Get ready for fall with these seasonal snack recipes

It may be hard to believe, but fall is just around the corner. Instead of focusing on the fact that warm temperatures and beach days are on their way out, get excited about the many advantages of the fall season. The fresh crisp air, breathtaking foliage and - the best part - the mouthwatering fall recipes like cinnamon and pumpkin snacks are on their way!

If you have a sweet tooth for fall flavors, remember that you can have your cake and eat it too with tasty seasonal recipes that lack the unhealthy side effects of high-sugar and high-calorie desserts. Take out your apron and mixing bowl and get started on these easy-to-make fall delights that won't interfere with healthy aging

1. Pumpkin bread pudding Pumpkin bread pudding is a scrumptious alternative to pumpkin pie, which generally has as many as 316 calories a slice, according to PopSugar. It's also a great last-minute dessert to bring to a friendly gathering or event. The entire preparation time takes no more than an hour and the end result is both tasty and low-calorie. Gather these ingredients before starting the rest of the preparation process:

  • 8 slices whole wheat bread 
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Cut up slices of your bread and toast them in the oven for around 8 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and add the toasted bread slices and gently stir. After letting sit for around 10-15 minutes, pour into a pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. 

2. Cranberry sweet potato cottage cheese muffin If you like baked goods, but know you don't eat enough protein, cranberry sweet potato muffins made with cottage cheese are your ticket to a healthier diet. While these delicious treats do contain sugar, a large portion of their sweet taste comes from the applesauce and cranberries. The taste and texture of the sweet potatoes are barely noticeable, as they taste more like dough. Use these ingredients to whip up these unique seasonal creations:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (or frozen).
Bake these fall recipes with your grandchildren.Bake these fall recipes with your grandchildren.

Throw the first eight ingredients into a bowl and stir. Once the mixture is smooth, add the flour and baking powder and continue stirring. Then put the cranberries into the mixture, scoop into a muffin tray and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

3. Pumpkin spice trail mix For a truly tasty fall snack, trail mix with a pumpkin twist is the way to go. If you want to make your own treat but don't have time to bake, trail mix is ideal. You can also make a large bowl of it at the beginning of the week and then divvy it up into portions each day. Get in the season's spirit and whip up this easy recipe, which includes everything from fruits to grains and pumpkin spice. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/4 cup Sucanat or whole cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup unsalted whole almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsalted pecan halves
  • 1 cup roasted salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural apple juice
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup raisins.

You can also get more creative by adding ingredients like apple juice to your mix and baking the ingredients - see these instructions.

4. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies Whoever said that pumpkin and dark chocolate weren't the perfect pair has never tried pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. If you use dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, whole wheat flour and a 1/2 cup of flaxseed, you can confidently say you're eating healthy as you munch on one of these cookies. 

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (optional; if omitted, add 1/2 cup flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips.

You can also replace the butter with applesauce for an extra healthy twist. Just be sure to bake these seasonal snacks carefully as to avoid burning them.