Tina Haupert
September 12, 2012

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Now that the summer is coming to an end and fall is upon us, I'm using this transition time (instead of waiting until New Years!) to get myself back on track after the fun (and somewhat indulgent) summer that I enjoyed. If you're in the same boat and have fallen off the healthy living bandwagon over the summer due to vacations and too many warm-weather treats (so long, frozen margaritas and ice cream!), here are some potential challenges you might face and how to overcome them as you prepare for the changing seasons.

Challenge: Finding (certain) fresh produce can be difficult
How to deal: Shop the frozen-food section
During the summer, it's easy to fill your meals with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, but when the colder months roll around, it's harder to find them in abundance. Instead of missing out on these foods and their important nutrients, I use the frozen variety (frozen berries are a delicious addition to oatmeal) or alter my recipes to include produce that is in season (like these Pumpkin Walnut-Muffins). A lot of farmers' markets stay open well into November, so you can stock up on seasonal vegetables, including a variety of root vegetables, which are typically inexpensive and a great way to add variety to your diet.

Fall challenge: High-calorie (and very tempting) comfort foods
How to deal: Try smaller portions, or "recipe-makeover" them
As soon as the temperature starts to drop, I immediately crave warm, hearty, autumn comfort foods. You know what I'm talking about—pecan pie, apple crisp, mashed potatoes, turkey stuffing, and creamy soups—but I don’t love the extra calories that come with them. While I can’t bear to skip out on my seasonal favorites and stick with salads all winter long, I know my jeans won’t fit by Christmas if I don’t show some restraint, so I enjoy them in moderation. If I'm drooling over a piece of my mom's pumpkin pie, I serve myself just enough to satisfy my craving without overdoing it. If you aren't willing to forgo portion size, there are many ways to lighten-up your fall favorites.

Fall challenge: The days are shorter
How to deal: Try something new
I always struggle to stick to my workouts when the cold weather arrives, especially when there's less daylight to motivate me. It might seem like I have less time to exercise, but instead of letting my new fall schedule put a damper on my fitness routine, I use it to my advantage by trying something new and adding some variety to my workouts. During this season, local teams start to form, bootcamp sessions begin, and new exercise classes get started at the gym, so it's a great time to find a new fitness idea that peaks your interest. Plus, a good workout doesn't have to seem like exercise. A day spent apple picking or raking leaves is a fun way to burn calories and enjoy the beautiful, crisp autumn weather!

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