5 Big Benefits of Morning Workouts

As I sit here, procrastinating my morning workout, I ponder all of the reasons that I should get up and get moving. I have no doubt that I’ll feel 1,000 times better when it’s done. What is it about a good morning workout that makes us feel superhuman, anyway? Actually, quite a lot…

  1. Exercise awakens us in the best possible way – blood pumping, brain working, body moving. Your energy level will be higher and you’re less likely to hit that mid-day slump, even hours after you sweat. Endorphins are a beautiful thing and can make or break a productive, rewarding, enjoyable day. So, lace up those sneakers and move! And, make sure it’s a workout that you actually enjoy to reap double benefits, mentally and physically.
  2. Burn ALL day. Thanks to EPOC, (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) the body works extra hard to restore and rebuild muscles, increasing metabolism for up to 14 hours post-workout! So, hit it hard for at least 30 minutes and burn more calories for more hours!
  3. Start the day on the right foot. Completing a morning workout will empower you to tackle the rest of your day head on, tackling your to-do list like a champ. Just as you accomplished that workout and crush your fitness goals, you’ll crush your life goals too.
  4. Food is fuel. Your post-workout meal will be used to replenish your muscles and provide you with lasting energy. Had you rolled out of bed, had a big breakfast, and sat at your desk all day, that meal would more likely be stored somewhat as fat instead of fuel. Your body is a machine – keep it moving, keep it fueled, and it will continue to operate well for you.
  5. Sleep better. Not only will you wake up and metabolize food more efficiently, you’ll also wind down and sleep deeper at night. Working out in the evening will awaken your mind and body and can put your body in a state of stress, setting you up for a night of tossing and turning. Following a morning workout, your body (and mind) can rest peacefully and wake up to do it again the next day.

Of course, if you work out in the morning, it’s DONE for the day, a weight off your shoulders…but is it such a bad thing to workout later in the day?? You know what they say: “you’ll never regret a workout.” If you’re not a morning person or cannot fit it into your AM schedule, get it done on your own time because something is better than nothing. To maximize benefits and feel healthier all-around; however, I highly recommend incorporating a few morning workouts into your weekly schedule. If you’ve never been a morning exerciser, start now and you’ll form a new healthy habit in just a few weeks. It’s not black and white, either, you don’t have to do a class or get to the gym. Even just 15-20 minutes of morning yoga in your pajamas or walking to work in the morning will make a difference. PLUS, you’re less likely to skip, cancel, or rush your fitness routine in the morning. Speaking of which, I’m off to workout…why? See #’s 1-5 above!

One Healthy Breakdown: no excuses this morning, get it done!

Morning Rise & Shine Ritual

Snooze. Roll out of bed. More coffee. Scramble through your to-do list. Count down the minutes until you can leave the office… Sounds miserable, no? Here’s a super simple daily exercise anyone can (and should! ) use to rise, shine, and set yourself up for success, with a smile!

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  1. Write down three things that you’re grateful for today.
  2. Write down three things that you would like to get done today.

That’s it. Now, you’re centered, thankful, positive, and motivated, so go seize the day!

One Healthy Breakdown: nothin’ like a big cup of joe inspo in the morning!

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This breakfast recipe is not only easy and healthy, but also clearly the epitome of fall. Autumn is surely the season for all things pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon. Breakfast should fuel your day with long-lasting energy and deliciousness. Check and check. Let’s dig in, shall we?!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or water (or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 apple chopped or 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds) chopped walnuts, or pecans

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Instructions:

Add oats to liquid in pot on stove on medium heat. Once oats begin to cook and thicken, turn heat to low and add all other ingredients. Stir and finish cooking (should take about 5-8 minutes.) Once the oatmeal is thick, remove from heat and let cool a minute before serving. Feel free to top oatmeal (just for visual appeal) with apple slices and cinnamon, more pumpkin, sprinkled nuts, or nothing at all. Enjoy this hearty fall-flavored meal!

One Healthy Breakdown: fueling with fall foods.

Kid-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

Back to school means back to our routines, alarm clocks, and catching the bus. Although it can be tough to get the kids to have a decent meal before school, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Children need fuel for school, both for their brain and body to function. Eating a healthy breakfast stabilizes blood sugar, energy, mood, and increases focus.

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While there are hundreds of packaged “breakfast” foods on the market, making breakfast at home ensures much healthier ingredients as opposed to sugar and chemicals you’ll find in most pre-packaged options (ie: Pop-tarts, granola bars, and most kid-friendly cereals.)  All of these kid-friendly ideas take 10 minutes or less to make and can be taken on-the-go!

