How to cut calories--not flavor--this fall

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The kids are back in school, evenings are cooler and all you can think about are the fall...

The kids are back in school, evenings are cooler and all you can think about are the fall holidays. Halloween and Thanksgiving favorites such as apple pie and hot cocoa are rich in flavor, but they're also packed with calories. Want to still fit into your favorite winter sweater? Try these healthier versions of your most sought-after autumn eats.

Apple pie alternative

Whether you head to a pick-your-own apple orchard or get a deal on produce at one of the farmers' markets in Atlanta, apples are a must-have in the fall. Next time you're craving hot apple pie, bake whole apples in the oven instead. Wash and core a few apples. Trim away a little more of the insides of the apples, then stuff them with chopped pecans and raisins tossed with cinnamon. Add a pat of butter, a drizzle of water and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Without the pie crust or sugary thickeners, you can enjoy this treat for a fraction of the calories.

Halloween candy tips

If you sneak a piece of candy each time your doorbell rings, break the habit! Miniature-size candies contain fewer calories than the full size bars, but when you sneak several a day, you're not doing your waistline any favors. The week of Halloween, make your family a special treat to share, such as popcorn balls. Only allow yourself to snack on this lighter, whole grain treat during the holiday. You get the satisfaction of having sweets, without the needless calories of richer chocolate and caramel treats.

Mashed potato makeover

When it comes to holiday meals, mashed potatoes are mandatory. To still fit into your jeans the next day, use these mix-in substitutions to lower the calorie count:

  • Replace heavy cream with 2 percent milk
  • Swap cheese for seasonings such as garlic, fresh black pepper or parsley
  • Omit butter if serving the potatoes with gravy
  • Mix in steamed cauliflower puree to add vitamins

Simple stuffing switches

Is bread-based stuffing your downfall during special meals? Try swapping carb-rich cornbread or croutons for fiber-packed whole grains. Enhance cooked brown rice, quinoa or millet with your favorite stuffing seasonings. Blend sweet stuffing with dried fruits and nuts. For savory stuffing, use fresh herbs, such as sage or oregano.

Hot seasonal drinks

Autumn is the season for mugs of steaming hot cocoa topped with whipped cream, spicy apple cider sweetened with sugar and fresh brewed coffee flavored with thick syrups. Save your cash and make a special cold-weather beverage at home. Warm a cup of chocolate-flavored almond milk in lieu of cocoa. Or, whip up your own fancy dessert coffee with low-fat creamer or sugar-free peppermint sticks.

Need to learn more ways to cut calories? Talk with a doctor in Atlanta to learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes today!

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