Fun, Family-Friendly Fall Activities

By this point, many of you are hopefully enjoying the fall air and colorful leaves…but fall is a GREAT season to set some family traditions.

After all, strong relationships are a vital part in well-rounded wellness, so get your family involved in some fall festivities!

 

1. Take a Hike

Regardless of what area you live in the US, fall generally means cooler temps…I am just lucky enough to live in an area that experiences BEAUTIFUL leaf color changes. Being about an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of NC, I make frequent visits to Boone, NC during the fall months.

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While I hike, I get to enjoy the seasonal changes as well as get some nice, relaxing exercise in with my loved ones. Last year, my friends made a trip to NC for my wedding, so I took them to Rough Ridge on the Parkway to experience the beauty of changing leaves…they had never seen anything like it! During this time, we were able to spend quality time together and soak up nature’s beauty.

Not up for a drive to the mountains? Visit your local park or go for a neighborhood walk for a nice after-dinner activity. Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

2. Take a Bike Ride

Yes, you can bike all year round…but I had something specific in mind…

The Virginia Creeper Trail! If you aren’t on the East Coast, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it is a 35-mile multi-purpose rail trail that stretches from Abingdon, VA all the way to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Southwestern part of Virginia.

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I have been here several times, all in the fall…while it would be pretty any time of the year, in the fall you can enjoy the pretty colors and cool air.

Not near the Creeper Trail? No worries! Hit up your local green-way and enjoy a nice stroll outdoors.

3. Visit a Corn Maze

What fun would this be! To be honest, I have never done this but always wanted to! A corn maze seems like a fun way to get your family outdoors and enjoy the season.

Not only would it be enjoyable for the group, but it would also be a great team building experience. In order to make it through the maze, you would need strong communication skills with each other.

 

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4. Build a Bonfire

Ah, the smell of the great outdoors and feeling the warmth of a nice bonfire…that is the definition of fall! The temperatures are cooler, nights are clearer, and far less humid (in the South).

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It is also super fun to cook over the fire…you could do the standard hot dogs-s’mores feast (which I am totally pro…in fact we are doing that this weekend!), or you could get a little creative! I have wrapped washed, sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and let sit in the coals for an hour or so, allow to cool, and enjoy! There is something about food being cooked in the coals of a bonfire that makes it taste so good! You could do the same method for apples, white potatoes, or any other root vegetable.

5. Carve Pumpkins

This is something I look forward to every year! If you are feeling even more adventurous, take your family to a local pumpkin patch. A few years ago, my friends in California and I went to a pumpkin patch in Oak Glen–a gorgeous mountainous land that made me feel like I was at home only I was still in SoCal.

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Luckily, nowadays there are carving stencil kits available so your pumpkin comes out looking flawless. Though we do not have kids, my husband and I still enjoy carving pumpkins together as adults…quality time!

Don’t know what to do with the pumpkin seeds? Rinse them off to get all of the pumpkin pulp off and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden.

6. Visit a Local Apple Orchard

Nothing screams fall like an apple orchard! It’s even better when it’s a “pick-your-own” apple orchard. It is a fun way to get your family active and set good examples of eating fresh, whole foods. There are several pick-your-own orchards in the North Carolina mountains that have a lot of kid-friendly activities, as well.

When I was a little girl, we lived across from an Apple Orchard–and we still do…it’s just a wedding venue now instead of a pick your own apple orchard…(click here to read about “Memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue”…)

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Anyway, I can remember my dad taking us up to the orchard in his tractor to pick apples. There is something about picking an apple straight off the tree, wiping it off on your shirt, and taking a bite…that is the BEST way to eat a raw apple in my opinion.

Of course you can enjoy your apples raw, but fall is also a great time to make homemade applesauce while apples are in season. Cook the apples with cinnamon and honey, and if you’re feeling spunky, can some for the upcoming year.

 

There are tons of things you can enjoy in the fall, but these are some great ideas to get outdoors and enjoy the season with your family. My challenge for you: Pick at least one of these six ideas to spend time with your family…I promise you will make unforgettable memories! As always, fall is a time for being thankful for what you have. While we should always be grateful, spend a little extra time over the next few months to count your blessings.

 

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on Social Media!

Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd

 

Why Do I Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

Why do I choose to live a healthy life?

 

I’d be lying if I said it had nothing to do with appearance…because that is where it all began for me. Many of you know my body image struggle story, and if you don’t–you can read about it here.

Ultimately, striving to look good is our human nature…but the older (and wiser, hopefully) I get, the more I realize it does not matter so much how I look but how I feel that is important.

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I physically don’t feel good when I eat greasy fast food–it makes me bloated and gives me a headache. I don’t physically feel good when I don’t exercise–instead, I feel weak and fatigued. I mentally don’t feel good when I don’t talk to God throughout the day–instead I feel empty and worthless.

