Dairy Makes Sense Blog
From bonfires, to sporting events, Halloween, pumpkin patches, apple-picking and more, fall has an abundance of fun seasonal activities. How do you enjoy autumn’s popular activities and heartier comfort foods, and still make healthier eating decisions?
I asked my fellow Midwest Dairy registered dietitian nutritionists for their ideas. Here’s what a few had to say about fall activities and the seasonal foods their families enjoy:
When at a stadium or tailgate for a high school, college or professional sporting event
ASHLEY: I make sure my family and friends have something convenient, filling and healthy to eat – not always an easy combination! I like these BBQ Chicken Cheddar Packets cooked on the grill. It’s a complete meal wrapped in foil. Plus, they’re easy to keep warm and a breeze to clean.
ALYSON: I like grilled baked potatoes with a DIY topping bar. Guests serve themselves and you can include fiber-rich veggies like broccoli and bell peppers, along with Cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt, as toppings.
MARLEY: Tailgating is its own event at Midwest football games! I bring a side dish with vegetables to make sure there’s a healthier option. Two of my favorites are Buffalo Chicken Dip and Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I pair these with vegetables such as red bell pepper sticks, sugar snap peas, broccoli, celery or carrot sticks.
When watching fall sports from home
WHITNEY: Chili + football + friends = one of my favorite things about fall! Along with lean beef and a variety of beans, I add a lot of vegetables to my chili — including canned or frozen garden tomatoes, green peppers and onions. I top it off with plain Greek yogurt and sharp Cheddar cheese.
ALYSON: My favorite part of game day Saturday is when we make our favorite treats to eat while watching the game. My family likes Cream Cheese and Spinach Artichoke Dip. I make a light version with reduced fat cream cheese, and serve with whole grain crackers. Baked nachos are also a favorite. I pile them with shredded chicken, cheese, black beans, salsa and Greek yogurt.
MARLEY: Pizza and playoffs! What goes better with the baseball playoffs than pizza? I make a thin crust version so my family can choose as many of their favorite toppings as they wish. I enjoy making a margherita pizza with fresh basil from my herb garden, and ripe tomatoes. It’s also fun to play with the type of mozzarella used; I like a mix of shredded and fresh sliced.
After raking leaves or completing yardwork
ASHLEY: When the weather cools off and the leaves start to fall, I love spending a day working in the yard. I like to prepare a pot of soup or beans in the crockpot so it’s ready and warm when we need a break. My favorite is taco soup topped with sour cream and shredded cheese.
CHAR: Winter can be long in North Dakota so I take advantage of sunny fall days and work in the yard as long as possible. That sometimes means we eat a quick and easy meal or snack such as PB&J with a glass of milk, string cheese and fruit, or a yogurt smoothie.
BRIDGET: After working in the yard raking a seemingly endless pile of leaves, I warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
After running a 5k, half-marathon, marathon or other fall race
WHITNEY: I don’t always have a huge appetite after a long race. Chocolate milk gives the nutrition I need to refuel, without eating a full meal. It’s the perfect recovery drink with naturally occurring electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein, as well as the fluid to keep me hydrated.
CARYN: I always refuel with chocolate milk after a race. If that’s not available, I eat yogurt.
ROBYN: I’m always excited when they have chocolate milk available at the end of a race. I drink it along with water to rehydrate and refuel.
What fall activities does your family enjoy? And, how do you make healthier eating decisions with the season’s heartier options? Tell us!
Want more tips? Our registered dietitian nutritionists share how they make healthy eating decisions for their families when enjoying popular summer activities.
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