1. PB & J Smoothie (makes 1 serving):

In a blender, combine:

  • ¾ cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • optional: ½ frozen banana
  • optional:

Instructions: add ice cubes for desired temperature/consistency and serve in a glass once blended. Cheers!

2. Healthy Pancakes or Waffles (makes 2 servings):

In a bowl or blender, combine:

  • ¾ cup whole-grain flour of choice ( or try coconut or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: dash of cinnamon

Instructions: lightly coat heated pan/skillet with butter/coconut oil/cooking spray and add pancake mix in small circles. Flip once pancake solidifies (typically 4-5 minutes) and let cook until desired crispness (2-3 minutes.) Plate pancakes and serve with a small amount of honey, natural syrup, or butter. Tastes like a treat, but healthy enough for everyday!

3. Overnight Oats (prepare the night before, makes 2 servings):

In a bowl, jar, or Tupperware, combine:

  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • optional: 1 tablespoon chia seeds (to help thicken and adds nutrients)
  • optional: add fruit and/or nuts/nut butter

Instructions: simply stir together the ingredients and refrigerate overnight for an instant healthy breakfast in the morning!

If you’d like more individual nutritional advice for you or your family, please contact kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com to set up a meeting. Kiley is certified in nutrition and clinical social work with women, children, and families.

One Healthy Breakdown: fuel for school!

Blue Maca Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a great alternative to cereal in the morning and they’re a huge time-saver. Cool, refreshing, and uber healthy, this recipe includes blueberries and maca powder for an extra dose of vitamins, minerals, mood-boosters, energy, and more! Let’s get soakin’, shall we?

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Ingredients: (gluten-free, dairy-free, and no added sugar!)

  • 1/3 cup plain raw oats (I prefer Purely Elizabeth)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • optional: 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice

Instructions:

Combine oats, almond milk, seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and blueberries. Mix and refrigerate in a jar or bowl overnight. In the morning, add your maca, stir, and go to town!

One Healthy Breakdown: super blue superfood breakfast in a flash!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Holla to my fellow carrot cake lovers out there! Offering a healthy twist on the heavenly dessert we all know and love. Not only delicious, this one’s also super nutritious and good warm or cold!

FullSizeRender_1Carrot Cake Oatmeal: (makes one serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or coconut butter
  • Optional: 1 tsp shredded coconut, 1 tsp raisins, or 1 tsp nut butter of choice
  • For post-workout/added protein: add 1 egg while cooking

IMG_3474Cook oats on stovetop in coconut/almond milk, adding vanilla, cinnamon, and pie spice and stir. Follow by adding grated carrots, maple syrup, walnuts, and coconut oil/butter and continue to stir. Once mixture is thick, turn off heat and transfer to bowl. Top with shredded coconut, nut butter, and/or raisins and enjoy warm. Thank me later…

FullSizeRenderOne Healthy Breakdown: Carrot cake oatmeal makes breakfast the perfect time to have your cake and it too…with a healthy dose of veggies that is!

 

October’s Tiny Change: Eat Breakfast

OHH Intro: Breakfast is something OHH REALLY stands behind! No, not only on Sundays, but Every. Single. Day. It’s HUGE…and delicious! So, if you’re not a breakfast eater, take the next few weeks to become one (and, no, a cup of coffee does NOT count as breakfast, sorry people!) It may be easier (and yummier!) than you think after scrolling through Kale and Chocolate’s deliciousness below!)

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change-over a year it really adds up! You can read about all the changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges, and don’t forget, there will be giveaways!

kale-and-chocolate-pb-j-oats-1Since October is my favorite month of the year and breakfast is my favorite (and most important!) meal of the day, I decided to turn our attention to how we take care of ourselves first thing in the morning. After all, it’s hard to feel amazing throughout the rest of your day if you’re getting up when it’s still dark and heading out the door on a cup of coffee and an empty stomach!

When we make the time to eat something nourishing and healthy first thing in the morning, we’re setting the tone for the rest of the day! We’re making ourselves the priority, not our schedules or our to do lists. We’re also balancing our blood sugar and metabolism, giving ourselves an energy source to draw on, and taking a few moments to center ourselves before we venture into the fray.

So with that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you navigate this month’s 12 Tiny Changes Challenge. Let’s do this! If you’re not eating breakfast:

1. Figure out why it’s not happening.
Do you dislike traditional breakfast food? Do you feel like you don’t have enough time? (Number one excuse!) Does eating early in the morning turn your stomach? Once you know your “why”, you’ll be able to make changes accordingly!