I feel good when I take time for my meals by planning them out–ensuring I get enough wholesome nutrition packed in throughout the day.  I feel good when I listen to contemporary christian music on the way to work and talk to God before heading in the office. I feel good when I drink enough water during the day–not only does it help with fatigue and headaches, but also helps with hunger ques, preventing headaches, muscle soreness, and of course–digestion…

I feel good when I poop! I had to say it! It is not normal to be constantly bloated and constipated. We should be be having daily, regular bowel movements. It is important for digestion and gut health. Eat fiber (25-35 grams per day) and drink plenty of water–that is the cure!

I feel better when I know that what I am putting into my body is going to help prevent me from developing chronic diseases and inflammation. I feel better when I exercise to gain muscle and strength to perform better in my activities of daily living. I feel better when I exercise because it releases endorphins–the happy hormones.

I feel good physically, mentally, and spiritually when I live a healthy, balanced life. Does it happen everyday? No. I am constantly struggling and there is always room for improvement.

You see, there are far more benefits to living a healthy lifestyle because of how it makes you feel rather than how it makes you look…the way you look is just a bonus from living a healthy life. When you can truly live a healthy life, you will not only feel good about yourself, but you will outwardly look good, too—because you have balance, happiness, and a healthy lifestyle.

Why do you choose to live a healthy life? I’d love to hear what you do to keep your lifestyle healthy.

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

 

Memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue

Happy fall, y’all! Bring on those cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves, and fall fashion! Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons, but more so now because it is the season that I married the love of my life.   If you have been following me for a while, you know that my family just opened a wedding venue in a little town in the foothills of North Carolina.  It was at this venue that I married my dream man!

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Located in western Alexander County, NC, Hill Top Orchard Venue is an apple orchard turned into event venue complete with a beautiful mountain-top view perfect for an outdoor ceremony, a covered pavilion with outlets and protective rain walls just in case a storm passes by, and a refurbished apple house with a 2 dressing room suites, kitchenette, and restrooms. What more could you need for your perfect, outdoor wedding?

 

Flashback 2 years ago on a warm, August day, when a dashing man proposed to his loving girlfriend. After saying yes, it was soon after that operation wedding mode commenced.

Ever since I was 10 years old, my dream was to get married in a grassy pasture in my parent’s backyard. A wedding at home, how quaint!

Imagine having your house re-painted so it can be presentable and moving all the things you considered saving for “hard times” around the old, rusty barn just so your daughter can have her dream wedding…it even looked like fall had exploded in my old bedroom because we were doing a lot of “diy” decorations for my special day…

I spent 9 months planning a wedding to get married on my perfect sledding hill location with a backup plan at a local church, but I just knew the weather would be perfect so I could have the outdoor wedding I always wanted—it never rains in October!

During this time, my parents purchased an apple orchard just across from my wedding pasture with the intentions of making it into an event venue. It is such a beautiful location. With countless weekends of picking up rocks, digging holes, sowing seed, building buildings, trimming trees, and picking up branches Hill Top Orchard Venue was ready just in time for my brother’s wedding in September 2017—yes…we got married 3 weeks apart. Why wait, right?

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My brother’s wedding was perfect on the mountain, beautiful weather, amazing views, fun reception…now it was time to focus on my wedding.

Exactly a week before my wedding, the extended forecast was showing rain all week leading up to my big day. I was not too worried at this point because weather constantly changes…and like I said before…rain in October is just not a typical thing…

I really wanted an outdoor wedding…I love nature, autumn’s breeze, clouds…but the Friday before my wedding, I had to make a decision: Rainy wedding or Church wedding? Then I began thinking, hey…we conveniently have a covered pavilion across the way—let’s just call everyone and tell them the wedding was moved! So that is what we did!

It sprinkled all morning and had a high percentage of downpours at 2:00pm (when my ceremony was), however, through the power of prayer, the rain held off until 6:00pm that evening–long after Bobby and I left for our honeymoon. Though the weather was not what we had planned on, my day could not have been any better! And thank goodness for Hill Top Orchard Venue having a backup plan for rainy weather!
Better yet, Hill Top Orchard Venue now has clear rain walls that can be set up for rainy weather making it a perfect place to get married rain or shine!

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Though it was not my plan to get married under a pavilion, it was so magical I could hardly believe it! I cannot imagine my wedding in any other way.

Looking back a year later at the whole process, it is neat to know how involved my husband and I were in establishing Hill Top Orchard Venue. While the venue was still in the construction stages, I was upset that it took up so much of our time…picking up rocks and branches, mowing grass…my now-husband spent all his free time helping my dad building the pavilion instead of spending time with me–seems petty, I know…but girl gotta see her man!

