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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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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