from its stringy, noodle-like texture after cooking, making it a great pair with marinara sauce. The recipe only calls for a few basic ingredients and 10 minutes of active prep time. Settle your cravings for spaghetti with this healthy alternative.
This recipe is a great way to turn an acorn squash into an entire meal. Make use of fresh seasonal ingredients and mix them with rice and seasonings to try squash in an untraditional way.
Mashed yams are a staple of holiday meals, and this recipe uses butternut squash to add variety to a familiar side dish. Adding mashed squash to your sweet potatoes adds additional flavor and nutrients, while keeping it sweet and healthy.
It’s the perfect time of year to utilize the health benefits of apples by exploring new recipes. Their anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamin C and low-calorie content make them a perfect addition to a savory side dish or healthy dessert.
Marinades are ideal for days when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare a meal. Simply let your protein sit in the marinade overnight and it’ll be tender and flavorful when you cook it the next day. This apple cider marinade utilizes fall flavors and in a unique way.
Apple pie is my personal favorite holiday dessert, but after I found this healthier alternative, there was no going back. It’s important not to deny yourself the satisfaction of sweets, like warm gooey cinnamon apples, but there are always healthier ways to do it.
Stuffing is an important part of every Thanksgiving, and I like it so much that I make it throughout the entire year. One way to spice it up and add something new is diced apples. They compliment the celery and onion and add more nutritional value to the dish. This particular recipe is only 175 calories per serving and takes 15 minutes to prepare before baking.
Savory Simmering Soups
Making soup or stew is an easy way to eat healthy and stay warm during the cold months. Essentially, you can throw anything into a crock pot in the morning and come home to a great dinner that night. Here are some unique and tasty fall-inspired stews and soups to try out in place of your classic go-to recipes.
This smoky vegetarian chili incorporates fall flavors and plenty of spice. It only requires 25 minutes of active cook time and you can easily freeze the leftovers for another night. It’s high in potassium, calcium and fiber, and this recipe is gluten free! To make it heartier, meat eaters can easily add ground turkey or beef.
Seafood lovers will go crazy for this classic Italian stew. This warm recipe is great for entertaining and simple to prepare. Of all the animal proteins, seafood is generally the lowest in fat, sodium and calories. It is however, rich in amino acids and B vitamins.
Cabbage soup is notoriously healthy and commonly used in detox diets. This particular recipe takes it up a few notches by adding fresh cilantro, garlic and ginger. In addition, the quinoa makes it rich in protein but still very low in fat and calories.
Are you hungry yet? It’s time to try out some of these healthy seasonal recipes to help you stay cozy and fit this fall. Do you have any favorite fall recipes you make year after year? Let us in on your secrets in the comments below!