BUT since it’s pumpkin season, I made my version of pumpkin spice granola and honestly–it’s my favorite homemade granola recipe yet! I hope y’all love it as much as I do! Make sure you tag me in all of your creations: @livebetterwithkatdetter
Fun Pumpkin Facts:
Did you know that pumpkin can be used to replace butter or oil in baked goods? You heard me right! Subbing pumpkin for butter in a recipe: For 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of PURE pumpkin puree Subbing pumpkin for oil in a recipe: For 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of PURE pumpkin puree (1:1 ratio)
Pumpkin is also high in fiber which many Americans do not consume enough of daily. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes heart health, and controls blood sugars. Make your “treats” more nourishing by using pumpkin!
Other ways to incorporate pumpkin:
Add pumpkin puree to Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
Make pumpkin muffins or scones
Mix 1-2 Tablespoons into coffee with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Make a savory sauce with pumpkin + light cream + Parmesan cheese
Combine pumpkin + ricotta cheese + herbs + spices and use as a filling for lasagna
Make a pumpkin smoothie
2 cups old fashioned oats 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1/4 tsp salt 1 T chia seeds or ground flax 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet ya like it!) 1/2 can PURE pumpkin
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix oats, spices and chia/flax together. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin until melted and combined together.
Mix pumpkin mixture into oats.
Once well incorporated, add to a parchment paper lined baking dish.
For granola clusters, spread granola evenly and firmly pack oat mixture onto baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Allow granola mixture to cool for an hour, then break into chunks. **NOTE: If granola is too moist, bake for an additional 10-20 minutes at 200 F to take out excess moisture.
Enjoy on a top of yogurt, in a smoothie bowl, or plain!
Additional/optional add ons once granola is cooled:
Dark chocolate chips/chunks
Freeze dried fruit
What other fall recipes would you like me to try? Let me know in the comments here or on my social media accounts!
Now that spring has sprung AND Easter is coming up, I thought I’d share my super easy, healthy, and delicious carrot cake bread recipe.
I love adding in vegetables where I can, and this recipe is no exception! Perfect to make ahead of time for breakfast on the go, midday snack, or even an after dinner dessert.
Refined sugar and flour free, this recipe uses coconut flour as the base and a smidge of maple syrup for some added sweetness. 100% vegan, too!
I use walnuts in most of my baking not only because I prefer the taste and texture, but also because these babies are packed with nutrition benefits! Walnuts are high in omega 3 fats which are great for heart health. Walnuts can also help with brain function (notice how they are kind of shaped like brains? 🙂 ) A new up in coming study about walnuts shows that they may help suppress the growth of breast cancer…
A small scale study from the School of Medicine at Marshall University in West Virginia found that women with breast cancer who consumed 2 ounces of walnuts daily for 2 weeks straight had suppressed the growth of their tumors. This is new research and still needs to be conducted on a larger scale, but how awesome would that be? Regardless, walnuts are still nutrition super foods, so incorporate them into your diet where you can–starting with this carrot cake bread!
In a medium sized bowl, add coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and nutmeg. Mix and set aside.
Shred 2 cups of carrots (about 2-3 big carrots, washed and peeled). Use a clean dish cloth (or paper towels) and squeeze all the excess moisture out of carrots. Squeeze out as much as you can so the bread has a nice texture.
In a separate medium mixing bowl, add mashed banana, shredded and squeezed carrots, maple syrup, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla. Mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well without over mixing. Fold in chopped walnuts.
Pour mixture into a greased or parchment paper-lined bread pan and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to use the “tooth pick test” to ensure the inside of the bread is cooked all the way through.
Serve for brekky, a midday snack, or even enjoy for dessert!
This bread is so good, even carrot cake haters will love it! Get festive and make this bread ASAP for your spring and Easter gatherings!
I’ve touched on my body image story with you all…but today I am going to share my struggles with food obsession and how I overcame it.
I think we can all agree that being a teenager is an interesting part of life…you are trying to figure out who you are, who your friends are, and what you’re going to do with your life all while trying to make decent grades in school and have fun. For many female teenagers, it is a time where appearances consume you.
We care about what others say about us. We care about if we are popular or not. We care about what we look like. For me, I thought all of that was determined by outward appearance, and the only acceptable appearance was to be skinny.
Thus, my obsession with food commenced. Initially, it became a restrictive-obsession. When I was in middle school, I remember skipping breakfast if I was planning on eating lunch at school…but on Friday’s, my dad cooked breakfast…so it was not as easy to “skip” that meal. Instead, I skipped lunch. I thought I would be skinny if I restricted.
