With back to school in full swing and cooler temperatures descending upon us for chillier evenings and crisp mornings, fall is always the time of year when the focus on your health seems to be put on the back burner.

It’s actually a perfect time to shift your focus as the foods that start showing up during the fall season are completely different than the summer.  And, you don’t have to let this busy time of year take the wind out of your sails. There are my top five tips to creating a healthier fall for you and your family:

  1. Make the most of seasonal foods

Of course we think about apples and pumpkins in fall because it’s their prime season. While pumpkin spice lattes aren’t so good for us, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin is delicious and nutritious. And, pumpkin pie baked with health in mind is just that – and delicious. Apples don’t need to go in pies to be sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you’ll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you’ll love.

  1. Prepare and protect from colds

Ideally, you should do this before you notice everyone around you sniffling and sneezing. Wash your hands frequently, particularly when you’re in public.  Shopping carts and papers being passed in the office or at school can be germ laden!  Keep your hands off your face and always wash before handling food. Remember to get quality sleep and a proper, healthy diet will help your immune system – eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like beta-carotene, zinc, and Vitamins C and E. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs, even when others around you are sick. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, holy basil, and oregano to your meals – these herbs are medicinal!  Medicinal herbs can help ward off the bugs as so many are anti-microbial. antiseptic, anti-bacterial.  Be sure, too, to stay hydrated.  Fall and winter means heaters will soon go into action to stay warm at night, which means your home will be dryer inside. 

  1. Stay out of the candy trap

Admit it. One of your favorite things about fall is Halloween. It’s a blast to decorate the house and see all the kids in costume, but the most significant health problem we all face for this holiday is the surplus of sugar. Sugar curbs the immune system cells that attack bacteria. Plus, candy doesn’t help you stay trim! Tempting as it is to buy that big bag and stash it away for Halloween night, don’t do it. If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it until just before Halloween and choose something you wouldn’t eat yourself – that way you won’t have the temptation to break the bag open before the goblins arrive. Consider something other than candy to keep your neighborhood kids happy and healthy by buying small sticker packs instead or something like boxes of raisins, etc.  There are numerous healthy Halloween options to choose from!

  1. Get into the great outdoors

It’s always nice to get outdoors and enjoy the crispness of fall weather on your cheeks. Cooler weather is great for walks, hiking, biking, a good game of croquet in the yard or just picnic to enjoy the change in the seasons. Staying active during the fall is an excellent way to keep your health in exceptional condition.  Be sure, too, to stay hydrated.  Fall and winter means heaters will soon go into action to stay warm at night, which means your home will be dryer inside. Keeping yourself well-hydrated helps your body circulate blood more easily, which means “flu and cold fighting” white blood cells fight off viruses easier. 

  1. Make wise celebration choices

Halloween is just the beginning. With fall comes football parties and the my favorite holiday season when it’s a seemingly endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing libations. You don’t need to miss out on all the fun, but do choose wisely when you’re enjoying the festivities.  At parties, fill your plate with veggies for appetizers and enjoy some salad before sampling sweets, so you’re too full to eat more than a bite or two. Take an especially yummy and health dish to add to help the hostess out – and that way you’ll know you can stay on target and enjoy yourself too!  By doing that, you’ll avoid gaining excess weight by the New Year.

Remember, many memories are created in autumn and the should be fun! If you do fall into any seasonal pitfalls, take care and take steps to get back on track!

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