As we edge closer to summer and the festive season, many of us are already thinking about how to keep up with the healthy habits developed during the year and stay in shape for summer. A big area to focus on is your morning routine, because it really can make or break the rest of your day! When we start the day well, we are more likely to make better choices for our health and feel more motivated to continue on this track. If you can notice some unhealthy habits starting to creep in, here are 5 morning rituals to help shape your day!
Move your body!
I often get asked if exercising before breakfast burns more fat compared to eating before a work out. While this is a loaded question and can depend on your goals, type of exercise and any medical concern, interestingly a new study involving overweight and obese men has found that exercising in an overnight-fasted state can increase the health benefits of exercise such as increasing our ability to respond to insulin which in turn, may promote fat loss. This new study is food for thought and further studies will be needed to assess the impacts in women. The most important thing to remember is to select both a type of exercise and also time to exercise, according to your preferences because consistency is key!
Dine on protein
Evenly spacing protein in your meals throughout the day is generally better for appetite control compared to eating your daily protein intake across 1-2 meals. Most importantly, including protein at breakfast time can help to regulate appetite and ward off craving sugar and snacky foods late into the day and evening. If you currently do not include much protein at breakfast, for example if your go to is vegemite or marmalade on toast, I encourage you to make this one swap and see what positive difference you notice! Good sources of protein to try include eggs, salmon, dairy (yoghurt, cheese, milk), nuts/seeds, legumes, plant-based protein and tofu.
Practicing some form of mindfulness in the morning can put you in a calm and positive frame of mind, ready to tackle the day ahead. Mindfulness doesn’t have to mean meditation, whilst I am a big fan of meditation and it supports my mental wellbeing, it may not resonate with everyone. The key is to find some form of mindful practice, which you do get benefit from and enjoy having as part of your daily routine. A few ideas include a short yoga flow, deep breathing, journaling, walking in nature or even eating breakfast mindfully.
As summer fast approaches and the temperature increases our water intake needs to adapt with the change in our environment. Starting your day with a big glass of water upon waking is a good way to not only tick off a glass for the day but also kick-start digestion, help with metabolism and support concentration for the day ahead. If you struggle to remember to drink water upon waking, keep an empty glass by your alarm or phone and this will act as a reminder to fill up.
Eat some plants!
We are hearing more and more about the benefits of eating more plants and breakfast is an ideal time to add in a serve of plants because no matter how the day turns out, you can at least be confident you started it well. Eating plants at breakfast can help to contribute towards our daily fibre intake as well as boost the nutritional density of our diet because plants are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds. Some ways to easily add plants to breakfast include: spinach in smoothies, mushrooms on toast, adding tomato and herbs to avocado mash, grating carrot through porridge or if in a rush, adding some green powder to smoothies or in water.