While the winter holidays have a reputation for challenging the resolve of healthy eaters, many people find themselves more likely to overindulge during the summer months. We all feel like letting our responsibilities go when temperatures warm—so we visit a favorite seasonal ice cream shop frequently, or load our plate with rich food at cookouts. By August, our clothes fit tighter than they did on Memorial Day and our energy is lagging.
If you’ve let your healthy routine lapse, now’s the time to use that “back to school” energy to refocus—even if you don’t have kids. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Involve the whole family: Whether you live with your partner and children or roommates, involve as many people as you can in developing your game plan for a healthier fall. It’s easier to stick to your strategy if everyone feels invested in it.
- Start with breakfast: Eating a nutritious breakfast sets the tone for your whole day. Be sure that your breakfast includes protein, high-fiber whole grains and fruit to provide optimal nutrition and long-lasting energy for work or school.
- Get active: Not a fan of summer’s heat and humidity? Plan to get outside more in the cooler weather. Before your fall schedule fills up, ask your family members to pick a healthy activity each weekend—whether it’s a hike, apple picking, or a local fun-run or walk. Add it to your calendar now to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy healthy fall fun.
- Celebrate the season in color: It’s easy to eat the rainbow during autumn’s harvest. Incorporate a variety of seasonal produce, in an array of colors and flavors, to your meals. From deep red beets to bright orange sweet potatoes and dark green kale, see how many colors you can add to your plate.
- Get enough sleep: Don’t wait until the first day of school to acclimate to an earlier wake-up time. Start establishing a sleep schedule now. It’s important for kids, but adults should have a regular bedtime and wake-up—even on the weekends.
- Snack mindfully: Waiting too long between meals can lead to over-indulging. Carry items such as apples and pears, nuts, sodium-free pretzels and trail mix to ward off hunger when you’re on the go. Also, watch what you eat in front of the television. Stop to ask yourself if you’re snacking because you’re hungry, or because you’re bored or anxious. Pick healthy options when watching football or the new fall TV lineup.
- Embrace the slow cooker: Running low on time as you get back into a healthy routine? It’s easy to create seasonal, healthy meals that are simple, satisfying and tasty in the slow cooker. You can even cook pasta in it! Check out this heart-healthy recipe for Chicken Parmesan with Eggplant and Angel Hair Pasta.
With a little preparation, households of all sizes can enjoy a healthier fall.
Want more meal planning strategies and tips? Join Tahli Adler for a FREE wellness talk at South Shore Medical Center Norwell on August 29 at 6 p.m. This event is open to the public, but advance registration is required. Click here to register for Fall Back Into Healthy Eating.