by Elexsis Robison, ETC blog contributor

Finally, it’s fall! A time for more pumpkin-flavored baked goods than you know what to do with and all the apple butter you can eat. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! I love “sweater weather,” making homemade soups, and ordering pumpkin spiced lattes from my favorite coffee shops. Basically, fall is a comfort food that lasts a whole season.

For many, fall is a happy time where you do cute crafts with you children. For others; however, it’s that time of year when your weight begins to creep up again, even though you try so hard not to give in to that cream cheese pumpkin muffin.

Here are a few of my favorite fall tips to help your health sky rocket during the autumn season!

 

Let’s start with my all-time favorite fall treat, pumpkin spiced lattes.

Coffee shops, of course, make the best pumpkin-flavored beverages, but be careful!  These delicious drinks are packed with creamers, flavored syrups, and whipped cream…a scary combination of too much saturated fat and sugar.  Skip the fancy, expensive beverages and brew your own at home!  Simply mix pumpkin pie spice into your coffee grounds before brewing (1 teaspoon per cup of coffee), a teaspoon of vanilla per cup after it’s brewed, and enjoy with a dish of milk and a sprinkle of sugar for just 50 calories!

 

Eat your fall colors.

Autumn is the season of warm, earthy colors; think deep greens, like brussels sprouts and cabbage; dark yellows, like butternut squash; and brilliant oranges, like pumpkin and carrots. One rule of thumb to always keep in mind, the more colorful the fruit, the better it is for your health and your immune system!

 

Enjoy the delicious seasonal vegetables.

There are so many fall recipes that include vegetables, such as homemade soups and casseroles. Take advantage of the autumn season and go get some veggies! In-season vegetables include fresh pumpkins, parsnips, yams, winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, apples, pears, figs, elderberries, and, even, cranberries!

 

I know, I know…we have to have baked goods, too!

Of course, baked goods are going to be in the picture during the fall season, and that’s okay! That is what substitutions are for. Instead of regular flour try almond flour. Instead of using original cream cheese use reduced fat cream cheese or Neufchatel. Remember portion sizes are everything! Absolutely you can enjoy some desserts, just enjoy them in moderation.

 

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

After a long summer of adventure, late nights outside, and so much more, take time to relax by the fire, cook a nice meal for your family, and cuddle up together with a cup of coffee😊. Family is everything and fall is the perfect time to enjoy their company.

Remember, love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle, but love your family more to give them one. At the end of the day, we are all doing our best. Don’t give up. Love yourself. And #eatthechocolate.

Elexsis is a dietetic student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a passion for nutrition. She was drawn to nutrition simply because her education has given her the ability to help people feel better though the power of food. No harmful chemicals or medicine, just healthy food. She hopes to one day be a Clinical Dietitian in a hospital, eventually becoming a Clinical Nutrition Manager. Through her blogs, Elexsis strives to educate those seeking advice on nutrition and change their lives for the better as nutrition has done for her.