Sweater weather is here and so are the sniffles and coughs, which means it is time to prepare for a healthy autumn season through 7 easy steps so you can feel all the love of fall.
Preparing for fall for most of us means putting away our shorts and swimsuits and swapping them for sweaters and yoga pants. However, we often overlook the fact that winter can lead to unhealthy habits making their way back into our daily routine! Here are a few ways to stay on track as we transition into fall.
Keep Your Same Sleep Schedule
For many, daylight savings time has no effect, but for others, gaining that extra hour means staying up later (even though you still have to wake up for work) to try to take advantage of it. Try to maintain the same sleep schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time. You may naturally start to stay up a little bit later as your body continues to adjust, but by maintaining the same sleep schedule in the beginning, you are giving your body the extra boost it needs to start the fall season off right! If you find yourself struggling to sleep, try some yoga in a bottle—Magnesium—for better sleep quality and bone strength.
It will be getting darker earlier which means that it’s tempting to head straight home and jump into your PJs to binge-watch all your favorite shows. Try to stay active whether that means hitting the gym like you regularly do or following a yoga video on your TV. Fall and winter are the times where people tend to relax a little bit more when it comes to their physical activity, so stay ahead of the game by establishing an “activity routine” which will get you off the couch and out from under that cozy blanket. Working out also releases endorphins which your body will need during the adjustment. If you need an energy boost, try Sunwarrior’s Active Energy.
Revamp Your Food Choices
Some people can definitely drink smoothies and eat salads year-round. For the rest of us, we tend to ditch the smoothies and salads and swap those for warm and cozy comfort foods (ahem –pasta). However, healthy comfort swaps don’t need to be boring and tasteless. For breakfast, try making overnight oatmeal with apples in a crockpot. The prep time is quick and you wake up to the amazing aroma of warm, healthy breakfast! Or you can prep a bunch of breakfast burritos and store them in the fridge ready to microwave on the go! For lunch, you can still rock the salad, but make it a warm kale salad with wild rice, butternut squash, tofu, and tahini-maple drizzle. Be sure to have filling snacks on hand like nuts, protein balls, or blend up a maca-cacao late with cashew milk! For dinner, prep a hearty soup to stay warm, or a make a roasted veggie wrap with hummus and arugula on the fly. Whatever you choose to do, keep it interesting, keep it hearty, and keep it seasonal!
Wash Your Hands! (and Keep Your Vitamin Intake High)
This might be obvious, but it’s something that we often overlook in the fall as we don’t want our hands to get dry and cold! With fall and winter being the hot seasons for the flu, this is a definite must. It’s also a good idea to carry around hand sanitizer or wear light gloves when you are in public places such as riding the metro, or in the grocery store. Make sure that you are continuing to feed your body nutrients from plants and even supplementing with a multivitamin if you feel like you need it. It’s never a bad idea to carry around vitamin C in your bag for when you feel a bit of a tingly throat or sniffly nose.
Continue to Stay Properly Hydrated!
Yes, hot coffee and apple cider sound GREAT when you’re walking around looking at the fall trees, but don’t forget about water! Invest in a large 48 oz water bottle that you can carry wherever you go. That way it is easy to track your intake, and you will have that physical reminder to stay hydrated.
Eat at Home
When you go out in the winter, you might be more tempted to order the big bowl of pasta or veggie burger with fries. Eating at home means that you can control not only your portions, but you are more likely to make healthier choices. Be sure to stock your fridge with items that are quickly prepared – think frozen veggies for stir fry and vegetable broth for soup. Having items readily available in your pantry will limit the temptation of eating/ordering out. Even if you do end up making a big bowl of pasta, at least you know what the ingredients were!
Have a Holiday Plan!
Fall not only means colder weather and an extra hour of sleep, but it also means that holidays are fast approaching! Try to come up with a plan for how you are going to tackle the weeks leading up to food-heavy holidays. “Everything in moderation” should be your motto as you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to bond with family and friends, but you also want to be mindful of the healthy habits you have instilled. Try hosting a “tea party” happy hour instead of indulging in wine and beer, or find a healthy cookie recipe to add to your repertoire that you can take to all of the cookie exchanges. You can even offer to make a healthy side dish for gatherings, so you know that at least you’ll have something nutritious to eat.
This really is an amazing time of year. Enjoy the crisp, cool weather and stay healthy by being prepared. For delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, check out our recipes section.