There’s something eternally cozy about the taste of fall. Hot and spicy drinks in hand-warming mugs, decadent pumpkin pies, and crisp apple streusels all offer a level of comfort unmatched by foods from any other season.
Most of the dishes that scream “fall” are enjoyed around a table with family after hours of meticulous work peeling apples, roasting pumpkin (or, you know, opening a can...), or rolling out pie crust. But let's get real—life's demands aren't always conducive to long, elaborate meals or slaving over the stove. Fear not: We have 35 healthy recipes to help you enjoy the best flavors of fall anytime of day, no matter how busy that schedule gets.
Warm, gooey, and comforting, this tasty oatmeal is a great way to start the day. Vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a bit of brown sugar give it plenty of warm autumn flavor.
2. Banana Maple Yogurt
Greek yogurt is always a great snack choice. It’s packed with protein, and when you add sliced banana, some high-quality maple syrup, and a few chopped nuts, you have a just-sweet-enough, super-filling snack.
This one requires some work, but we promise it’s worth it. Straining Greek yogurt to make it even thicker makes it easy to shape into perfect spheres, which you can roll in cinnamon, cover in chopped nuts, and drizzle with maple syrup. Yum!
These healthy, fall-flavored bars just require four simple steps—chuck the ingredients in a food processor, blend, press into a pan, and freeze. They're a perfect grab-and-go solution for the afternoon munchies.
Ever thought to add pumpkin purée to yogurt? Neither did we—until now! Throw some pumpkin granola or toasted pepitas on top, and you have a whole pumpkin-themed snack (or breakfast). Drizzle with some agave, honey, or syrup for added sweetness. Store for up to two hours outside the fridge, or keep cold until ready to enjoy.
We’ve all been tempted by the oozing pumpkin cream cheese muffins in the case at Starbucks—don’t even try to doubt it. But the coffee-shop versions of this fall favorite are packed with calories and fat. This recipe cuts down on the unhealthy stuff but still offers the flavor and creamy, delicious texture of the pastry case.
Feel free to enjoy one or two of these cookies: The flour is whole-wheat, the butter is replaced with applesauce, and the chocolate chips are dark (hello, antioxidants).
Even after Halloween, there’s always reason to pick up a pumpkin and crack it open (just maybe not to carve scary faces)—for the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium and zinc, making them a healthy snack. The best part? They can be flavored however your little heart desires. Fancy a sweet treat? Throw on some brown sugar and cinnamon. Need something spicy? Add a little cayenne pepper and lime juice. Looking for a mix of spicy and sweet? Opt for a mix of sugar, cayenne, and a pinch of salt.
Anything can be added to oatmeal. And while there are some out-of-the-ordinary combos out there (poached egg and bacon anyone?), adding a scoop of superfood pumpkin purée and cinnamon spice make a perfect accompaniment to creamy oats. Add about 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée to 1/2 cup of rolled oats (or 1 packet plain instant oatmeal). Throw in 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, a little brown sugar or maple syrup, and some almond milk, and voilà! Oatmeal reminiscent of the classic Thanksgiving favorite pie. Throw it in a sturdy Tupperware container and eat at any temperature when hunger pangs hit.
These pumpkin pancakes are perfect to throw on the griddle in silver-dollar dollops and then refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to munch away. Eat ‘em plain or tote them along with a mini container of maple syrup or Greek yogurt for dipping.
This one’s sure to be a hit at the next cocktail party (or as a midday snack). Mix up a few cups of vanilla Greek yogurt with some cream cheese, a sprinkle of sugar, pumpkin purée, and spices. Refridgerate until it’s set (about three hours) and serve alongside sliced apples, graham crackers, or cinnamon-sugar pita chips for a semi-sweet pumpkin-packed dip.
Yes, you can enjoy classic pumpkin pie in a single-serve, on-the-go snack. Try these mini personal pies that can easily be thrown together, baked, frozen, and defrosted overnight in the fridge before toting along for a snack the next day.
Yes, smoothies can make a great midday snack, provided you have access to a fridge or freezer. Try this protein-packed pear smoothie with cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, egg white, and protein powder for a filling afternoon sip (or breakfast).
Cakes make great portable snacks if you’re up for prepping ahead—especially when they’re packed with fruit or veggies. This low-sugar, whole-wheat pear cake is studded with fruit, chia seeds, and coconut. Bake in a bundt pan or any other type of pan; the taste is the same.
Another star topping for our favorite Greek yogurt! Simply bake half a firm pear with some extra-special flavorings, cool, and top with plain Greek yogurt.
Toast up a few bits of bread and top with this protein-packed, slightly sweet topping for an inventive take on bruschetta. Edamame is loaded with fiber, making it a great option for munching, and the sweetness of the pears adds just enough depth in flavor and texture.
