Autumn is now fast approaching and the days will soon grow colder and darker. You’ll be less likely to perform the physical activities you did in summer and you’ll start to crave different foods. Our bodies change physically, mentally and behaviorally with the seasons, responding primarily to light and darkness in our environment. These responses, known as Circadian rhythms, have a tremendous impact on our lives. To prepare your body for the new season, consider these four recommendations for how to eat healthy in fall.
Know What You Eat
Start a food journal to record what you eat and remind yourself to eat healthier. A journal can help you figure out when you may be eating too much, too little or when you’re eating out too frequently. You can jot down your meals in a notebook or do a search online for apps that can aid you in tracking your food consumption. Consider monitoring your weight weekly to stay on top the season’s effects on your body as well.
Eat More Smart Carbohydrates
Adding more carbs each day is a good pick-me-up. A Biological Psychiatry study found that a high-carb (but not a high-protein) meal boosts people’s moods. When the days get darker many people experience seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression. WebMd.com says tryptophan in carbohydrates can affect your mood. As more tryptophan enters the brain, more serotonin is synthesized, improving mood. It’s important to eat smart carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which also contribute important nutrients and fiber to your diet.
Take Vitamin D
Vitamin D or the “sunshine vitamin” is good for bone health, aids in weight loss, and boosts immune function, which is extra important during the late months for the year when cold and flu season starts. It also helps you maintain optimal blood levels when you aren’t in the sun as much.
With more time spent indoors and big eating holidays and get-togethers just around the corner, it’s important to continue moving your body. Try finding a workout partner to help keep your motivation level up and to make it more fun. Make exercise a priority by creating a schedule for it so you get in the habit.