Surviving September (Tips)

We’ve been dreading it for months, the weather is getting cooler, there’s more traffic on the streets, school lunches need to be made again…yes, September has arrived. I’m as sad as you.

A concern I hear on a regular basis from my clients is how to maintain or resume healthy habits when chaos ensues.

Here are some tips on how to keep connected to your healthy diet in September!

Bulk Up:

A great method I really appreciate is prepping all or some of the meals ahead of time (see picture below). This method takes a little upfront effort, but think about how seamless your week would be!

I hear a lot of concerns about the month of September from moms in particular. Kids are back to school, extracurricular activities have started again and dinner is just barley being squeezed in. Think about prepping and freezing some meals ahead of time (now), so when the madness ensues you are ahead of the same.

Map It.

Here is how I do it:

Here is analogy that I like to use. Pretend you were going to spend 2 days driving to Florida for a relaxing vacation on the beach. In order to get there you’d need to plan your route, book a hotel to stay in for a night, make reservations at some restaurants you have never been to before and perhaps pack some snacks and some games/books for a little entertainment.

While you reroute, after having done all the initial prep work, would it make sense that you would change your route for no particular reason? Rebooking new hotels and restaurants would just be a pain in the butt and, not to mention, a waste of time. Once you have made your plan, the odds of sticking to this are very good. The same goes with food prep. If you lay out a plan ahead of time, the odds of you straying for this are pretty low.

Here’s how I do it:

Everyone might have their own method, but this works best for me.

Step 1. Make a list of 7 different dinners you would like to have. Take into account busy nights of the week (i.e. don’t plan to make a roast on the same night you need to drive your kids all over hell’s acres).

Step 2. Write down the groceries needed to make these meals. Tip: Plan to make extra portions so you have left over’s for the next day. Buy groceries for the whole week in one trip.

Step 3. Put this list up on the fridge so everyone in the household knows what to expect for meals.

Step 4. Put this list in a file folder and reuse every 4 weeks.

Simple.

What I like most about this is that the thinking, during the busy week, has been eliminated. If I follow my plan, I know what needs to be pulled out of the freezer the night before, I know if I need to prep something ahead of time and I feel like dinners go off without a hitch.

Slow Cook It

My crock-pot is probably my most favourite piece of kitchen equipment (other than my Vitamix). It makes life so simple (yet tasty). I’m always on the hunt for simple crock pot meals that I can prep the night before and turn on in the morning before I leave for work. With the conveniences of modern technology, presto dinner is hot and ready for my husband and I 8 hours later. At this point, I quickly toss together a salad if needed and enjoy a healthy meal.

You too can experience ease in the kitchen during the dreaded dinner hour.

Buy It:

I know, I know…you are super mom and you’d rather make homemade meals for your family. I get it, I also prefer to do this, but alas I have come to the conclusion that I am not a super hero, so cut yourself some slack and join ranks.

I agree that bought foods probably contain some ingredients we wouldn’t necessarily pick ourselves but I would argue doing this is better than picking up fast food or creating a ton of stress and drama over getting a dinner on the table.

We are all busy, so don’t be too proud to purchase on the odd really busy night. Here are some healthy suggestions to consider:

  • Rotisserie chicken with sides like bean salad, vinegar based coleslaw and grilled veggies (all of these items can be found in most grocery stores in the pre-prepared counters)
  • Opa! Greek food is one of my favourite go-to meal ideas. Find a local restaurant you can pre order from; I usually order a large salad with souvlaki chicken and tzatziki. Yummy!
  • Grocery store buffet tables: here you can choose from grilled fish, hard boiled eggs, marinated tofu and all kinds of sides to satisfy the pickiest of eaters.

Relax in September with these fun snacks!

Gobble Gobble: Surviving Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

Thai-Pumpkin-Soup

We all have lots to be thankful for at this time of year; family, friends and the abundance of foods on our plates. While it is wonderful to have this, it can certainly be troublesome for some and lead to weight gain.
So my suggestion, go in with a plan! Arm yourself with guidelines to follow that set you up for success and not with an extra 5lbs.

Table Tips:
  1. Bring something you can have: veggies/hummus, guacamole, shrimp cocktail or my favourite- grilled prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears. Yumm!!!
  2. Watch out for empty calories found in alcohol- they add up quickly. Lame I know, but ask yourself-   how badly do you want to lose/maintain your weight?
  3. Pick your poison – if you choose to have something pick your favourite thing- don’t have the apple pie and pumpkin pie plus cookies, plus plus plus….
  4. In the words of Sting, “Don’t stand, don’t stand so close to…” THE FOOD TABLE! Move away from the table when in conversation, this will prevent you from diving in mindlessly.
 During Dinner:

Fill your plate with protein and veggies and small amounts (or none) of the stuffing or mashed potato (these are high glycemix foods that will cause blood sugar fluctuations and sugar cravings!). If you are still hungry after 20 min go back for small amounts of the options you want.Remember, it’s not about deprivation- it’s about staying true to your goals and yourself. If you do end up indulging, go for an extra hike or boot-camp and move on.

~Image and recipe source: foodbabe.com