I couldn’t even enjoy a piece of cake on my birthday without feeling guilt. The guilt overwhelmed me and consumed my thoughts that I would go run or dance to “burn off the cake calories”…and if I did not do that then I was ashamed of myself.
As I got a little older, I started running regularly with my brother…and I noticed I felt better running when I ate meals, so I stopped skipping meals…instead, I started packing a sandwich using low calorie bread and a small container of applesauce. It was carefully thought out. I could still eat, but only certain amounts that gave me enough energy to run in the afternoon.
I kept up that pattern of eating until I was about 16 years old when I started teaching Zumba Fitness classes. I was teaching 2 classes twice a week and I did not have enough energy to complete those classes when I did not eat enough. That is when I truly started learning about nutrition and how the foods we eat affect our bodies.
I was still obsessive. I would only eat what society coined as “healthy”. You know–nuts, dried fruit, whole fruits, veggies, hummus, brown rice, whole wheat, low fat…even those “100 calorie” snack packs being promoted as healthy…I was a calorie counter. I thought it really didn’t matter what I ate as long as it was under 1200 calories…
So, what’s wrong with that? To this day, I choose “healthful” foods over refined, processed, sugary foods…the difference back then is it became a calorie-counting obsession.
I was constantly thinking about when I was going to eat again, what I could eat that would be “healthy”, what would happen to me if I ate chicken tenders and fries for lunch like everyone else, will this make me fat, why can other people eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce…
Those thoughts took over my mind…I struggled with that for years. It was not until I took nutrition as a prerequisite for my professional program that I truly understood how food nourishes and fuels the body. After that class, my thoughts began to change…
Instead of thinking negatively about food, I started thinking of fun ways to incorporate veggies and fruits into meals and snacks. I started researching recipes where I can enjoy brownies and sweets using wholesome ingredients. I realized that foods containing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (healthy fats) were not bad–they were beneficial to my body. My period came back! My mind opened up into a positive light on food. I felt like I could actually enjoy eating again…food is good for me. Food nourishes me. Food keeps my body going.
You see, eating healthfully is so important…but if we let it take over our mind, we can develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Being so over-negatively consumed with food can be detrimental to how we look at ourselves…and self love is so important.
Love yourself, love your body, and educate yourself…Not only will changing those negative thoughts into positive ideas help your mind but will also benefit your overall health.
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Follow me on social media!
Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter
Christmas is coming up, and if you have some last minute shopping to do, consider buying the baker in your family a bread machine!
Yeah…that was my reaction when my co-worker told me about hers a few months ago. It’s literally a machine that makes bread for you! All you have to do is put in the ingredients and press start. It’s that simple.
Sounds too good to be true! I have to admit, I was skeptical at first…I had never heard of such a thing, but imagine making bread without waiting around for it to rise, then beat the dough down to knead it, then let it rise a second time and bake for an hour…that sounds magical!
A few weeks ago, my husband brought home a bread machine…he heard me talk about it, even though I was skeptical, but he came home with it anyway. Kind of nervous on where to begin, I found a recipe and went for it. I threw in all the ingredients and pressed start, and in 3 hours I had a fresh loaf of bread.
Not only is it convenient, you’d never have to buy bread again! I love homemade bread, but the process is so time consuming and most recipes make 3-4 loaves…I end up throwing it away because it spoils quickly. However, the bread machine makes 1 loaf perfect for the hubs and me!
In addition to convenience and economical factor, it is also more nutritious. I am in complete control of the ingredients, which I love. I like to make 100% whole wheat bread with honey and flax seed. You can really add whatever you like, but I can make bread using 6 ingredients while the bread you buy in the store has at least 12 ingredients–even the “healthy” breads…so many preservatives to make them “shelf stable”…you don’t need that when you make it homemade!
Now that I have convinced you to invest in one 🙂 , I will share my 100% whole wheat bread recipe with you!
3 1/2 cups of 100% whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand but you may use whatever)
1/4 cup of roughly ground flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
Add all ingredients into bread machine in order listed above. Create a mound in the flour to put your yeast in to prevent from getting wet before pressing “start”.
Settings for bread machine: 1 1/2 lb. loaf, medium crust, whole grain bread setting (if your bread machine does not have a whole grain setting, use the standard setting). Press start.
Let the machine do it’s thing! Once cooked, remove from machine and set on cooling rack. Enjoy!
