Fun Family Fitness Ideas & Recipes

By Michelle Mamis, RD, LDN
Bariatric Dietitian at BIDMC

wagon of fresh-picked applesAlthough we’ve experienced some mild fall weather so far, it’s certainly a lot cooler than the dog days of summer. Are you looking for some fun ways to incorporate exercise into your fall routine?  If so, try these:

  • Take a nature walk or go for a hike. Fall brings beautiful colors of foliage, in addition to comfortable cool temperatures. Consider going for a walk or a hike in an outdoor area you have yet to explore.
  • Go to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches for more than just picking! These vast and beautiful orchards are a perfect place to go for a day of walking around and having fun with family. Many of these orchards also have mazes and other outdoor activities, which allows you to get in more steps while still having fun.
  • Do your family and friends play soccer, basketball or other sports? Fall is the perfect time to head outside and pick up a friendly game.
  • The changing of the leaves in fall means lots of yard work. Do your kids love to jump in leaf piles for hours? Spending an afternoon outside raking leaves is a great way to stay active.
  • Walk around the weekly farmer’s market or other fall outdoor markets. Find some fresh seasonable produce to try new recipes for the family to enjoy. Check out the recipes below for some fall favorites!


White Bean and Pumpkin Hummus with Pita Chips

Serves 12 (serving size: 3 Tbsp hummus & 4 pita chips)


  • 3 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, each split in half horizontally to form 2 rounds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly brush rough sides of pitas with olive oil; sprinkle with kosher salt. Cut each pita half into 8 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheets.

Bake for 5 minutes; rotate pans, and bake 5 additional minutes or until crisp and golden.

While chips bake, place pumpkin puree and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth (about 30 seconds). Serve pumpkin spread with pita chips.


Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables

Serves 10 (serving size: about 2/3 cup)


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, divided 
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 pound peeled cubed butternut squash (about 3 cups) 
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/4 cups) 
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 
  • 8 ounces small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved


Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine oil, mustard, thyme, 2 teaspoons vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine butternut squash, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes in a large bowl. Add mustard mixture to squash mixture; toss to coat.

Spread vegetable mixture in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 35 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring gently with a spatula after 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Drizzle with remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar; toss and serve.


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