How To: Watch your diet this Fall

When the leaves begin to change, it is easy to think of fresh air, warm clothes and baking. With the temperature dropping on the daily, you can expect seasonal pies, cookies and muffins galore.

Central Michigan University dietetics professor Anna Most, understands the feeling.

“Most consider the holidays the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I feel it starts with Halloween candy, continues through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and ends on New Year’s Eve,” Most said.

Most even recalled reading how the average person gains five pounds during this time. The culprit? None other than  holiday snacking.

Keeping that in mind, it may be best to plan ahead in order to keep off excess weight. There are many ways one can substitute healthier alternatives without sacrificing texture or flavor.

Here are some easy tips for staying slim through the holidays:

1.  Add black beans to your brownies.

Pulse black beans in a food processor with a little water, and replace half the butter and oil in the recipe for equal parts of the black bean puree. Not only does this add extra fiber and nutrients, but it decreases fat content. Best of all, research has shown that taste-testers find black bean brownies just as delicious as their full-fat counterparts.

2.  Use a tablespoon to measure out cookie dough portion sizes.

According to a New York University study, most chocolate chip cookies are seven times larger than the USDA’s recommendation.

3. Use mini-size chocolate chips instead of the regular size morsels.

When doing this, you can actually cut the amount of chocolate chips you use in half. There will be more chocolate chips per bite, but less chocolate overall.

4.  Substitute whole wheat for white flour.

This adds 10 grams of fiber to your recipe.

5. Substitute oil and butter for equal parts unsweetened applesauce.

This is best for muffins or cakes. Not only does this trick cut down on fat, but one cup of applesauce also provides three grams of fiber.

6.  Save 1800 calories by substituting one cup of oil for a banana.

While there are more than 1900 calories in one cup of oil, a nutrient-dense banana contains only 105 calories.

Below is a delicious three-ingredient cookie recipe with no eggs, flour, or oil added.

Choco-Banana Cookies:


two large bananas

two cups oats

two tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash the banana with a fork.

3. Stir in oats and cocoa powder.

4. Place on non-stick cookie sheet in tablespoon-size portions and flatten with a rubber spatula.

5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before eating. Feel free to add any mix-ins like mini dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut or a dab of peanut butter.