The autumn chill makes fall a perfect time for comforting recipes with pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, and squash. Delicious inspiration is abundant in restaurant menus,  grocery store aisles, and online cooking forums. Unfortunately, we typically consume these fall foods as calorie-rich desserts and processed snacks. The good news is, a registered dietitian is here to help! There are plenty of simple, smart and healthy strategies to help you enjoy your favorite fall flavors without sabotaging your health. Here are a few suggestions:

Focus on produce. Keep recipes simple by filling them with apple slices, pureed pumpkin, chopped pears, or cubed winter squash. Plain whole apples are a delicious snack alone, but also consider using them to improve your oatmeal, or try one of the following recipes:

  1. Homemade applesauce
  2. Satisfying apple pie smoothie
  3. Baked apple chips
  4. Tasty chicken, apple, and sweet potato salad 

Maximize your use of cinnamon. This versatile spice has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects and may help regulate blood sugar, plus it is ideal for adding to coffee or tea in place of sweetener or alongside other fall flavors like maple or pumpkin. 
Bring out the winter squash. Acorn and butternut squash are another rich in fiber and important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin A and C.
Try scrambled egg whites, tomatoes, peppers, and butternut squash, then add your favorite seasonings and herbs for a nutrient-rich and low-calorie breakfast. Here are some other ideas for incorporating squash into recipes:

  1. Hearty roasted chicken and butternut squash soup
  2. Warm butternut squash soup with ginger