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Seeing the venue complete and open for business is a great accomplishment…we have happy memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue from the beginning stages, to our wedding, and now–seeing couples devote their love and become one. We have had a total of 5 weddings at Hill Top Orchard Venue this far and look forward to the weddings to come.

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Know anyone engaged, getting married soon, or just want a venue for an event? Contact Hill Top Orchard Venue on Facebook or visit their website at https://www.hilltoporchardvenue.com/ . Follow them on Instagram @hilltoporchardvenue.

What memories do you have from your wedding day? I’d love to hear them!

Until next time,

Happy Chewing,

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

 

 

Staying on Track While Dining Out

Who likes going out to eat?  On a busy, chaotic day, it is so convenient to stop by your local favorite restaurant on the way home instead of slaving over a hot stove after a long day.

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While cooking at home may be the healthiest route because you are in complete control of what is going into your food, dining out doesn’t always have to be “bad”. It may lead to more temptation to order fries or fried chicken, but staying on track with your healthy lifestyle is totally doable while dining out.

Today I am going to share my favorite tips that I use when I go out with family, friends, or with the hubs for date night.

  1. Order something that is veggie heavy

One thing I always look for at a restaurant is something that is loaded down with veggies. In a country that is very meat-potato heavy that may be difficult. For example, I LOVE eating at Mexican restaurants, but they are limited with vegetables. You may get lucky and get some peppers or onions in your fajitas, but that’s about it. Even the “vegetarian” options are usually carb heavy, but they always have veggies in the kitchen! I typically order a spinach and cheese quesadilla, heavy on the spinach and light on the cheese.  Don’t be afraid to ask! They are generally accommodating, considering you are paying for the meal.

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Another perk to ordering something with tons of vegetables is that it improves satiety (fullness). The fuller you feel, the less likely you are to overeat. Also, vegetables are high sources of fiber which aids in digestion and improves colon health. It’s a win-win!

2. Don’t ditch the salads

I have read a lot of articles saying that salads are bad because they may contain more calories than a burger and fries…

This may be true, especially if you’re loading that sucker down with bacon bits, extra creamy dressings, and a bunch of cheese, however that doesn’t mean you should stay away from them!

There are ways you can order a salad and it still be kind to your waste-line (and organs). Opt for salads that have leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula or baby romaine. These greens are plentiful in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals our bodies need for different metabolic pathways. Choose lean proteins like grilled chicken or fish instead of deep fried meats. A lot of people are against the cheeses on salad…but sometimes the cheese can really bring all the salad components together, just ask them to go light on it-1 ounce of cheese goes a long way.

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Let’s talk salad dressing…this is where the bulk of the fat and calories come from–especially with the creamy dressings like thousand island, ranch, and blue cheese. Personally, I am not a fan of mayo-filled dressings, but if that is your jam, then that is okay. Try to limit your salad to 1 tablespoon of dressing-again, a little goes a long way! If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, choose the olive oil based dressings like oil and vinegar and vinaigrette. These dressings contain omega 3 fatty acids which may improve heart health.

3. Choose nutrient-dense sides

I know…you want that burger real bad…and nothing goes better with a burger than fries, right? If I am really craving an entree that may not be the best for me, I try to choose a side that will balance my meal out. For example, if I want to order a buffalo chicken wrap from Backstreets (my fav!) then I am going to choose a side dish that is more nutrient dense. Typically that would be a side salad, steamed veggies, or mashed cauliflower (if available–and Backstreets has the BEST mashed cauli!).

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4. Drink water for your beverage

I know I am going to sound like a broken record here! I don’t know about you, but I drink a TON when I am at restaurants because the waiter is constantly filling up my glass…if it’s there, I’m gonna drink it! Think about all the empty calories in a soda or sweet tea (hey, I’m from the South!). In 8 ounces of soda, there are about 100 calories and 24 grams of sugar…most glasses at restaurants are about 16 ounces. If you drink 2 glasses of soda at your meal you are consuming around 400 calories and 96 grams of sugar just in your beverage! We really should only be getting between 25-30 grams of added sugars daily…I realize they put ice in the cups that take up room, but this is just an illustration.

Not only is water better for your body, but it’s better for your wallet too! Water is free. I don’t know about you, but I love free stuff! Water also helps push the fiber in your meal through the digestive track making for an easier exit, if you know what I mean.

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Dining out is an experience, and I realize it can be a special occasion for many of you–it is for me too! In those cases, I am totally a promoter of indulging…but for the average American who eats out several times a week, these tips can come in handy! While there are many tips and tricks you can do, these are the four that I utilize regularly. Hope they benefit some of you!

What are your guides for dining out? I’d love to hear some new ideas!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN