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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11/19/2012 8:01:11 AM

BACKMOON's SparkPage
I couldn't get the slide show to work.


11/19/2012 6:58:33 AM

RAFFERM's SparkPage
I have to admit I am a morning person. Breakfast is Cheerios at 4:30 and yogurt at 9--yes I am a grazer--eat a little bit at a time all day long! But, exercise between 5:00 and 6:00 is what works for me!


11/19/2012 5:16:18 AM

MELAYAHM - I can't stand peanuts in any form, so I would use macadamia or almond butter, or even cashew if I were going to start my day with a nut butter in celery.

Have you tried any of these?

Debb :)


11/19/2012 3:17:14 AM

HI I live in India and like Artsygirl I too drink warm water with squeezed lemon along with a teaspoon of honey. www.allianceonemumbai.com


11/10/2012 10:11:26 PM

I've gotten most of these down in my routine BUT I am going to start the journal writing in the am. I am really scattered and this may help me to stay focused.


11/7/2012 3:04:07 PM

MELAYAHM's SparkPage
Seems to be peanut butter with everything, but I can't even stand the smell! The idea of a stick of celery with peanut butter on (which I've seen in several places here on SP) would be a kind of torture. But I do think I need to rethink my breakfast. I already get up at 4.30, so getting up earlier is not practical, and although I know I should meditate, if I did it in the morning, I KNOW I would fall back to sleep!


11/2/2012 10:25:43 AM

I'd like the link to the research which states what should be in the ideal breakfast.


10/31/2012 4:38:21 PM

I keep a bowl of hard boiled eggs (free range eggs from a local farmer via our CSA!) in the refrigerator for mornings when cooking my breakfast is more than I can manage. I need a high protein breakfast, so two eggs and gluten free toast is my usual fare. A bit of extra virgin coconut oil and a measured amount of local honey or organically produced strawberry jam on the toast, along with whatever variety of herb or green tea I want, completes the meal.


10/31/2012 9:01:13 AM

SCHNEBL's SparkPage
I start my day with a smoothie from SP Recipe book. Yum!


10/30/2012 9:41:11 PM

MCDOWELL50's SparkPage
A group of us make fresh veggie and fruit juice for our breakfast. We all bring a different fruit or veggie to contribute.


10/30/2012 2:51:36 PM

BLUESKY104's SparkPage
Good tips - I am happy to see that many of them are already part of my a.m. routine


10/30/2012 2:15:51 PM

Hmm, journal by the time the sun comes up. This must be written for someone else. By the time the sun comes up these days I'm on the job dodging the distracted drivers trying to text and drink coffee at the same time. Forget about save driving, they did.


10/30/2012 2:13:55 PM

JHOLT625's SparkPage
I completed a "typical day" exercise and found ways to sneak in some me time. I get up @ 15 min earlier and can enjoy a cup of coffee (decaf of course) and read the paper. I take an hour every weekend to prep stuff for dinners during the week, that has saved me a ton of time every day. I also try to go to bed an hour earlier that I used to. While this plan doesn't work 100% of the time, I have noticed a big difference in my stress level.


10/30/2012 2:06:29 PM

I start my day with pumpkin puree, egg whites, cinnamon, 90% dark chocolate, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, chai tea, and 1 serving of berries! :) Cinnamon is such a great metabolism boosters!


10/30/2012 9:57:55 AM

TPETRIE's SparkPage
I start my day with a healthy breakfast, my vitamins and at least 20 min of exercise. This is a must for me.

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