08 Oct Practical Ways to be Healthy this Fall
With the craziness of back to school and new routines, we often forget to focus on our health in the Fall. However, it doesn’t need to be like this. Here are my top 5 tips to have a happy and healthy Fall season!
- Prepare and protect from colds
This is where sleep and foods can make an impact. Be sure to get adequate rest and eat a diet full of veggies and fruits, full of antioxidants and nutrients for an immune boost. Wash your hands frequently and keep them off your face. Take care of yourself and follow tip 3 below, so even if everyone else gets sick, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs.
- Eat Seasonally
Pumpkin. Pumpkin. Pumpkin. It’s everywhere in the coffee shops and in the bakeries. While pumpkin spice lattes might be loaded with sugar, there are tons of pumpkin recipes that are healthy, such as roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin. I make a delicious pumpkin latte, using real pumpkin (fresh or canned), which tastes great and is full of fiber and nutrients.
Apples are another fall favorite. They don’t need to be smothered with sugar in a pie or crumble to taste sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top with a chocolate chip or raisin to make apple nachos. Another favorite go to snack is a tart apple cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkled with cinnamon. If you eat only one small piece at a time, you’ll be amazed how long the apple lasts. For a bit of extra protein, healthy fat and fiber, eat a few nuts along with the apple bites.
Check out the different seasonal squashes available, such as acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha and spaghetti, and roast, purée or sauté them. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you’ll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you’ll love.
- Don’t succumb to the Halloween candy trap
Admit it. One of your favorite things about Fall is Halloween. It’s a blast to set-up spooky decorations and scare the neighborhood kids (oh wait, maybe that’s only what my husband does!) I enjoy seeing the kids in costume and trying to figure out who is behind the mask. For me, the most frustrating problem with Halloween is the surplus of candy. Tempting as it is to buy that big bag when it’s on sale and stash it away for when the trick or treaters come around, don’t do it. If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it until just before Halloween. My favorite tip is to buy something you don’t like, so you’re not even tempted. You can always buy a healthier option, like mini water bottles, stickers or glow sticks. Believe it or not, even my kids, who think I’m the “Grinch of Halloween”, are happy to have water after they’ve been out trick or treating. I posted the mini Dole salad packs on my Instagram Story a few days ago and my youngest daughter warned me that I would be disowned if I bought them! Another reason to limit your candy intake is the correlation between sickness in October/November and the massive amount of candy consumed in October. Sugar has been shown to suppress the immune system. (1)
- Get outside
With the beautiful colors of the leaves and the brisk temperatures, at least here in NJ, it’s great to get outside and enjoy. There’s nothing better than a warm, cozy sweater and the crispness of the cold on your cheeks! Enjoy apple picking, pumpkin picking and the corn maze or go on a hike or a bike ride to admire the beautiful colors. Moving your body and staying active during the Fall is an excellent way to keep your health in top condition.
- Choose wisely
Halloween is just the beginning. Next comes football parties and then the holiday season where it’s an endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing libations. You don’t need to feel restricted and miss out on all the fun, but choose wisely when you’re eating. Before heading out, have a healthy snack, so you don’t show up ravenous and eat everything in sight. Do a walk around and assess the options on offer, so you can decide which treats are worth it. Start with a plate of veggies, so you don’t over eat the sweets. Remember, the first few bites are the best. Don’t feel bad if you don’t finish your plate. And, don’t eat something just to please others! Follow this strategy to avoid the average holiday weight gain of 3-5 pounds.
Don’t forget to have fun. If you make a few less than perfect choices, don’t berate yourself. Just start again at the next meal.
Following the Fall pumpkin theme, enjoy this gluten-free Pumpkin Bread. Comment below to share your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin!
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Yours in pumpkin spice,