Sweet Dreams

Having a good night's sleep takes more than just a bedtime.

Tag: health and fitness (page 1 of 3)

How High Blood Sugar Steals Sleep Time

amerisleep diabetes and sleep

It’s probably far from obvious, but your diabetes could be the reason that you’re having trouble sleeping.

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans—and the numbers are growing. Though most of us are aware that the disease has a serious impact on a person’s diet and blood sugar, fewer are familiar with the many related health woes that diabetes can cause—and how they can negatively impact sleep.

Take a closer look at the surprisingly intricate relationship between diabetes and sleep—plus how people with the condition can get a better night’s rest.

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7 Fitness Experts Share Tips on Balancing Exercise and Sleep for Better Health

7 Fitness Experts Share Tips on Balancing Exercise and Sleep for Better Health

When people think about fitness and getting in shape, the most common focuses are usually exercise and diet. We know that burning calories and eating right contribute to a better body, but what about rest?

Mounting evidence shows that sleep is a vital component of fitness as well, important not only for energy, but also for keeping muscles healthy and hormones balanced.

Research from Stanford found improved athletic performance when their basketball team slept more, and a Northwestern University study also found that people exercised longer on days following good sleep. Several studies also associate too little sleep with higher body fat and greater risk of obesity.

But not only does sleep boost your workouts and possibly weight loss, getting regular exercise also benefits your sleep quality, creating a symbiotic and complementary relationship.

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13 Easy to Prepare Sleep-Inducing Dinners

15 Easy to Prepare Sleep-Inducing Dinners

Advice for better sleep typically focuses on evening habits like limiting electronics and keeping bedrooms comfortable, but there’s one important aspect you might be overlooking.

Dinner. You’ve heard that you are what you eat, but what you eat may also affect how you sleep.

Certain nutrients are required by the body to carry out daily functions, including making hormones and neurotransmitters related to rest. Other foods can impact physical comfort, affecting slumber by boosting your heart rate or causing indigestion.

The more we learn, the more significant nutrition’s role in sleep appears to be. Read on to see how diet and rest connect and what to eat at night to nourish your body for more efficient sleep.

 

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How to Be Productive on Low or No Sleep

Follow these five rules to stay productive when you’re running on empty.

Sure, there’s no replacement for a good seven to nine hours of sleep a night. But sometimes, well, life interferes. When you’re running on fumes—either because you just stayed up too late or because sleep problems are keeping you up—there are simple ways to maximize your productivity until you can start to repay that sleep debt and get back on track.

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Get Some Sun. Sunshine (or bright light, in a pinch) helps to remind your brain that it’s daytime and you should be awake—even if you’re exhausted. That’s because light triggers your internal clock to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy at night.
  1. Move Your Body. It may sound counterintuitive when you’re already dragging, but expending energy through exercise (or even a quick jog up a flight of stairs) increases blood flow and pumps up your rate of breathing. It sends more energizing oxygen throughout your body so you feel as much as 65 percent less fatigued.
  1. Drink Up. Water, that is. While drinking more than you need won’t necessarily increase your energy levels, being even mildly dehydrated can put a damper on your mood and leave you feeling worse than you already do. And if you find yourself running to the bathroom more often, the extra activity can only help!
  1. Take a Nap. No, napping is not a sign of weakness. It can be the secret to better performance. NASA pilots who averaged a 26-minute nap on a cross-ocean flight had 34 percent better performance than their non-napping colleagues. Just don’t snooze too long or you’ll run the risk of waking up even more bleary-eyed. If you drink coffee, consider this trick: Since it takes about half an hour for caffeine to work its magic, sip your cup of Joe just before your nap to wake up refreshed.
  1. Don’t Multitask. It’s unfortunate but true: When you’re under-slept, your brain simply doesn’t fire on all cylinders. You have less working memory and you recover more slowly from distractions. So keep it simple. Close extra Internet windows (including e-mail), silence your phone, and shut off those distracting yet oh-so-interesting podcasts for an extended period so you can focus on one task at a time.

What is a Power Nap?

Man SleepingLearn how to use daytime sleep to boost both energy and productivity.

