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6 Healthy Ways to Celebrate Fall So It's Not All PSLs and Cider Donuts

By Staff | November 7, 2018 | <a href="https://greatist.com/" class="greatist-link" target="_blank" /><img src="/assets/Greatist_Logo_White.svg" alt="Greatist" /></a>

Fall is the best season ever (we don't even care if that makes us basic). But let's be real: With apple cider donuts, pumpkin spice everything, leftover Halloween candy, and comfort food galore, it's not always the healthiest time of year.

Here are seven fun but healthy ways to celebrate the best season of all. Now get out there and grab fall by the leaves.

1. Get in the game.

No one's here to tell you that posting up on the couch with a plate of nachos to watch your favorite team isn't one of life's greatest pleasures. But it's also pretty easy to squeeze in some activity while you cheer 'em on.

"I incorporate a ton of movement while watching football games," Rob Sulaver, Rumble founding trainer and founder of Bandana Training, says. "I'll do my own touchdown dances and things like that. The more you participate in the game, the more calories you’re burning."

It could be as simple as actually jumping up and celebrating each first down or doing push-ups every time your team scores, mascot style. Up for a challenge? Try this halftime workout.

2. Add this ingredient to traditional fall dishes.

Beans may seem humble, but they're powerful little guys: Not only are they high in protein and fiber, but they also leave you feeling full and satisfied. And while beans are delicious any time of year, they pair particularly well with fall flavors and are an easy way to make any dish more nutritious. Try one of these flavorful recipes.

3. Go all in on fall activities.

If you think pumpkin patches and corn mazes are just for kids, think again. Traditional fall activities are a great way to celebrate the season because they usually take place outside, require you to move around a bit, and are better with friends—all things that are good for both your mental and physical health.

Embrace the corniness and find the fall-iest festivities you can. Pick apples at a nearby orchard. Go to a local festival and jump in a bounce house, dance the polka, paint a pumpkin, or just enjoy the autumn produce. Round up the fam for a fall race or Turkey Trot. Or simply go for a walk and leaf peep.

4. Don't wait until November 22 to be thankful.

Starting today, write down five things you're grateful for each night—and be specific (e.g., "that kind stranger who held the door open for me at the post office," not "my family"). It may sound a little woo-woo, but practicing gratitude regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Yep, yourself. It can actually make you physically and mentally healthier, strengthen your relationships, and make you less angry toward others. One study even showed that writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes helped participants worry less and sleep better.

5. Think outside the mashed-potato box.

Getting creative with mashed veggies is one of Megan Templeman's, B.S., N.T.P., and R.W.P., favorite fall activities.

"I call them 'mashers,' since they're not strictly potatoes," she says. "You can mash just about anything for a healthy treat. My favorites are mashed rutabaga and carrots."

Even better if you reach for something orange (ahem, like that pumpkin above). Veggies with a deep, rich orange color contain more phytonutrients, which have been linked to disease prevention, Templeman says.

6. Cozy up with a fall drink at home.

There's nothing wrong with indulging in a yearly pumpkin spice latte or the occasional caramel apple cider, but most coffee-shop drinks are loaded with sugar, whipped cream (more sugar), and weird artificial flavors and preservatives. By making your own festive drink at home, you'll know exactly what goes into it—and may even savor it more since you won't be chugging on the go.

If you're a traditionalist, try this better-for-you pumpkin spice latte, made with actual pumpkin purée and maple syrup. Ready to branch out? Whip up a tahini hot chocolate, almond milk chai latte, or honey and miso latte