Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, tailgating parties, and cold nights when only a crock of mac and cheese will do, fall may seem like a tough time to try to cut some extra weight.
But there are plenty of healthy foods that are pretty much made for fall—either because they’re at their seasonal peak or because they go so well with the cooler weather and darker days.
Here, 6 foods and drinks you need to put on your menu as the calendar changes.
The base of your beloved pie is a top source of carotenoids like beta-carotene, which could play a role in preventing metabolic syndrome, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Plus, pumpkin is low in calories—just 30 per 1 cup serving.
Of course, the scale won’t budge if you’re going overboard on pumpkin desserts and coffee drinks.
Instead, try tossing roasted pumpkin cubes into a salad, stuffing small whole pumpkins with whole grains and vegetables, or using pumpkin puree in your favorite baked goods. (Get started with these 10 Fast Recipes With Pumpkin Puree.)
A medium apple delivers about the same number of calories as a small granola bar, around 100.
But instead of loading you up with added sugar, the apple offers up nearly 20 percent of your daily fiber.
Related: Can Sugar Substitutes Help You Lose Weight?
Some of that fiber comes in the form of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that slows digestion and could help keep sugary cravings at bay. It also supports healthy gut bacteria, which mounting evidence suggests could play an important role in staying slim.
For an extra boost, consider reaching for tart, green Granny Smiths. They’re particularly high in non-digestible fibers and polyphenols that appear to keep the good bacteria in your belly happy, say a study from Washington State University.
Just make sure to eat the peel, too!
Stir a teaspoon into your oatmeal, add it to your smoothie, or sprinkle some on root vegetables before roasting.
Cinnamon is basically fall’s official flavor—and the more you eat, the less likely you might be to succumb to those 3 p.m. cookie cravings.
Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols that research suggests can improve insulin sensitivity, so your blood sugar levels stay steady.
What’s more, adding cinnamon to your meals might even slow digestion to help you stay fuller longer, found one Swedish study.
With that pecan pie and sweet potato casserole we all love to devour at Thanksgiving, pecans are the one kind of nut that just feels like fall.
But just like the others, pecans are also high in healthy fats that promote satiety and steady blood sugar—so you stay satisfied and are less subject to sugar cravings.
Related: How to Make a Sugar Craving Disappear Instantly
No wonder noshing on a daily handful of nuts is tied to lower levels of body fat, a Spanish study found.
Have them as a snack, or grind them and use them as an alternative to starchy bread crumbs.