Stay Fit for Fall and Winter

During this time of year, we look forward to family gatherings, football parties, fairs and festivals and holiday celebrations. While these moments create memories that will last a life time, they could also possibly add a few inches to your waistline, since all revolve around food!

Must haves like burgers, ribs, hearty soups, lattes, hot chocolate, cookies, brownies (anyone else getting hungry yet?!) are often served and find themselves on our plate at some point or another. While enjoying these foods, we often forget our favorites can be riddled with extra fat, sugar and salt, which may eventually lead to extra weight gain.

Studies show that annually most Americans gain 2-5 pounds starting in the month of September. Is it that we are genetically inclined, due to famine and food shortages long ago, to eat higher calorie foods to store fat in the winter? Is it that we lower our Vitamin D with fewer hours of sunlight, which may increase our appetite? No matter if these ideas are fact, fiction or just excuses, we must be aware of the causes of our own personal weight gain and be proactive in our approach to staying healthy.

Whether hosting or attending, concentrate on being social at these events. Focus efforts on conversation and learn something new about each person in the room. Avoid the temptation of eating one more bite by leaving the table and organizing activities that redirect attention away from food.

Reform your recipes by substituting lower fat, sodium and sugar ingredients in recipes without compromising taste. Try simple substitutes like adding applesauce for oil in baked sweet treats and using spices and lemon on foods instead of salt. Also, to decrease the need of adding extra sugar, try using fruit in some baked foods – pumpkins, apples and oranges are great this time of year.

Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget physical activity. Organize a neighborhood walking group, and schedule days and times to meet and walk together. Take family and friends on leisure walks after dinner or play games with children who also need to be active daily. Participate and encourage others to complete a holiday walk or run supporting a favorite charity. Just a few small changes will help elevate your health, helping you feel good and stay fit this fall and winter season.

https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/myplate

kidshealth.org/en/parents/myplate.html

https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/