When the temperature starts to go down, many people turn to rich fall foods such as those served for football games, hayrides, and fireside meals.
While fall foods can be comforting, it only takes an extra 100 calories a day to put on 10 pounds a year.
Registered dietician Felicia Stoler, Ph.D., author of the book “Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great,” offers this list of the most fattening foods of fall:
- Halloween candy. Long before Halloween arrives, bowls of candy bars appear frequently at the office.
- Tailgating buffets. Chips, guacamole, ribs, burgers, and beer. This one day of overeating can ruin a whole week’s worth of conscious eating.
- Cream soups and hearty stews. Beware of cream of baked potato and broccoli cheese soups and beef stroganoff. Warm soups and stews may feel nutritious, but if they’re loaded with cream, cheese, or meat, they are also loaded with calories.
- Root vegetables. While many are super-nutritious, root vegetables can quadruple in calories when you cream them, fry them, or mix them with cheese, cream, butter, canned soups, or crispy bacon. A sweet potato casserole can easily have 500 calories per serving – 400 more than a plain roasted sweet potato.
- Seasonal beverages. Hot toddies, along with hot chocolate, pumpkin-spice lattes, eggnog, and apple cider, are a quick way to take in lots of extra calories. A 16-oz. Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte with 2 percent milk and whipped cream is 380 calories, while the same size caramel apple cider has 410 calories.
- Apple, pecan, and sweet potato pies. These fall favorites start with healthy ingredients such as heart-healthy nuts or antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. However, they also include high-calorie ingredients such as piecrusts, sweet fillings, and whipped cream or ice cream topping.
- Macaroni and cheese. It's a favorite comfort food for kids and adults, but it can wreck your diet. In addition, many recipes call for extra ingredients such as high-fat meats or sausage.
To cut calories, eliminate these items or only eat small portions. Concentrate on fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, meatless meals, and skipping desserts instead.