– By Dr. Rahima Hirji, ND
It’s that time of year again. Although I love Summer, I always find this time of year energizing. The crisp air, the Fall harvest, the return to routines and the excitement of the holidays around the corner makes Autumn one of my favorite seasons.
But it is also a hectic time of year. Kids go back to school. Parents try to re-establish routines while conquering homework and activities and then before you know it, the holidays creep up and people are left feeling stressed, sick and perhaps a little depressed.
Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy and active through the Fall without adding too much to your already overloaded plates (no pun intended!).
This time of year is a great time to be walking outdoors. The weather is nicer and the trees are stunning. Find ways to make walking regularly even more appealing by getting an MP3 player and taking your smart phone with you. Listen to your favorite music, audiobooks or podcasts as you walk. The time will go by quickly and you will find yourself looking forward to your walks more and more.
If the outdoors don’t appeal to you, plan to watch your favorite show while on the treadmill or devise an exercise routine to do while watching television. You can also involve the family and help get the kids more active by planning activities like hikes and apple picking.
Embrace the Fall Bounty. Eat in season. It will make sure you get the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and it will help you support local farmers.
Think about incorporating some of the following foods:
- Squash is high in Vitamin A and makes a great soup with carrots, onions, chicken broth and ginger
- Apples are at their best this time of year and high in fiber. Buy organic if possible, as apples are heavily sprayed.
- Parsnips are great for soups and stews and are high in potassium.
- Rutabagas can be roasted with herbs and lemon. They are high in fiber and vitamin C.
- Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and iron and are great roasted or can be combined in different recipes.
If you are stuck in a rut and always buying and preparing the same vegetables, think about signing up for an organic food box that gets delivered to your door regularly. It will make sure you get a ton of healthy food every week and you can try some new recipes too. One of my favorite companies doing this is Live Organics.
Clear out the junk food. Holiday season is around the corner so you really want to focus on eating well and avoiding junk foods, processed foods and alcohol at home. In the summer, we all tend to indulge in extra wine and ice cream so it’s a good time to try to reign in some of those bad habits before the festivities begin.
It’s also a great time to clean out the kitchen of any of these foods and stock up on healthy fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator and freezer. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruits, canned fish, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa and legumes and lentils to throw into soups. If you are well stocked, it is easy to pull out the crockpot and start making some hearty soups with chicken broth and beans from the pantry. Add your favorite veggies and some spices and you are set.
Get enough sleep. This time of year it can be easy to fall off track when it come to sleep schedules. Kids have activities and homework, and the holiday season is around the corner so it can be tempting to stay up later and get things done. But sleep is very important to stay healthy and alert. Getting enough sleep also helps control your appetite so it’s important for weight control as well. Really focus on healthy habits, especially in children. This means no televisions or computers in the bedroom, regular bedtime routines, establishing firm sleep and wake times and a nice dark bedroom that isn’t too warm.
Take your supplements. I can’t emphasize this enough. Now is the time you want to focus on cold and flu prevention. Vitamin D and probiotics are a minimum and a must. You may also want to keep some vitamin C and oil of oregano on hand for when you feel a tickle in your throat or a sniffle coming on.
With a little preparation and discipline, these tips can help you establish some good habits to help you breeze through the coming months.