As the weather gets cooler and the holidays are upon us, fitness expert Angie Stewart Goka says this is the perfect time to break out those favorite family recipes and exercise routines—only this time, give them a makeover! It is possible to enjoy the flavors of fall while curbing calories without expanding waistlines. Whether its pumpkin-themed treats, hearty stews, rich casseroles, delectable delights or flavorful beverages, here are some top calorie-saving recipe tips that will celebrate the unique flavors and tastes you love.
Simple Swaps for More Nutrients
Even though grandma’s ingredients are tried and true, you can swap out some of them with lower calorie, flavorful substitutions without compromising the dish that you know and love. For example:
Put a twist on your next pasta dish by swapping out the pasta altogether for “zoodles” (zucchini noodles made with a spiralizer). Get creative and add sautéed leeks and toasted pecans and top it off with a little pesto sauce.
Substitute half of your mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. No one will know the difference in taste and you will increase the nutrient profile.
Jazz up stuffing by swapping out bread for quinoa or other whole grain options toincrease the protein and nutrients. Also add flavor by incorporating seasonal favorites such as cranberries and walnuts
Fit Tip: Sneak in some exercise! Park your car a little further away from the store entrance next time and when prepping your meal, keep your ingredients a little out of reach so you have to take those extra steps every time.
Sip on Your Favorite Drinks
Calories in drinks can add up quickly. Be conscious of what goes in your cup, not just what goes on your plate. For example, consider making your own pumpkin spice latte at home. Try the fast, easy and deliciously dairy-free recipe, below. You can add coconut to your drinks as well.
Here are some other ideas:
Opt for portion controlled beverages such as the Coca-Cola mini can (90 calories).
Enjoy fresh cranberry juice, seltzer water and a lime.
Sip hot apple cider or tea.
Drink 16 ounces of water when you wake, at lunch, before dinner and after dinner to stay hydrated.
Make This Holiday Season a Sweet One
No holiday celebration is complete without gathering around the table for dessert! Remember to use lower calorie versions of ingredients and you can indulge without worrying about the bulge as long as you have them in moderation and control your portions.
Homemade brownies: swap out 1 cup of flour with a 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and pureed to phase out the gluten and amp-up the protein.
Delicious breads or cakes: substitute the ½ – 1 cup of oil with 1 ripe, mashed banana.
Pies: save half the calories by substituting crushed cookies with graham crackers and look for fresh fruits and produce as pie filling options.
Fit Tip: Squeeze in 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees and 10 sit ups throughout the day from prep to end. Take 10 and Keep moving!
PUMPKIN SPICE CREAMER
2 cups vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add pumpkin mixture to your coffee and store the rest in a mason jar, seal and refrigerate for later use.
LAURA NIX GERSON is the CEO of Nix|Gerson Media and the Founder of MomAngeles a site she launched because she was planning a lot of playdates and her friends kept asking her where to go and what to do. So it seemed easier just to put it all online in one place. In a past life Laura was a publicist, event marketer and web producer….oh wait, she still is. Laura has contributed to Modern Mom, CBS Local and Babble. Her greatest joy is story telling, sharing local finds and connecting people. Follow her @MomAngeles.