Fitness Flash: Sensible Seasonal Swaps

As the heat of summer gives way to the cool, crisp days and evenings of fall, we turn to the comforting foods and drinks of the season. For example, there are so many apple and pumpkin-spice concoctions from which to choose.

Hot apple cider, warm pies and cobbler bring to mind thoughts of apple picking and sitting around a campfire with family and friends. An almost endless supply of pumpkin-spice coffees, teas, lattes, pies, cakes and cookies confirms that autumn is here and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

As we approach the holiday season, maintaining — or even losing — weight is possible. But it takes some planning, support, information and motivation on your part to successfully survive the festivities. Here are a few tips:

Track it — Calories are the most important thing when it comes to how much you weigh. Diligently track your caloric intake and make sure you exercise as many days as possible.

A little goes a long way — Always choose the smallest portions of your favorites so as not to overindulge, yet still satisfy your cravings. Also try to avoid added fats in the form of sauces, gravies, dips, dressings, cream, whipped cream, ice cream and other high-fat trimmings.

Make sensible swaps — Unfortunately, many of our favorite seasonal recipes can be unhealthy. Most, if not all, baked goods are laden with fat, carbs and extra calories, which can ultimately lead to weight gain. Even beverages can pack a lot of unnecessary calories. Try some of the seasonal recipe swaps below — and you can still enjoy some seasonal treats, while limiting seasonal weight gain.

Try These Swaps

  • Instead of one Dunkin Donuts pumpkin cake donut (360 calories), substitute one Crispy Crème glazed donut (190 calories) and a Starbucks coffee with one pump pumpkin-spice syrup (33 calories) for a total of 223 calories (a savings of 137 calories).
  • In place of three fun-size Snickers (240 calories), choose two Godiva 72 percent dark chocolate squares (120 calories) and save 120 calories and 19.5 grams of sugar.
  • Instead of a 16-ounce Starbucks pumpkin-spice latte (380 calories), substitute a 16-ounce Starbucks skinny pumpkin-spice latte (270 calories) and save 110 calories.
  • In place of a Merb’s bionic apple (300 calories), choose one medium baked apple with cinnamon (110 calories) and save 190 calories.

About the Author

Nancy Trail, RD, LD, MEd, BJC WellAware Center dietitian

"To manage health and weight with a 'real world' approach by incorporating better food choices, portion control, physical activity and long-term healthier lifestyle behaviors and attitudes!"