There’s something so 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 not always conducive to long, elaborate meals or sweating 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.
1. Protein-Packed Hemp and Maple Pecan Oatmeal
Warm, gooey, and comforting, this tasty oatmeal is basically fall in a cup. Maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice give it plenty of flavor. Not to mention, pecans are a great source of healthy fats and vitamin E, so there’s no need to worry about the healthiness of this delicious breakfast.
2. Banana Maple Yogurt Parfait
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. Go ahead and dig in.
3. Maple Bacon Waffles
Waffles are the perfect food to pair with sweet maple syrup, and this recipe takes it to the next level by adding bacon into the equation. And as far as maple and bacon go, this is a pretty healthy option, with Greek yogurt, eggs, almond milk, and oats.
4. Vegan Pumpkin Pie Energy Bars
These 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.
5. Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt Parfaits
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 honey or maple syrup for added sweetness. Store for up to two hours outside the fridge or keep cold until ready to enjoy.
6. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin
We’ve all been tempted by the oozing pumpkin cream cheese muffins in the case at Starbucks—don’t even try to doubt it. Go ahead and challenge the coffee-shop versions by making this recipe that cuts down on the unhealthy stuff but still offers the flavor and creamy, delicious texture of the pastry sitting in the case.
7. Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Feel free to enjoy one or two (or three) of these cookies: The flour is whole-wheat, the butter is replaced with applesauce, and the chocolate chips are dark. Hello, healthy cookies for breakfast.
8. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (6 Ways)
It’s time to put the pumpkin seed front and center (and not in the trash after you’re done carving your pumpkin). Not only are they packed with magnesium and zinc—making them a healthy choice—but the flavoring options are endless. 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.
9. Pumpkin Pie Oats
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 pumpkin purée and cinnamon spice make a perfect accompaniment to creamy oats. Throw it in a sturdy Tupperware container and eat at any temperature when hunger pangs hit, or when you’re craving pumpkin pie.
10. Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
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 for a Paleo-friendly snack or tote them along with a mini container of maple syrup or Greek yogurt for dipping.
11. Pumpkin Pie Dip
This one’s sure to be a hit at the next cocktail party. Mix up a few cups of vanilla Greek yogurt with some cream cheese, a sprinkle of sugar, pumpkin purée, and spices. Refrigerate 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.
12. Mini Vegan Pumpkin Pies
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.
13. Purposeful Pear Green Smoothie
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.
14. Cinnamon Pear Cake
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 ground cinnamon and pear chunks. Bake in a bundt pan or any other type of pan; the taste is the same.
15. Poached Pears With Walnut Granola and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt
Another star topping for our favorite Greek yogurt! Simply poach half of a firm pear with some extra special flavorings; cool; then top with cinnamon Greek yogurt to bring all these fall flavors together.
16. Edamame Crostini With Pears
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.
17. Pear Smoothie With Almond Butter
Fall comfort food doesn’t have to weigh you down. Start the day on a healthy note with this healthy, refreshing juice made from pears and the savory flavor of creamy almond butter. We also decided to skip the TruMoo and use any milk we had in our fridge.
18. Spiced Cranberry-Pear Sauce
This real-deal cranberry sauce is far from the jellied version that comes in a can (and easier than you think). 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. And with the added flavor of pear? What could be better.
19. Pumpkin, Pepito, and Cranberry Cookies
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.
20. Easy Maple Cranberry Granola
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.
21. Broccoli Cheese Bites
A recent revelation: Muffin tins are our snack-making best 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.
22. Roasted Acorn Squash With Maple Chipotle Glaze
Believe it or not, something as simple as a few slices of roasted acorn squash can make an ideal snack that will keep you fuller longer. Slice, season it with maple syrup and the amazing chipotle glaze in this recipe, then roast it. Just be sure to let it cool before you bring it along for snacking.
23. Butternut Squash Hummus
Chickpeas are not the only avenue to great hummus. Roasted squash (or beets too) can make a perfectly unique dip. Simply combine some precooked squash then 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.
24. Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
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 treat. And don’t worry about spending the time to make the apple chips and ginger cream. They are tasty additions but not essentials.
25. Vegan Carrot Cake Smoothie
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.
26. Apple, Beet, and Fennel Salad With Balsamic Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
We know this sounds strange, but just trust us. Fennel bulb’s lightly licorice flavor pairs perfectly with slightly sweet beets 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.
27. Apple Pie Protein Bars
Whip up a batch of this easy recipe for an easy dessert or a protein-packed post-workout snack. Not only are these bars easy to make but they’re also super convenient to pack for a snack on the go.
28. Hot Apple Pie Dip Recipe
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.
29. Mini Caramel Candy Apples
These little guys are almost too adorable. Think candy apples but scaled down (significantly) to make this favorite fall treat a healthier choice. 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.
30. Apple Cheddar Quick Bread
We all know the classic apple pie accompaniment is a slice of nice cheddar cheese (if you didn’t know that, now ya do!). 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. Baked Cinnamon 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.
32. Apple Crisp Stuffed Baked Apples
Halved, cored, 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).
33. 4-Ingredient Applesauce Cookies
Made simply from bananas, oats, applesauce, vanilla, ground flaxseed, and dried cherries, there’s really nothing wrong with eating these cookies for breakfast. Bake up a batch and store in the freezer until a crazy hectic day hits. If you forgot to eat (who does that?!), take a few out to defrost on your desk and devour.
34. Caramel Apple-Pecan Streusel Pie
Have a hankering for a big slice of pie? We don’t blame you. It’s hard not to in the fall. This recipe is a great way to fill a baked-good craving without overloading on sugar and fat. In fact, this cake is also full of fruit and healthy fats (from the pecans, duh).
35. Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese
This is basically the best looking sandwich we’ve ever seen. Layer small slices of apple and cheddar cheese and then, yep, just grill it up. We think these would be best cut into little cubes dipped into warm tomato soup.
Originally published October 2012. Updated August 2016.