YMCA of Greater Erie

Tip: Invest time in rebuilding nourishing habits now to feel more resilient, energized and less stressed through the busy fall months.

By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

We spend all year waiting for weekends at the lake and warm days in the sunshine of summer. But as we enjoy the season of cookouts, cabins and travel, summer’s laid-back pace often causes us to set aside our regular schedules and abandon the nourishing habits that help us feel our best. Shifting back to the more regimented fall schedule can feel challenging and stressful. Rebuild nourishing habits now that will carry you through the coming busy season feeling healthier and less overwhelmed.

Plan Your Week

As busier schedules kick in, planning meals in advance helps you avoid the take-out rut and keeps you less stressed and feeling your best.

  • Make a Meal Plan – Schedule a consistent day for planning meals for the coming week. This initial investment of time will save you extra shopping trips and help you avoid the what-are-we-having-for-dinner-tonight scramble.
  • Prep Ahead of Time – Devote time over the weekend to prepping veggies such as onions, peppers, carrots and other favorites for use in roasts and sautés during the week. Precook grains and beans and freeze in pre-portioned bags.
  • Cook in Bulk – Many soups, stews and slow cooker meals freeze well for easy reheating later. A well-stocked freezer full of prepared meals is a powerful busy-weeknight stressbuster.

Brown-Bag It!

Whether you are back-to-school or back-to-work, also get back in the habit of bringing your own nourishing 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 rollercoaster and leaving 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. Chef Marshall’s Skillet Peppers, Corn and Onions with Cumin provides the basis for a variety of nourishing and delicious lunches throughout the week – 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

After a summer spent outdoors, don’t let the cooler air push you inside. Set up a routine to stay active and outdoors into the cooler months. Remember – there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!

Nourishing Habits for a Less-Stressed, Feel-Better Fall

After letting your normal rhythms fall by the wayside during summer, invest energy in rebuilding nourishing habits 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 face the back-to-school and back-to-work stress with calm and wellness.

You will love the way you feel!

Chef Marshall O’BrienThe Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.