Tips and Recipes for a Healthy Fall

Tips and Recipes for a Healthy Fall

fall runTAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE COOL, CRISP WEATHER: It’s much more comfortable exercising outdoors in the fall than it is in the summer heat so take advantage! Enjoy the beautiful color change while hiking or bike riding through the trails. Apple picking, pumpkin carving and corn mazes are other fun fall activities for the whole family! Here is a list of corn mazes in northern Illinois. What a great way to hit your 10,000 steps!

HAVE A BACK UP PLAN: You can’t have blue skies everyday so plan for the cold rainy days and the early darkness. Do some light free weights on these days in the comfort of your home or throw in a quick cardio DVD.

CLEAN YOUR YARD: Raking and bagging those pretty autumn leaves can burn 200-300 calories an hour. When you’re done with yours, offer your help to a neighbor or friend for some serious calorie burn!

TRAIN FOR A 5K:Walk, run or walk and run a 5k this fall. There are nearly 40 races left from now until the end of the year for you to take part in in the Chicago land area. Click here for a list of them.

EAT HEALTHY, SEASONAL FALL PRODUCE: This time of the year you’ll find some of the best squashes (butternut, acorn, pumpkin), root vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips) and apples around! These are high in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients to keep that immune system strong and ensure you stay healthy all season long. See below for some great recipes!

MAKE YOUR KID’S FITNESS TIME, YOUR FITNESS TIME: You make the time to drive your kids to soccer (football, cheerleading, etc) practice so take advantage of that hour. Instead of sitting on the bench playing Candy Crush, get up and walk the perimeter of the field with another parent. Bring a couple ankle weights with you for an extra challenge.

FOOTBALL FITNESS: Instead of throwing back beers and wings during the big game, try the commercial fitness game. Your body will be forever grateful.

  • Insurance ad: 10 crunches
  • Car ad: 10 lunges
  • Fast food ad: 10 squats
  • Beer ad: 15 jumping jacks
  • Restaurant ad: 10 push-ups
  • Movie trailer: Run in place for the duration of the trailer
  • TV show: plank as long as you can
  • Make-up ad: 30 seconds of high knees (touch your elbow to your knee!)
  • Electronics ad: 10 tricep dips on chair or sofa


1 ps Pumpkin Shake (5)Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 c. unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon all spice

5-10 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon and enjoy!


butternutButternut Squash Fries

1 Butternut squash

Sea salt

Reduced sugar ketchup, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice the ends off the squash, and then cut it in half width-wise. Cut the round bottom piece in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (it can help to microwave the squash for a minute to soften before cutting).

Using a knife, carefully cut squash into spears or French-fry shapes. Thoroughly blot moisture away with paper towels, and sprinkle evenly with salt.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, and then place spears flat on it.

Bake in the oven 20 minutes, and then carefully flip spears. Continue to bake until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, about 20 minutes longer.

Serve with ketchup for dipping, if using. Enjoy!


spaghetti squashRoasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, diced small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 Spaghetti Squash

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

In a large nonstick skillet add oil, shallots and garlic and sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.


apple quinoaApple and Quinoa Salad with Curry Dressing

1/4 cup raw whole almonds

1 cup quinoa

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons dried currants

1 small apple, cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.

Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, mint, and nuts; toss well.


pearRoasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

2 Bartlett pears

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub sweet potatoes. Quarter lengthwise; slice diagonally 1 1/2 inches thick. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil, dry mustard, ground ginger and cayenne; season with coarse salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Core and quarter 2 Bartlett pears; halve crosswise. Add to the potatoes; toss all with 1 tablespoon oil. Continue roasting until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes more.

Teresa M., RN

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