Easing into the new school year

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Oh remember the long lazy days of summer….seems so far away already! I miss summer’s carefree attitude, the light clothing, the active lifestyle, the ice cream, the ice cream, the ice cream!ice cream photo.jpgRegardless of whether we are actually away or just spending lazy days at home during the summer, we tend to loosen up the "rules" in our household. And in one respect, that's what makes summer so much fun for everyone - even if we don't go on that much desired exotic cruise! So we all sleep a little later, become a little more lazy in the mornings and definitely eat a little more!

Then summer comes screeching to a halt with September!... it's painful! School, schedules, routines, activities, games, homework, preparations - it seems to all come too fast, too much!

This year I decided to stop reinventing the wheel and to start preparing in advance for this transition phase. I still refuse to corrupt my summer's carefree style, so I will put my emphasis on regaining my routine back slowly but steadily. One of the first priorities I have is gaining ground on our nutritional habits again. While I wouldn't say we are on a family diet, I would say that we need to start eating smarter and healthier again. So a few little sneaky weight loss strategies are always useful!!

Here are a few tactics that I have implemented in my daily dinner habits:

• Set a date on the calendar at least once (or more!) a week to have sit down dinner in the dining room - this ensures the family all sit down together for a more relaxing, less hurried meal – note: kitchen counter doesn’t count like dinner around the dining table.

• Downsize plates for optical illusion - After reading studies that show that eating from smaller plates creates the illusion of eating more and being more satisfied, I was sold! So I traded my huge dinner plates that I tend to overfill and we now eat better proportioned meals on smaller (appetizer sized) plates (same goes for ice cream bowls – oops, I mean cups!)

• Stop serving “family-style” dinners - Small changes make big differences! I now “plate the food” in the kitchen and do not leave bowls/platters on table. Again, I want to be in a better position to control portion sizes and discourage dipping back into the pasta bowl for seconds and thirds! Exception: Only salads and vegetables are displayed on family table and encouraged for second servings before anything else

• Serve less starchy options - I'm making meals with more fresh vegetable options and relying less on filling, less-nutritious starchy options.

If you have any ideas for breaking the summer habits, I would love to hear from you!! 

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