Healthy Festive Desserts for Fall

Autumn is once again upon us. Cozy sweaters, toasty beverages, crisp air and the imminent holiday season are all aspects of fall known to put a pep in one’s step. Vibrantly colored leaves and football games only add to the delight we feel when the year acquiesces into cooler days and earlier sunsets. Despite how splendid all of the aforementioned pleasures of this well-loved season undoubtedly are, there is one thing about harvest time that takes the cake: the food, of course.

With the air outside growing chillier, ovens all over the world compensate by cooking up delicious creations for hungry bellies cocooned in flannel and fleece. Delectable choices abound, making it a little difficult not to go a bit overboard while enjoying all of the available sustenance. Enjoying fall fare a little too much can potentially lead to unwanted weight gain: a common problem as the air grows colder and summer is nothing but a distant memory.

Luckily, many absolutely divine recipes are also low in calories and fat while simultaneously being high in vital vitamins and nutrients. The following recipes are not only healthy, they also boast incredible flavors, and are extremely satisfying. Read on for five nutritious and mouthwatering dishes that won’t disappoint.

Homemade pumpkin pie spice in a glass jar with ingredients

Pumpkin Fudge

Dessert doesn’t get much better than pumpkin-flavored fudge, unless the dish also happens to come guilt-free. The following recipe will be a hit at any autumn event, but is equally as wonderful to have on hand for a night in. It’s the perfect snack to nibble on while cheering during the big game or snuggling up for a spooky movie.

The ingredients found in this recipe are simple and delicious. The amount of pumpkin in the recipe lowers the overall calories present in the dish, making it the perfect way to enjoy awesome autumnal flavors without worrying about the aftermath. Cut it into bite-sized pieces to make each square well under 100 calories. Go ahead and have two or three!

Not only is this dessert low in calories, the pumpkin present in this treat is a superfood full of good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Nutrients in pumpkin include vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium, riboflavin, folate, iron, niacin and potassium. Time to get cooking.

 Recipe

 Ingredients

2 cups smooth/drippy cashew butter (you can substitute with any nut butter OR nut free alternative, like sunflower seed or soy nut butter)

¼ cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

½ cup coconut oil

Pumpkin pie spice (optional)

 Preparation

Estimated prep time is 5 minutes. Cooking time is approximately 30 minutes.

Step 1: Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with aluminum tin foil or baking paper and set aside.

Step 2: In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, melt cashew butter with coconut oil. Add pure maple syrup, then stir in pumpkin puree until fully combined. Top with optional pumpkin pie spice if desired.

Step 3: Pour mixture into lined baking dish and refrigerate until firm.

Recipe Source [1]

Sweet Baked pear halves with stuffing ingredients for baked raisins walnuts honey mint leaves fresh pear silver teaspoon dark black wood background white porcelain plate ceramic board lace doily

Quick Baked Pears

An absolutely delectable fruit that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the pear. Not only are pears a splendid source of vitamin C, they also contain magnesium, potassium, calcium and folate: all great for assisting in fending off those pesky fall colds.

This recipe is quick and easy to make, and goes wonderfully with vanilla ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt. The unexpected sweetness that is born from a pear when paired with fall spices is divine, making it clear why fruit has been dubbed nature’s candy. This is a great dessert to serve as an alternative to pumpkin pie for those at an autumn dinner party watching their waistline, or just in the mood for something new and unexpected.

Ingredients

2 large Bosc pears

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup dried cranberries or dried mixed fruit

¼ cup low-fat granola

¼ cup apple juice

Preparation

Estimated prep time is 5 minutes. Baking time is 6 minutes.

Step 1:  Peel pears; cut in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or grapefruit spoon to remove core and seeds, creating a hollow.

Step 2:  Place pear halves, with cut sides up, in a glass pie plate. Combine nutmeg and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over pears.

Step 3: Combine cranberries and granola; mound into hollows of the pear halves. Pour the apple juice in and around pear halves. Cover dish loosely with wax paper.

Step 4: Cook in microwave on HIGH for 6-8 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife. Let stand in the dish 5 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the pears to serving plates.

Step 5:  Drizzle juices from pie plate over pears; serve with frozen yogurt or ice cream if desired.

 Recipe Source [2]

energy ball in a blue bowl on white background ** Note: Shallow depth of field

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bites

Sweet treats are a fall staple made even better when good for the heart as well as the soul. These delightful spheres, infused with the flavors of smooth peanut butter and hearty oats, is a festive treat perfect for the season. These no-bake bites are sure to be a hit with family and friends; they work great for an after school snack, a game-time treat or even dessert at a swanky autumn soirée. One thing is for sure: it might be a good idea to double this recipe, because they won’t last long!

Oats have been recommended by the American Heart Association due to their proven ability to help lower cholesterol. They also contains folate, zinc, magnesium and vitamin K, all great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while keeping folks full and satisfied. Peanut butter is a wonderful source of vitamin B6, known to boost immunity, and research has shown peanuts are another food that may help to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Go ahead, have another. It’s for your own good.

