Hey there! Happy First Day of Fall! Does today mean that I can now begin obsessively posting pumpkin recipes?
Just kidding. Kind of.
Fall is probably my favorite season. Amazing weather. Beautiful scenery. College football. Boots. Scarves. Pumpkins. I love it all.
Something else I love with the changing of seasons is the feeling of a fresh start. I like to sit down around this time and evaluate my health and fitness goals to see where I’m at and where I’d like to go. I think Fall is a great time to do this because making healthy lifestyle changes now can create a solid foundation to take you into the holiday season. November and December seem to be the hardest months for me to make healthy food choices and get consistent exercise, so the more solid routine I have in place by that time, the better.
Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for healthy ways to celebrate fall!
1. Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch: this is a great activity to do with friends or family! Picking your own pumpkin is a win in several ways: carving it is fun, the seeds make for a healthy snack and you can freeze the insides for all of your fall pumpkin recipes. Charlotte people- I’m thinking about checking out Carrigan Farms in Mooresville sometime soon!
2. Make your own fall spice mix: making mixes like pumpkin spice or apple spice is actually pretty easy to do and most of the spices you’d need are probably already in your pantry. Here are recipes for pumpkin spice and apple spice if you’re interested. These spices are great to have on hand for smoothies or even making your own pumpkin spice latte
3. Sign up for a Turkey Trot: If you’re looking for something to motivate you in the physical activity department then registering for a Thanksgiving race might be the answer. This race is good for all ages and activity levels, whether you’re an avid runner or thinking about starting out. The best part is that it’s something that the whole family can do together and most registration fees go to a good cause. Now is actually the perfect time to start a 5k training plan if you want to be ready by Thanksgiving. Run Eat Repeat posted one last week if you’re interested.
4. Spend some time outside: Fall is such a beautiful season, especially in North Carolina, so let’s all take some time to enjoy mother nature. <—I realize how corny this sounds but it’s true! I admit that I don’t spend nearly enough time outside. There are lots of places to hike and bike around Charlotte and I need to do a better job of exploring those. This is definitely on my fall to-do list.
5. Try a new, healthy tailgate recipe: Football season is here and that means it’s time to tailgate. I love wings and creamy dips as much as the next person, but there are plenty of ways to lighten up your football party menu(which is probably not a bad idea if you are tailgating every weekend). This article from Popsugar had some good ideas.
6. Get your annual physical: Preventative care, people. If you’re not getting a physical regularly then please do it. Have open communication with your doctor about any health concerns that you have and follow through with their advice (or seek a second opinion if you’re not comfortable with their advice). I’ve always felt preventative healthcare was important, but now that I work in a hospital, I KNOW it is important.
I found out through a routine physical several years ago that my Vitamin D is really low. Over-the-counter Vit D supplements haven’t helped so now I take a prescription vitamin once per week. There is all sorts of new (and sometimes conflicting) information about the long-term effects of low Vitamin D levels, but I’m glad that I’m at least aware of what’s going on in my body.
7. Support your local farmer’s market: Farm-fresh produce always tastes 100x better to me compared to fruits and vegetables purchased in the grocery store. They are also cheaper since everything is in season. Support your farmers!
8. Take a cooking class: This is something I have wanted to do for a while. I enjoy cooking but I don’t have a culinary background or anything, so I’d love to get some hands-on ideas for new meals. I think this would be fun to do with a group of friends or even as a date (although I don’t think K would love this for a date night, haha).
9. Re-evaluate your sleep schedule: Wellness is not just about a healthy diet and consistent exercise. Mental health plays a huge role in your overall well-being, and how much sleep you get can really tie into this. It’s recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. This is something I have struggled with in my adult years but feel like I’ve made some positive changes with it recently. One of the biggest issues I have had is that one of our dogs likes to sleep all over us in the bed. I’d wake up several times every night to move him off of me. Well, I’m happy to report that after getting him his own dog bed and being consistent about his nighttime routine, we are all sleeping much better!
10. Identify one thing with your diet that could be improved and work to change it: There is always room for improvement. Take an objective look at what you’re eating and identify something that you could work on. For me personally, I need to do a better job with lunch during the week. Sometimes I’m too lazy to pack something the night before and end up buying lunch from the cafeteria. My meal can end up being something great and sometimes it will be… not so great. What can I say? It’s hard to say no to the dessert section. So I am going to work on planning ahead and packing lunch.