All Entries For fall

Get Fit before You Feast: A November Challenge!

Halloween is just around the corner, and we all know what that means—the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Unfortunately, the "most wonderful time of the year" also tends to be the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people; especially for those who are striving to lose weight or get fit. How do you avoid falling off the wagon during such a busy time full of food, friends and family obligations? 
Posted 10/27/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 212 comments   81,806 views
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Back On Track: A Consistency Challenge for August!

It's almost August, and whether we like it or not, the days of summer are dwindling. Bathing suit season may be mostly behind you, but that doesn't mean it's time to abandon your healthy efforts now that autumn is in sight! Plus, maybe all those barbecues you've attended this summer are starting to show on the scale. Maybe your vacations and kids' activity schedules have taken precedence over your exercise routine. Maybe, now that the wild ride of the season is coming to an end, it's time to get back on track and consciously recommit to your healthy lifestyle. And we're here to help you do it with a brand new challenge!  
Posted 7/29/2014  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 449 comments   109,986 views
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Gear Up for the Perfect Tailgate

Once you've planned the perfect tailgate party, you'll want to stock up on gear to help you celebrate your favorite team and serve up delicious snacks in style.

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite products to make your party even more fun.

(We're showcasing Bengals gear here, since SparkPeople's hometown is Cincinnati, but all the team products listed are available for your favorite NFL teams.)
Posted 11/15/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 7 comments   8,029 views
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10 Ways to Eat Pumpkin (That Aren't Pie)

Whipped cream-laden Thanksgiving pie notwithstanding, pumpkin has a healthy nutritional profile, with more than 200% of our RDA of Vitamin A, plus about one-third of our daily Vitamin C and nearly one-quarter of our fiber requirements. And it has just 40 calories per serving. (Without that whipped cream, of course.)
Canned pumpkin is widely available in grocery stores during the fall/winter holiday season. (Note: Be sure to grab plain pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix in a can, which includes sweeteners, spices and other ingredients to make a pie.) One can of pumpkin contains about 1 3/4 cup. Some canned pumpkin can have a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best suited for sweet recipes. For pumpkin-based dips or sauces, try making your own pumpkin puree; it’s super easy.
Posted 11/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 34 comments   115,785 views
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Festive Football Food Accessories

Whether you're having a get together to watch the big game, a Super Bowl bash or a party for your kid's football team, there are tons of great themed accessories available to help bring your appetizers to life.
Posted 11/13/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 6 comments   11,470 views
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Be Aware of Your Diabetes Risk

Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about all the tools and content you can find on SparkPeople to help you successfully manage your diabetes whether you've been diagnosed as pre-diabetic or are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, while another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Many diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed with careful attention to diet, exercise, medication and blood glucose monitoring.
Posted 11/8/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 1 comments   10,052 views
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16 Seasonal Supermarket Treats Worth Trying

Which flavors come to mind when you think about fall? Apple, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger? Probably no flavor is more closely associated with fall than pumpkin. It seems as though every food company and restaurant under the sun is offering limited edition pumpkin delights these days—you can find the flavor in just about everything from yogurt to granola bars to tea.

But just like a lot of the foods found year-round that may sound healthy, many pumpkin-flavored treats are high in calories, fat and sugar (or all three). (Check out our list of fall's most fattening foods here.) In many cases, you'd be better off having a slice of pumpkin pie, than that "innocent" impulse item tempting you from the checkout line!

So which pumpkin treats are worth trying this fall? We scoured supermarket shelves to discover seasonal offerings that will let you indulge—without breaking the calorie bank.

There are actually more supermarket options than you might think, some of which even contain real pumpkin (instead of artificial pumpkin flavor). Pumpkin, along with the rest of the winter squash family, is packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.
The top supermarket pumpkin treats worth trying fall into three categories:

Pumpkin-Flavored Drinks
While you won't find any actual pumpkin in most pumpkin-flavored drinks, they can still offer a low-calorie way to enjoy fall's most popular flavor.

Pumpkin-Flavored Bars
You always have to be careful in this aisle, as snack and energy bars are often just candy bars wearing a "healthy" halo. But the right bars can be a convenient, on-the-go choice when you're busy.

Pumpkin-Flavored Breakfast Foods and Snacks
Pumpkin makes a great complement to many breakfast foods. It's easy to find pumpkin donuts and pastries at the grocery store, but there are low-calorie, high-flavor options, too.

This tea offers lots of flavor with zero calories. 

If you have a Keurig brewer, you can try this flavorful brew.  