 Recipe

Ingredients

½ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup regular rolled oats

¾ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup semisweet chocolate pieces (optional)

¼ cup snipped dried cherries, dried apricots, and/or raisins (optional)

Preparation

Expected prep time is 20 minutes.

Step 1: In a medium bowl stir together peanut butter, honey, and vanilla until well mixed.

Step 2: Stir in oats, coconut, chocolate pieces (if desired) and fruit (if desired).

Step 3:  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Using your hands, shape peanut butter mixture into 30 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter.

Step 5: Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 Recipe Source [3]

homemade carrot cupcakes on wooden rustic table

Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes

This recipe is a great dessert to serve to kids and kids-at-heart on Halloween or Thanksgiving, but is also perfect for a random Tuesday. It’s so easy to make, and so full of nutrient-rich ingredients, every bite will add a bit of armor to the fight we all face against fatigue, weight gain and illness.

The mix of sweet and tangy in this recipe will tingle on tastebuds and leave anyone who tries a taste wanting more. These gorgeous cupcakes contain carrots: a wonderful source of vitamin K, vitamin E, niacin and dietary fiber. Sneaking carrots into dessert will help little ones, and anyone who struggles with getting enough veggies, to get the nutrients they need without feeling like eating them is a chore.

The pineapple in these scrumptious cupcakes is a great source of vitamin C, a natural immunity booster, and folate, known to aid in the formation of red and white blood cells. Folate also helps build strong hair and nails, which often take a beating during the cold, dry months of fall and winter. Whip these babies up for a treat worthy of the season, but don’t expect them to last long!

Recipe

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ginger

½ cup organic brown sugar (or coconut sugar)

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup nonfat milk

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained

1 ½ cups grated carrots (squeeze out some of the moisture with hands)

½ cup raisins

Preparation

Estimated prep time is 15 minutes. Baking time is approximately 20-25 minutes.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or spray tins with non-stick cooking spray.

Step 3: In a large bowl mix together first 7 ingredients.

Step 4: In a small bowl whisk together egg, oil, milk and vanilla.

Step 5: In a medium bowl mix the shredded carrots with the crushed pineapple.

Step 6: Add in the oil/egg mixture into the carrot/pineapple mixture; mix well to combine, then add to the dry ingredients; mix JUST until combined.

Step 7: Add in the raisins and chopped nuts.

Step 8: Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin tins.

Step 9: Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins test done.

Recipe Source [4]

Apple crumb spiced muffins with streusel topping on green pastel wooden table with napkin and honey Apple Crumble Muffins

 Muffins are often dubbed an unhealthy choice, due to their classification as a sugary carb. These muffins are not only healthy, thanks to their wholesome ingredients that include whole-wheat flour, coconut oil and nuts, they are also sure to taste just like their more sinister sisters. Those digging into these splendid muffins on a chilly day will be glad to know that what they are eating is packed with vitamins and minerals.

The apples in these muffins are a must-eat food during autumn. Apples contain fiber to aid in digestion, and are a great source of sickness-fighting vitamin C. The pecans present in these perfectly delightful pastries are high in healthy unsaturated fat. Studies have shown that just a small handful of these nuts, eaten daily, may assist in lowering cholesterol. Pecans are also a wonderful source of potassium, zinc and calcium. This is a snack with staying power and will keep those who partake of these muffins satisfied long after mealtime or snack time has ended.

These muffins are a portable treat perfect for toting to autumn activities. They are also a great choice for breakfast on-the-go, or as a side dish used to accompany piping-hot soup on a bone-chilling day. The hearty ingredients in these muffins will satisfy those who are lucky enough to bite into them; they will surely be a great addition to anyone’s autumn experience. Enjoy!

Recipe

Makes approximately 15 muffins

 Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped pecans

3 large eggs

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup olive or coconut oil

1/3 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce

1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups shredded/grated apple (about 2 apples)

Preparation

Estimated prep time is 30 minutes. Baking time is approximately 20-25 minutes.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. This recipe makes 15 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan in the same manner.

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pecans together until combined. Set aside.

Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined.

Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the grated apple.

Step 5: Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.

Step 6: Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top.

Step 7: Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-24 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.

Make ahead tip: Muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up (if desired) before enjoying.

 Recipe Source [5]

If you want to know what foods will help you shape up and shed inches while providing natural cure to illnesses, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program.

 References:

[1] Pumpkin Fudge: http://thebigmansworld.com/2016/08/28/healthy-4-ingredient-pumpkin-fudge/

[2] Quick Baked Pears: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001540258,00.html

[3] No-bake Peanut Butter Oat Bites: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/no-bake-peanut-butter-oat-bites/

[4] Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes: http://www.food.com/recipe/low-fat-carrot-cake-muffins-that-dont-taste-low-fat-181385

[5] Apple Oatmeal Muffins: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2016/01/07/whole-wheat-apple-cinnamon-muffins/

 

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