Think napping is only for the preschool and under set? Think again. Naps can be a boon for both your health and your productivity—a big reason some companies are making daytime sleep a part of their corporate ethos. A power nap is a nap that’s long enough to get you through the day, but not so long that it makes you groggy or unable to sleep at night. For a nap that will power you up, follow these simple rules.

Set an Alarm.

Twenty minutes is the sweet spot for nap length if you want to wake up feeling alert, cheerful, and productive. Unlike at night when the goal is longer stretches of continuous sleep that will give you the restorative benefits of deep REM sleep, keeping naps to lighter, non-REM sleep will help ensure that you wake up bright-eyed. If you’ve got even more time, lucky you. But go big or go home: 30- to 60-minute naps are likely to leave you feeling worse, while a 90-minute nap gives you enough time for a complete, creativity-building sleep cycle.

Maximize Efficiency.

To make your naptime as productive as possible, it’s important to get straight to business—that is, fall asleep fast. To help you do that, rest in a cool, dark room that’s free from distractions. Power down your phone, and try using props like a noise conditioner or sleep mask if you can’t escape ambient noise and light. In an office? Consider hanging a do-not-disturb door sign to keep colleagues at bay.

Time it Right.

An hour or two after lunch is a natural time to nap since your blood sugar and energy levels drop. Instead of topping off your coffee when this afternoon lull hits, consider a nap to perk up your afternoon without interrupting your nighttime sleep. (And if you do need another splash of caffeine, have it before your nap so you’ll wake up feeling the effects.)

Get Back in Action.

After your 20 minutes is up, get right back to whatever you were doing before the nap. Get some sunlight on your face, take a brisk walk, jump in place, or splash some water on your face to let your body know that nap time is over.

5 Bedtime Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

It is just as important to set the right tone of your day in the morning as it is to end the day with a restful soul.

It not only helps you have better sleep at night but also shapes your life positively.

Whether you had a good day or bad day today, reflect on your day and your dominant thoughts.

To do that, you need to calm your mind and relax your body.

At the end of the day, your mind and body need this time of pause and a moment of peace and calmness. With that, you can shape your thoughts and help create the future you want.

Whether you are constantly in sync with yourself or a virgin when it comes to relaxation, Yoga at night time in particular can help you relax your body, calm your mind and release stress.

It is also proven to reduce fatigue and boost energy which you need plenty of in the morning.

Perform these 5 yoga poses in sequence or independently for 30 to 60 seconds each to stretch your muscles, relax your body and calm your mind to reflect.

Take deep breathes as you perform each pose. It increases oxygen intake which can relax your body.

5 Nighttime Yoga Poses for better sleep

1. Staff Pose – Legs up (Dandasana): this pose is one of the most restorative staff pose variations. By having your feet up, it encourages your blood circulation from your feet to your head and soothes your nervous system.

This inverted pose also takes pressure off of your organs and reduces nausea and anxiety. It’s also great for swollen legs and feet.

2. Knee to Chest Pose (Apanasana): This poses stretches your hips and lower back and helps alleviate back pain.

It also works to ease digestive problems which of course translates to purification and elimination of mental and physical toxins.

3. Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana): This pose stretches your hamstrings, spine and lower back. It also calms the mind, reduces stress and anxiety.

This is a basic pose, yet how far you can bend depends on your flexibility. Know your limit and work your body to bend to wherever your body feels comfortable.

4. Marichi Pose (Marichyasana): Marichi Pose often also called Sage’s Pose stretches the hips, hamstrings and shoulders.

It benefits your digestive system. Use of a band is helpful if your hands can’t meet in the back.

5. Child Pose (Balasana): This is a resting pose and one of the most calming poses.

This pose helps alleviate knee, back, shoulder, and neck pain and provides mental and emotional relief when done with an open mind. It also relaxes your spine which relieves tension and calms the mind.

Take 5 minutes before going to bed to calm your mind, relax your body, and prep yourself for better sleep.

This article was originally published on Fitwirr. You can view the post, here.

Good Quality Sleep May Build Healthy Hearts

Are you not getting enough sleep, or are you getting too much? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you may be at risk of heart disease.istock_000036755352_full_custom-cb55a8e6cfe01c165d5289669ef2464eca7498f6-s800-c85

Just the right amount of good-quality sleep is key to good heart health, according to researchers at the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease, even at a relatively young age.

