Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Guest Post: Easy Morning Tricks to Help You Stay Healthy

This post was provided by a guest blogger. These helpful tips would tie in perfectly with the Cadettes Eating for Beauty badge.

By: Danielle Hegedus

Via Sullivan Personal Training
Even those of us who look skeptically at friends who say they are “morning people”  know that getting up earlier in the morning can make you healthier and more productive. The mornings hours are yours, and yours alone, unlikely to be interrupted by family and work demands. It’s just a matter of committing to the habit of utilizing your mornings instead of sleeping through them! At Modernize, we encourage you to wake up just a little earlier for your own well-being. Use the morning hours to nurture your mind, body, and spirit with meditation, nutrition, and exercise. Read on for simple tips to start your mornings off right—you may even start calling yourself a morning person!

Start Your Day with Meditation
Yes, this means you’ll have to skip the snooze button, but building just 10-20 minutes into your morning routine can do wonders for your well-being throughout the rest of the day. Create a space, in your bedroom or elsewhere in your home, that is quiet, comfortable, and peaceful. If finding a quiet spot in your home is a challenge, you may want to consider downloading a meditation-mix that you can listen to with headphones. UCLA Health has some great free guided meditations that you can download based on the amount of time you have to meditate and any particular issues you may be looking to work on like your breathing, stress reduction, or loving kindness.

Via Modernize
Starting your day with meditation provides you with the opportunity to quiet your mind amidst all of the stressors in your life—work, family, an ever growing to-do list. It allows you to have more focus and control over your emotions, making you less prone to depression and anxiety throughout the day. According to Time Magazine, “The practice of mindful meditation can offer real help for patients with depression, anxiety, and pain. Researchers are increasingly demonstrating the measurable influence of meditation on the brain, proving that mindfulness can make us feel happier, have greater emotional resilience, and take fewer sick days.”

Drink Warm Lemon Water
Via Ideal Journey
Coffee may be your favorite way to start the day, but try starting your day with warm lemon water for just a week (you can always have a cup of coffee later in the morning!) to experience some amazing health benefits. Lemon is rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and pectin fiber. Keep the peel on lemon slices (just be mindful to scrub your lemons before using) to maximize fiber. Warm lemon water serves as a natural digestive aid, helping the body eliminate waste easier. Starting your day off with warm lemon water can help boost your immune system, support weight loss, balance pH levels in your body, prevent the formation of acne and wrinkles, soothe an upset stomach, and reduce pain and inflammation in your joints as it dissolves uric acid.

Eat a Protein Rich Breakfast
Via Nicola Strother
Some people say they just aren’t hungry in the morning, but when you really think about it,  your body has been without food for at least eight hours while you were sleeping and needs energy to function well. Eating a healthy breakfast is also very important to maintaining a healthy weight. A breakfast that is rich in protein and whole grains, like a veggie omelette with whole grain toast, can help reduce hunger throughout the day. If eating breakfast is a new habit for you, start small. Greek yogurt with fruit and almonds is a light way to begin your day and it’s loaded with protein. Researchers have found that “...eating a high-protein breakfast made young women feel fuller throughout the day and eat a smaller dinner and fewer nighttime snacks. In contrast, starting the day with a low-protein breakfast or no breakfast at all made the study subjects more likely to graze on unhealthy (high-calorie but low-nutrient) foods throughout the day.”

At Modernize, we love avocado toast for breakfast. It’s delicious, and quick and easy to prepare. Simply mix avocado with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil and spread on toast. We like to add egg whites for extra protein. According to nutritionist,  Lisa Goldberg, "I love it for breakfast because avocado has protein and healthy monounsaturated fat, and it's also high in fiber, so combined with the multi-grain toast it keeps me full for a good three to four hours. Plus, it's high in other nutrients like Vitamins B, C, E, K, and potassium."

Exercise Outdoors
Via Huffington Post
Any exercise that you can get fit into your day  is going to positively impact your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. With hectic work and family schedules, it’s easy for exercise to fall to the bottom of your ever growing to-do list. Make exercise a priority by doing it first thing in the morning before your day has a chance to get away from you. Starting your day off with physical activity can influence you to make better food choices and help maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

While working out in the gym or your living room is great, try to get outside if you are able. According to the New York Times, “There seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance—one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression, and fatigue after they walked outside.”

Pack Your Lunch

Anyone who has ever attempted to grocery shop while hungry knows that hunger can cause you to make some poor decisions. Plan your lunch and snacks to set yourself up for nutritional success throughout the day. Fill an insulated lunch bag full of healthy and delicious snacks like Greek yogurt, fruit, and multi-grain crackers and hummus. Ideally, your lunch should consist of ½ non-starchy veggies (leafy greens are great), ¼ protein, and ¼ carbohydrates (quinoa or a starchy vegetable like a sweet potato are good, filling choices) . Not only will you set yourself up to be more healthy by being deliberate about including nutrient-rich food in your diet (instead of a frenzied last minute run to a drive-through), but you’ll also save a lot of money throughout the week.

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