The calendar has officially declared that fall has arrived, even if the weather is slow to get on board. This cooler season isn’t unlike summer in that it is full of wonderful ways for you and your family to stay active and healthy.
Here are thirteen fun things you can do with your loved ones. We encourage you to try one activity for each week of Autumn.
1. Play at the Pumpkin Patch.
The pumpkin patch is a great way to get off the couch and get some fresh air. Most patches have hay rack rides, petting zoos, and even playgrounds. Get the most out of your time, challenge your kids to find the oddest sized pumpkin, or get some exercise by searching the far end of the patch. There’s lots of fun to be had by all.
2. Eat Pumpkin!
While you’re at the patch, don’t forget to grab a few baking pumpkins. The big guys are great for jack-o’-lanterns, but don’t taste the best. The smaller sizes are great for more than pie. Try roasting a pumpkin and serving it with a little salt, or add it to your favorite chili recipe. In fact we have 11 more ideas for cooking with this gourd.
3. You Butternut Forget the Squash!
Whether you’re at the pumpkin patch or at your grocery store, don’t forget about the other delicious plants growing on the vine. Fall welcomes the season for winter squashes like butternut or acorn. The shapes are fun and the flavors are delicious. Experiment with new tastes with Butternut Squash Fries or Roasted Acorn Squash Salad. (more…)
I’m not afraid to admit I get a little bummed out as summer transitions to autumn, and then to winter. The perfectly named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is an affliction of which I’ve always suffered, but for the longest time I thought I was being an overly sensitive wimp. After a mild and jovial summer, the cool air that gusts melancholy over the Midwest in early September had me wondering if I was about to get SAD again, if it was a legitimate condition, and if so, what I could do fight it.
I shot our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC an email asking her about SAD, and she revealed that after two decades of speculation, SAD had officially been classified as a common disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In 2008—before SAD was an official diagnosis—Brooke wrote, “Our natural response to the seasonal changes only becomes a disorder when the distress is in excess of what would be expected from the stressor (seasonal change) and/or when it interferes with functioning in more than one key life area.” For example, if seasonal change begins to negatively impact your responsibilities as an employee, student, or partner, you probably have SAD. (more…)
Let’s be honest. We don’t always have time to squeeze in fitness, even when we plan ahead. If this happens to you more often than you’d care to admit, we have the perfect solution: Try working family time into exercise time—you’ll bond with the people you love while working up a sweat in the process. It’s a win-win!
Focus on food. In summer and fall, pick-your-own farms are abundant and usually involve lots of walking. Make a day of it. This season, apple orchards and pumpkin patches are ripe for the picking!
Look for fun runs. A lot of community races encourage family participation with one-mile fun runs or walks, and they almost always benefit a good cause. (more…)
According to my coffee-themed wall calendar, fall is here! The oppressive heat of summer is hanging on in some parts of the nation but as each leaf turns color, lands in my my backyard and taunts me to rake it, the closer we come to hoodies, hayrack rides and of course, cooking with pumpkin. I’m declaring pumpkin to be the official food ambassador of fall. It’s so diverse, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. In fact, if you wanted to, you could devote an entire day to pumpkin-eating but I wouldn’t, because that would be excessive.
In addition to being a fall recipe staple, the pumpkin is a super food. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients including potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. It’s also packed with iron, zinc and beta carotene. Does that make pumpkin pie practically a vitamin? I think it does.
To kick off the season of our favorite gourd, we’ve rounded up 11 easy low-cal, healthy pumpkin recipes that you’ll want to start baking this weekend.
Turn on the football game and sit down with this steamy bowl of Pumpkin Chili while you cheer on your favorite team.
I’d much rather eat something fresh and homemade than something out of a box or can. Sure, it can be a little more time consuming, but that’s what my weekends are for. I feel a lot better serving a meal in which I can name every single ingredient. Plus, I don’t mind the bragging rights that come with a little honest-to-goodness made-from-scratch cooking!
One of my husband’s favorite meals is my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. As soon as the temperatures start cooling off, I’m more than happy to spend a Sunday in the kitchen making this cool-weather meal for him.
I only have to make this once or twice each winter because it fills my Crock Pot completely full and then several containers for freezing. While I may have to invest an afternoon to prepare it once, I’ve got several effortless meals later. (more…)