The State Fair is on now and fall is just around the corner. Soon we will be longing for the warmth, care-free days and spontaneous meals of summer. Shifting back to a more regimented fall schedule can feel challenging and stressful, but by rebuilding nourishing habits now, you can sail through the coming busy season feeling healthier and less overwhelmed.

Rebuild Your Routines – Whether it’s back-to-school or back-to-work, review your personal food plan and rebuild your family’s routines. Use the start of fall as an opportunity to transform your kitchen back into a safe zone. Clear out food items that do not nourish you and remove trigger foods that may tempt you. A seasonal kitchen clean-out helps you start fresh, bringing back old rhythms that worked well and implementing new, nourishing habits.

Start Your Day with Protein – Set yourself up for a successful, feel-great fall by starting each day with a protein-packed breakfast. Avoid breakfast foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, found in many cereals, granola bars and pastries. These items give you a jolt of energy, but leave you dragging and hungry by mid-morning. Eat a nourishing breakfast and you’ll have sustained energy the rest of the day!

Protein-Packed Breakfast Ideas for Busy Weekdays

  • Hard-cooked eggs (pre-cooked the night before)
  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Egg bakes–prepare on the weekend and pre-portion
  • Oatmeal or other whole grain with nuts and berries
  • Protein smoothies–prepare and freeze the night before

Brown Bag It! Get back in the habit of bringing your own balanced lunch to save money, increase mental clarity and stay energized throughout the day:

Plan a Power Lunch – fill your lunch with nutrient dense foods that include protein, healthy fats and lots of fruits and veggies.

Skip the Sugar – Sugar and processed carbohydrates, like white bread, crackers and most granola bars, cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, sending you on an energy roller coaster that leaves you fatigued.

Buy a Bento – Bento boxes store food items in separate compartments, making it easy and fun to pack a balanced, nourishing lunch.

Re-use Leftovers – Make extra food for dinner and use the leftovers for an easy lunch the next day. Cook once and eat all week long!

Snack Smart – Avoid the pitfalls of grazing on foods that bring you down with these tips for nourishing snacks.

  • Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter to grab on your way out.
  • Prepare a container of pre-cut raw veggies for quick, crunchy snacks.
  • Stock up on hummus cups, individually packaged cheeses or roasted nuts for added protein in snacks.

Stay Active – Don’t let cooler air push you inside. Set up a routine to stay active and outdoors into the fall months. Exercise helps you stay strong and healthy, improves mental focus and learning, helps maintain a healthy weight, regulate blood sugar and even helps curb sugar cravings, making it easier to make smarter food choices. Choose an activity you love and commit to doing it regularly. 

Build in Time for Self-Care – When schedules get busy, self-care is often the first thing we cross off our lists. Carve out consistent time for self-care – even if it is only a few minutes throughout the day. It will help you stay balanced and effective, lower your stress hormones and blood pressure and improve your mental clarity. (We dove into this last month, here it is again.)

Have a Less Stressed, Feel-Better Fall – After letting your normal routines fall by the wayside during the summer, invest in rebuilding nourishing habits now so you have the energy and resilience to face the day-to-day challenges of the busy fall months. When you have a solid, nourishing rhythm in place, you will meet the back-to-school and back-to-work stress with calm and wellness.