Fall Drinks: Don’t Be Fooled by These Diet Traps

Fall is here. Yet the season’s cooler, crisper weather can often cause us to consume more calories. For instance, did you know that a Pumpkin Spice Latte contains a whopping 380 calories?

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I work with bariatric patients at Indiana University Health, to help them lose weight in preparation for surgery. In addition to being followed by a team, patients also receive individualized nutrition counseling post-operatively. We work together to identify barriers and solutions throughout their weight loss journey.

One common barrier for my patients is sabotaging their weight loss by drinking their calories. I often have patients who are exercising and eating right, but the scale does not budge. After more investigation, we realize they are consuming excess calories, sugar, and fat through drinks like soda, sweet tea, milkshakes, and more. These are considered “empty calories” since they do not fill us up and provide little to no nutritive value.

Striving to slim down this season? Try these healthy fall drink alternatives to hit the spot on a brisk day. You will also sneak in some added health benefits from more nutrients.

  • Coffee – Ask for any of your favorite fall beverages ‘light.’ The baristas will know to use fat free milk, less syrup, and nix the whipped cream, which can cut calories nearly in half.
  • Tea – You can often find a variety fall flavors such as chai, vanilla, apple, cinnamon, and other herbs that you can make on your own. Choose to add a splash of milk, sweetener, or simply add hot water for a soothing cup.
  • Hot Chocolate – Rather than buy packets, keep it simple with this four ingredient recipe. While warming one cup of your favorite milk in the microwave or stove, mix a splash of milk with 2 large teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of your preferred sweetener, until a thick mixture is formed. Next, add to your warm milk, and stir in a few drops of vanilla extract.
  • Homemade Apple Cider –Here’s a soothing and simple recipe: Add 10 apples, 1 orange, 2 cinnamon sticks, a dash of nutmeg and cloves to one gallon of water in a slow cooker.  Place the settings to low, and wake up 8 hours later to the delicious aromas of Fall!
  • Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Looking for a healthy, creative breakfast on the go? Try this recipe. Then, feel free to add a scoop of your favorite protein powder as a filling, post workout treat.

-- By Katie Hake, RD
   Indiana University Health


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