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Friday’s Food for Thought: Back-to-School Edition

We all survived the post-Labor Day back-to-school, back-to-the-grind work week!

I wrap up this fitting-fitness-into-your-fall-schedule-themed week with some simple reminders about how to get your healthy eating habits back on track. Remember, diet and exercise go hand in hand. If you want your body to perform at its best, you need to give it the right fuel.

As a happy follower of the everything-in-moderation lifestyle, none of my “diet tricks” involve extremes:

  1. A Little Prep Goes A Long Way: Every weekend, I stock up on easy-to-chop or no-chop-needed produce like baby carrots, celery, peppers and cherry tomatoes. At some point on Sunday, I pack up five ready-to-grab containers and so I have no excuse for not having veggies with my lunch every day at work. Same goes for fruits. I chop strawberries and bring a large container to work on Monday and divvy out portions each morning with non-fat plain Greek yogurt and high fiber cereal. Add a pre-workout banana, and this all adds up to a no-brainer approach to getting multiple servings of fruits and veggies during the day!
  2. Take the guesswork out of staying hydrated: Save your dollars and the planet by stocking up on a few reusable water bottles. Keep one in your backpack, briefcase, purse, gym bag and/or at the office. Reports differ on how much water each individual needs, but the general rule is eight, eight-ounce  glasses each day. I keep a 16-ounce water bottle in my office and I fill it at least three times while I’m at work. So, between my post-work workout and at least one glass of water with dinner, I hit my daily intake without even thinking about it.
  3. Don’t wait until you’re famished to eat: I have to eat every 3-4 hours or I get sluggish. I also make sure to eat a snack about an hour before my workout so you don’t burn out too quickly. My new favorite pre-workout snack is a chopped medley of one banana and three or four pineapple strips. I enjoy the mix with a side of string cheese and big glass of water.
  4. Keep healthy snacks handy: There are few places I’ll go without a Fiber One bar or some raw almonds. If you find yourself sans snack, chew on a piece of gum or have a glass of water to take the edge off before scarfing down something less healthy.
  5. Be realistic: When a craving gnaws at you, it’s not always a bad thing to give into it. Ignoring a guilty pleasure for too long can end up being worse. It’s amazing how the desire for one cupcake on Monday can turn into inhaling a colossal sized one meant for four people to share by Friday.

I leave you with this final thought: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are times I simply don’t want to workout and all I want to do is drink red wine and eat chocolate. It happens. Don’t let one bad day throw you off course. Just wipe off the crumbs, prep your gym bag and remember tomorrow is your next chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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