The researchers studied more than 47,000 young and middle-aged men and women, average age around 41, who answered questions about how long and how well they slept.

Then they had tests to measure their cardiovascular health. Early coronary lesions were detected by measuring the amount of calcium in the arteries of the heart. Stiffness of arteries was measured by the speed of blood coursing through the arteries in the upper arm and ankle.

Calcium buildup and arterial stiffness are two important warning signs of oncoming heart disease.

Findings showed that adults who slept fewer than five hours a night had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours. Those who slept nine hours or more a night had even worse outcomes, with 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to those who slept seven hours.

Sleep quality also made a big difference. Adults who reported poor sleep quality also had more calcium buildup in their arteries, 20 percent more than those who said they slept well.

Dr. Yoosoo Chang, co-lead author of the study, says there was a similar pattern when they measured arterial stiffness. The findings suggest that poor sleep quality, too much sleep and too little sleep all play a role in heart health.

Overall, Chang says, the best heart health was found in adults who slept, on average, about seven hours a night and reported good sleep quality.

The findings of this study are “profound,” says Dr. David Meyerson, a Johns Hopkins cardiologist and spokesman for the American Heart Association. “You wouldn’t imagine that too little sleep, too much, or not sleeping well is going to influence your blood vessels so quickly or so early in life.”

Of course, this study doesn’t prove that the sleep problems are causing the heart problems. That’s a question that needs a lot more study.

As for why this happens, Meyerson says there are numerous potential factors, including hormones, metabolic factors produced by sleep and chemical changes in the body during sleep that can increase blood pressure. “All of that goes into our overall health,” he says, “but we just don’t know yet how all the mechanisms really and truly work.”

Meyerson says the findings of this study should be a heads-up for health care providers and cardiologists to discuss sleep habits with patients when they evaluate cardiovascular risk and overall health status.

 

This article was originally published by NPR. You can read the post, here.

Learn to Interpret Your Dreams

If you’ve ever woken up from a dream wondering what it all means, we have the decoding tactics you need to interpret your nighttime subconscious.

Interpret Your Dreams

Write it Down

Because remembering dreams clearly is easier when you get a restful sleep, we recommend keeping a notebook on your nightstand. When you wake up refreshed, you can jot down everything you remember happening in your dream.

Keep it Simple

It’s always best to analyze dreams on a basic level before delving deeper. Don’t add in parts that seem plausible, as dreams are everything except. Your dream will most likely be a compilation of unconnected words, imagery and symbols. And that’s okay! There’s actually a modicum of truth in that hazy story. Dreams are reflections of yourself and your daily life, so don’t try to account for pieces that aren’t there.

Go with Your Gut

For more abstract dreams, analyze your emotions and how you felt in the dream. Meaning isn’t always obvious the way we think it will be, like seeing an overwhelmingly obvious image. To find the truth and meaning in your dream, look at what it elicits and then apply it to anything relevant in your life it could link to. It’s definitely not easy at first, but if you make it a daily ritual, you’ll gain a better understanding of your own subconscious. Eventually, you’ll start to notice patterns and see certain symbols reappear. At first the images may seem irrelevant, but soon you’ll start to notice patterns and see certain symbols reappear.

Start Snoozing

The key thing to remember is that dreams are personal and it’s all about what you think and feel. So have fun and let your dreams be your guide…

 

*Sources for this post include:

http://www.dreamdictionary.org/http://www.guidetopsychology.com/dreams.htm

How to Analyze Your Dreams (And Why It’s Important)

http://www.wikihow.com/Interpret-Your-Dreams

Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks

Whether it’s fueling up before hitting the gym or taking a midday snack break to avoid the 2 p.m. lull, high-protein snacks are the tastiest way to keep on going. Protein snacks are the perfect way to fill up just enough, and give us longer-lasting energy than the usual, carb-heavy options. Here are 31 of our favorite protein-packed snacks!

1. Cottage-Style Fruit

Top 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of your favorite fruit. Not sure what fruit to pick? Try some superfoods! Bananas, mixedberries, and melon are a few Greatist favorites.

