Healthy Habits for Meeting and Planting Season

By Casey Schlichting

Hello from the Schlichting farm in Clear Lake! I can’t believe it’s already Week 8 of the Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge. 

As a farmer, it can be hard to eat healthy and get proper exercise. Last week was a perfect example of that challenge. My wife and I attended the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, which is an annual farmer-led and farmer-focused conference and trade show. It’s an awesome opportunity to meet and learn from farmers around the nation.

With both personal and professional trips, I’ve learned it is possible to eat healthy when you travel but it doesn’t just happen. Airports are full of convenience foods that are not nutritious. Some airports are doing better at providing fruit and protein options, but you have to plan ahead and search them out.

Once we got to Commodity Classic, the challenge to eat healthy continued. Typically, farm meetings start with coffee and doughnuts, which isn’t a great way to start the day. I have found that planning a high-protein meal before these meetings keeps me satiated and less tempted to hit the doughnuts. At lunch, I always try to eat the protein and a little bit of the potatoes. But I skip the roll. Afternoon snacks are infamous sugar loads, so I skip the sweets and grab a bottle of water.

For exercise, I like to take three 10-minute walks throughout a meeting-filled day. I try to hit the hotel gym first thing in the morning so I know that I will get my workout in each day.

In the next month, I will shift my focus to planting our 2020 soybean and corn crop. Each year it’s a balancing act with weather and hours in a day. Often, it means long days in the planter, but I try not to let it come at the expense of my wellness. There are three keys to staying healthy during planting season, which really applies to any stressful time in your life:

  1. Rest. And get enough of it!

  2. Staying hydrated. The first thing to go when you’re dehydrated is cognitive function, and that’s when accidents can happen.

  3. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time. A failure to plan is a plan for failure. Fruit, raw veggies, good protein sources and water, water, and more water are essential. Junk food doesn’t keep you full, and you will eat more, starting an unhealthy cycle.

If I am running the planter, I grab a snack about 30 minutes before I need to refill with seed. This tops off my tank and keeps me sharp for this process.

In the field cultivator tractor, I set a timer for every two hours, hop out, make a few laps around the machine, check the shovels, stretch out a bit and then get back to it. I have the hardest time staying on top of eating and drinking water when I’m running the sprayer. That’s because it’s a 1,000-gallon machine running 14 miles per hour at 15 to 20 gallons per acre. It means I’m always on the move filling the sprayer or applying product, so I need to have a plan and reminders when to hydrate and eat.

If you’re looking for a simple salad recipe that has tons of protein and veggies, check out this Midwest Cobb Salad recipe from the Iowa Food & Family Project.