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Fall into Health Eating

Perhaps we eat more simply because bathing suit season is over, and we can start hiding excess calories beneath our winter clothes. Whatever the reason, it’s important to realize that fall foods (soups, stews, breads, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, pumpkins and all types of greens) can actually be healthier than foods of other seasons. They are typically packed with great nutrients, such as fiber, protein, beta carotene and vitamin C. Here are a few tips to keep the fall tasty and healthy:

Soups are great for you if they’re not made with cream or cheese. Just watch serving sizes–we tend to eat whatever’s in our bowls.

Stews can be hearty and fattening. Use loads of fresh vegetables, and go light on the meat and potatoes.

Avoid unconscious eating while watching football and the new fall TV lineup. Never bring the whole bag or bowl of anything to the couch or coffee table–pre-measure it in the kitchen beforehand. When it comes to chips, make sure they’re baked, not fried.

For pizza, watch the toppings–they can double the calories.

Celebrate the fall harvest in other ways besides making pies. Apples are low in calories when they’re off the tree, not in a pie.

If it’s got to be pie, try making pumpkin pie with artificial sweetener, egg whites and low-fat milk. And of course, just have one piece. Keep in mind that pumpkin seeds have about 300 calories per 1/4 cup.

Turkey is healthy, as long as you keep it lean and white.

Get out and enjoy the fall weather. The air is cooler, the leaves are turning and the countryside becomes more scenic. It’s the perfect time to go outdoors and do something: Take walks on the beach or by the lake; go to the zoo; or ride a bike.

Keep in mind that once we set the clocks back, it gets darker earlier, so there are fewer outdoor options for physical activities in the evening. Make adjustments by joining a gym, planning evening walks at the mall or becoming an early riser.

 

Taco Soup

2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

1 onion, chopped

1 package taco mix

1 package ranch dressing mix

1 large can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 can whole kernel corn (undrained)

1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 can chili beans (undrained

1 can black beans (drained and washed)

Combine, cook, and serve. This is good for a large crowd.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer.  Everyone is welcome!

 Elaine Softley, MS, Home Science Agent II, Family Nutrition and Health

Alabama Cooperative Extension System