Hello, my name is Kasey Cacace, and I am the newest Dietitian to join the incredible team at Meals on Wheels San Francisco. As a registered dietitian nutrition professional, I understand the importance of savoring the flavors of fall while keeping health a priority. In this season of comforting food and holiday celebrations, let’s explore some wholesome swaps that will keep you nourished and full of energy.
1. Boost Your Vegetable Intake: Make your favorite fall dishes healthier by adding more vegetables. Whether it’s soups, stews, or sauces, adding frozen vegetables is an easy and nutritious way to improve your meals. I love to bulk up my chicken soup with a 4-way veg blend and sneak my greens, like shredded kale, into a rich Bolognese pasta sauce. This simple addition makes you feel full without adding extra calories or fat. Adding veggies also brings lots of nutritional benefits Vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps with digestion and makes you feel full. They also have vitamins like A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium, which are good for your immune system, bone health, and overall vitality. Plus, the antioxidants in veggies help fight against long-term health issues and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
2. Choose Whole Grains: Upgrade your grains this fall by switching from refined to whole-grain options. Swap refined grain pasta for whole grain and choose whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. This not only adds essential nutrients and protein to your meals but also adds more flavor without extra cost or complicated recipes. Whole grains, like whole wheat, farro, and wild rice, are excellent sources of fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps your blood sugar levels steady. Whole grains also have essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. By choosing whole grains, you not only make your meals more nutritious but also support steady energy levels.
3. Watch Your Salt Intake: As we enjoy our fall favorite store-bought soups and frozen meals, it’s important to pay attention to sodium levels. High sodium content in these items can be bad for your health. Always check labels for low-sodium alternatives to keep your salt intake in check. By choosing low-sodium options in canned and prepared foods, we are prioritizing our heart health and contributing to an overall healthier circulatory system.
4. Try Mocktails for Healthier Celebrations: Fall festivities often include enjoying adult drinks, but the calories from alcohol can add up quickly. As a dietitian, I suggest trying non-alcoholic alternatives or “mocktails.” These drinks let you enjoy the festive spirit without the extra calories. To reduce calories further, mix in soda water and cut down on sugary mixers, creating a lighter and healthier version of your favorite beverages. Check out some great alcohol-free alternatives to your favorite holiday spirits in these delicious and healthy holiday mocktail recipes: 15 Deliciously Healthy Holiday Mocktail Recipes for the Family – MealGarden
This fall, let’s prioritize our health without giving up the joy of enjoying seasonal treats. By making these simple but important changes in our meals and drinks, we can savor the tastes of fall while nourishing our bodies. Here’s to a season of health, happiness, and healthy eating! Cheers, friends!