How to get healthy after a summer hiatus

Summer is all about fun in the sun. It’s easy to get into a vacation mindset all summer long, what with all the long nights, indulgent brunches and beach days on your social calendar. But Labor Day officially marks the end of summer, which makes it the perfect time to get into a healthy new routine. Want to get back on track this fall? Here’s your post-Labor Day health plan:

Eat more often

Eat more often

The first thing when it comes to getting back into shape is hitting the reset button and establishing some ground rules. Two ground rules that’ll help you be successful in a mindful routine are 1) eat breakfast every day and 2) eat every 3-to-5 hours.

Eating breakfast every single day is important, even if you don’t feel hungry in the mornings. Regular meals keep your blood sugar steady, regulate your hormones, and increase your metabolism, all of which aid in overall health.

It’s crucial, too, that you eat nutritious meals and snacks every three to five hours. Choose some easy and healthy recipes that you can whip up in a cinch. A great breakfast, for example, would be high-fiber cereal with skim milk, a banana, and blueberries. Snack options might include hummus with carrots, apples with peanut butter, and Greek yogurt with raspberries. You can easily make a salad for lunch or dinner. All you need is greens topped with lean protein, nuts or avocado slices, and a small scoop of chickpeas.

Drink up

Drink up

To successfully get back into health mode, it’s essential that you up your water game. Sodas and fruit juices are loaded with sugars and can be dehydrating. Water, on the other hand, increases your metabolism, aids in digestion, and improves circulation. It also helps you debloat from any foods that might be high in salt.

Begin each day with a big glass of water, and then sip at least 48 ounces of water throughout the day. You can add lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint to water to flavor it.

Choose complex carbs

Choose complex carbs

Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t cut carbs out of your diet. Why? Because a super low-carb diet will only lead to fatigue and cravings. You should be sure to include high fiber and nutrient-rich carbs in each meal, such as quinoa and beans. Carbs should generally make up the majority of your diet, no matter what you may hear from fad diets.

How can you incorporate healthy carbs into your diet? For example, with breakfast, you might have some oatmeal with fresh fruit. Or at lunch and dinner, add quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, or lentils to a meal containing lean protein and vegetables. By selecting nutrient-rich carbs, you'll feel far more satiated compared to snacking on empty carbs like potato chips or crackers.

Satisfy sugar cravings

Satisfy sugar cravings

While cutting out sugar is a good idea, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll never eat sweets again. That’s why it’s important to satisfy sugar cravings with something like dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants and minerals, and it’s heart-healthy. Make a few squares your daily treat.

Hit the reset button

Hit the reset button

When it comes to getting back on track at the end of summer, moderation is key. Rather than depriving yourself of essential food groups, instead focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Follow the above guidelines, combining them with exercise a few times a week, and you’ll be feeling like your healthy self again.

References
  1. “4 Simple Ways to Hit Reset on Your Diet After Labor Day,” Health, August 28, 2017.
  2. “7 Ways to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss Plan This Fall,” WebMD, n.d.
  3. “Top 50 Fall Diet Foods for Weight Loss,” Shape, n.d.

nutrition | wellness