I typically make a loaf of bread on Sunday for the next week and a half and store it in the fridge (this keeps the bread from molding quickly). My bread machine is very practical for my husband and me–we do not eat a ton of bread but do enjoy it!
Where to find a bread machine:
My husband found mine at Carolina Home Goods in Morganton, NC brand new…if you are not in the area, many department, home, and goods stores carry various brands of bread machines.
So, if you are interested in a bread machine, put it on your Christmas wish list! Maybe Santa will bring you one. 🙂
They are so trendy now. You know, Apple Watches, Fitbits, GPS tracking watches…there are so many to choose from! Are they beneficial? Are they detrimental? Should you get one?
Honestly, I always kind of wanted a fitness band to track my workouts…I really didn’t care about anything else other than my activity level and calorie burn. I am a runner, and I hated having to carry my phone with me on my runs to track my distance…a watch would be so convenient…
When I graduated the summer of 2017, my parents got me a TomTom GPS watch for my grad gift. I WAS IN LOVE! I could track my distance when I went hiking, biking, swimming, and running. I workout in the gym a lot and do dance fitness classes too, so there is a “gym” feature for that as well. It even keeps up with my daily steps and calorie goals. I could then start setting weekly goals for myself to feel accomplished after a long week.
So that’s it. I love my watch. Everyone should have one…
There are so many benefits to having a fitness watch, but there are a few things I don’t love about them, and these watches may not be for everybody.
For starters, I don’t love how some watch brands cause people to be unhealthily competitive. This brand of watch has the option to “add friends” and then you are able to compete with them daily and weekly on your workouts. There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition here and there, but I had classmates in college who were obsessed with “beating” the other person in “who could get the most steps in today”. These type of settings can become detrimental if you’re constantly trying to beat the other person for daily steps or daily calorie burn…because guess what? Every BODY is different, and some people naturally burn more calories than others. Or, some people may not be “working out” more but have a more active job therefore they get more steps in. Regardless, these competition applications can convince you to have the mindset of “I am better than you” because I got more steps in today.
Your workout should be for you only. You are your only competition. It does not matter what anyone else is doing, compete with yourself.
Secondly, sometimes these watches may cause negative thoughts. Typically, when you first purchase the watch, you answer a bunch of questions about yourself…your gender, age, height, weight, activity level, and so on. The watch does a pretty good job at calculating calorie needs and burns through the anthropometric data, but there is a component missing from these watches. The watch cannot tell how much muscle mass you have…
I get so caught up on the calorie burn during a workout…my watch has a built in heart rate monitor (which many watches do not have), so it does a pretty accurate depiction on what a 155 lb. woman in her 20’s would burn (though not 100% accurate), however, my watch does not know my muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism is, thus the more calories you burn throughout the day. I try not to get too obsessed with the “calories burned” section of my watch because I know that my body is naturally burning more while resting because I have quite a bit of muscle. However, if I do not meet my calorie goal for a workout, I feel bad about myself and wonder why I haven’t burnt as much…
“Why did I only burn 400 calories doing my dance fitness class today, but yesterday I burnt 550 calories? Did I not go hard enough? I should push myself harder, but I am tired…”
Those are the thoughts that go through my head when I pay attention to those numbers. I think watches can be a good thing, but I think they can cause you to put yourself down, too. The important thing is that you are being active and listening to your body. If you are too tired to keep going, then stop. Your body is telling you to. On the flip-side, if you are kind of tired but could keep going, then keep going until you’ve had enough. The only thing that should indicate whether you are “finished” should be the way your body feels.
Now, should we all go throw away our fitness watches? Of course not. As I said before, I love my watch. My watch works for me and my fitness activities…but I do not have “friends” on my watch to compare myself to, and I listen to my body during a workout. I do not categorize my workout as “good” if I burn a certain number of calories…I base it on how I physically feel afterwards.
Challenge for the week: Try not to focus so much the watch settings during your workout…listen to your body. If your watch becomes an obsession, try going a few days without tracking your calories and steps. Really get back to listening to your body during your workouts.
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Follow me on social media!
Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…almost! November is here, which means turkey day is near with Christmas right around the corner…
Did you know that the average person gains roughly 1-2 pounds during the holiday season? Are you surprised? This may not seem like a big deal…1-2 pounds is not that much…however studies show that the weight gained during the holidays may become an overall pattern for the upcoming year…and no one’s resolution is to gain unhealthy amounts of weight! (1)
Have no fear! We can still enjoy our holiday parties and activities without busting a button. Here are my healthy holiday hacks.