This real-deal cranberry sauce is far from the jellied version that comes in a can. Simmer cranberries, agave, and plenty of spices until they break down into a sweet, flavorful sauce that's perfect on toast, yogurt, oatmeal, or meat.
Fall comfort food doesn't have to be heavy! Start the day on a healthy note with this healthy, refreshing juice made from pears, carrots, lemon, and a hint of cayenne pepper.
What can we say—pumpkin purée makes great cookies! Instead of the more classic chocolate chip addition, dried cranberries add a nice chewiness to these treats.
Granola is always a great option for long days away from home or the office. It’s easy to pack and keeps fresh no matter what. Try this version with dried cranberries for a slightly sweet and tart addition.
A recent revelation: Muffin tins are our snack-making friend! Whip up a mix of eggs, milk, broccoli, and cheese, bake in muffin tins, and refrigerate until ready to eat. These bites offer protein from the egg, plus a little bit of broccoli, which never hurts.
Believe it or not, something as simple as a few slices of roasted acorn squash can make a filling, healthy snack. Because the squash is packed with fiber, the slices will keep you fuller longer. Slice, season however you like (salt, pepper, and paprika; or some maple syrup, maybe?), roast, cool, and pack in small containers to tote along for snacking.
Chickpeas are not the only avenue to great hummus. Roasted squash (or beets too!) can make perfectly unique dip. Simply combine some pre-cooked squash and add lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Pack with some veggies for a bite when you need it.
This velvety, veggie-rich soup is just what the doctor ordered for a chilly fall afternoon. Make a big batch on the weekend and heat it up with crackers, whole-wheat bread, or rice for a quick, warming meal.
Carrot cake, in liquid form? Don’t mind if we do! This simple, healthy blend of carrot, almond milk, banana, protein powder, and spices makes for a beta carotene-packed snack that tastes like dessert.
We know this sounds strange, but just trust us. Fennel bulb’s lightly licorice flavor pairs perfectly with slightly sweet raisins and tart apples for a refreshing and healthy snack. The flavorful, citrusy dressing is just enough to add some moisture and tang without making the salad soggy after sitting for a while.
Whip up a batch of this easy recipe for a healthy dessert or a protein-packed post-workout snack. Blend together apple, banana, spices, almond butter, protein powder, and almond milk until smooth. Freeze the mixture until it reaches the consistency of frozen yogurt and then scoop!
Betcha didn’t think apple pie could come in dip form too! Simply chop up a few apples and mix with some lemon juice, brown sugar, apricot preserves, and cinnamon. Then prep some cinnamon-dusted tortilla wedges to scoop up the goodness.
These little guys are almost too adorable. While caramel apples often masquerade as the healthy option sold at carnivals and the like, the gigantic apple beneath that inch-thick coating of sticky caramel and crushed up candy bars does not redeem this option. But when scaled down (significantly), this favorite fall item can be a healthy choice (in moderation). Take a melon baller to your favorite type of apple, and remove as many full spheres as possible. Stick in a toothpick, dip in some caramel (or dark chocolate), roll in some chopped nuts, let them set, and enjoy as a teeny tiny snack.
We all know the classic apple pie accompaniment is a slice of nice cheddar cheese. So here’s another way to enjoy that sweet and salty baked combo. Plus, since they’re mini loaves, they make the perfect treat to snack on in bits throughout the day.
31. Apple Chips
We promise: With this one, patience will pay off. After slicing apples as thinly as you can get ‘em, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at a low temp (200 degrees) for a few hours until the slices have slightly curled and they’re perfectly crunchy.
Halved, cored, and topped with an oat-'n'-brown sugar mixture, and baked, apples don't get much better than this. Plus, they can be prepared in a big batch, or done one by one. The benefits? Fiber from the apples and oats, and satisfying that sweet tooth with the bit of brown sugar (or maple syrup, if that’s your thing).
These cookies can actually pass as breakfast too. Made simply from bananas, oats, applesauce, vanilla, ground flaxseed, and dried cherries, there’s really nothing even remotely naughty in this recipe. Bake up a batch and store in the freezer until a crazy hectic day hits. Take a few out to defrost on your desk until snack time.
Bake one of these individual cakes in the morning to bring along until snack time. This recipe is a great way to fill a baked-good craving without overloading on sugar and fat. In fact, these mini bakes have nearly none of that stuff—just a tablespoon of honey to sweeten!
35. Cheddar Apple Mini Sandwich
Here’s a new use for crackers: Make mini sandwiches! Layer small slice of apple and cheddar cheese between two healthy crackers and stack ‘em tight in a plastic container. Worried about the crackers getting soggy? Pack the apple, cheese, and crackers separately, and stack when that stomach starts grumbling.
Originally published October 2012. Updated October 2015.