These days the big box stores start putting Halloween decorations out right after the Fourth of July, and the fall season seems to creep in earlier and earlier. On one hand, fall in Florida is a nice change from our super hot summers, but if you’re not careful it can be a season of overindulgence.
If maintaining your heart health is on the top of your list of priorities, here are some alternative food choices your cardiologist would endorse this holiday season.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Plenty of people wait all year long for the moment when Starbucks and other coffee companies come out with their signature Pumpkin Spice flavored drinks and snacks. There isn’t anything intrinsically unhealthy about pumpkin or spices, but somehow the combination turns out to be a heart health disaster. Most of the time these types of drinks or snacks are packed with sugar and dairy, neither of which are good for your heart when consumed in high volume.

So, next time you’re having a craving for that pumpkin spice flavor to help you usher in the fall season, consider these tips to update your morning coffee: add a non-dairy creamer like almond milk or coconut milk to your coffee and then mix in some pumpkin pie spice. It’s a great way to get the flavor you love in a way that won’t’ compromise your heart health.

Casseroles
Is there anything more warm and cozy than a big creamy casserole on a chilly night? Unfortunately, even the best scratch made casserole isn’t great for your diet. Whether you use canned soup in your casseroles or make a creamy base from scratch, all that creamy goodness overshadows any nutrients you could be getting from the protein and vegetables within.

So what can you turn to warm your belly? Consider roasting instead! Chop up a potato, a selection of seasonal vegetables, and your favorite lean protein. Toss lightly in olive oil, pepper, and add your favorite spices. Then put it all in a pan and roast them all together. It’s easy, hearty, and great for your health!

Party Food And Cocktails
Fall is the perfect time of year to gather together with friends and family and celebrate! But not all party foods make the cut for your new heart-healthy diet. A great way to avoid spoiling your diet during the holiday season is to have your healthy dinner planned out already. That may mean you eat before the party, or have something waiting for you at home, but knowing something better for you is available may help you make the best choices.

If you find yourself at a party where food and drinks are being served, remember two things. First, stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid cheesy, oily foods. And second, be cognizant of what and how much you are drinking. If you do choose to drink alcohol at a party, avoid things with lots of sweet juices, and limit yourself to one drink per night.

You’re on a roll, don’t the holidays get the better of your cardiac health. Consider making a few of these simple changes to maintain your heart health during the holidays. If you’re new on this heart health journey, contact us today to meet with one of our cardiologists.