Fall means back to school, football and prepping your home for winter!
 501 South Second Street • Mount Vernon • Mon-Fri       • 8a.m.-4:30p.m.

Winterize your home – now.

You’ve started to look for a sweater in the evenings and found yourself wearing jeans again. You’re ready for winter, but what about your house? Take these easy few steps to save yourself money and possibly damage to your home in the coming cold winter months.
  1. Clean your gutters – Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, grab a ladder and gently remove the debris from the gutters. Then, rinse the bottoms of the gutter to ensure good flow of water for those winter showers.
  2. Stop the draft – The cold winter draft that is leaking in around your doors. Take a candle or piece of incense around your home on a windy day and go near doors and windows looking for wind making its way into your home. Also check recessed lighting, door frames and electrical outlets. A variety of caulks, gaskets and weather-stripping is available at any local hardware store.
  3. Insulate your attic – If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, regardless of where in the country, you should consider adding more. It is an easy do-it-yourself project.
  4. Check the furnace – The furnace can run much more efficiently if it has a clean filter in it. Consider changing your filter once a month. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves in efficiency gains.
  5. Check your ducting insulation – Ducting in homes can become exposed from being bumped in the attic or crawlspace over time and there are huge efficiency losses from this. Ensure your ducts are covered with insulation and not exposed. Also, check for any leaks in connections while the system is running.
  6. Single-pane windows – Add an inexpensive window insulation kit to add another “pane” to the glass. This keeps the cold air trapped between another layer instead of entering your home.
  7. Get your chimney swept – A cleaned chimney will remove creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood. Keep your home safe from chimney fires by hiring a professional chimney sweep to remove any build-up.
  8. Reverse your fans – Who knew? You can change the direction of your fan to push warm air downwards. When you look up to your fan, it should be turning clockwise.
  9. Wrap exposed pipes – If a pipe bursts in winter it can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Protect any exposed water pipes with insulation. Pipe insulation is inexpensive and can be applied in minutes.
  10. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors – It is always a good idea to check your batteries in the smoke detectors a couple times per year. Count this as one. 

Deliciously healthy fall foods!

As the temperatures begin to cool, the desire for rich comfort food seems to rise.  With all the wonderful vegetables available during fall, you can still have filling foods without expanding your waistline.

Fruits and Veggies:

Try adding vitamin and fiber rich fruits and veggies to your plate like squash (pumpkin too), dates, apples and pears.  Toss apples, pears, flank steak and goat cheese with your choice of vinaigrette for an easy, delicious salad.  If you're in the mood for pizza try the following recipe:

*1 package store bought whole wheat pizza dough
*4 ounces of pre-cooked chicken, chunked or sliced to your liking
*1 large tomato, diced
*1 Portobello mushroom, diced
*1/2 portion of zucchini, peeled and diced
*1/2 cup of part-skim mozzarella

*Brush a light coating of olive oil and your favorite spices as a base (instead of canned sauce), spread a veggies and chicken evenly across the dough and top with mozzarella cheese.  Follow baking instructions on the package (usually 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling).

More tips for healthy fall eating!

Registered Dietitian Kate Miedema shares some simple tips to keep control of hunger during the colder months.

*Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, ~1/4 w/ protein, ~1/4 w/ bread-type foods (starchy carbs)

*If second portions of a meal are desired, use a smaller sized plate (dessert plate)

*Eat with others and keep meal time social...enjoy the meal. Take your time finishing a meal to allow your hunger hormones to be suppressed and your satiety (feeling of fullness) hormones to kick in

*Eat 2-3 snacks throughout the day to prevent extreme hunger during mealtime, which often leads to eating quickly and consequently over-eating

*Take a walk between a meal and dessert 

*Since fall brings stress of school starting for kids, traffic getting worse, extended family coming to visit for holidays, make sure to be mindful of your hunger signals. Recognize whether you are experiencing emotional hunger (brought on by stress) or actual physical hunger. Always satisfy the physical hunger.


Stay balanced during the fall season

The back-to-school shopping is all done and the sun-kissed glow of summer is fading, fall is definitely here. It also means the days are getting shorter just when you need as much time as you can get! 
Fall comes with commitments like football practice, SAT prep and school play rehearsal.  Make sure that your child’s activities are not overwhelming, meaning he or she still has plenty of time for homework and downtime. 
Encourage kids to finish homework before bed, avoiding a hurried rush during breakfast time.  Plan a family game night once a week so the family can reconnect and just hang out. It goes without saying that fall brings new germs and colds into a household.  Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet to help stave off getting ill. Have a happy and healthy fall!


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