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8 Fall Tips for Healthy Living

There's no need to pack on pounds or fall ill this autumn.
By
WebMD Feature

A nip is in the air, as summer eases into the fall season. Football season starts, and so does school. The holidays are right around the corner. So is the flu season. To help keep you healthy over the next few months, we've got these tips:

1. Take a Tailgate Time-out

It's an all-American past-time -- the tailgate party! Tailgating today has progressed far beyond burgers and chips. You'll find everything from cheese dip to spicy chicken wings.

Don't despair: Your tailgate spread doesn't have to sideline your weight loss plan. Grilled kabobs are great fare on the field. Just skewer veggies, fruits, and lean meat, and soak in your favorite marinade. Seafood, salsas, wraps, and stews are good eating, too. A Crock-Pot of chili -- loaded with high-fiber, high-protein beans -- is a classic tailgate dish (don't forget the Beano).

Just remember, alcohol is packed with calories. Enjoy your favorite brew, but switch it out for zero-calorie beverages as the party rolls along. It's all in how you play the game!

2. Sleep Tips to Help Kids' Weight

Does your child get enough sleep? If not, it could affect more than sleepiness at school. Studies suggest there may be a link between skimping on sleep and being overweight. Sleep shortfalls may increase hunger hormones -- so kids eat more. Also, kids are less likely to get exercise (and burn off calories) when they're tired.

To help kids and teens get a good night's sleep:

  • Remove TVs, computers, and gadgets from kids' bedrooms.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Develop a regular bedtime routine.
  • Set firm bedtimes and wake times.
  • Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing -- and not too hot or cold.
  • Help kids quiet down a few hours before bedtime.
  • Heavy studying, text messaging, or video games should end in early evening.

How much sleep do schoolkids need? It depends on the child. But here are some general guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Ages 3-5: 11-13 hours
  • Ages 5-12: 10-11 hours
  • Ages 11-17: 9.5-9.25 hours

 

3. Quit Smoking: You Won't Gain Weight

If you've finally decided to kick the habit, there's good news: Quitting smoking won't make you gain weight over the long term. Some people pick up 4 or 5 pounds early on, but that's only temporary.

To quit successfully, experts agree, get help and support from your doctor, family, friends, and co-workers. A doctor or mental health professional can help you tailor an approach that best suits you. There are many FDA-approved medications to help people quit smoking.

Combine medication with other quit strategies -- like avoiding your smoking triggers or changing your daily routine -- and you greatly increase your odds of quitting for good.

Another tip: Some foods and drinks make cigarettes taste better; some make them taste worse. Try eating more vegetables and less meat -- and swap that coffee (or alcohol) for a glass of milk. Let your taste buds stifle those cravings!

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