After a summer filled with late nights, long weekends, and lots of good food, many of us may feel the need to focus on getting our regular routines back on track. The good news is, you’ve been there before, so with a little focus and determination, you can get your eating and sleeping routine back on track in no time.
The importance of meal planning
It all starts with meal planning, says Caitlin Boudreau, registered dietitian with the TELUS Health MyCare app. By planning your meals for the week, you know what you’re going to eat and can focus on those meals, instead of eating on the go whenever you’re hungry. Meal planning helps you map out meals at home, the office, and even for the kids as they head back to school. This not only helps save time in your busy schedule as you know what you’re going to eat throughout the day, it can also help you avoid those panicky, “Hey, what’s for dinner?” moments – and, as importantly, hangry kids.
When planning meals, it’s important to aim for a balance of protein-rich foods, vegetables, and whole grains. Boudreau suggests you plan your protein source (chicken, fish, beans, tofu) then add 2-3 vegetables and a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa. You can also mix in some fruit when it works with the meal.
As far as the prep goes, Boudreau says to set aside some time on Sunday to get everything ready for the week ahead. Marinade your protein, pre-chop your veggies, store them in a container, and make a large batch of grains. This will save you time throughout the week and give you options to mix things up a little when it’s time to eat.
When it comes to actual meals, we’re all familiar with the saying, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Boudreau says it’s the ideal starting point when looking to improve your eating habits and health. She suggests you start with a meal including eggs or Greek yogurt, along with some fruit. This is a great way to increase energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, and sustain yourself until your next meal. Best of all, these types of meals help reduce snacking throughout the day.
Speaking of snacks, if hunger strikes between meals, or you find your energy is low, Boudreau says just grab a piece of fruit and pair it with some cheese, crackers, or nuts. This will help boost energy and tide you over until your next full meal.
A dietitian can help with any meal planning and dietary changes you’re looking to make. Boudreau, and other registered dietitians like her, are available for virtual consultations through the TELUS Health MyCare app. After your initial appointment Boudreau recommends you follow up 3-4 weeks later to check in on your goals and to determine whether more changes or additional appointments are needed.
Getting the rest your body needs
Regular sleep can be another part of your routine that suffers during all the summer fun. Now that kids are back at school and you have more activities, you need to adjust to a new schedule, which likely means earlier bedtime. Boudreau also has a few pointers that can help you get your sleep routine back to normal. While a proper meal plan is important for your diet, regularly timed meals can also help you sleep. Most importantly, Boudreau points out, you should have your last meal or snack at least 3 hours before you go to bed so that your body has time to digest the food before you sleep.
Exercise is also an important part of the day that can help improve your sleep routine. It can be as vigorous as a full-body workout to start your day, biking to the office a few days a week, or as simple as taking a walk on your lunch break – just a little activity in your day goes a long way to improve sleep onset. Another great way to relax before bedtime is with a simple stretching routine or flowing through a few yoga poses as both types of movement help calm down your body. Finally, once you’re in bed, consider a form of sleep meditation or breathing exercises to further relax your body.
Save time in your busy schedule
Changing your diet and sleep habits is one important step toward improving your daily routine. Time also plays a big factor in your routine and who wouldn’t love to save a little more time every day? Virtual appointments with your dietitian are one way to get a little time back. We have already discussed the benefit of preparing a large batch of food at the start of the week and having your groceries, or even prescriptions, delivered is another way to get a little time back. After all, when you’ve got a full schedule, every extra minute counts.
Resetting your routine
Summer is a great time of year to relax and unwind and enjoy all the great food and fun that comes with it. While you may get into some habits that deviate from your normal routine, it’s understandable. Just remember, when it’s time to get things back on track, there are plenty of tools out there to help.
The first step to resetting your routine is getting your diet back on track. It can save you time, increase your energy, and improve sleep. The easiest way to reset your diet is by consulting a dietitian. As mentioned, they are readily available through the TELUS Health MyCare app and thanks to virtual appointments, it’s easy to fit a discussion into your busy, post-summer schedule. Once you do, you’ll have a plan to follow to get your routine back on track.
TELUS Health is committed to helping ensure you and your family get the care you need, when you need it. To access dietitian services, book an appointment to video chat with a registered dietitian on the TELUS Health MyCare app. TELUS Health also partners with Canadian employers to offer health benefits, such as virtual care, to employees in Canada. You can check with your health benefits plan to see if you have virtual dietitian services available to you through TELUS Health, through your employer.
Download the app & book an appointment.