Fall is Here!  Make it Healthy and Delicious!

The sights, sounds and smells of fall have started to appear again.  Colorful leaves, apple picking, cool nights, corn mazes and pumpkin flavored everything!  During the fall months, there’s an abundance of fun activities to keep you moving and food that can be delicious and healthy.  Take advantage of all that fall has to offer this year! 

Fall weather is a favorite for most New Englanders.  There are cooler temperatures and very few bugs.  This combination makes it the perfect time to get outside and try something new.  There are many activities that you can do alone, in a group or as a family.  The key is always to make it fun and you’ll be more likely to continue it.  Here are a few suggestions.

1.     Pick your own pumpkins – Everyone loves to buy a pumpkin or two to carve and decorate with.  Instead of buying them at the grocery store, go to a farm and spend the time walking around to find the perfect one!

2.     Apple picking – There are so many farms and orchards around to choose from.  Take the family or go with a group of friends.  Take your time walking around the orchard, picking a variety of delicious apples.

3.     Go for a hike – The leaves have already started to change into beautiful shades of red and orange.  Find a new hike where you can spend some time outdoors enjoying the beautiful foliage.

4.     Tackle a corn maze – These are so much fun for everyone!  They range in size and difficulty.  Many farms also offer haunted corn mazes for those who are brave and looking for a scary good time.

5.     Jumping in piles of leaves – Rake your leaves into a big pile and let the kids jump in them. This can be done without anyone realizing work is getting done and everyone is exercising!  A fun fall activity that everyone should try at least once.

Healthy, local foods are plentiful in the fall.  Gardens are full of different kinds of squash, beans, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn, eggplant, kale, potatoes, brussel sprouts and other great vegetables.  You can often still find local raspberries, blueberries, pears, peaches and an endless variety of apples.  There are so many ways use these vegetables and fruits in recipes that are super tasty and healthy.  Here are a few ideas.

1.     Pumpkins – Instead of buying canned pumpkin, make your own.  It’s simple, tasty and healthier.  Roast the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a great snack and fun to make with the kids.

2.     Apples – The possibilities are endless!  The key to keeping them healthy is minimal sugar.  Start by eating them as is.  They make a great snack and travel well.  Make applesauce and sweeten with a little maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add apples to oatmeal.  Apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal in the slow cooker is fantastic.  For dinner try apples and pork.

3.     Zucchini – Great, versatile vegetable!  It can be sweet or savory.  Try it grilled or bake it with seasoning into fries.  Slice it into flat noodles to use for lasagna or into spaghetti noodles to serve with meatballs and marinara sauce.  Slice it into rounds and use as a base for an appetizer with tomato and cheese.  Grate it to make breads and muffins.

4.     Other Squash – There are so many varieties to choose from.  Butternut can be used to make a cheese sauce for mac and cheese or soup.  Winter is great baked in the oven with some spices.  Hubbard is a good choice for pie filling and mashed side dishes.  Spaghetti squash is an excellent substitute for regular spaghetti noodles.

5.     Kale – Considered a super food because it’s packed with loads nutrients our bodies need.  Make kale chips.  Even the toughest food critics enjoy them.  Make a green smoothie.  Kale smoothies will fill you up and provide a serving of vegetables first thing in the morning.  Add it to most soup recipes for a healthy twist.

Visit Enhance Health for more helpful and practical ways to stay healthy and active this fall.