Thursday, October 18, 2012

Falling in Love with Fall

Fall is in full swing here in Colorado. Bright leaves, football games, pumpkin everything and crisp cool morning air. I love everything about fall. The mild weather has been prefect for my long runs outside and I have enjoyed taking advantage of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. Truly one of my favs. Fall means, foot ball games and parties and pulling out my favorite scarves and boots that have been locked away for months. These things bring a warm happiness to my heart and soul. I love it. 
However, with fall comes lots of baked treats, greasy game day food, holiday binges, and a more sedintary lifestyle. I want to enjoy everything this wonderful season has to offer. But I dont think one of those things should be adding my own layer of a winter hibernation coat to my body. It can be challenging but trust me- it is possible to enjoy this season while staying healthy.  I want to give you some helpful tips to staying on track with diet and exercise. As well as, give you some healthier fall recipes that will be sure to satisfy your craving for pumpkin and will make you feel like your cheering on the home as much as the next guy!

Remember This...

When Baking
 You dont have to use the full sugar amount or sugar at all, actually. Substituting white sugar with a healthier, natural sweatener like, agave, will cut calories as well as make the recipe “clean.” This natual sweatener is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, therefore you can use less when baking. Another alternative is an all natural, zero calorie sweetener, like steavia. 
-There are also great substitutes for butter and oil. Almost any fruit puree (mashed bananas, apple sauce, etc.) will work great in place of butter- saving you hundreds of cals. 

When at the Football Party
Stay away from or limit your intake of dips and sauces. Queso dip is a very popular game time appetizer but can pack as many as 360 calories for 14 chips with queso. 
-Instead, opt for the veggie tray with hummus or stick to the chips with salsa which is closer to 180 calories for 14 chips with salsa. 

 When Exercising
Keep it interesting and be adventurous. Just because it is getting colder doesn’t mean you can’t be active outside. Bundle up in running tights, mittens and your head band and your ready to hit the trails with an easy 3 mile run in the crisp fall morning air. 
-Grab a friend and walk around a pumpkin patch for an relaxed Sunday afternoon activity. 

Healthy Fall Recipes 
Pumpkins Turkey Chili 
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 can black beans
2 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
few drops hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
In a medium slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the cooked beef and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
I made this last night and it was incredible. I put avocados and a spoonful of plain greek yogurt on top! YUM!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes 
I got this recipe from the amazing site: Skinny taste! 
12 reduced fat vanilla wafers
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup pumpkin pie filling
Heat oven to 350°
Line cupcake tin with liners. Place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner.
Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in fat-free yogurt, egg whites and flour. Do not over beat. Pour into cupcake liners filling half way.
Top each with 1 tbsp of the pumpkin butter. Using a toothpick, swirl the pumpkin butter into the cream cheese mixture for a marbling effect.
Bake 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke 
13.75 oz artichokes packed in water and drained
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
4 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
salt and fresh pepper to taste
olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 375°.
In a small food processor, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with the garlic and shallots.
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away.
Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. Makes about 3 3/4 cups

Enjoy everything this season has to offer. Bake treats, crunch the falling leaves under your feet, wear your favorite scarf and cheer on your team. I hope these tips and recipes give you ideas on how to love everything about fall while staying motivated and on track. 
Cheering for my home team all season! Just missin' Tebow a bit ;)

What's your favorite way to enjoy this season? 
Share your favorite fall recipe with us! 

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