2. Beef or Turkey Jerky

Be careful to avoid sodium- and sugar-filled brands, but low-sodium, natural, or lightly-flavored options are a great source of protein. A one-ounce serving (the size of most single-serve packs) contains about 9 grams of protein! This chewy snack is also super portable and keeps fresh for months when packed properly.

3. Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix

Mixed nuts provide an easy way to get a delicious dose of protein in a convenient, shelf-stable package. Try a mixed bunch for variety and a combo with dried fruit for some added sweetness. The best bang for your protein buck? Almonds and pistachios. They’re higher in protein than their nutty peers.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Those orange gourds aren’t just for Halloween. Pumpkin insides, scooped out to make room for spooky faces, can actually make a healthy little snack once they’re washed, dried, and nicely roasted. Just 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein, making it the perfect pre-workout snack!

5. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Inexpensive and loaded with nutrients, eggs are one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of protein. Try hard boiling and pre-peeling a dozen at the start of the week and throw one in a small Tupperware container each day for an easy on-the-go snack. (Feeling extra famished? Slice the egg and place it on a piece of whole-wheat bread.)

6. Nut Butter Boat

Any vehicle for nut butter is perfection in our book. Try loading a few celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of any nut butter (almond, cashew, walnut) topped with a few whole almonds or raisins. If you’re not a fan of celery, try scooping out the middle of an apple and filling it with your nut butter of choice.

7. Deli Rollup

Top 2 slices of deli meat (turkey, chicken, or roast beef work great) with 1 slice of cheese and a shake of pepper. Add a slice of tomato or some lettuce for extra veggie points!

8. Mini Bean-and-Cheese Quesadilla

It might take an extra minute to prep, but combining these two high-protein treats is totally worth it. Fold 1/2 cup black beans, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice cheddar cheese in a small flour tortilla. Cook in a dry nonstick pan until the cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned. Then wrap it in foil and stick in a plastic baggie for easy transport.

9. Shake It Up

When it comes to protein shakes, the combinations are endless, and one scoop can go a long way! Our favorites? The “Protein Creamsicle:” 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice blended until smooth. (Thanks @JCDFitness!). And also the “Star-buffs Shake:” 1 cup iced coffee (with ice) and 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, blended.

10. KIND Bar

We’re not huge supporters of prepackaged bars, but we make an exception for KIND bars. Their classic varieties are a great source of protein thanks to their all-nut base (with around 5 grams per bar), but for an even higher dose of the good stuff, try KIND Plus varieties.

11. Chunky Monkey Shake

It’s time to get funky, monkey! Blend 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 cup of chocolate milk with 1 cup of ice for a protein-packed pick-me-up.

12. Easy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Flash back to elementary school snack time with this sweet (but still healthy!) treat. In a microwave-safe bowl (or mug), mix 1/4 cup oats, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour (of your choice), 1 egg white, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon raisins. Flatten mixture into bottom of bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Cool, pop it out of the bowl, and enjoy!

13. Tofu Sticks

This soybean-based protein bomb isn’t just for stir-fry. When sliced into sticks and baked, firm (and smoked) tofu can make a great snack food—especially if it’s served with a side of homemade tomato or teriyaki dipping sauce.

14. Edamame Poppers

The only thing more fun than how much protein you can get from a serving of edamame (one cup offers about 17 grams of protein!) is getting to eat these little beans out of their bright green pods. Buy them fresh and steam for about 6 minutes, or use the pre-cooked frozen variety and briefly microwave to defrost (about 2 minutes) before chowing down.

15. Hummus Dippers

How’s this for an unconventional use of a travel coffee mug? Put 2 tablespoons of your favorite hummus in the bottom of the container, stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix) vertically in the hummus, screw on the top, and throw in a purse or gym bag for an easy, on-the-go, super-healthy snack.

16. Soy Milk Smoothie

Time to take a break from the moo-juice. While cow’s milk does have it’s nutritional benefits (calcium and vitamin A, to name a few),soy milk wins in other categories (vitamin D and iron), and they’re nearly comparable in terms of protein. Try blending 1 cup of your favorite flavor of soy milk with 1 cup of frozen blueberries or raspberries (for added fiber and antioxidants).

