Fall foods that will make you gain

FITBIE.comNovember 5, 2013 

FOOD NTR-LIGHTER-SNACKS 4 DE

Baking chicken wings makes them a healthier snack but it is still the fattiest part of the chicken, so also substitute lower fat dips for a healtheir party snack. MCT

REGINA H. BOONE — MCT

Fall brings with it delicious (and dangerous) food options like tailgate foods layered with fat, deep-fried fair snacks, Halloween sweets, and of course, comfort foods. It's easy to see why we tend to pack on pounds in the fall, but that doesn't mean you have to give in to temptation. "Regardless of the season, there are always healthy alternatives. Read labels and gather as much info as possible to help you make the leanest choice," says Robert Reames, a member of the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute. So put down the pumpkin cinnamon bun and learn the truth about 20 belly-busting foods you'll want to avoid to help you stay in fighting shape this fall.

Beer

The belly buster: Carbohydrates

Football season is one of the highlights of fall, but you have to be careful you're not drinking a day's worth of calories come Sunday. "Beer has a highly concentrated amount of carbohydrates," said Reames. "In essence drinking a bottle is the equivalent of eating a piece of white bread." Plus, alcohol is an appetite stimulant. And keep in mind that seasonal brews can contain a higher alcohol count, and more alcohol means more calories. For example, Blue Moon Harvest ale has 5.7 percent alcohol (compared with 5.4 percent in a Blue Moon) and contains about 10 calories more per bottle than the regular version.

Hot wings

The belly buster: Calories

No football spread is complete without wings, but this finger food is highly caloric and more of a meal than a snack or appetizer. Not only are wings high in fat, they also have extra sodium from all that sauce. A typical five-wing serving can contain anywhere from 300 to 500 calories, and more than 750 milligrams of sodium, according to Reames.

Cider

The belly buster: Sugar

A typical 8.5-ounce serving yields about 30 grams of carbs, 30 grams of sugar, and around 120 calories. "The calorie count is low enough, but the insulin surge from all the sugar and carbs will put your body into fat-storage mode," says Reames. Same goes with apple juice, another fall favorite.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

The belly buster: Sugar

A Grande pumpkin latte contains 310 calories, more than 40 grams of sugar, and 49 grams of carbs. You're better off drinking a tall skinny latte, which has just 120 calories, 14 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of sugar.

Garlic mashed potatoes

The belly buster: Calories

The key to eating this hearty comfort food is portion size: A typical 8-ounce serving yields about 498 calories, 33 grams of fat (21 grams saturated), 43 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of sugar, according to Reames. "You'll be wearing this dish soon after consumption."

Baked acorn squash

The belly buster: Sugar, saturated fat

This seasonal vegetable is loaded with antioxidants and fiber, but popular recipes tend to make this food a fat bomb. Many recipes call for cooking the dish with loads of butter and brown sugar. "Instead, bake it with a touch of olive oil instead of the butter, and reduce the amount of sugar or maple syrup you add," says Reames.

Rotisserie chicken

The belly buster: Fat, sodium

This homey classic can be a good choice, as long as you steer clear of the skin and dark meat. For example, Reames says a 6-ounce Golden Corral breast and wing combo with skin packs 310 calories, 15 grams of fat (5 grams saturated), 175 milligrams of cholesterol, and a shocking 1,070 milligrams of sodium. "The skin and the dark meat from the wings will increase the fat content on rotisserie chicken, and the skin is where much of the sodium lies as well," he says. By comparison the Costco white rotisserie breast meat for the same serving size packs 240 calories, 6 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 120 milligrams of cholesterol, and 760 milligrams of sodium, making it a healthier choice.

Corn dog

The belly buster: Carbs, fat

Pass this one up at the fairground. One Wiener schnitzel corn dog packs 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of sugar. A standard hot dog isn't much better: A typical beef wiener and roll contain about 272 calories, 8 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of sugar.

