Whenever your daily routine changes, it’s easy for certain habits to get lost in the shuffle. The start of a new school year is a prime example: maybe you’ve done a great job eating healthy and being active all summer, but as soon as you’re back to making lunches and driving the kids to and from activities, you find that it’s harder to focus on your own goals.
The good news is, with some forethought and planning, you can use the changes in your routine and the weather to cue other adjustments that support your health and weight-loss goals. Rather than using a new school year as an excuse to let your healthy habits slide, adjust them so that they fit into the new rhythms of fall. Try the following tips for kicking off healthy habits at the start of the new season:
- Plan ahead. Plan meals for the entire week and do your grocery shopping over the weekend. Create a shared calendar for the entire family, and review it when you plan your meals. If evenings look jam-packed, buy healthy foods that are easy to prepare so that you aren’t tempted to hit the drive-thru on the way home. Bagged salads and pre-cut veggies can be a huge time saver.
- Keep it simple. Save new or complicated recipes for the weekend, and stick to tried-and-true easy meals during the week.
- Prep for the week. After getting home from the store, cut up fruits and veggies for the week, and store them in individual baggies. If the kids are big enough, enlist their help. Use the pre-made baggies in lunches or keep them on hand for after-school snacks.
- Pack a healthy lunch. If you’re making lunches for the kids, make one for yourself as well. If mornings tend to be hectic, make everyone’s lunch the night before.
- Buy easy breakfast foods. Speaking of hectic mornings, keep foods like bananas, nuts, and sugar-free yogurt on hand in case you don’t have time to eat breakfast. Our On-the-Go Bars also make a great meal substitute when you’re in a hurry.
- Avoid unhealthy, processed snack foods. You may be tempted to buy cookies, fruit snacks, and other packaged foods so that you have convenient foods for kids’ lunches and after-school snacks. But if junk food is in the house, you’ll be tempted to eat it, too. Use the opportunity to set an example and teach the kids habits that will help them stay healthy as they get older.
- Switch up your fitness routine. If you’re used to exercising after work, but now your evenings are full of rehearsals and practices, see if you can find another time to work out. Or instead of watching practice from the bleachers, spend the time walking the perimeter of the field.
- Split up chores. Assign age-appropriate chores to all the kids after dinner so that you don’t feel stuck with all the work. Then use the time saved to do something active, like take a walk around the block with the entire family.
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