While I am a registered dietitian and believe nutrition is key to living a better life, holidays are a time to splurge…and exercise is just as important–and maybe a little more during the holidays. The season is so busy, so many parties, shopping trips, and get-together’s with family that it becomes too easy to “forget” to work-out, but I assure you this is something you do not want to do!
Exercising will help you burn off those extra pumpkin pie calories that you would not eat on a normal day as well as help you not feel as sluggish after a heavy meal. It could be as simple as going for an evening walk after Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Or, better yet, schedule time for your workout! There are tons of holiday run/walk races this time of year.
If you know the only time you have to workout is in the morning before your holiday gatherings, make time for it. Set a reminder on your phone. Pick an accountability partner. Do something fun that you can enjoy. Staying active is key in forgoing that dreaded holiday gain (not to mention the crappy feeling after a huge meal).
2. Don’t Skip Meals
“What? I know I will stuff my face sick at the family gathering at 1:00pm, so I am going to fast all morning so I can eat as much as I want…”
Think again! This is probably the worst thing you could do, because your body is going to be so hungry for that meal that:
1) your eyes are bigger than your stomach, so you stuff your plate full of food
2) you overeat
3) you feel miserable, can’t move, but still want to hit up the dessert table.
We’ve all been there, am-i-right??Thanksgiving should be a memorable, enjoyable time…and I know I can’t enjoy the company or annual Grant corn-hole tournament after overeating at the meal…
Instead of skipping breakfast just to gorge yourself in the afternoon, I suggest having a light breakfast packed with protein and healthy fats to get you going…you can skip the extra carbs if you know you will be indulging in more festive treats in the afternoon…but don’t skip on food altogether.
3. Scan the buffet before making your plate.
You know the feeling…you grab your plate and head to the food bar, and everything looks so good and it’s so overwhelming that you just put a scoop of everything on your plate…
Did you know that the average amount of calories consumed at Thanksgiving dinner alone is ~3,000 calories? (2) That is not even including desserts and possible after dinner drinks. Think about the standard American Thanksgiving dinner…
It includes: mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, and of course–turkey. A lot of those casseroles contain generous helpings of saturated fat and hidden refined sugar.
My advice is to pick your top 2-3 favorite sides to go along with your turkey. You can even forgo the extra dinner rolls to save some empty calories. As always, load up on the non-starchy veggies like the Brussels sprouts, fresh salads, and asparagus–then choose 2-3 of your favorite sides and turkey.
What does a Thanksgiving plate look like for me? I would fill half my plate up with non starchy veggies before handling the casseroles. I would then choose sweet potato casserole and dressing, and a small piece of turkey (I am not a huge meat eater). That sounds like a happy plate to me!
If you prefer the dinner as opposed to the dessert, then allow yourself to have a second helping of your favorite casserole instead of that pumpkin pie.
As for me, gimme that pie! 🙂
4. Choose your beverages wisely.
The holidays are a time to celebrate–and for some people that includes alcohol. Go easy on your drinks because alcohol contains 7 empty calories per gram of alcohol consumed–that may not mean much to you now, but it adds up-and alcohol contains no nutrients in it whatsoever.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat my calories than drink them…however, if you get in the holiday spirit with a cocktail or glass of wine, check out some “healthier cocktail” recipes on Pinterest.
5. GIVE THANKS
Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years, remember to give thanks with a grateful heart. It is so easy to get caught up in the “now” and business of everyday life, but take time this holiday season to write down what you are thankful for. I know I am counting my blessings…and it gives me hope for the next year to come!
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Follow me on Social Media!
Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter
We all have those foods we love but maybe aren’t the most nutrient dense options for us. Today I am going to break down some of my favorite food swaps that are my go-to’s when craving something not so forgiving to my waistline (and overall health)…
Before I continue, I want to express how I believe you can indulge in your favorite treat occasionally. Our bodies are smart and know how to handle some sugar and grease here and there, but make sure these “treats” truly are occasional.
How to know if it is truly “occasional”? Set goals for yourself! For me, I set monthly goals. I have certain foods I only eat once a month. For example, my husband and I go on ice cream dates once a month so I can get my real ice cream fix. That is an occasional, monthly treat we do together. I do the same thing with other favorite foods that do not sit well with me–like pizza and french fries. Everybody’s goal is different–this is what works well for me so I do not feel deprived but am still staying on track with my healthy lifestyle.
Craving something sweet?
