Like it or not, summer is starting to wind down, and with the return of fall comes the return of our hectic schedules. Kids are going back to school, summer office hours are coming to an end, and it becomes more and more difficult make room in our daily routine for healthy habits. Studies show that people consume an average of 200 calories more per day during the fall season than they do in the summer months. Perhaps this is due to less outdoor activities, more on-the-go snacking, or simply that we no longer have the need to be bikini-ready when the weather cools down. Whatever the reason may be, keep that fall flab at bay with these 7 tips to keeping that bikini body all year long. It may not be autumn just yet, but these tips will help you to be prepared when fall is in full swing.
1. Plan healthy weekday meals ahead of time.
Between work, school, and extra-curricular activities, there’s not always time to prepare a healthy dinner every night. Avoid the diet-derailing drive-thru by planning quick and healthy meals at the beginning of each week. Do your grocery shopping over the weekend, and make a list of everything you will need for dinner that week. Meals don’t need to be complicated to be healthy. Pre-cut, frozen vegetables can be a great time-saving alternative to chopping up fresh veggies, and they retain just as many nutrients. There are also some great recipes online that require five or less ingredients and only 15-30 minutes of prep and cook time. Check out www.allrecipes.com for some quick and easy ideas. The crockpot is another great way to prepare meals that require little work and cleanup. Also, consider doubling up on each recipe so that you can save leftovers for later.
2. Reinstate Routines
During the summer, we tend to allow ourselves more time to relax, sleep, and participate in activities that we often feel we don’t have time for come fall, but these things are essential to good health. The key to keeping up these healthy habits is to schedule them into your day. Adequate sleep is a vital part of staying healthy, so set a nightly bedtime and stick to it. Power down your laptop and turn off your TV when bedtime hits, so you won’t be tempted to stay up late flipping channels or surfing the Internet. Do the same for your workout routine. Pick a specific time during the day, whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch hour, or after work to hit the gym, and schedule other priorities around it so that you always have time for a little exercise. Even if you only have fifteen or twenty minutes to spare, remember that every little bit counts. The trick to having time is to make time, so planning ahead will help to keep you on track.
3. Pack a Healthy Lunch
Instead of hitting up the nearest fast food joint on your lunch break, try packing yourself a healthy lunch to bring with you to work. Pack it the night before so you can grab it and go in the morning. Not only will you be saving calories, but you’ll save some cash as well.
4. Manage your Stress
It’s no secret that schedules can be stressful, especially at the end of summer when trying to re-adjust to a regular routine. Stress can do damage to your health, however, and can contribute to weight gain as well as heart problems in the long term. Keep your stress levels in check by finding something to help you cope when things get hectic. Check out a yoga class, meditate, or take a short five to ten minute break whenever you feel stressed. Not only will doing so clear your head and help you feel more focused, but you’ll likely avoid other unhealthy habits such as stress-eating to help yourself cope.
5. Do Something Physical Every Weekend
When the pools close and the weather cools down, it’s easy to start spending more time indoors in front the TV, especially after a long week. But instead of vegging out all weekend, plan to do at least one active thing. The weather is beautiful this time of year with fall colors and milder temperatures, so head to the park for a walk and a picnic, check out your local farmer’s market, go hiking, or take your bike out for an afternoon ride.
6. Don’t Go Long Periods Without Eating
When running around between work, errands, and kids’ school and sports practices, it can be easy to go long periods during the day without food. This can have a negative effect on your diet if you end up eating the first thing in sight or over-eating at the end of the day. Avoid running on E by bringing healthy snacks with you on the go. Choose light but filling foods such as almonds, fruit, whole wheat crackers with hummus or cheese, or low-fat, high fiber granola bars that can be easily tucked into a purse or briefcase, but will keep you from feeling famished during a busy day.
7. Eat Breakfast Everyday
No matter what your day entails, you should always make time to eat something before heading out. Not only will eating breakfast jump-start your metabolism and give you energy to power through your morning, but eating breakfast has been proven to boost brain function and prevent weight gain. Choose a healthy breakfast with a combination of protein and whole grains, such as a cup of whole grain cereal with almond milk, a whole wheat English muffin with egg whites and low-fat cheese, or a slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana slices.
Now, get outside and enjoy the last few days of summer! 🙂