Fall Fortitude: Staying on Track
As the leaves turn and the weather gets cooler, it’s tempting to put off the exercise routine, head for the couch and snack on those not-so-healthy comfort foods. The good news is there are plenty of fantastic fall activities that you can pair with delicious comfort foods to help you maintain your fitness routine, eat well and still celebrate the beauty of the season—healthfully! Here are 4 fun fall exercise and nutrition tips to help you stay the course:
- Enjoy the beauty of the season: Go for a walk around the neighborhood to see all the harvest decorations.
- Rake the leaves yourself: Take the dog and the kids and marvel at the beauty of the fall colors as you burn those calories!
- Cook up some comforting homemade lentil soup: Lentil soup is packed with nutrients, fiber-rich vegetables and legumes to keep you healthy and full. (If you make the soup at home, you can use a reduced sodium broth base which will cut the salt down to a reasonable level.) Dip a chunk of freshly baked whole grain bread into a steaming bowl of lentil soup and you get both comfort and nutrition!
- Savor Superfood Side Dishes: Replace fatty, calorie-laden stuffing with a side of baked sweet potatoes. Top with cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar and you have a sweet treat to accompany any fall meal. You can also try another superfood of the season—butternut or acorn squash. Reduce the calorie content in high carbohydrate dishes by replacing the hearty potato with the lighter winter squash, such as acorn squash and butternut squash. Winter squash contain a rich source of dietary fiber to help lower cholesterol levels, normalize bowel health, and control blood sugar, as well as vitamin A to build and maintain healthy eyes, skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.
Dr. Janet’s Light and Sweet Mashed Acorn Squash
Yields: 8 servings, 1 serving = ½ cup
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons of walnuts, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons of raisins
Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the acorn squash halves in a 9 x 9 inch or 9 x 13 inch pan with the flesh facing down. Fill the pan with ½ inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and roast the acorn squash for 45-60 minutes until the flesh is soft. Remove the pan from the oven and let the acorn squash cool for 10-15 minutes before scooping out the soft flesh into a bowl. Add the maple syrup, walnuts, and raisins and mix well. Serve hot or cold for breakfast, dinner or dessert!
Nutrient Information per Serving (1/2 cup): Calories: 82 calories, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 5 mg, Carbohydrate: 19 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 1 g
In the words of the artist, writer and poet, Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ” If the change in season has led you to veer off your health and fitness course, tap into your inner strength and in your own quiet voice be sure to ‘try again tomorrow.’