Chocolate bars, Reese cups, ice cream, warm chocolate chip cookies, fudgy brownies…..ahhh yes. We all crave these every now and again! If it is not time for your occasional treat, I suggest swapping the high fat, sugar and calorie dense dessert for a more nutritious option listed below:
Dark Chocolate (70% or more) with natural peanut butter spread on top: Sweet, satisfying…dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and natural peanut butter is a good plant-based protein and fat source.
Dessert Smoothie: Using frozen bananas, peanut butter, dark chocolate cocoa powder, and honey, you can make your own “nice cream”; if you’re feeling spunky, you can even add some frozen riced cauliflower to bump up the nutrients and fiber.
Halo Top (Arctic Zero or Enlightened): These ice creams are low in calorie and sugar and are actually packed with protein. My favorite flavors are the s’mores, mocha chocolate chip, and strawberry Halo Top ice creams. Try to stick with 1-2 servings at a time (1/2-1 cup).
Energy Bites: My favorite go-to snack when I need a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon. Try my recipe! Mix together 1 cup of old fashioned oats, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut, 2/3 cup of natural peanut butter, and 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips. Refrigerate for a few hours then use a cookie scoop to form balls out of mixture. Should make about 24 balls. These also work great as a pre-workout snack.
2. Craving french fries?
I have a few hacks on fries! I LOVE french fries, and I rarely (and I mean rarely) order them because I can’t eat just a few…and they are loaded with trans fats and calories. I like it when other people order fries and I can steal a couple of them (thanks, hubs!).
Make your own! Potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium, B6, fiber (in the skin) and magnesium. My favorite potatoes to make are “oven fries” with Yukon Gold or sweet potatoes. Wash your potatoes well. Chop potatoes into your favorite size (I like steak fries). In a bowl, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of canola or avocado oil (high smoke point), salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and a dash of red chili flakes. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 400 degrees flipping half way through.
You could also use the method above for all veggies including: broccoli, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, or rutabagas to get the same effect with even more fiber and nutrients.
Cauliflower or Broccoli Tots! I like the Green Giant brand-loaded with fiber and super quick to prepare. You could be “extra” and make your own (which I have done before), but I like the convenience of these tots when I am in a bind.
3. Craving Pizza?
Quite possibly my favorite food, pizza is a staple in my house hold…but I typically make my own crust from scratch and load the pies up on veggies and low sugar tomato sauce to make a complete, balanced meal. If you’re not into making whole wheat pizza dough from scratch (because it is work!), see some quick hacks below!
Use 100% whole wheat English muffins (like Ezekiel brand: wholesome ingredients) as the “crust” and add your favorite toppings on top. Of course, the more veggies the better! Stick with just a sprinkle of cheese, and if you like meats on your pie, stick with one variety.
Portabello mushroom caps as the “crust” and use the same concept from above. When cooked correctly, these can be delish! Place the mushroom on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and place your sauce and toppings on top. Bake for another 20 or so minutes until cheese is golden.
CAULIFLOWER CRUST! My newest obsession…you will be amazed. I love it more than real crust to be honest with you! You can make it yourself (which I am still perfecting my recipe) OR look in your local grocery store for pre-made cauliflower crusts in the freezer section. They are super convenient and most crusts have 2 per box: score! I found the Caulipower brand at Publix. Some pizza restaurants (like Village Inn) also carry the cauliflower crust option.
4. Craving burgers?
Many Americans love their burgers, especially during cook-out season. And in all honesty, it is super easy to make burgers a part of a healthful diet!
When choosing ground meat, opt for the 85% lean/15% fat ratio. They may not be quite as juicy, but you will be saving saturated fat and calories with this option. Research shows that too much saturated fat could potentially lead to heart disease–so be mindful when choosing your meat.
Forgo meat altogether! You heard me right…if you are truly having a hankering for a burger but are not ready for your splurge, opt for a black bean burger or some other veggie burger option. There are so many flavors out there now–Mediterranean chickpea, garden burgers, tomato basil…the list goes on!
Ditch the bun: Make a lettuce wrap! Sometimes when eating a burger, the bun can get soggy fast, especially if you like to load it down with toppings and condiments. Get some nice leafy romaine lettuce to wrap your burger up in and add all the toppings you like. You could use iceberg, but dark green, leafy veggies are more nutrient rich containing folate, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It will taste so fresh you won’t even miss the bread. You will be swapping out the refined carbs for some veggies: that is always a win!
Try any of these hacks when you are hitting that craving slump and I promise you will be satisfied. Do you have any food swap hacks? Comment below and tell me about them! I would love to try.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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”…)
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.
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.
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.