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Autumn Wellness
Photo: Studiomill
Even though summer is over, you can still stay healthy—or even begin a healthy regimen. Autumn is a great time to get and stay fit. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to eat, and enjoyable ways to get exercise.

Autumn offers fresh apples, pears, blackberries and grapes. Apples are delicious right off the tree, but if you’re in the mood for baking, use them to make a pie or fruit crisp. Better yet, get the whole family involved and make homemade applesauce that you’ll enjoy all winter. Blackberries can be the topping for cereal, or made into pie or cobbler. And pears can be used in salads or baked as a dessert. Search in cookbooks or online for recipe ideas and try something new.

Autumn vegetables are some of the most colorful. Their deep orange colors reveal that they are antioxidants. Antioxidants are high in vitamin C and E, and help to prevent or repair cell damage. Squash and sweet potatoes are two great examples. There is a great variety of squash, and many ways to cook them. They can be baked, steamed, stir-fried, pureed for soups, or made into pies. Sweet potatoes are delicious baked, mashed, or steamed. There’s also corn-on-the-cob. It freezes well—on or off the cob for late fall and winter eating. And of course, don’t forget the pumpkins! Use them to make pies, soup, or bread. Then roast their seeds for a healthy snack.

Rake Leaves

There are many creative ways to get exercise in autumn, too. Cooler weather makes the outdoors more appealing. In addition to walking, biking, or running, find ways to exercise while enjoying the season. Pick apples, rake leaves, walk through a corn maze, wander in a park and collect fallen leaves, play a neighborhood football game, or prepare your garden for winter.

Autumn can be great for your emotional health. Bring autumn inside so you can enjoy its colors and fragrances. Place bright orange pumpkins and yellow and green gourds around your home. Fill a vase with tree limbs covered with red, yellow, and orange colored leaves. If you have children or grandchildren, you can make crafts together. One tried-and-true craft is placing leaves under a piece of white paper and rubbing fall-colored crayons over them. Another is making placemats by arranging leaves between two sheets of wax paper (shinny sides facing in). Then place a cloth on top and press with an iron. Try using the husks from corn to make cornhusk dolls.

Autumn is a season that sometimes gets ignored because we tend to focus on summer fun and winter holidays. So make the most out of autumn this year. It’s a wonderful time to eat healthy and get outdoors and enjoy.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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