If you have a backyard that’s anything like mine, it’s overflowing right now with fall foods low in calories. Not only does fresh produce taste better, but it’s also high in nutrients that support good overall health. This includes vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, fiber and calcium. You can’t afford not to harvest and eat what you’ve grown. If you don’t have your own garden, load up on fall foods low in calories at your local farmers market or grocery store.
There are so many types of squash and so many ways to eat them. Most types have under 100 calories per serving, putting them at the top of the list of fall foods low in calories to try today. Use acorn or butternut squash to make soup. Simply roast the squash, puree it with cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve it with crusty bread. Shred zucchini and yellow squash and use it to beef up pasta sauce or pizza. Or, cube it and throw some in your next batch of soup.
Of course, there’s always pumpkin pie during the fall, but it’s not that healthy. If you’re looking to keep your calorie intake low, consider using pumpkin in new and unexpected ways. You won’t be sorry. Steam and puree pumpkin cubes with cinnamon and mix it into risotto or pasta in place of the sauce you usually use. Or, serve it as a simple, but yummy side dish. With only about 25 calories per serving, you can enjoy pumpkin completely guilt-free!
3. Sweet Potatoes
If you’ve never had a sweet potato, you’re missing out on a delicious and nutritious treat. A small sweet potato has only about 90 calories, so you can stick with your diet goals and still have something tasty to eat. Bake sweet potatoes, top with a bit of butter and cinnamon and serve alongside grilled chicken or fish. You can also cube this yummy vegetable and roast it with a bit of olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
I have tomatoes spilling out of bowls in my refrigerator and plastic containers I plan to give away. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun, so load up with as many as you can eat. With only about 10 calories per plum tomato, you can fill your belly with them without wrecking your goals. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for your virtuous eating habits! Mix fresh tomatoes with cubes of cucumber and a bit of mozzarella cheese and dress the salad with red wine vinegar and black pepper. Or, blanch and peel the tomatoes and use them to make pasta sauce. Can or freeze leftovers for good eating all winter.
Bell peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, oh my! That’s just a small selection of what you’ll find during the fall harvest season, and with under 50 calories per serving, peppers make a great addition to a low-calorie meal plan. Use bell peppers to add a crisp texture and tangy taste to your next vegetable salad, or slice the tops off the peppers and stuff them with cooked rice and turkey sausage. Bake until soft and top with tomato sauce. Use jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, and salt and pepper to make fresh salsa. Pickle banana peppers and use them for salads and sandwiches. Hatch chilies make great rellenos and are readily available in many parts of the country for a minimal price.
If fall weather makes you think about fresh ears of corn, you’re not alone. I love those sweet ears of corn, fresh from the grill. Spread a thin layer of butter on corn; sprinkle it with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Wrap the husk around the corn and grill it for a couple of minutes on each side. You can also remove the corn from the husk and mix it with diced tomatoes, black beans and chunks of avocado for a simple salad. Toss some fresh corn kernels into your next batch of cornbread and watch your friends and family eat it up! An ear of corn has only about 60 calories.
It’s not fall until the store bins and backyard trees are heavy with apples in all colors of the rainbow. You can’t go wrong with an apple for a snack, but you can do a lot with apples that you might not realize. Slice a green apple into thin slices and use the slices as a substitute for jelly on a peanut butter sandwich. Cube apples and combine them with water and cinnamon in your slow cooker. Cook on low for several hours and mash the apples to create your own yummy batch of applesauce. The bonus: a small apple only has about 90 calories!
Gardening is great for stress relief and a full belly. I can’t get enough of it, and each year my garden gets bigger. What do you grow in your garden?