8 Healthy Ways to Start the Day

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8 Healthy Ways to Start the Day

By Melinda Hershey, Health Educator

When you start your morning with good habits, you're setting yourself up for success all day long! Try one (or all!) of these eight smart a.m. tips for a healthier you.

Wake Up Earlier

When you have a stressful morning, chances are that you're going to be feeling stressed for many hours to come. But it doesn't have to be that way! By simply waking up 20-30 minutes earlier than necessary, you can enjoy a leisurely morning without the usual hustle and bustle. Although that snooze button may be tempting, starting the day on a calm note thanks to that extra time is more than worth it! Plus, every time you hit "snooze," those interrupted spurts of sleep will only leave you feeling more tired.

Eat Breakfast

You've been sleeping for seven to eight hours or more, so your body needs fuel to wake up your metabolism and help you power through your morning. Eating breakfast prevents you from overeating throughout the day, and people who eat an a.m. meal are less likely to be overweight than people who skip it.

Ideally, your breakfast should include a combination of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Whole-grain toast topped with peanut butter and banana, Greek yogurt with cereal and fruit, or a breakfast scramble with a whole-grain English muffin on the side are all excellent a.m. options. Check out these healthy breakfast ideas for more inspiration!

Veg Out

Once you've gotten in the habit of eating breakfast, take it one step further and try to sneak in a serving of veggies with your morning meal. Add some mushrooms and tomatoes into your omelet, or try blending a little spinach in with your smoothie (you won't be able to taste it--we promise!). Getting some veggies in first thing is a great way to get you on track to meeting your 5-a-day quota.

Take a Multivitamin

Although you should strive to get all the nutrients you can from your food, taking a multivitamin will help you fill in the gaps in case you fall short on any given nutrient during the day. Think of it as your nutritional insurance policy! Make sure to take your vitamin with your breakfast to avoid an upset stomach.

Drink Water

You're going to need something to wash down your multi-vitamin with--so gulp a big glass of water! Not only are your fuel stores depleted when you wake up, but you're also probably mildly dehydrated. Drinking water first thing in the morning will help boost your metabolism, flush out toxins, and get your systems up and running. If you make this habit as regular as brushing your teeth, you may just start to notice higher a.m. energy levels.

Sneak in Exercise

Working out in the morning is one of the best things you can do to get yourself on track for the day. Not only will you not have to worry about exercising later on in the evening, but you'll also feel proud that you did something good for your body while most people were still asleep! Starting your morning with this habit will also cause you to make healthier decisions all day long; those doughnuts at the office might not seem so worth it after you just jogged for an hour!

Stretch it Out

If a full-blown workout isn't going to happen for you in the early hours, try a simple stretching routine, instead. You'll still get your blood and endorphins flowing, while centering your mind. Think of stretching as a cup of coffee without the jittery side effects!

Jot Your Thoughts

If your a.m. routine leaves you feeling scatterbrained by the time the sun is up, you may benefit from taking a few minutes to write down your morning thoughts. Journaling has been shown to boost self-esteem, and is a powerful way for you to work through any issues you might be experiencing. Write about anything that pops into your head and then leave it there on the paper. You can even write a to-do list to organize yourself before the craziness of the day happens. Sometimes, just getting it all out there is enough to allow you to fully move onto the next task with a clear head.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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NKIRUKAOZOMA

3/9/2014 11:14:42 AM

very interesting write up and quite motivating.

NKIRUKAOZOMA

3/9/2014 11:13:58 AM

very interesting write up and quite motivating.

SCHATZISMOM

2/21/2014 9:25:44 AM

SCHATZISMOM's SparkPage
For the past 53 years, I've fought getting up. Since I started SP on January 1st, I've been eating much better and have lost weight. Amazingly, I now get up early without trying. It feels so good to have more time in the morning. I'm retired and don't have to get up so it makes it interesting that I actually want to.

RAMISKEY

12/29/2013 12:26:55 PM

RAMISKEY's SparkPage
The drinking water hint really helps. My hubby even has started drinking a big glass of water every morning with me and when he gets tired he gets a glass of water instead of soda or coffee.

DELLMEL

8/12/2013 7:30:00 AM

DELLMEL's SparkPage
All good info. I do about 3 of them. Need to get those other 6 into place. Thanks.

SPARKFRAN514

8/7/2013 11:46:26 PM

SPARKFRAN514's SparkPage
Good ideas thanks love the journal plan even if nothing exciting happens

GEVANS7

7/10/2013 1:31:55 PM

GEVANS7's SparkPage
I've been taking my vitamins with dinner. Should I switch to morning?

SBNORMAL

5/16/2013 11:25:36 AM

SBNORMAL's SparkPage
I need to do all nine. I am out of sync!
Am

MARTINT011

3/13/2013 8:29:19 PM

MARTINT011's SparkPage
great information.

LACY_LOO

2/28/2013 10:06:11 PM

LACY_LOO's SparkPage
I already get up at 4:30 am for work, I try to eat breakfast at home but find that its much easier to slide by the dunkin donuts for coffee and a breakfast sandwich! Ugh Im so bad! I WILL NOT get up 30 mins earlier then I already do but maybe ill try harder to eat breakfast at home and drink water instead of coffee (even thought I might fall asleep on the drive to work!) but it is very hard to get to bed on time when you have an 11 month old! I love veggies but for some reason I hardly eat them so maybe squeezing some in during breakfast wouldn't be a bad idea after all :)

KIMPAINTS

1/18/2013 12:30:53 PM

KIMPAINTS's SparkPage
I do all of these from time to time..Time to time just doesn't do it..I need to be more consistent. It sure makes for a brighter day!!

JPEARCE16

1/7/2013 9:54:33 PM

I like to start the day with a cup of good black coffee, a few sit-ups and push-ups, a quick read of the day's headlines and then I do some brain games on www.brainspade.com. Then I'm ready to go for the day.

TOUDLES

12/1/2012 12:02:14 AM

TOUDLES's SparkPage
I already do 5 out of 8...so just 3 to work on... I can do that!

SKYVALLEYGAL

11/30/2012 10:16:06 PM

SKYVALLEYGAL's SparkPage
I find if I get up 30-40 minutes ealrier, have my prayer/meditation time and try to get in another 10-15 minutes of stretching or gentle yoga, I do seem to have a better day. However, it is hard to "talk" myself out of the bed many mornings even though I know I won't go back to sleep.BTW, I also try to fit in a few yoga poses like half moon and sun salutation while in the shower that really seems to get the ole joints moving more smoothly. I guess the hot water intensifies the effects.

DAVINAJM

11/30/2012 5:20:27 PM

I am not a morning person. But totally agree that you should, one, eat breakfast and two incorporate veggies into your breakfast if possible. A great tip to take the first step to kick the coffee habit is to replace your morning cup with a bottled water (or mug of water), it'll (re)hyrdrate you and flush out toxins.

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