Autumn brings cooler temps and darker days, which makes many people feel more sluggish and tired. Of course, these are also seasons where the salads and smoothies take a backseat to more starchy comfort and holiday foods. If you’re on the hunt for healthy seasonal recipes, then you’re not alone. We have some fantastic food ideas to give you both the energy and comfort you’re craving.
1. Go-Go Pear Salad
This Gorgonzola cheese salad is paired with the lean protein of a diced chicken breast. Add some fuel from pecans. The kicker is a freshly sliced pear. Pears are perfect for autumn energy because they’re packed with folate and niacin, which are vital components in cellular function and energy production.
Check out this Delish recipe for Gorgonzola Pear Chicken Salad. And, who ever said salad isn’t a winter dish?
2. Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Bites
These amazing balls of deliciousness are packed with seasonal flavor, energizing ingredients, and they can satisfy sweet cravings without calorie overload. No baking necessary, and you can pop a batch in the freezer for clean eating snacks to cover several weeks; just thaw for about an hour before eating. Otherwise, they’ll stay fresh about a week in the fridge.
The base is yummy dried dates, oatmeal, dark chocolate chips, and pumpkin purée. From there, you can add any combination of honey, molasses, and/or vanilla to give the bites a subtle, yet healthy, sweetness. Some almonds and flax or chia seeds kick up the natural energy content of this recipe.
The best part is that prep is as simple as tossing your ingredients in the food processor and forming balls with the ‘dough.’ I love how stable these are as a work snack, school lunch component, or post-exercise refuel. The only problem is in not eating it all straight out of the mixer.
Try out this delightful recipe for yourself! It’s always nice to find a recipe that both parents and kids agree is a winner.
3. Grape Salad
Need instant energy? Turn to an old runner’s trick and use grapes as a snack or dessert replacement. Why? Grapes don’t cause blood sugar spikes, and they actually improve energy metabolism. Grapes are a complex carb that’s only about 100 calories per cup, and they’re a good source of fiber. Yet, grapes retain a subtle sweetness that make them a great replacement for calorie-packed fall pies that can make you feel sluggish.
Try a colorful grape salad with a variety of grapes. Dress the salad with a low-fat cream cheese and sour cream mixture. Top it off with some chopped energy-producing pecans or hazelnuts to add a fall flare. Of course, you can lightly toast your nuts with a pinch of salt to intensify the sweetness of the grape and add a smoky hint to the flavor of the dish.
4. Turkey Avocado Wrap
It’s turkey season, and this recipe is perfect for everyday lunch or as a way to utilize holiday leftovers. You have your lean protein in the turkey. Now, it’s time to add some buttery avocado slices. Avocados are one of those miracle foods that you can’t go wrong with adding to any dish. Nutrients, protein, healthy fats, and fiber help to keep energy levels up for a prolonged period and stave off hunger.
Pair the turkey and avocado with a spinach tortilla wrap. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can even try making homemade spinach tortillas. Spinach is a major source of iron. Low iron is a common culprit behind chronic physical and mental fatigue.
Kick your wrap up in the energy department even more by skipping the mayo. Instead, try a hummus spread as the glue for your wrap. With almost no sugar, very few calories, and loads of protein, you get the energy without the drag of too much fat.
5. Roasted Citrus Beets
The stuffing and mashed potatoes may be tempting, but these carb-loaded sides are a real drain to your metabolism and energy levels. Don’t knock roasted beets until you give them a try. Why? These antioxidant powerhouses boost circulation, which is how all the energy-producing nutrients, oxygen, and hormones get transported to your cells.
Adding citrus and a little balsamic vinegar brightens the tanginess of the beet and helps bring out the beet’s natural sweetness. Of course, if the flavor of beets are too poignant alone, you can always add them atop a bed of dark leafy greens for a wilted salad. Wilted salads are a great fall twist to the salads you’ve enjoyed during summer.
Roasting the beets whole for an hour and peeling afterward makes the dish far less time-consuming. As you’re roasting, add some lemon wedges, orange segments, and fresh parsley.
These five energy-promoting recipes can make a real difference in how energized you are this season. As you make more selections, do remember to look at healthy options with plenty of lean protein and fiber content, as little sugar and starch as possible, and that’s rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants. Which recipe are you most excited to give a try?