If you use a regular coffee machine, Trader Joe's offers this fall coffee flavor.

To punch up the flavor of pumpkin or regular coffee, use this syrup.  

If you like your coffee with cream, International Delight offers this tasty creamer

If you crave a cold, pumpkin-flavored drink this beverage could be just the thing to quench your thirst.  

This coconut milk contains some real pumpkin and only 1 gram of fat. 

These granola bars are 170 calories per serving (that's two bars per package).

These nutrition bars would be appropriate before or after a strenuous workout.

This Alt bar is also workout-worthy with 220 calories and 10 grams of soy-free protein.

This cream cheese spread is offered every fall—and it’s made with real pumpkin.

Pop two of these waffles into the toaster for a filling breakfast at home or on the go. 

For a protein-packed option, this yogurt flavor comes with a whopping 14 grams of protein per serving.

These cereal bars are not a bad choice to satisfy a pumpkin craving without going for a pastry.

Swap out your usual breakfast cereal for one serving of these for a tasty choice to keep you full through the morning. 

To add protein, healthy fat and some fun pumpkin flavor to yogurt or oatmeal, try these almonds.  

Serving  Size  Calories  Fat  Carbs  Sugar  Protein  Contains Pumpkin
Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Califia Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee 8 oz 90 3 g 15 g 12 g 1 g yes
Clif Spiced Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 240 4.5 g 45 g 25 g 8 g yes
Green Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice K-Cup 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
International Delight Fat Free and Sugar Free Creamer 1 Tbsp 15 0 g 3 g 0 g 0 g no
Kashi Crunchy Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice Flax 2 bars 170 6 g 26 g 10 g 5 g yes, seeds
Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Mini-Wheats 25 biscuits 190 1 g 46 g 12 g 5 g no
Larabar Alt Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 220 6 g 30 g 18 g 10 g yes
Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice Waffle 2 waffles 210 7 g 35 g 6 g 2 g yes
Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds 28 g 160 12 g 9 g 5 g 5 g yes
Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt 1 container 130 2 g 13 g 11 g 14 g yes
So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk Beverage 1/2 cup 70 1 g 15 g 14 g 0 g yes
Torani Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup 1 oz 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Trader Joe’s low-fat Pumpkin Bars 1 bar 140 2.5 g 27 g 1 g 15 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread 2 Tbps 70 5 g 6 g 4 g 0 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Coffee 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
More Food Ideas for Pumpkin Lovers
  • These sweet treats feature the goodness of real pumpkin, which adds moisture and flavor while lowering the fat in the recipes.
  • For a festive fall twist on hummus, try this pumpkin bean dip.
  • To warm up a fall evening, fill up a bowl with delicious spiced pumpkin soup (that can be made in just 20 minutes)!
What your favorite healthy way to enjoy fall's favorite flavors? Have you tried any of the fall foods above?
Posted 11/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 41 comments   57,989 views
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A Seriously FUN Full-Body Workout for Fall

Tired of the same old exercises? Are curls, raises, rows and squats no longer doing it for you? Fret not, fearless exerciser, for we have a fun workout that will change all of that!
These seven exercises require a little imagination but otherwise no equipment at all. You can do them outdoors, inside a tiny apartment or even on an empty soccer field. As a bonus, this is a workout that your kids will LOVE to do with you—because it feels more like play than exercise. So if you're a mom or dad who needs to squeeze in exercise on top of childcare responsibilities, this is a win-win-win. (The extra "win" is because your little one will become your accountability partner and will ask to do the whole routine with you again and again!)
Posted 10/28/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 26 comments   39,878 views
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6 Smart Ways to Stay on Track This Season

The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the couch is looking a whole lot comfier. This time of year, attendance at the gym drops and our desires to exercise and eat right fall lower on our priority list. Between back to school, tailgating, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the year-end frenzy at work, Christmas, New Year's and everything in between, it's no wonder we need to "restart" again on January 1.
As fall morphs into the busy holiday season, let's choose to make this year different. Let's commit ourselves to just one simple goal to stay on track. You might not be able to do everything perfectly between Halloween and New Year's Eve, but you can do something.
SparkPeople has a lot of fun, simple and effective challenges that are the perfect pick-me-up for your program. I would recommend choosing ONE program listed below to focus your efforts. These are all great ways to re-commit this fall and hit the ground running this holiday season!
Posted 10/25/2013  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 14 comments   26,922 views
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How to Make Yourself Work Out When It's Dark Out

