Some people could argue we’ve all had a little too much enforced togetherness these past few months. But taking the time to eat officially together as a couple, a group or a family can have lasting health and lifestyle benefits. As October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month there’s no better time to try a little scheduled mealtime togetherness and mindful eating. Here’s how:
Family Dinners: Less Stress, Less Obesity
Eating together once or more times a week as a family isn’t just shared time. A recent Harvard study points to families who eat together suffer less stress and because meals around the table are more social, people tend to talk more and eat less, leading to better food choices. Research has also shown that kids who eat regular family dinners experience more food types and enjoy better nutrition in the long term.
Eating Better for Fall
We all know working out needs fuel, but as the season changes our appetites and food consumption can too. Nutritionists agree as the days get shorter and darker in fall we consume more calories: around 200 a day on average. As we say goodbye to summer salads and lighter meals, fall food doesn’t mean you have to head straight to heavy carbs and comfort foods. It’s actually an amazing time of year for high-nutrient, exercise-friendly produce. Grocery stores and farmers markets are packed with kinds of natural health aids in the forms of squash, winter greens and beets. Sweet potatoes are a great carb option for colder weather workouts and are rich in vitamins A and C as well as potassium, which helps restore muscle fatigue after exercise. Kale is a nutrient power-house and should be in heavy rotation on your fall menu, and beets are both delicious and packed with nitrates that can help control high blood pressure.
Exercise, the Flip Side to Food
Every nutritionist and trainer will tell you healthy weight management and an active lifestyle for your age comes down to exercise and proper nutrition. We can’t do one without the other. So as we focus on food this fall, it’s also a good time to check in on our exercise needs. Are you getting the right balance of cardio, core and weight bearing exercise to build strength, burn calories and keep you toned through the winter months? Trainers recommend three to four cardio sessions of 40 minutes each per week to maintain physical fitness. Don’t forget about weight lifting too, though. Obesity magazine sites a study that shows a good nutritious diet and moderate weight-lifting in your weekly workouts will help you burn fat while not losing muscle mass and lean body weight.
Make it All Convenient for Your Schedule
As you take the time to plan better eating habits, a nutritious diet and good workout habits this fall, remember it is about making everything convenient for your busy schedule. Post workout chilis with nutrient rich beans and veg and broth based soups that replace electrolytes can be made ahead and waiting for you post gym. On-demand fitness and specialty workouts with weights or your core can be accessed anywhere in the club, or streamed with services like FLEX by FitnessOnDemand (or similar) at home on your family TV if you can’t quite face the weights room on dark nights.