This fall, don’t let pumpkin-spiced promos and caramel apple advertisements sideline your family's healthy habits. With a few simple switches, you can outsmart the marketers—and stash some cash in your fall fun fund!
Nay: Pumpkin muffin
Why? A pumpkin muffin can pack as many as 600 calories and 20+ grams of fat. That's like eating a double cheeseburger for breakfast! And the cost is $1.50-$2.00.
OK: Whole-wheat bagel with low-fat pumpkin cream cheese
Why? This breakfast option has about 400 calories and 10 grams of fat, plus more fiber and protein to help you stay fuller longer.
Yay! Make our pumpkin pie oatmeal or a pumpkin yogurt parfait.
Why? Pureed pumpkin is a great way to add veggies to your breakfast. The pumpkin pie oatmeal adds heart-healthy fiber and vitamin A, and the pumpkin yogurt parfait provides bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin A. So you’re eating healthy servings of whole grains and dairy. And the cost is less than $1 per serving.
Nay: Pumpkin latte (yes, kids drink these too)
Why? A large pumpkin latte can have more than 450 calories, 40 grams of added sugar and cost more than $5.00.
OK: Order a small latte with skim milk; ask for fewer pumps of syrup and skip the whipped cream.
Why? You consume half the amount of added sugar and save money.
Yay! Use our recipe to make your own pumpkin latte.
Why? It’s under 100 calories, is lower in fat and the cost is less than $1.00 per serving.
Nay: Caramel apple
Why? Caramel apples can pack 300-600+ calories, depending on the size and toppings! Prices range from $1.50 to more than $7.00.
OK: Fresh apple slices dipped in light caramel sauce
Why? There’s more apple and less sugary sauce. Plus, they’re easier and less messy for kids to eat. And the cost is only about $1.00.
Yay! Try a baked apple with fruit, nuts and yogurt.
Why? It cuts the sugar way down, without sacrificing flavor. The cost is less than $1.50 per serving.
Nay: Hot dogs
Why? Regular-sized hot dogs have up to 16 grams of fat and are sometimes loaded with salt and various mystery ingredients.
OK: Look for lower-fat hot dogs with more natural ingredients (i.e., ingredients you can actually read).
Why? Lower fat, fewer chemicals, lower in sodium (salt)
Yay! Switch to turkey burgers with whole-wheat buns, or make a hearty turkey-pumpkin chili.
Why? Ground turkey is typically lower in sodium and fat, higher in protein and has fewer additives and preservatives. You can even buy premade turkey burgers to save time.
Nay: Sweet potato fries
Why? When restaurants make sweet potato fries, they remove fiber (by peeling them) and add fat (by frying them) to this super-nutritious veggie. A restaurant order of large sweet potato fries can add a whopping 400+ calories to your meal!
OK: Order a small, share with your kids or ask for a baked sweet potato instead.
Why? Save calories, fat, money
Yay! Bake your own sweet potato fries.
Why? We keep the skins on and skip the frying to preserve nutrients and cut fat. The cost is less than $1 per serving. Kids can even help make them!