9 Healthy Snacks And Desserts For The Fall Season

Fall is officially here. The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting colder, and the smell of pumpkin latte fills your nostrils as you walk or drive by Starbucks on your way to work. As we take the sweaters and jackets back out of the closet, however, lounging around the house, eating delicious junk food, and drinking Oktoberfest craft beer becomes much more appealing. There are, however, ways to satisfy your fall cravings without completely ruining your diet and healthy summer lifestyle.

Here are 9 healthy foods you might consider as an alternative to those pumpkin flavored treats this fall:

1. Apples

Fall season is apple season! Local farms and orchards are preparing for crowds eager to come pick some fresh grown apples, sample ciders, and go for hey rides or walk through the cornfield maze. Apples are a great healthy snack for the fall because they are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Apple skins are also loaded with heart-healthy minerals that can help keep you healthy throughout the winter months. You can also bake them into delicious dishes for dessert, like apple strudels!

2. Apple Crumble

For a warm, melt-in-your-mouth sensation on those cool fall nights, apple crumble is the perfect contender. A small amount of butter, and the perfect combination of apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon all baked together makes this dessert an undeniable treat for the whole family! And you still get the benefit of having fiber and antioxidants in your diet. For an even sweeter taste, try some vanilla ice cream on top of the warm, steamy apples.

3. Pumpkin

Everybody loves a bit of pumpkin in their diet during the fall season. Pumpkins are also high in fiber, as well as potassium and Vitamin B. Aside from the usual delicacies of coffee and pie, pumpkin can be used in an assortment of foods. Pumpkin bread, for example, is always a good way to snack in the fall, but you can also use pumpkin for cake, pudding, or even add it to your pancake or waffle batter.

4. Cranberry Tart

This is another great one for after dinner family gatherings. Fruit tart dishes not only provide the same healthy vitamins and minerals you get from eating raw fruit, they also come loaded with a sweet and oven-baked fresh taste. Added delicacies like pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange juice only adds to the nutritional value and delicious taste.

5. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is delicious all by itself, but if you tend to have a sweet tooth like me, adding chocolate only makes it better! Pumpkin bread is high in fiber and potassium, and using egg whites instead of whole eggs to bake the bread also cuts out a decent amount of unwanted cholesterol from your diet. For an even healthier alternative, try using dark chocolate chips that are high in antioxidants than using milk chocolate, which tends to have a higher fat content and less nutritional value.

6. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes not only make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal, they also make great healthy snacks too! They can be baked alone, added to a casserole, or (if you are one for frying turkey) thrown in the fryer to make sweet potato chips. Baked potato wedges are also great additions to meals. Sweet potatoes are high in iron and Vitamin A, and support your body’s inflammatory response; perfect for a healthy winter lifestyle.

7. Dates

So long as no monkeys sneak into your kitchen and pour poison all over them (that’s an Indiana Jones reference!), dates make a great snack for the fall season. Dates are high in fiber and potassium and low in fat. They can be added to desserts like chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, thrown into a stew, or stuffed with any number of fillings from cream cheese to mixed nuts.

8. Pumpkin-Orange Cake

This is a great fall dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add pumpkin to a vanilla cake batter, or just purchase pre-mixed pumpkin batter. Once the cakes are baked, use low-fat cream cheese to icing the tops of both cakes, eventually layering them on top of each other. Then neatly line mandarin oranges on the top layer of icing around a center of pomegranate seeds. This one, like apple crumble, is a great dessert for those family get-togethers.

9. Tangerines

Tangerines make a great on-the-go snack for the fall and winter. These small fruits can be carried right in your pocket or purse until it’s time to peel the skin and enjoy the sweet citrus flavor! You can also use them to make delicious salad dressings or cream parfaits, and they only make fruit salads even sweeter. Like oranges, tangerines are full of Vitamin C, perfect for keeping those winter snuffles at bay as the snow begins to fall.

* Recipes for Cranberry Tart, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin-Orange Cake, and other fall dessert ideas can be found at www.health.com.