As of Wednesday, September 23rd, we are officially in the season of Fall! Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year. There is usually a bounty of outdoor activities to do, the holidays are nearing and as the temperatures go down, our hoodies go up. This doesn’t mean that the availability of fresh produce has to suffer though. There are plenty of great seasonal fruits and vegetables available (including this red tuber) that are just waiting to provide you with great nutrition. Try some of these great seasonal fruits and vegetables to help you reach your daily 5 servings:

• Apples

• Bananas

• Beets

• Broccoli

• Brussels Sprouts

• Carrots

• Cauliflower

• Cranberries

• Garlic

• Ginger

• Grapes

• Mushrooms

• Parsnips

• Pears

• Pineapple

• Pumpkins

• Sweet Potatoes and Yams

• Winter Squash

For more information, visit http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/features-month/whats-season

Physical activity and good nutrition are essential for our children. We are making progress as childhood obesity rates have finally stabilized, but there is still much work to be done. Do your part in keeping our kids healthy! 

Limit screen time. No more than 2 hours daily. This includes tablets, smart phones, computers and television. Doing homework is not included.

Aim for 60 minutes of daily activity. Keep your kids active with at least 60 minutes of physical activities. Whether they are on a sports team, riding bikes around the neighborhood or even playing the latest dance video game, a little exercise each day can go a long way.

Strive for 5 (or more) servings of fruits and vegetables. Include more fruits and vegetables for nutritious choices that will keep them full and healthy.

Eat breakfast daily. Breakfast is essential to growing minds and will help your kids perform well at school, while also promoting a healthy weight. 

Limit sugary sweetened beverages. This includes soda, sweetened teas, as well as fruit juices. Though 100% fruit juice may contain vitamins and minerals present in fruit, it is also a source of extra sugar and Calories that will not satisfy your child’s hunger. Include more water (try infusing it with fruit for extra flavor)

Have a positive meal time. Try to eat at least 3 meals together as a family each week and keep the environment positive. Turn off phones and TV and try to discuss happy topics.


Its 3pm. You still have at least 2 more hours of work before even thinking about dinner, but you just ate lunch a few hours ago. Your stomach is rumbling. You wander around the office and see leftover birthday cake, maybe a half a cup of coffee left in the pot, but turn the corner and see the vending machine. This might be your best bet or only choice in some cases. In a perfect scenario, you would have had a balance lunch with a fair amount of protein to hold you over, or perhaps packed a healthy balanced snack in advance, but if you find yourself going to a vending machine, keep these tips in mind.

Look for something protein based. Proteins take a little more time and work to break down in your body so they aren’t used for immediate energy like carbohydrates. This can keep you fuller for longer with less calories. Though high in salt, beef jerky or mixed nuts can make a great protein-based satisfying snack.

Choose the baked option when looking for a crunch. Whether its baked chips or baked cheese curls, the baked option will typically be a lower calorie choice than the traditional fried option.

Fill up on whole grains. These options should contain more fiber than their refined grain counterparts. A good choice might be popcorn, which is considered a whole grain. Be sure to try to find some that isn’t loaded with cheese or butter. Other good choices would include Triscuit whole grain crackers or Wheat Thins.

Avoid the sweets and candies. This means the skittles, chocolate bars, cakes and cookies. These foods are typically high in refined sugars, carbohydrates and even trans fats. These choices might taste good and boost your energy for a little bit, but leave you crashing hard and feeling hungry again soon. Look for a granola bar made with whole grains that might include a little chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pair a protein with a carbohydrate for the best balanced snack. This combination will keep you satisfied and energized for longer. This may vary depending on your options, but try to choose the nuts with some dried fruit or low-fat cheese with whole grain Triscuit crackers, as an example.


As we get into the unofficial start of the outdoor grilling season, it might be a good idea to make sure you brush up on your food safety knowledge. Be sure to cook your foods to the proper temperature in order to avoid getting sick from any food borne illnesses. It would be wise to invest in a food thermometer and be sure to check the temperature of meats at the thickest part. Use this chart to ensure that you are cooking foods to their proper temperatures. Also, don’t leave your food out in the heat for too long. Perishable foods must be refrigerated at or below 40°F within two hours (only one hour if in weather over 90°F).

For more information on food safety, visit www.homefoodsafety.org and http://www.foodsafety.gov

Use these food safety tips when grilling and celebrating this Labor Day holiday weekend.