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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4/28/2017 5:10:27 AM

JVANAM's SparkPage
You are what you think. Always think positive, empowering thoughts and your life will welcome positive opportunities!


1/26/2017 2:53:49 PM

Most articles dealing with eating healthy diet food include peanut butter. I am very allergic to peanut butter, and I think there are a lot of people like me. When I see peanut butter over and over again, it does me and my fellow peanut allergy sufferers no good. Perhaps when recommending a peanut butter snack, perhaps you could include an alternative nut-type snack as an alternative. Thanks!


1/16/2017 12:12:55 AM

GILLIEGRL4's SparkPage
Wow. This really hit home for me because even though I am at a healthy weight, I haven't been keeping up with many healthy habits at all. In high school and my first semester of college, I did a lot of these. I would eat a good breakfast with whole grain, protein, fruit, and a cup of liquid; I got up relatively early in the morning; and I would get some physical activity in, if not a full warm up, run, and cool down. After an overuse injury, I couldn't run, so I stopped getting up so early, which led to missing breakfast most days and cutting out other healthy habits. Three years later, I usually get out of bed 30-45 minutes before I have to leave the house for work at 10:50 am, pretty much never eat breakfast (first meal of the day is around 2 pm), don't exercise regularly, and am lucky to drink 1 or 2 cups of plain water in a day. I certainly felt much better back when I was incorporating more of these healthy habits into my mornings than I do now!


12/25/2016 9:42:42 PM

AMBER461's SparkPage
Thanks for sharing.


12/8/2016 7:41:22 AM

CAROLEB9's SparkPage
very helpful


5/16/2016 7:45:30 AM

Love this.


5/16/2016 4:25:54 AM

I am sorry but not all of us work at a desk, and if I get up any earlier I would never get any sleep, (2:00am) go to work at 6:00.


5/15/2016 11:11:40 PM

Not everyone can take their multi-vitamin in the morning. You need to make sure that it does not interfere with other medication, including calcium interacting with your thyroid medication. Calcium must be taken 4 hours before or after the thyroid medicine.


5/15/2016 9:00:29 PM

I like these ideas a lot I do most of them and it really helps


5/15/2016 8:59:55 PM

I like these ideas a lot I do most of them and it really helps


5/15/2016 3:30:15 PM

LOULOU1790's SparkPage
I like this one a lot!


5/15/2016 2:46:59 PM

I'm up at 6am M-F but don't fall asleep easy so I get maybe 5-6 hours of sleep. I get moving and awake by walking my dog, having a healthy protein shake, and taking multivitamins (that include a stim pill).


5/15/2016 11:32:16 AM

SCRUBS2010's SparkPage
I go outside a few minutes with my dogs and experience that morning blast of air.


5/15/2016 11:03:56 AM

It would be nice to see this updated to get rid of the ideas that current science no longer promotes, such as using a multivitamin without having an actual deficiency proven by blood test (not a good idea, and a waste of money as well), and the idea that an early breakfast has any impact at all on either weight-loss or overall health ("breakfast" is your first meal of the day, whether it is within an hour of waking or several hours later - different people find success with having it at whatever time best suits their body and their schedule).


5/15/2016 11:01:12 AM

Very helpful tips some I was not aware of. Thanks I will follow-up on this.

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