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Healthy ways to embrace a holiday pumpkin spice explosion

By Brooke Findley, MS, RD, LDN | November 21, 2017 | Health Conditions

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Something about the crisp fall air and the shorter days with golden sunlight that flips a switch in our minds. Suddenly, it’s all about pumpkin. There’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, it’s a pumpkin explosion.  Or maybe it’s not just pumpkin, maybe you think turkey, apple pies, and smells of maple in the air. If you’re like me, you love them all!

No matter what seasonal flavors delight your taste buds, there’s no denying many of these cozy comfort foods can pack a hefty punch when it comes to calories. And while the occasional treat is okay, indulging too often can mean extra pounds and increased risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

But don’t despair! There are many ways to enjoy the flavors of fall without feeling stuffed.

Pumpkin Spice Explosion 

Pumpkin spice is a phenomenon. It’s become a fall favorite when it comes to coffee. After one chain coffee retailer unveiled their latte with pumpkin spice, the “pumpkin spice” floodgate opened. You can find cereal, candles, and more with the artificial flavoring.  Rather than loading down your morning cup ‘o joe with extra sugar and fat, try a simple twist on home brewed coffee instead! Add a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice to the coffee grounds before brewing to infuse fall flavors into your morning joe. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, just mix a few dashes each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a small jar and sprinkle over your coffee before brewing.

Is Maple the new Pumpkin?

If you love pumpkin and maple flavors, you’re in luck – they make a great pair! Canned p, which is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber is a perfect seasonal addition when eating plain Greek yogurt. Add a drizzle of maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon, and you have a delicious snack full of fall’s best flavors!

An Apple a day

For a fall snack that’s really a treat, think apples! You can find flavorful varieties of local apples at North Carolina farmer’s markets and produce stands. Pair apple slices with almond butter and a dash of cinnamon for a treat that will keep you satisfied with plenty of protein and fiber. You can boil leftover apple skins and cinnamon sticks on the stove to produce a lovely fall scent in your home.