Corn bread

The belly buster: High carbohydrates, little fiber

It's a tasty partner to your favorite fall chili and soups, but you might want to rethink this bread choice if you're watching your belly. "One 3.6-ounce piece of corn bread has 46 grams of insulin-spiking carbs, zero fiber, and 328 calories," says Reames. "Foods with these stats drive hunger because they really don't fill you up." A better choice would be a wheat roll, which has about 115 calories, 22 grams of carbs, and more than 3 grams of fiber.

Creamy soups

The belly buster: Fat, sodium

There are many different types of soups out there, and no surprise, the water-based choices are kinder on the waistline in calories and fat. Not only that, but they also are healthier in terms of sodium content. Turns out creamed soups tend to pack more sodium than the broth kind, according to Reames.

He recommends finding a healthy recipe and making the soup at home. "If you use fresh vegetables, a clear broth, and your favorite herbs for flavor, you can keep the fat and sodium content down," says Reames. "Soup takes a long time to eat, so satiety signals will kick in before you're likely to overeat."

Bratwurst

The belly buster: Fat

Of course you didn't forget about Oktoberfest this season. But the German celebration brings with it carb-heavy beer, potato salad, and sausage. A typical bratwurst packs about 300 calories and 28 grams of fat.

Pumpkin bread

The belly buster: Carbohydrates, sugar

Rich in vitamin A, pumpkin is a healthy choice -- that is before you add a ton of sugar and flour and turn it into bread.

"Again, the issue with pumpkin bread is the excess carb and sugar content, combined with very little fiber," said Reames. "You have 48 grams of carbs, 29 grams of sugar, and fewer than 2 grams of fiber." But bakers, don't despair: There are healthy recipes out there like this one that reduce the amount of carbs and sugar and beef up the fiber content to make it a safer bet for your waistline.

Marie Callender's Apple Pie

The belly buster: Sugar, carbohydrates

In-season apples are good, but apple pie is not the perfect vehicle for fruit. One slice of this pie sports 18 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of sugar. Because the real driver of fats and sugar is in the crust, a healthier indulgence would be to bake an apple crumble. Just be sure to use a low-sugar recipe.

Candy Corn

The belly buster: Sugar

Stay out of your kids' Halloween baskets and the office candy jar. This ubiquitous October treat is actually just pure sugar. Twenty pieces contain 38 grams of carbs and 33 grams of sugar.

Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cup

The belly buster: Sugar, fat

If your kids get these in their trick-or-treat bags, toss the mini cups to avoid temptation, says Reames. They might be small, but 11 pieces have 12 grams of fat (6 grams saturated), 23 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of sugar. You're better off choosing one of theseHalloween candies.

Caramel apple

The belly buster: Sugar

One caramel apple typically contains 360 calories, with 6 grams of fat (5 grams saturated), 79 grams of carbs, and 43 grams of sugar. "The only saving grace is that the apple itself has 6 grams of fiber, but that is not enough fiber to blunt the insulin response here," says Reames.

Chicken pot pie

The belly buster: Saturated fat, sodium

When the weather gets chilly, we typically turn to comfort foods like chicken pot pie. But beware, one pie from the grocery freezer case may contain more than 1,000 calories, like this one from Marie Callender. It has 1,440 milligrams of sodium and a belly-expanding 64 grams of fat, 24 grams of which are saturated.

Lasagna

The belly buster: Sodium, calories

A typical serving of this classic comfort food made with meat and cheese can pack almost 700 calories, 22 grams of fat, 13 grams of sugar, and more than 1,850 milligrams of sodium, according to Reames. "You're way over your day's recommendations for sodium in one serving. Add a slice of garlic bread and you could be into your second day, all in one meal," he said.

Make the dish at home using whole wheat lasagna pasta, which has a higher protein and fiber count, coupled with a low-sugar, low-fat tomato sauce. "This would significantly make it easier on your waistline," says Reames.

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