Healthy eating: Fall edition

By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer

Fall has arrived, which means it’s time for pumpkin spice and everything nice. Right about now, us college students are craving all the pumpkin, apple, cinnamon and comfort food flavors popping up all over. However, sometimes those treats come packed with unnatural flavorings, sugars, extra fat and calories.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flavors of the season. Instead you can find good wholesome foods that will do the trick, with even allowing you time to cheat here and there.

Cooking homemade is one way you can start enjoying your favorite fall flavors with extra health benefits. You know exactly what is going into your treats while having the added bonus of having some fun experimenting. There is nothing like baking on a crisp fall day.

Some of my personal favorite fall treats are homemade pumpkin pie, and there is nothing like the one my mom makes!  I love it so much that I had her make it for my birthday, which is in January. Instead of buying a pre-made crust you can make a homemade graham cracker crust. You can also make the filling with real pumpkin and substitute half the sugar with Splenda. All you need is a dollop of fat free cool whip (trust me, it tastes the same) and you have yourself a perfect slice of pie.

Start breakfast with a bowl of autumn themed oatmeal that you let sit overnight. Yes, we are talking about the food fad of overnight oats. Cut up pieces of farm fresh apples and let them soak overnight before you go to bed, in plain old-fashioned Quaker oats, with water. You can add a little bit of maple syrup and a dash of sugar and spice for taste. In the morning,  add a splash of milk and heat it up, and you have a healthy and scrumptious breakfast to eat in or take on the go.

Homemade applesauce and apple chips are another fan favorite. It is simple to make and packed with flavor. Here is a helpful hint: leave some apple chunks in your applesauce to give you a nice bite when done. Also, for your apple chips, pair them with a nice salted caramel dipping sauce, a healthy snack for late night homework.

Maybe you are craving a nice latte. Well, you can make those healthier and save money, too. Reduce your Starbucks and Dunkin runs with your own concoction. You can buy coffee in flavors such as pumpkin, apple, toffee, hot buttered rum, etc. By taking your favorite coffee bean or pod, you can brew a fresh cup and add steamed skim milk and a dash of sweetener. Before you know it, you have your own little cup of delight. This is a great way to start your day and easy to make while still getting you out the door.

If you don’t have the time to bake, you can look in your local grocery store and try to find what I believe to be the fall staples for a college student:

Some great pumpkin flavored foods include: Special K/ Cheerios Pumpkin Spice Crunch Cereal, Kashi Pumpkin Bars, Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice bagels,and when you want to splurge,  Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream. Some great apple flavored things are: Nature Valley’s Apple Crisp bars and Chobani’s Caramel Apple Greek yogurt. Jif’s maple peanut butter and Thomas’ salted caramel English muffins are also delicious.

Get together with some friends, or go home for the weekend and bake some homemade fall family traditions, to see what other recipes you can come up with. This is a great way to celebrate the season with all the foodies in your life. And when you’re on the go, have one of those delicious fall snacks. Happy eating!

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