The summer may be winding down, but healthy family fun doesn't have to end just because the season does. Make the school-year calendar your ally with these cool ideas for great food and family time.
- This may be the symbolic end of summer, but the weather's still fine, so get the family on their bikes and head to the park, the beach, the pool, or your favorite outdoor eatery. Don't forget to take the scenic route, keeping an eye out for the first turning leaves, or summer's last flowers or fruits.
- Going away for Labor Day? Be on the lookout for local, late-season produce and nuts at your destination. Or enjoy healthy regional specialties like salsas in the south west, seafood in the north, or specialty cheeses in the Midwest.
- Take the "labor" in Labor Day literally and do a little something for your hometown (or your vacation destination). For example, walk to the local lake or park and on the way fill up a bag, big or small, with litter you find on the way. Make it a contest, if that gets everyone motivated. All that bending and squatting provides a great workout!
- Celebrate the Jewish New Year with the family by doing something new. The weather's still temperate in many locations, so get out in it and do something you've never done before. New family activities to try might include disc golf, horseback riding, or kayaking.
- Eat something new at breakfast, lunch or dinner today, with everyone picking a fun and healthy food. Roam the supermarket aisles looking for cool produce -- maybe dragon fruit or star fruit, ramps or lemon cucumbers, purple potatoes or bright orange cauliflower -- then look for recipes to make with your new treats.
- A time to thank those who've served in the military, why not make healthy and tasty goodies for the veterans you know? Bake up a couple dozen fruit-and-nut cookies, some banana bread, or a crumble with frozen fruits that hearken back to the summer just past.
- The weather's getting colder, but there's still fun to be had outside. A few spots are still alive with fall foliage. If you live in one, get out there and hunt for the prettiest fallen leaves. Winner gets to decide what's for dinner.
Too cold to be outside? Head indoors and exercise your mind. Visit a local museum and enjoy the paintings and exhibits together. Which is the family favorite? Which makes everyone smile? Which would you or the kids like to see every day, say hanging on the living room wall?
- Taking part in a food-related fund-raiser? Raise the bar and create new treats to offer a hungry public. How about bananas or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate? Bring a cooler full of fruit or yogurt pops -- blend juice and your favorite fruits; or combine yogurt, fruit, and juice, then freeze.
- Opt for alternative fund-raisers like a car wash or a multi-family garage sale. Plan a 3K walk-run, complete with sponsors, or hold a fair, with games, and activities like three-legged races and treasure hunts.