Summer is a time when everyone works toward their bikini bodies, especially since more skin shows. But once fall hits, we pretty much undo the belt straps until New Year’s comes back around to force us to reevaluate where we are.
Instead of getting sucked into that fall slump, use this back-to-school season as an opportunity to make healthy changes for yourself and your family. The new routine is the perfect time to build in new habits. Like all the crisp notebooks and binders, the start of school is an opportunity to start fresh in your healthy living routine.
Six healthy habits to incorporate as the kids head back to school:
Make Bento boxes for yourself and the kids
If you’re packing a lunch for the kids, you might as well pack one for yourself as well. Packing a lunch for work helps you better manage your eating habits. Meals you pack for yourself tend to be healthier than the meals you might hastily grab on your lunch break.
Bento boxes are a fun way to include a range of foods from all food groups. Fill most of the compartments with fruits and vegetables. Then, add some lean protein and healthy fats to round out your lunchtime meal. A meat roll-up, sliced strawberries, sliced cucumber, and an avocado make an ideal combination for kids and adults alike.
Leave the snacks and sugary drinks out of everyone’s lunches, and you might even end up being more productive. Food is fuel, and it pays to be selective with the best fuel.
Make new after-dinner traditions
The start of school is a great time to implement healthier habits. The hours between dinner and bedtime are the perfect time to incorporate some healthier routines.
TV time can lead to obesity, behavioral problems, and sleep disruptions. To limit screen time, take a walk after dinner instead. Taking a walk provides all the epic benefits of exercise and it helps you digest that meal you just ate better than sitting. It also builds meaningful family time into your day. It’s a winning strategy all around.
Sign up for a sport
When the kids sign up for football, you could sign up for a sport too. Your city’s recreation department, your workplace, or your local YMCA likely offer adult sports. If organized sports aren’t your thing, you can always join a workout class at EFS. That way, you can design an active lifestyle for your whole family.
Quick dinners/snacks at your disposal
Homework, sports, and piano lessons might leave you time-starved in the evenings. Those circumstances often lead you to grab fast food and order pizza most nights of the week. Sound familiar?
To combat this eating pattern, make a list of quick healthy meals that take a few minutes or less to prepare for those frenzied nights. Then, make sure you always have the ingredients on-hand. For example, a Steamer bag of vegetables, a Steamer bag of brown rice, and a can of chickpeas take minutes to put together and create a nutritious dinner. Preparation helps you avoid the temptation of immediate fast-food gratification.
Enforce bedtime for everyone
The slack bedtimes of summer have been traded for routine bedtimes as the kids head back to school. That goes for you too, mom and dad!
Sleep deprivation has a strong correlation to obesity. During sleep, our hormones reset and our bodies repair themselves. Without adequate sleep, our bodies tend to hang onto extra weight. Our hunger hormones go into overdrive, and being awake for more hours makes us eat more.
Sleep is so essential for everyone in the house. So, make sure to go to sleep shortly after the kids. Limit screen time and follow a relaxing wind-down routine to help you fall into a deep, restorative sleep.
Find healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods
It’s officially pumpkin spice and football season, which screams comfort food! We don’t want you to avoid your favorite comfort foods, but you can make healthier versions of them. Swapping out heavier ingredients for more nutritious ones will help you with your healthy living efforts.
Check out the recipes on our blog or perform a Pinterest search for “healthy chili” or “healthy pumpkin spice latte.” Replace your favorite recipes with healthier versions to revamp your dinner rotation.
Take a recess
When is the last time you took your lunch break and your other two shorter breaks? It’s funny how taking your breaks has become such a novel idea. But healthwise, sitting for so many hours straight is so bad for you, it’s actually been deemed “sitting disease.” The negative effects on your body are comparable to smoking!
Knowing that, you can make an effort to use your breaks to minimize the number of hours straight you sit. Just like your kids get out for recess, get up and walk around the building, inside or out, during your breaks to take a mental and physical break. You’ll likely come back to your work more focused and energized too!