As much as I love fall, I don't love the darkness that comes with it. It's already getting darker earlier each night, and it's staying dark even when I wake up in the morning. I am not a fan of that!
It's hard enough to be a morning person and wake up to work out, but when the moon is still out when your alarm goes off, forget about it! Then again, if you hit snooze and wait to work out after work, you might be faced with the same problem.
I will admit that it's not easy for me to get up and be gung ho for a workout session. I am not and never will be a morning person. It's hard for me to wake up just about every day. But I do manage to stick to my morning workouts (most days anyway). And no, I don't have super human powers …which means you can do it, too. Here's how.
Posted 10/19/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 148 comments   1,045,301 views
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Contest Closed: Exclusive 'Trick or Track' Step Challenge for October

We're taking a big step in helping you get fit! SparkPeople has just released the Spark, our very own activity tracker that integrates perfectly with the rest of SparkPeople's online tools. The Spark Activity Tracker requires no charging, determines the specific type of workout you're doing (walking vs. running vs. elliptical) and automatically logs your fitness minutes directly to your SparkPeople Fitness Tracker!

The new Spark Activity Tracker is just one more way to get you motivated and moving toward your goals—and we're here to help you along the way. Everyone who uses a Spark is eligible to participate in monthly fitness challenges that will motivate you to get out there and walk, run or bike your way to reaching your goals each month. Our very first challenge, the Trick or Track Halloween Challenge, starts on October 1 and offers some BIG prizes! 
Posted 10/3/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Megan Patrick : 10,696 views
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Join Our Photo-a-Day Challenge in October

As you know, we're now on Instagram, the photo and video sharing app! We love how easy Instagram is to use and that it allows us to share fun, healthy tidbits from behind the scenes at SparkPeople every day. While we do love writing about healthy living, it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Over the last few months, we've loved seeing your photos documenting your healthy living habits. From your daily lunch photos to selfies after the gym, we love witnessing the proof that healthy living is possible--and fun!

You know how much SparkPeople likes challenges. We had such fun with our #backontrack consistency challenge in August that we're doing another one--on Instagram this time!
Posted 9/23/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 17 comments   43,991 views
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Get Back on the Wagon: 5 Tips to Start Fresh this Fall

Summer is winding down and now my favorite season of the year is here: fall. I have always felt nostalgic and dreamy this time of year. I think it's because I enjoyed school as a kid and still associate the autumn season with the start of a new school year that promised good times, good friends and even better memories that still live with me today, like the smell of bonfires, Friday night football games, donning my favorite new back-to-school clothes, and my feet crunching on leaves in the crisp weather. Fall even smells better, if you ask me.

Why not harness the magical power of this new season (which begins officially on September 23) to recommit to your healthy living goals and weight-loss program? You may not be heading back to school like you did in years past, but that doesn’t mean that you can't reinvent yourself all the same.
Posted 9/21/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 109 comments   79,494 views
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Plus-Size Workout Wear for Fall

Since I started working at SparkPeople this April, I've gotten into the habit of wearing workout clothes to work on most days of the week. It helps me fit in fitness breaks throughout the day without having to spend time changing clothes. But because I'm wearing fitness gear so much, my old ratty yoga pants and oversized T-shirts just aren't cutting it anymore. If this is what I'm going to wear every day, I want to look cute, too! Luckily, it's getting easier and easier to find cute workout clothes in extended sizes. (I wear a 14 or 16 depending on the brand.)
Fall is a tricky season for exercise clothes. It can be quite cool in the mornings but then warm up throughout the day. There are also sometimes weeks of lingering summer heat or sudden, overnight cold snaps. At least that's what it's like here in Ohio. If you don't like the weather, just wait 24 hours and you'll get something completely different! My strategy is to dress in layers and to always keep some of my summer clothes in the rotation until the first freeze of the season. Here are some of my current favorites and some things I'm putting on my list for fall shopping.
Posted 9/15/2013  8:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 37 comments   32,944 views
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Try This 42-Calorie Spaghetti Swap

Fall and winter squash varieties, including acorn, butternut and spaghetti, are now showing up in farmers’ markets. You’ll be delighted by how delicious, easy to prepare and versatile spaghetti squash can be.
Spaghetti squash is named for its uncanny resemblance to pasta once cooked. The squash is tasty yet neutral enough to pair with anything you would normally eat atop pasta.
And, if you're watching your carb intake, spaghetti squash should go in your cart. Take a look at how it measures up against standard noodles:
Posted 4/2/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 125 comments   580,057 views
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