17. Portable Cheese Platter

Who doesn’t love a classy cheese plate? Make yourself a mini plate with a cheese stick (or 2 slices of cheese), 2 whole-grain crackers, and a few roasted almonds.

18. Banana Nutter

Few pairings are more comforting than a classic peanut butter with banana. Simply top a rice cake (brown rice for extra fiber points!) or whole-grain toast with 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter and half a sliced banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon for some extra healthy benefits!

19. Silver Dollar Protein Pancakes

Mix 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Cook on a preheated griddle (medium-low heat) until the mixture bubbles, flip, and cook for another 60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or sliced banana.

20. Chocolate Milk

No, we’re not going back to preschool. But chocolate milk is actually a great source of high-quality protein (especially post-workout). Try keeping a single-serving, shelf-stable box in your gym bag or backpack for snack attack emergencies—just try to find one that’s also low in sugar!

21. “Get Greek” Berry Parfait

Imagine sitting on a Greek isle with this snack in hand. Top 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh berries and 1 tablespoon sliced roasted almonds. Now soak in that (imaginary) view and enjoy.

22. Almond Butter Toast Sticks

Here’s another one to fit in that travel mug or mason jar. Toast (or bake) 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and cut into ½-inch strips. Place 2 tablespoons of almond butter (or another nut butter) in the bottom of a container with a top, stick the toast sticks in vertically, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Screw on the top and head out the door!

23. A Little Lentil

We know what you’re thinking: “Lentils? As a snack?!” Yes! Don’t worry, we’re not talking about a bowl of the bland ol’ things. Lentils are great protein-packed legumes that are easy to turn into super, shelf-stable salads. One cup has a whopping 22 grams of protein in just 300 calories! Not sure where to start? Try this lentil tabboulehor this simple veggie and lentil mix.

24. Grape-and-Cheese Sticks

Dice a half-inch thick slice of cheddar cheese into squares (you should end up with about 6 small pieces) and rinse 6 grapes. On 6 toothpicks, stack the grape and cheese, and enjoy! Just 1 ounce of sharp cheddar offers 8 grams of protein, and the contrast with sweet grapes is super sophisticated (and delicious).

25. Perfect Little Parfait

Top 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a handful of fruit (fresh or frozen) and a drizzle of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of toasted oats for a protein-packed crunch!

26. Mini Black-Bean Mash Taco

When it’s time to get spicy, try this easy snack fix. Heat 1/2 cup of black beans in the microwave with 1 tablespoon of salsa. Mash with a fork and fold it inside a small (4 to 6-inch) flour tortilla. Store in a small Tupperware container for easy transport.

27. Gobble, Gobble

Re-visit Thanksgiving with this festive favorite. Slice one piece of whole-grain bread in half, lengthwise, and top with 2 slices of roasted turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice of tomato, 1 teaspoon of mustard, and 1 teaspoon of dried cranberries. This comforting combination is protein-packed!

28. Protein Bar

This one might sound obvious, but hear us out: It’s all about finding the right bar. That means one that isn’t weighed down with not-so-good extras like sugar and unpronounceable ingredients (some options can even be as bad as candy bars!). Do some research to figure which type is right for you: There are high-protein and low-carb bars; meal replacement and energy bars; etc.

29. Overnight Choco-Oats

This is the ultimate pre-packaged snack. In a container with a secure lid, mix 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 3 tablespoons chocolate protein powder, and a handful of walnuts until well combined. Let sit in fridge overnight (or up to a few days). Need some extra sweetness? Add 1/2 a banana, mashed!

30. Recovery Rice Crispies

News Flash: Protein powder ain’t just for shakes! Try these super-sweet protein-packed treats—Recovery Rice Crispies—from trainer Rog Law.

31. Blueberry Flax Microwave Muffins

Making muffins from scratch each morning is easier than you might think. Mix 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons ground flax, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 2 egg whites, and a sprinkle of sugar (or other natural sweetener) in a microwave-safe Tupperware container. Cook on high for 50 to 60 seconds. Let it cool, throw a top on it, and enjoy whenever the hunger pangs hit.

 

This article was originally published on Greatist. You can view the entire post, here.

