6 Ways to Effectively Build Healthy Habits
By Alyssa Kessel, RDN, LD, Expert Dietitian
I don’t know about you, but fall is my absolute favorite time of year. There is just something about the crisp air, colorful leaves, apple picking, football, and cozy sweaters that makes saying goodbye to summer not as tough.
But for many of my patients, this time of year is challenging. It can be hard to stay committed to healthy habits – or to start new ones. If that sounds familiar, let’s commit together to trying something new and falling back on track with your weight loss goals.
Here are my 6 recommendations to enjoy your healthiest fall yet!
1. Get back into a routine
Now that summer is over, the kids are back in school, and vacations and weekend commitments have slowed down, it’s time to take advantage of your weeks having more structure in the fall. Routine is key when it comes to forming long-lasting healthy habits, such as meal prepping and physical activity.
Try planning out the week’s meals on Sundays. Make that trip to the grocery store, and take it a step further by meal prepping your produce for easy packing. As for exercising, check your calendar and find the best days that work for you. When it comes to being healthy, a little planning can go a long way!
For more help, check out these 10 best health apps to help you track food, find recipes, meal prep, and workout.
2. Take advantage of the weather
With fall bringing cooler temperatures and less humidity, it’s the perfect time to exercise outdoors and enjoy the fresh, crisp air. My favorites include:
- Winding down with an evening walk or run before dinner
- Starting the day with a morning jog
- Exploring a nearby hiking trail on the weekends
- Enjoying fall activities like apple or pumpkin picking
- Working outside with a rake and good music
Don’t let the shorter days or cooler temperature stop you from moving. If they aren’t your cup of tea, then take a look a local gyms or exercise classes and pick one that interests you. You’ll have plenty of time to get used to the routine before the New Year crowds take over!
3. Nourish yourself with seasonal foods
Fall fruits and vegetables are at their peak flavor right now, so head over to your grocery store or farmer’s market and stock up! My favorites include fresh pumpkins, sweet potatoes, turnips, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, figs, squash, zucchini, pears, and all kinds of apples.
Many autumn foods are packed with great nutrients, including fiber, protein, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Plus, eating in-season produce is less expensive, more nutritious, and certainly taste better than canned or frozen alternatives!
4. Break out that slow cooker
Chili’s, soups, and delicious homemade stews all prove that slow cookers are one of the best things you can bust out in fall. It’s a simple way to make a healthy dinner filled with tons of tasty veggies and protein. Making one or two recipes per week will give you healthy dinner choices – and lunch leftovers!
Here are a few of my favorites from SkinnyTaste:
- Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili
- 3-Bean Turkey Chili
- Chipotle Chicken Zucchini “Fideo” Soup
- Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili
5. Boost your immune system
Unfortunately for some, back to school can also mean flu and cold season are upon us. No one likes sneezing or coughing during workouts, so protect yourself with an annual flu shot and health checkups.
You should also be hydrating with tons of water throughout the day (there are actually 5 proven ways hydration is key for weight loss), and wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of viruses. For additional bonuses, eat more pumpkins. Pumpkins are full of vitamins A and C, which boosts your immune system. Yay for pumpkin season!
6. Get focused before the holiday season
Don’t wait until the holidays hit to start making changes in your habits…start now! Having a few months of eating healthy and exercising regularly under your belt will make it easier to stick to them through the holidays.
I hope these tips help you stay motivated and enjoy the beauty and bounty of autumn. If you are looking for help this season, please fill out our online consultation form to get started. Our team will review your health history and goals to ensure the program is a good fit for you!