Ah, fall: the leaves are colorful and falling from the trees, the air is cooler, and it is the perfect time of year to indulge in savory flavors and warm meals. But, how can you enjoy healthier fall dinners, so you don’t end up overdoing it on the calories? Well, we have come up with five tips for healthier fall dinners that anyone can follow.
Use a slow cooker
The wonderful thing about having a crock pot, or slow cooker, is the fact that you can effortlessly create hearty, filling, tasty, nutritious, and warming meals that are perfect for the fall season. Simply put all of your ingredients into the crock pot early in the day, set it to cook while you are at work and while the kids are at school, and then get home to a prepared meal that is ready to be consumed. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
The key is to find slow cooker recipes that are low in fat and calories. While you might want a really hearty recipe, if it is loaded with white pasta, butter, and meat, it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal of crafting healthier fall dinners. Instead, focus on slow cooker recipes that incorporate plenty of plant-based ingredients, such as beans, chickpeas, and various legumes that are high in protein and fiber. Of course, slow cooker recipes that incorporate a lot of vegetables are also excellent for the fall season, when your body might need some extra support to keep colds at bay. And, when you do need to incorporate a grain, opt for whole grains rather than refined white flour products.
Use plenty of vegetables
Fall is the harvest season, and fruits and vegetables are everywhere you turn. Autumn staples often include ingredients like butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but you can go so much farther than that. These veggies are fine to have, as they boast nutrition that can support your health and weight, but there are so many other delicious fall veggies that you can find at farmers markets and grocery stores this season, so why not add a little variety to the mix as you come up with healthier fall dinners?
You might be surprised by how many incredible recipes are out there involving fall vegetables, and you might even surprise yourself by coming up with a dish all on your own because these veggies are so inspiring!
What are some of the best fresh vegetables to look for in the fall, and which ones can help you make healthier fall dinners for yourself and your family? They include the following:
- Brussels sprouts
- Wild mushrooms
- Green beans
Watch out for hidden sugars
One of the ways to create healthier dinners is by carefully looking at the ingredients that you are using so you can see if there are any hidden sugars that you hadn’t noticed before.
Sure, there’s going to be quite a bit of sugar in your dessert, but did you know that sugars can also be hiding in other foods, like spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, and other commonly used ingredients? Check labels to see how much sugar is in an ingredient, and switch to those that contain less sugar so you can make healthier fall dinners.
Take advantage of all of the pumpkin
Pumpkin is everywhere throughout the fall, so why not take advantage of this ingredient to cook healthier fall dinners that are full of flavor and nutrition?
Some of the benefits associated with pumpkin include:
- It’s high in a wide range of nutrients, including vitamin A, antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin that can support health and immunity
- It’s low in calories, so it can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- It’s high in fiber
The best part is that this is such a versatile ingredient. In addition to using it in desserts, you can also make healthier fall dinners that your entire family will love. And, don’t forget to roast some pumpkin seeds too. Yum!
Curries, salads, soups, and so much more
Searching for healthy fall recipes is so easy because there are a wide range of ingredients that you can use to make everything from delicious curries and refreshing salads, to warming and nourishing soups.
All of these types of recipes are possible because of the many fall spices that make the season’s meals taste, and smell, so lovely. A few examples include nutmeg, star anise, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves.
Healthier Fall Dinners Await! Just Get Creative and Have Fun!
See? It’s pretty simple to transform what would be an unhealthy fall dinner into one that will be tasty and nutritious. So, when you want to make healthier dinners, rest assured that you will not need to break the bank when you go grocery shopping, and you certainly will not need to worry about slaving away in the kitchen for hours either. Enjoy the tastes of fall, and indulge in hearty, delicious, nutrient-dense meals that support overall health and a healthy weight.