In any normal year, the fall would bring visions of kids heading towards yellow school buses with their backpacks. Or maybe college students heading back to school. Instead, we enter a new world of online learning at home or on college campuses. The world continues to be an uncertain place; our routines continue to be disrupted. But unlike the summer when routines are normally askew, we need to pull it back in and adjust to something different this fall.
It is time to get back into a groove and get your health back on track. Here are some easy ways to do that.
Create A Roadmap for Eating
One of the easiest places to begin is with food. How do you do this? Well, it begins with a plan. No, I am not talking about some grand meal plan, just a roadmap of how you will eat for a week.
- Decide on your day to shop.
- Review the week, the weather, your activities (which nights is it near impossible for you to cook), and begin to map out what you might want to cook. Check what is for sale at your local store. You can use things like Pinterest or websites/apps like –> Yummly for inspiration. And you can make “theme” nights – Mexican Monday or Soup Sunday, etc. If you’ve never planned your meals for the week, >>here<<is an easy meal plan guide to help you. It maps out each day, an area for recipe reference, and if the meal is a leftover or not.
- Within your plan, allow for leftovers either for another dinner or lunch. You can also freeze leftovers for a meal the following week!
- Define time to prep the ingredients you can for your upcoming meals or even pre-cook components of your meals. This doesn’t have to take forever- just even an hour can be helpful.
- Be careful about overloading your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. If you don’t see it, you might miss it and either buy it again or find it has spoiled.
- Have some defined “back up” meals that you can easily defrost or make, or even go purchase for nights when your plan won’t work after all.
This last point is super important. We all have days where we end up working later than expected or something else happens and we don’t have the time to cook. I think of these moments as “fire drills.” In a fire drill, you have a plan right? You know where the route to safety is. Eating is no different. When the unexpected happens, have a plan because you will be less likely to say, “screw it” and eat something really unhealthy. Part of this plan might be getting carryout from a local restaurant. Yes, carryout. The difference is, you already know where and what you will order that meets your dietary goals.
Yep. That’s right, pack your lunch. You may think that you don’t have to do this for yourself or your kids because, well… you’re at home working and they are doing virtual school. Actually, this is when these steps are even more important. When you are sitting around at home and only have a moment to grab food before your next meeting or your child’s next class, you will reach for something easy to grab. Unfortunately often the easy to grab foods aren’t the healthiest. If your lunch is already ready to go and you only have to pull it out and eat it, you will be more likely to eat good food. The bonus is with everyone home, you can make use of leftovers more easily for kids lunches.
If you use a step tracker, you may have noticed your daily steps have dropped over the last few months. Think about it. Maybe you are using Instacart more, or you’re not commuting, or you aren’t out running errands or transporting kids to activities. Instead, you are in your home. You and your children are sitting in front of their monitors for hours on end. Simply put, you aren’t moving. What can you do?
- Set a step goal using a tracker or even your smartphone.
- Join a movement challenge via an app or with a group of friends. Social Steps for Apple devices is one, but there are many out there. You could also take it up a notch and participate in a paid challenge to help raise money for a cause like supporting the World Wildlife Foundation with a challenge like this –>one.
- Set a time goal for movement each out. This could be to go up and down stairs once per hour, or walk up and down your street for five minutes. It doesn’t have to be a large block of time, even moving five to ten minutes several times a day would help.