2. Try different dishes if you don’t like breakfast food.
You’re not actually required to eat pancakes for breakfast – or eggs or smoothies. Make your own rules! Or just move your breakfast from the sweet to the savory end of the spectrum. (It may also help reduce sugar cravings later in the day!)

sweet-savory-breakfasts-lg3. Prep your breakfasts ahead of time.
In September, our theme for the #12tinychanges was to devote a few hours to meal prep each week. When we think of meal prep, we’re usually focused on getting dinner on the table, but guess what? You can prep for breakfast, too! Make yourself one huge batch of overnight oats, pumpkin pancakes, breakfast quinoa, or berry good oat bars and eat them every morning. Chop and peel all your fruits and veggies so they’re ready for smoothies or whip up a big batch of chia seed pudding. You get the idea, it’s about setting yourself up for breakfast success!

4. If you truly can’t eat breakfast, then have a mid-morning snack ready.
There are a few people out there who really feel sick if they eat first thing in the morning. Try starting with a really mild, simple breakfast (like sprouted toast). If that doesn’t work, make sure you have snacks ready to go for when you do get hungry so that you’ll have energy to get through the day.

If you’re already eating breakfast every day, up your game! Breakfast Criminals has been a major influence and has inspired me to take my breakfast to the next level. If you, too, are already nourishing yourself in the morning, but you want to do even better, give these a try:

1. Double-check that your go-to breakfast is serving you.
Many of us (myself included) are creatures of habit. If you’ve been eating the same breakfast for years, why not make sure that it’s right for you? Who knows – maybe you’d have more energy and focus if you started your day with a protein-rich vegetable frittata, baked avocado with eggs, or seeded almond flour bread. Experiment with different types of breakfasts and take note of how you feel for the rest of the morning. Changing your breakfast can change your day, plain & simple!

2. Make your breakfast more interesting (and nutritious!)
If you’ve found a few breakfasts that are easy to make—and help you feel great—experiment with your faves. There are so many delicious, healthy ingredients that you can sprinkle over and stir into your oatmeal, smoothies, parfaits and more! You can see my long list of favorite nutritional boosts here. Have I convinced you? Breakfast can (and should!) be easy, energy-giving, and delicious. Happy breakfast-ing!

One Healthy Breakdown: let’s make this year amazing, starting with our morning meal!

Berry Good Oat Bars

Introducing the berry good oat bar, star of the snack scene and best blueberry- loaded breakfast in town! Loaded with nutrients, these babies are chewy like a brownie, but much healthier, with the perfect combination of carbs, protein, and fat. Now, that’s berry, berry good!

IMG_1975In a mixer/blender, combine all of the following ingredients:

2 cups berries (blueberries or a variety of berries, fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup plain oats
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup nuts OR nut butter of choice
1 tablespoon flax
1 teaspoon honey

optional additions:
1 scoop high-quality protein powder for extra protein
1/4 cup goji berries
1 tablespoon hemp or chia seeds

Spray a large brownie pan and pour batter evenly into pan. Bake at 325-350 for about 15-20 minutes. Check with a fork, they’ll be soft, but won’t stick to fork. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and cut into individual bars. Serve cool or heated and enjoy any time of day.

IMG_1964One Healthy Breakdown: sounds like berry good plan!

Morning Lemon Water

Wake up. Rise. Drink warm water with fresh squeezed lemon. Shine.

FullSizeRender(29)Just wash your lemon, (organic is best) squeeze 1/4 lemon into a cup of warm water, and throw the peel right in. Lemons are nutritional powerhouses, full of vitamins B, C, calcium, potassium, fiber, and minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and more. Acting as a mini-cleanse, warm lemon water aids digestion, flushes toxins, and stimulates your liver to kick-off the day right. Boosting the immune system, it provides antibacterial properties as well as instant energy. Nourishing brain, nerve, and skin cells, each sip improves alertness, joint pain, acne, and wrinkles. The pectin fiber may aid weightloss and cravings in addition to setting your mindset for a healthy day. In addition to the hydration benefits, the warm water dilutes the acid so that it’s less harsh on the enamel of your teeth. Do your body and mind a favor and begin each morning with warm lemon water. Cheers!

One Healthy Breakdown: don’t start your day any other way!

Apple Pie A La Smoothie

There’s nothin’ like warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop…right?! If you’re an apple pie fan, you’ll love this one – great for any time of the day (yes, even breakfast!) and makes a perfect post-workout refuel! Warm up while you cool down, feed your body, and wake up your senses with this sweet smoothie recipe!

MP900384682In a blender, combine the following:

  • 1 large (or 2 small) apples
  • 1 handful romaine lettuce or spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop high-quality vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • ice cubes if desired

One Healthy Breakdown: it doesn’t look like a pie, feel like a pie, or compare nutritionally (thankfully!) but it sure is tasty…and healthy!