Photo: Family walking during sunset

By: Ali Riggs

Does this morning checklist sound familiar? Wake up and shower…check. Exercise….no time, maybe tomorrow. Grab breakfast…check. Rush out the door…check. For many of us eating breakfast and exercising every day is hurried at best, and too often, totally omitted.

How many of us eat breakfast while driving to work or school, giving less thought and care to feeding our bodies than to fueling up our cars? With school back in session, families may feel their time being especially limited.

Although we have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we frequently put the demands of our hectic schedules ahead of our own best health. Last year the American Heart Association released findings that show that people who eat breakfast everyday are less likely to have high cholesterol and blood pressure. The approximately 20-30% of adults in the U.S. who skip a morning meal are more likely to be obese, have inadequate nutrition, show evidence of impaired glucose metabolism, or be diagnosed with diabetes.1

For your best health, set your intention each day on getting started with proper nourishment. Quality meals don’t have to take up your quality time. Breakfast can be simple, efficient, healthy, and delicious.

Overnight oats provide you with a filling, healthy meal without having to spend time cooking. By soaking rolled oats in dairy milk or a vegan alternative overnight, the oats are softened, and when mixed with berries, chia seeds, nuts, sweeteners, or yogurt, you can create a personalized, amazing breakfast treat that is waiting for you each morning.

Another innovative option for a proper breakfast is a pre-made smoothie. Put dairy or nut milk in your blender container along with your choice of fruit, nut butters, or vitamin packed additions like a handful of kale or spinach (shhh- don’t tell the kids, they’ll never know it’s in there), or a super boosting supplement powder. Place the container in the fridge overnight and pull it out to blend for a minute and your healthy breakfast is ready! Check out this recipe that you can follow for the perfect smoothie and overnight oats.

Another quick but nutritious option that beats sugar-laden convenience breakfast foods is nut butter spread on fruit or whole wheat English muffins. Here’s a revelation for you: just because it’s morning doesn’t mean you have to eat traditionally labeled breakfast foods. Breakfast doesn’t have to be sweet and fruity; it can be savory and loaded up with veggies, too. Avocado on toast (try this simple recipe), or rice, beans, and veggies, or any other balanced dinner leftovers, will provide you with proper nutrition and lasting energy to tackle your busy day.

When eating your meals, especially the first meal of the day, take time to just eat without the distraction of phones, other devices, or newspapers. Focus on chewing thoroughly and enjoying a few last minutes at home with loved ones before being pulled away to work and school.

Besides starting your day off right with good food, getting exercise each and every day should be a top priority. Fitting in time for exercise doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, unpleasant experience. Just a few minutes of stretching and deep breathing as soon as you get out of bed in the morning can reduce stiffness, increase flexibility, and prevent injuries. Read these articles on the importance of fitness and check out the book “3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life: The Groundbreaking Program for Total Body Pain Prevention and Rapid Relief” by Joe Weisberg for quick but effective exercise inspiration.

Walking all the way or part way to work, biking, and taking the stairs are simple ways to add more fitness to your life. After work or school, dedicate an hour or two to your favorite kind of recreation. Hawaii’s year-round nice weather allows us to be outside and active most days. Planning recreation activities with your family is a wonderful way to spend time together and get healthy.

With these slight meal and fitness adjustments, you can easily create greater personal health for yourself and your family, while adding quality to your life. Now, who can’t make time for that?

 

Footnotes: 

1 Ard, Jamy M.D.; Baskin, Monica L., Ph.D.; Chiuve, Stephanie E. Sc.D.; Johnson, Heather M. M.D.; Kris-Etherton,Penny Ph.D., R.D.; Varady, Krista Ph.D . 2017. Meal planning, timing, may impact heart health. American Heart Association Scientific Statement.