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Fall into healthy eating habits by including the many nutritional fruits and vegetables this season has to offer in your daily diet! Autumn produce is packed with an abundance of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and flavor. Fresh fall produce can be found at your local farmers market, roadside stands and grocery stores across the country. For a balanced diet, try adding these seasonal produce selections to your diet, in addition to whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy and healthy fats. By developing healthy eating practices in the fall you can create good habits for the upcoming holiday season and winter months. Don’t forget to head outside to enjoy the fall weather! Go for a brisk walk, bike ride or some other outdoor activity.
Apples are traditional fall favorites. They are low in calories, high in fiber and contain powerful antioxidants. Apples are easy to eat as a snack or take on the go! Pair a delicious apple with peanut butter or cheese for protein, add in a salad or make homemade apple sauce. To cut out extra calories in your diet, instead of reaching for pie for dessert, try baked apples (or pears) sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with low fat yogurt.
Pears are another delicious fall fruit closely related to the apple. They are an excellent source of soluble fiber, the type which helps lower blood cholesterol, and also contain antioxidants and Vitamin C. The calories in one medium pair are estimated to be 60-100 per piece, and contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Pears can be eaten as is, added to salad or in oatmeal.
Pumpkins aren’t just for decorating! They are a great source of beta carotene (a powerful antioxidant), contain potassium and are low in calories, fat and sodium. Pumpkin can be used in a variety of soups, desserts and baked goods. And don’t forget the pumpkin seeds which are high in protein and loaded with magnesium and iron.
There are many varieties of winter squash, including butternut, spaghetti and acorn. Winter squash is in season from August until March. Usually, the darker the skin, the higher the beta carotene content is. Winter squash contains many nutrients including fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium and can be mashed, used in breads, desserts, soups, or eaten as a snack or side dish.
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (good for the eyes!), Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. They can be used in placed of regular potatoes and eaten mashed, as baked fries, muffins or dessert.
A few other helpful nutrition tips for a healthier lifestyle this fall:
These small changes can really add up. Here are 10 suggestions of other simple modifications that you can make to your eating and exercise habits.
*Before you begin making any dietary or exercise changes, be sure to consult a physician.
The impact of these changes:
Making these daily lifestyle changes can have an impact in the long run. For example, let’s look at the impact cutting out 100 calories a day would have on your body over the span of a year.
100 (calories) x 365 (number of days in a year) = 36,500 calories. These are the number of calories that you will have not consumed or “saved” over one year!
What does this look like in terms of weight loss?
One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Dividing 36,500 (the number of calories saved in one year) by 3,500 = 10.43 lbs! Making these small changes can really add up. Losing 10 pounds can have an impact on your blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol and other health levels.