“Chick” or Treat: Get into the October Spirit The Healthy Way!

14 Oct

Today was one of the most beautiful fall days in Boston, making me oh so giddy about October! I simply love the month ’cause it utterly, 100% breathes fall. September still has some hot days, and November sometimes brings snow, so I like to hold onto October for as long as I can. So go ahead, embrace the month of October for all that it’s worth. But do so the healthy way! Here some little ideas to get you through: 

Support the Cause: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so start supportin’. Participate in local 5Ks or half marathons that support the cause, host a “Passionately Pink for the Cure” day in your office, where all donations go toward finding a cure for cancer, and get involved with local volunteer groups! Oh, and take care of your bod (and your boobs)…it’s the only one you got and you want to keep it nice, fresh ‘n’ healthy! 

Get Poppin’: There’s nothing I love more in October than some freshly popped kettle corn. It simply screams fall, and I just gotta have it! However, while the kind they serve up at the fair is oh so tempting (and oh so tasty), sometimes it’s a little too tasty…if you know what I mean. A handful of that stuff is good for me, but I like to eat my popcorn like a man. That’s why I’ve decided to take on the poppin’ myself. Hey, if those people can do it, so can I! A few months ago, my mom bought me a popcorn maker, and last night was the first time I broke it in. 

Boy is it cool (and super easy to use)! All you do is add in 1/3 c. kernels, press the “on” button and wait. Oh, and make sure that you put a big enough bowl underneath the machine. I made the mistake of underestimating how much 1/3 c. unpopped kernels would yield, and popcorn was flying everywhere. 

While your corn is a-poppin’, mix up some fun toppings! Last night, I chose garlic, smart balance butter (melted), salt and pepper because I was craving salty and savory. Next time I’m going to add a little parmesan cheese as well to give it some extra zest. If you’re craving sweet (which I am 99% of the time), mix together agave syrup, smart balance butter, cinnamon and maybe a little nutmeg. Then pour the mixture onto your freshly popped corn. 

Bake Some Sweet Treats: Something about fall turns me into a Martha Stewart. I’m not much of a baker. Salad creator? Most certainly. Master omelet flipper? Duh. Sauté-er? Yes. Broiler? Sometimes. But when it comes to baking sweet treats, I usually leave that to my mother and friends. But I’m tellin’ you, something about this month has turned me into a baking queen. The crisp weather makes me want to make muffins, cookies, brownies, and breads…every day! So far my favorite recipe this season has got to be my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Sunflower Muffins. So embrace your inner-chef…it’s good for you. Really, I’ve found baking can be therapeutic after a bad day, and it helps distract you from all of life’s little “problems.” 

But Remember to Share: The reason I love baking so damn much lately is because I love sharing as well! And that’s important if you don’t want to look like Mrs. Roly Poly. Bake a freakin’ ginormous bread, and then tell your roommates to help themselves to use it for sandwiches that week. Whip up a batch of your favorite ooey gooey muffins, have a few and then send the rest away as gifts to friends and family. Sharing is not only the nice and polite thing to do, but your waist-line will be thanking you too! 

Same goes for candies and sweets laying around the house. I had two big bags of candy corn, and I thought about keeping them all to myself in my cabinet. I’m that obsessed with ’em. But what’s the fun in that? Instead, I poured them into a pretty, little bowl and put it out in our family room for everyone to enjoy. Now it’s there for me to snack on after lunch or sneak a few before I hit the hay. When it’s out there for everyone to enjoy, it makes eating it more fun…and special. If it were locked away in my cabinet, I’d think of it as “forbidden” and probably just end up bingeing on it late night. 

Play Dress Up! Um hello, it’s October meaning Halloween is…TWO weeks away. Have you thought about what you’re dressing up as yet? I have! It’s definitely not as original as some of my past get-ups (Yoshi from Mario Kart, an orange crayon) but I’m going to make it super fun…and totally geek out. Yup, you’ve gussed it: I’m being a nerd. But a super nerdy nerd (not a hot nerd). I’m going to wear a pair of my dad’s old, hideous glasses (and tape them), the ugliest bow I can find in my hair, and a funny looking plaid t-shirt. Then I’m going to accessorize galore: bow-tie, suspenders, silly socks, you name it. I’m still brainstorming…Accessories are by far the best part of a costume though! When I was yoshi from Mario Kart, I carried around bananas, “shells,” “ghosts” and other gadgets from the game to throw at people all night long. Get imaginative with your costume this year. 

Play in the Leaves: When I was a little kid, my sister and I used to play in the leaves every day after school. We’d also make a “Haunted Hay Ride” in our back yard, where we’d craft a trail out of leaves (hours and hours of shoveling I tell ya). We were super cool…we’d even make tickets so friends could attend the hay ride. Oh…the good old days. But just ’cause you’re a little bit more grown up doesn’t mean you still can’t play. Get outside and go for a run, play in the leaves if your little heart desires (no judgement), go for a hike, or take some pics of the foliage. Fall only lasts so long, so take advantage of it while you can! 

Pumpkin Carvin’: Only one of my favorite activities…ever! I was never a good carver, but I always had fun pulling out the pumpkin “mush,” cutting out a silly face, and then the best part…roasting the seeds afterward. Did you know that pumpkin seeds are loaded with beta carotene, Omega 3s, vitamin K, zinc, copper, and magnesium? Yup, these bad boys are total badass. Coat a baking sheet with some cooking spray, sprinkle the seeds with a little salt and bake ’em in the oven for about 25 minutes on 325. My fave trail mix combo? Pumpkin seeds+dark chocolate chips+dried cranberries+honey roasted peanuts= fall in a cup. Sometimes I add in a little coconut too! 

What are your fave things to do in the fall? How do you keep it healthy? 

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