People often talk about “holiday weight gain,” but have you heard of “fall weight gain?” Long before we even take our first bite of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or eat our first gingerbread man in December, many of us have already started consuming more calories. Studies show that most adults consume almost 200 more calories per day in the fall.
As the days get colder and shorter, we also tend to spend less time outside and more time inside, watching TV and snacking more. The increase in calories and decreased activity tend to result in weight gain, so here are five diet hacks that can help you prevent the extra pounds!
1. Manage portion sizes.
It is easy to eat whatever is in front of us. Therefore, opt for smaller portions at meals and gatherings. Include some fun, seasonal foods because it’s all about moderation - but try to avoid snacking while watching TV, overindulging in sweets, or overeating at mealtime. Put snacks into a bowl or plate so that you can determine and control the portion size. Focus on eating more slowly and allow your body time to feel full before reaching for seconds.
2. Choose soups made with broths over creams and cheeses.
Fall is soup season, and there are so many delicious options!! Many rich and tasty soups contain high levels of fat, salt, and carbohydrates, making them less than ideal for your heart health.
Diets with high cholesterol, high sodium, and saturated and/or trans fats put your heart at risk for serious health conditions, like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure to name a few. When choosing recipes, opt for broth-based ones instead of cream or cheese-based to limit the calories. Opting for a low-sodium broth significantly lowers caloric and cholesterol levels, making it more heart-healthy.
3. Add lean meats and more veggies to your stews.
Meat and veggie stews are another fall staple. When adding meat, choose lean white meats (turkey or chicken) and go heavy on the vegetables. Lean meats like chicken and turkey are lower in fat than most red meats. Adding black beans and lentils can lower your total blood cholesterol because they are high in fiber. Nutrient-rich vegetables are a cornerstone of a heart-healthy diet.
Bonus: Choose veggies that improve heart health and are in season- like leeks, garlic, tomatoes, and onions. All of these contain antioxidants that protect your cells and blood vessels from damage.
4. Bring healthier dishes to gatherings.
Potlucks and football tailgate parties are big fall activities for many people, but the majority of that food tends to be unhealthy and fattening. When you are invited somewhere, bring a healthier dish to add to the mix.
Here’s are two quick recipes to try:
Pumpkin Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/2 – 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
Mix together and enjoy with fresh fruit.
Apple Pie Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 3 tablespoons of ground almond butter
Mix everything together. Slice up an apple for dipping!
5. Eat in moderation – and indulge every now and then!
You can’t think about fall without thinking about pumpkin pies and apple pies! However, most prepared pies are high in sugar and carbs. Opt for healthier ways to consume fresh fall produce like butternut squash, pumpkin, beets, apples and more so you can reap the benefits and still enjoy the flavor without the extra calories. Decide which foods are delicious and which are not worth the indulgence. The point is not to deprive yourself! After all, life is about celebrating and enjoying food with our loved ones!
By focusing on eating mostly whole foods, portion sizes, and moderation, you’ll be able to maintain the amazing progress you’ve made throughout the year and still enjoy the fall season!
About this Author: Brittinie Wick is an Air Force Veteran turned Health and Fitness Coach who founded Brittinie Wick Fitness. Her mission is to empower all women, through fitness and nutrition, to gain confidence, lose weight, and celebrate the feeling of strong and sexy. Grab Brittinie’s “Healthy at Every Age” guide! This ebook is aimed at people just like you, who want to live their BEST, MOST ACTIVE life, starting TODAY and continuing deep into the future!