Routines for a Healthy Fall – Part 2, Meals

Part 2: Meals

 

For most people, fall is the busiest time of year.  Kids are back to school with extracurricular activities and year end goals and deadlines at work are pressing.  In the midst of chaotic and demanding schedules, it can be near impossible to find the time for a proper sit down meal.  However, making time for proper nutrition and the time to enjoy it, is very important for staying healthy.  Here are some tips to make meal time more efficient and enjoyable so you can keep your health AND productive schedule:

 

Menu Planner:  create a menu plan for the week (or the entire month!) and stick to it.  By choosing foods that are in season, you will not only get the freshest and best tasting foods, but also the cheapest.  Select items that can be used in multiple dishes, cutting down on your prep time.

For example:  whole chicken, onions, celery and carrots.  These 4 basics can be made into a variety of dishes – the white meat can go into a quick and easy sitrfry, the dark meat into a stew, and the bones into a soup.  This way you are butchering and chopping once for 3 different meals.

While we don’t recommend using microwaves, time saving gadgets like Crockpots can change your life; cooking dinner for you while you’re out at work.  Who doesn’t love coming home to a hot meal, ready and waiting?  This site has 31 crockpot meal ideas complete with budgets, recipes and shoppings lists.

31-Freezer-Meal-Prep-Sessions-That-Will-Change-Your-Life2

photo credit: newleafwellness.biz

Shopping Routine: create a shopping list and a scheduled day to do ALL the shopping – whether that is once a week or once a month (our preference).  This will save you HOURS of time, so you’re not constantly running to and from the store, not to mention keep you from blowing your budget on impulse purchases and fuel driving around.

 

Prep: do your prep as soon as you get your food home.  Don’t get lazy and throw things in the fridge without washing, chopping and organizing first.  Label containers with contents and best before dates.  This will save you lots of time down the road so make the time to do it right the first time, instead of having to prep every time.  It also saves on food wastage when food is properly stored and easy to grab and use.  Keep healthy snacks located all in one drawer so kids (or kitchen-challenged spouses) can help themselves when you’re not around.

SnackDrawer

photo credit: http://littlepenelopelane.blogspot.ca/

Pavlov’s Clock: set a meal time at the same time each night.  Establishing a routine for meal times is not only good for your health and metabolism, but will help you stay on track with other routines like bedtime.

 

Dinner Date: various studies have shown the benefits of dining with others versus eating alone.  These include making healthier choices, eating smaller portions (avoiding over eating), and eating slower due to conversation, leading to better digestion and Energy Intake from the food.  Whether you are sitting down with your family, a roommate, or just your cat, try to eat your meals in the company of others.

 

Following these tips for creating your new Fall meal routine will help you maintain your health and maximize your productivity so you can enjoy more free time.