34 Healthy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

When it comes to breakfast, the options are endless. Pancakes or waffles? Bacon and eggs? Muffin, followed by a pastry? So why limit chowing down on delicious breakfast foods to the morning hours? Here are 34 healthier snack options to keep filling those breakfast food cravings all month long.

Better Breakfast Snacks

1. Avocado Toast With Egg

Sometimes, simple is just better. In this recipe, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, lightly toasted, topped with smashed avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper makes for a flavorful and rich base. Top that with two sunny-side-up eggs for a healthy dose of protein, and you’ve got a well-rounded breakfast. Stack ’em in a tupperware container for easy transport or cook the yolks a bit more and make the whole thing into a sandwich.

2. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day. Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk, and a few ice cubes. If this is a morning snack, keep it in a tight-sealing container and throw it in a gym or work bag. For an afternoon boost, prep it the night before and freeze, remove in the morning, and it will be thawed and ready to enjoy after lunch. Tip: Add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein for an extra protein boost.

3. Zapped Scrambled Eggs With Veggies

Yes, it’s possible to make really good scrambled eggs in the microwave. And it’s easy! Beat 2 eggs, throw in a microwave-safe container, add 1 handful of your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves work well), and a sprinkle of cheese. Zap the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, and cook another 30 seconds, or until eggs are solid. Throw a top on the container to eat later, or store the raw mixture in a fridge until ready to heat and eat.

4. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

One of the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest breakfasts out there is a classic fruit and yogurt parfait. The best part? It can be made with any toppings you like. Try choosing fruits that are in season for the most flavorful options. (Try our stone fruit salad for summer, and opt for apples come fall).

5. Breakfast Burrito

Who doesn’t love a burrito? Breakfast burritos are a great, easy snack to keep on hand. Scramble 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese, and wrap in 1 small whole-wheat tortilla. Make a bunch, wrap in foil, and keep in the freezer for whenever the craving hits. Protein from the eggs and black beans keep you fuller longer, and the spicy salsa keeps things interesting.

6. Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

An oat-based muffin packed with healthy carrots and zucchini, lightly sweetened with raisins and just a pinch of sugar makes a perfect breakfast or snack. Use a mini-muffin tin for smaller portions, and eliminate or cut back on the brown sugar or choose a healthier substitute to cut back on sugar.

7. Breakfast Quinoa Bites

Here’s a new way to enjoy quinoa: make mini quinoa breakfast quiches! In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups cooked quinoa, 2 eggs, 1 cup your favorite veggies (spinach or zucchini work well), 1 cup shredded cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Portion into a lightly-greased mini muffin tin, and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. These are easy to bring along and delicious to enjoy warm or cold.

8. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

Here’s a simple and delicious smoothie recipe for the morning rush. Blend 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup frozen fruit (banana and berries work very well) with 1/2 cup liquid (milk, juice, coconut water—whatever you like). Freeze overnight and thaw throughout the day to enjoy in the afternoon, or blend up in the morning.

9. Leftovers n’ Egg

Stuck with last night’s leftovers? Place a scoop of leftover roasted veggies, potatoes, or meat in a container, top with a cracked egg, and heat in the microwave until the egg white is cooked through, 30 to 45 seconds. (Or prep in the oven.) Feeling fancy? Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

10. Fruity Breakfast Quinoa

Cooking quinoa in milk (cow, soy, or almond) and adding some sweet spices and fruit makes for a great substitute for classic hot breakfast cereals. Plus, it’s high in protein and essential amino acids like lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Simply cook quinoa according to package instructions, but substitute milk for water, and add some cinnamon or nutmeg instead of salt and pepper. Top with fresh berries and chopped roasted nuts.

11. Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Take a classic baked loaf and make it into oatmeal with this recipe! Adding shredded zucchini to oatmeal is a great way to fit in an extra serving of veggies. Throw on a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans for some added crunch.

12. Quinoa Fruit Salad

Spice up a plain old fruit cup with a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole shebang around until the quinoa is evenly distributed through the fruit. Add a scoop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a little extra body.

13. Oatmeal Squares

Oatmeal is a great option for a hearty snack or breakfast, but what’s the best way to make it into a more convenient and portable snack?Bake it into squares!

This article was originally published by Greatist. You can view the rest of the post here

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