Autumn can be one of the healthiest seasons of the year. It is the best time of year to get outside, be active and enjoy the cool down while observing the beautiful change in foliage. Autumn also means harvest time. There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables available. So plan a day outdoors doing one of the many activities that fall has to offer or stay indoors and cook up a hearty meal with the abundant variety of produce of the season. Here are some tips for making this your healthiest autumn yet:
- Fall activities are a great way to exercise. A couple hours of wandering through the corn maze or picking apples in the orchard are sure to burn some extra calories. Get in touch with nature by taking a hike. Hiking burns 400 calories per hour on average. Want to burn calories and be productive? Rake leaves! Raking leaves burns about 250 calories per hour.
- Visit your local grocery store or farmers market to explore all of the fruits and vegetables available in the fall. Eating in-season fruits and vegetables means that you get the freshest produce at the lowest prices! Squash, apples, yams, pumpkins, zucchini – they are all in season! Feeling adventurous? Try something new. Explore the fall recipes on Dole.com
- Head to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin for your jack o’lantern. Once your pumpkin is carved, roast the seeds in the oven and season with cinnamon, sea salt, cayenne pepper or a drizzle of olive oil for a healthy snack containing magnesium, zinc, iron and fiber. Pick up an extra pumpkin to cook with as well. Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A. Use it to make soups, stews, breads and desserts.
- As the days are getting shorter, take advantage of the sunlight when you can. Sunlight provides us with much needed vitamin D. Has the sun set before you have even left work? Take a walk on your lunch break. You’ll get both vitamin D and exercise. Physical activity increases endorphins which promote positive thoughts. The combination of exercise and sunlight may help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which affects millions of Americans.
- Halloween is one of the most fun-filled holidays of the year. With all of the candy circulating, it can also be one of the most dreaded if you’re trying to eat healthy. When shopping for candy for trick or treaters, select candy that you don’t like so that you are not tempted to eat it and buy less than you think you will need so that there are no leftovers. Consider giving out non-food items instead of candy such as pencils, glow necklaces or stickers. After trick or treating, have your kids pick out their favorite candies to consume a couple pieces a day over the following two weeks. The remaining candy can be donated to various local organizations.
Published October 1, 2017