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  • Day Arnold, BSND

Fall into Balanced Eating: Nutrition Tips for Autumn

As the leaves change color and the air gets crisper, it's the perfect time to fall into good habits. Autumn brings with it a bounty of delicious seasonal foods and opportunities to prepare not only our homes for the upcoming cold season but also our wellness. So, let's dive into some fun and informative tips to keep you feeling your best during this cozy time of year!

1. Harvest the Power of Seasonal Produce

Autumn offers a cornucopia of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Apples, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and cranberries are just a few examples. These fall favorites are not only tasty but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Apples are rich in fiber and vitamin C, making them great for your digestion and immune system.

  • Pumpkins and squash are high in beta-carotene, which promotes healthy skin and vision.

  • Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamin A and fiber, supporting both your immune system and gut health.

  • Cranberries are packed with antioxidants, helping to protect your cells from damage.

So, why not plan a trip to your local farmers' market or orchard and explore the bounty of fall produce?

2. Warm Up with Comforting Soups

When the weather turns chilly, nothing beats a warm and hearty bowl of soup. Homemade soups are not only comforting but also an excellent way to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your diet. Even more, soups are a fantastic way to use up leftover grains, proteins, and less-than-fresh produce! Try making a delicious butternut squash or pumpkin soup, and don't forget to add some whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat pasta for more fiber.

3. Stay Active with Outdoor Fun

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities before winter arrives. Go for a brisk walk in the crisp air, take a hike through the colorful foliage, or dust off that kayak one last time before it goes into storage. It's important to keep in mind that staying active is not just about weight management -- it also boosts your mood and energy levels, helping to combat the effects of decreased sunlight and shortening days.

4. Embrace Healthy Snacking

With the holiday season approaching, it's essential to stay mindful of your snacking habits. Opt for nutritious alternatives to traditional fall treats. Instead of reaching for candy corn, try a handful of mixed nuts for a similar texture. Instead of candied apples, slice apples and dip them in nut butter or low-fat vanilla yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon for a sweet treat. And remember to save any seeds from pumpkin carving, roast them up with your favorite seasonings and spices, and enjoy them as a satisfying, high-protein snack!

5. Keep Hydrated

Even though the temperatures are dropping, it's crucial to stay hydrated year-round. Staying hydrated helps your body function at its best and, because our bodies can sometimes misinterpret thirst for hunger, it also helps to curb cravings between meals. Consider swapping out your cold summer beverages for warm herbal teas, or hot water with a squeeze of lemon for an extra kick of vitamin C to help boost immunity. Even more, warm or hot beverages aid in digestion, making them a wonderful option at or around mealtimes!

6. Practice Mindful Eating

As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to overindulge in all the delicious and homemade treats. Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite, listening to your body's hunger cues, and enjoying the company of loved ones with whom you share your meals. Our stomachs take about 20 minutes to communicate satiety to our brains. By eating slowly and paying attention to your food, you'll not only improve digestion but also be much more likely to avoid overeating, just by giving your stomach a chance to catch up and say "I'm full!"

7. Plan Balanced Holiday Feasts

When preparing holiday meals, aim for balance. Include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to get the whole family involved in the kitchen to make meal preparation a fun and educational experience, while creating lifelong holiday memories.

Stay tuned for nutritious and affordable holiday recipes coming soon!

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Fall is the perfect season to embrace new habits and enjoy a bountiful harvest of nutritious foods. By incorporating these tips, you'll savor the joys of autumn to the fullest while feeling your best. So, let's make this season a time for wellness, warmth, and wonderful experiences!

Happy fall, everyone!

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