Is anyone surprised that fall begins this month? As we grow older it certainly seems as though the days, months and years go by faster, but this year has seemed to go by with lightning speed! Normally in September I love to give you tips on how to pack a nutritious school lunch for your child, the balance of school and work, or any of those popular subjects, but to be quite honest, there are not many ‘normals’ this year and many of our schedules have been turned upside down by the current state of the world.
Instead, I’d love to focus on nutrition – since that is my heart and soul. Right now, with so many things out of our control, nutrition and fitness are things that we can control in our lives and controlling these factors will benefit our overall health and emotional well-being.
Once the weather starts to change and it begins to get a little bit cooler outside, it is easier to take fitness outdoors. If you can be safe, when the smoke clears, you can wear masks when appropriate, and be socially distant during the time of COVID, it is imperative to get some vitamin D, get outdoors and move your body.
Fall is the perfect time to take family walks and hikes. Explore those areas around your home that you have been meaning to discover for a while. Take the long way around the neighborhood when taking the dogs for a walk. Investigate new trails and areas in your town that you haven’t seen before. Not only will you get your body moving, which is so important to your physical and emotional health, but you will also be able to delve into areas that you may have not been able to study in your own neighborhood before. Bring variety to your adventures and do a bike ride to the trails you’ve explored.
Other things you can do outdoors to stay active this are picking apples, going to a pumpkin patch, raking leaves, running a 5K, playing football with your family or any other outdoor sport, or a simple evening walk. Don’t let the current times keep you from going outside and getting active. The fresh air and open skies are good for the body and the mind.
All American Breakfast month is in September. As it has been stated many times before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” However, I do want to put a warning to that. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day if it is full of sugar and complex carbohydrates. The typical “All American” breakfast sometimes looks like bacon, eggs, pancakes, and fried potatoes. Other times it looks like cereal full of sugar and full-fat milk. It can also be full of waffles topped with sugar-infused syrup or even whipped cream. This is not how I choose to jump-start my nutrition for the day.
Breakfast is a great meal if we reframe the everyday breakfast foods of cereal, pancakes smothered in butter and sugar-filled syrup, processed meats, and sugar-infused juices. What if we changed the way we looked at breakfast? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it just may set a precedence for your nutrition for the day.
I love breakfast foods! I have even been known to have breakfast for lunch or dinner. But I do make sure that my meals are nutritionally balanced and just because it is breakfast, I’m not loading up on sugar. Here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes for fall:
Coconuts, coconut oil, and coconut milk have gotten a bad rap from a 1950s study that was based on hydrogenated coconut oil. Although coconut oil is about 87 percent saturated fat, in its unrefined, virgin state, it is actually beneficial, thanks largely to its lauric acid content. Lauric acid has potent antiviral and antibacterial properties. Recent studies have suggested coconut oil might have applications for lowering viral levels in HIV-AIDS patients, as well as fighting yeast and fungal infections, and other viruses such as herpes simplex and influenza.
I can attest to the antiviral properties of coconut oil. For years I have suffered from stress-related cold sore breakouts on my face. About 11 months ago, I started a preventive regimen of coconut oil, adding a tablespoon to my tea every morning and a tablespoon to a glass of warm water each night before bed. When I recently went through a very stressful divorce, move, and complete life restructure, I did not get one cold sore. Additionally, I no longer have any premenstrual symptoms and I credit much of this to adding coconut oil to my diet.
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Meat from 6 young Thai coconuts
- 1 cup coconut kefir (homemade or store-bought)
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or monk fruit (or your favorite sugar substitute)
- Shaved dark chocolate (70% cacao)
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- Working in 2 batches, scrape half of the vanilla seeds into a blender and add half the coconut meat, coconut kefir, and sugar substitute.
- Blend until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a pitcher and repeat with the remaining vanilla seeds, coconut meat, kefir, and sweetener.
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- Serve chilled in a tall glass garnished with shaved dark chocolate and a mint leaf.
Nutrition facts per 1-cup serving (makes 14 cups): 130 calories, 9 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat
Peach Raspberry Parfait
In California we’ve literally got fresh organic peaches falling from the trees here. The only challenge is to figure out more delicious ways to eat ’em. Here’s one more peachy treat, for breakfast this time.
- 6oz low fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Medium peach, pitted and diced
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, dried and unsalted
- 1 tablespoon honey (use organic ingredients whenever possible)
- Using a tall parfait glass, layer the following ingredients: peaches, raspberries, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, and honey. Repeat layers until all ingredients have been used.
- Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and enjoy.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 341 Cals, 24g Protein, 48g Carbs, 9g Fat
I got up early to make breakfast for my extended family that was visiting one morning. Taking in the sugar-loaded breakfast items all over the house, I immediately had a vision of the whole crew loaded up on sweets with spiked blood sugar and thought: Not on my watch! I found some zucchini and mushrooms left over from dinner, pulled out some eggs, and the crustless quiche was born. It was a huge hit even with the little ones in our group. Make this for a holiday or any day.
- 1 tablespoon butter (preferably organic)
- 1-pound cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1-pound golden zucchini, cut into small dice
- 18 egg whites (about 2½ cups)
- 2 large eggs (preferably cage free)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
- Melt the butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of the thyme and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the squash and 1 teaspoon of the thyme.
- Cook until squash is just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature and drain off any liquid. Whisk together the egg whites, whole eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl.
- Spread the sautéed vegetables over the bottom of the pie plate and sprinkle with the cheese.
- Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and set it on a pulled-out oven rack.
- Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, filling the pan completely (you may have some egg mixture left over).
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme over the top.
- Bake until the quiche is golden and set in the center, about 35 minutes.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before cutting into wedges and serving warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition facts per serving (makes 8 servings): 171 calories, 17 grams protein, 7 grams
What is your favorite fall outdoor activity? What is your favorite breakfast food? I would love to know! Connect with me on social media and share with me your ideas.
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” – Unknown