Daylight Savings Time is a great time to spring forward into a new routine! As we turn out clocks forward one hour we may be dreading the “lost hour” of sleep; but instead use it as an opportunity to begin new healthy routines.
The 60-minute change seems minor in retrospect, but it can actually send our bodies for quite the whirlwind. For many of us, our daily routines run like clockwork. When that repetition is tampered with, our sleep, energy and motivation all might falter.
For a successful transition, ease into the change; it’s crucial for surviving the workweek, especially if you feel as though you can’t catch up on sleep. Here are a few steps that I follow to facilitate a smooth adjustment.
- Jumpstart your day. Avoid snoozing your alarm too many times in the morning. Allow yourself enough time for a healthy breakfast along with your morning coffee or tea. Studies show that a hearty ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is best for morning meals. Together, they provide enough “fuel” for lasting alertness and concentration. I always recommend whole-wheat toast with one egg or egg whites or oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Pencil in time for exercise. Exercise before work or during lunch for that extra energy boost. Waiting until much later in the day can affect your ability to relax and prepare for rest.
- Eat your “brain” foods. The ones that provide you with long-lasting energy include apples, avocado, almonds, berries, raisins, and whole grain cereal bars. Avoid highly processed, sugary foods and beverages, like soda and sweets. They might provide you with an immediate source of energy, but a hard crash will likely follow (not conducive for a long work day).
- Set a caffeine curfew. Mine is at 3:00pm; it could be another time for you, since we all have different sensitivities to caffeine. Either way, the goal is to promote an adequate amount of sleep each night and avoid anything that might interfere.
- Give yourself time to unwind. With the time change, your body is more likely to feel sluggish much earlier. Don’t push yourself to make up for lost time. Your internal clock wants to wake up an hour later each day, so it needs to rest well in the evening. Prepare yourself a hot cup of chamomile and cozy up with a book at your usual bedtime.
Meal Plan: Take some time to plan meals that double up as good snacks or packed lunches. A healthy diet usually leaves room for about five smaller meals per day rather than three large meals. Dinner preparation is also much easier when your pantry is stocked and there are pre-cooked meals in your fridge.
Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup
Make this delicious soup a day ahead if you can and you’ll have ready to go meals all week! This easy slow cooker/crock pot recipe variation makes it a cinch to get the soup cooking while you do other things.
12 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 4 1/2-5 1/2 hours on High or 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 hours on Low
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1 3/4 cups lentils
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
- Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.
Per serving: 152 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 28 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Protein; 9 g Fiber; 618 mg Sodium; 681 mg Potassium
Tips & Notes:
- Stir in spinach (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice just before serving.
- Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker