You know all recipes can be health hacked—subbing half your white potatoes for cauliflower for a more nutritious mashed potato dish, for example. But when it comes to mom’s cooking at Thanksgiving or the fall fare at your local coffee shop, there are probably a few calorie bombs you haven’t thought about before (as well as few surprises on the okay-to-eat list).
We asked six nutritionists to weigh in on the best and worst dishes you’ll be tempted to chow down on in the next few months. Based on caloric density, macro- and micronutrients, and overall effect on your blood sugar and body, our experts have dubbed each dish with a nutritional grade.
There’s one more important factor to consider, though: A lot of these foods you can only have once a year. So if you’re bummed PSL isn’t on the approved list (spoiler, sorry!), it’s okay—in fact, many would argue it’s healthy—to recognize that you’re sipping on a cup full of sugar and do it anyway. Just remember, the only-available-once-a-year excuse doesn’t fly if you’re indulging in pumpkin-everything every day of fall.
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