As the weather turns cooler I begin thinking about the multitude of activities the fall months bring. I also find that this season re-energizes my healthy living commitment. After three months of scorching temps and high humidity I can finally stand to be active outdoors again and harvest season means loads of fresh and healthy produce available.
Like most communities, my town hosts many events during fall–hay rides and seasonal festivals are just a few. Aside from the fact these events are tons of FUN, I also find it a great way to get my family involved in healthy activities.
Probably the easiest way is through our local farmer’s market and orchard. While they host "pick your own" throughout the summer, the autumn months are by far the most popular. Plus, while having fun picking your own apples or pumpkins, you’re working in extra physical activity.
I found farm markets, which are bursting with fresh produce this time of year, are also a great way to introduce new fruits and veggies into your child’s diet. For example, acorn squash is plentiful this time of year. I would have my children each select an acorn squash they felt looked "best" from the farm market. When it was time to prepare dinner I made a big deal about how we were going to eat "their" squash and involved them in the meal preparation. The idea that they were involved in choosing part of their meal as well as the fact the squash came from a place they associated with having fun, made them much more open to enjoying a new food.
Apples and autumn go hand-in-hand. They are best this time of year when they’re harvested locally and, because of their abundance, a very economical fruit to add to your grocery list. One of my guilty pleasures are caramel apples. I say guilty because they taste so darn good, but in reality a caramel apple is a nutritious treat. One average sized apple, with a light coating of caramel and some chopped nuts (for added protein) runs roughly 150-160 calories. Treat yourself to one and you’re adding another serving of fruit to your diet. Along with caramel apples, I keep fresh apple cider and apple crisp as popular treats in my home this time of year.
This weekend take some time to work in a family outing that includes some outdoor activity and what Mother Nature has to offer this season. Be sure to check out our Community page to find out what’s happening in your local community. Both you and your family will enjoy it while taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle.