15 Minute Morning

Kim Monaghan

15 Minute Morning

10 Things You Can Do In 15 Minutes to Stay Healthy All Day

All busy career professionals know the struggle of staying healthy when they have very little time. Pressures for deadlines, meetings, presentations and on and on, coupled with family obligations and yes, prioritizing fitness, can make for one hectic day. 

Eating, especially healthy eating, is often put on the backburner. But if you’re willing to take fifteen minutes (or less) in the morning to putting a little thought into your diet for the day, you might find yourself making healthier choices and feeling better and more energized as well. 

Emma Watterson is a civilian government employee for the Navy’s Environmental Division and a holistic health coach. As a coach, she loves helping other busy parents and professionals to balance their home and work life and this often includes finding creative ways to make healthy meals at home and on the go. Thanks to Emma, here are ten things you can do in fifteen minutes or less that will help you stick to your health goals and feel fulfilled and full as you go about your day. 

  • Overnight oatmeal is a great way to satiate your hunger in the morning or anytime of day. Prep a mason jar with instant oatmeal and pour in a little almond milk the night before. In the morning you have ready to eat oatmeal that you can add fresh fruit or a little honey to and take on the go.
  • Slice up an apple (or two), toss in a Ziploc and throw in your bag. This is easy to do, stays fresh with or without refrigeration and offers the benefits of being filled up on something good versus grabbing a candy bar on the go. You’ll feel good about your choice and you can even take them on flights or stash in your car, if you travel during the day. It will probably only take about three minutes so why not make a few apple bags for each member of your family?
  • Pack healthy snacks such as veggies, like carrot/celery sticks, nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and grapes or other fruits along with nut butters to dip them in. Pairing up veggies/fruit with a healthy fat helps keep you satiated longer and helps bring nutrients into your cells. Veggies can be purchased already prepped, or you prepare them in advance and store chilled in a bowl of ice water. 
  • Fill up a couple of reusable water bottles with water to stay hydrated throughout the day, which flushes out toxins, helps digestion and helps clear up your skin. Store a bunch in your car when it’s cold outside or packed in a cooler with ice so you always have fresh water at hand. If you want more flavor, toss in some sliced citrus (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit) or cucumber, melon or berries. 
  • Make your own trail mix: nuts/seeds, dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots, dates, papaya, ginger, banana chips, apples, cherries, blueberries), shredded coconut. Mix up a big bowl and divide these out into small containers so you can grab and go during the busy week. This will give you energy and keep your blood sugar levels stable with the fiber and healthy fats.
  • Pack cut up vegetables (think carrots, celery, peppers, cucumber, zucchini, squash) with hummus or guacamole (again, veggies + fat = feel full longer with fiber and healthy fats and bring nutrients into your cells). Easy to take in the car or on the plane or train.
  • Build your own Mason jar salad from prepared ingredients such as lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, peppers, onions, olives, radishes, etc. The morning of, sprinkle on your dressing or bring alongside a small container of 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1-2 tsp. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar,Basil/oregano/sage/parsley/rosemary, 1/8-1/4 tsp granulated garlic, sea salt to taste. These salads will keep you satiated and hydrated due to the healthy fats, fiber, and water content in the vegetables.
  • Create a stash of snacks in a drawer at work, in your car or briefcase. Single servings of nut mixes, oranges, almonds, whole grain crackers, pretzels, jerky or oatmeal will last a while and will help you steer away from the vending machines. 
  • Protein on the go? Mix up your tuna or salmon salad ingredients the night before and serve for dinner or as little appetizers. The next day you have lunch prepared for you and your family. Make tuna or salmon salad with one can of fish, 1/4-1/2 cup diced tomatoes, one or two Tbs. of capers, herbs of choice and serve in lettuce wraps or with whole grain crackers or bread. These salads have lots of calcium, iron, protein, gluten-free and give you energy and help build muscle and strong bones and teeth. You can also pack a tin of sardines with gluten-free crackers and gain all the omega 3s, fiber, calcium, iron that come along with this filling protein.
  • On the weekend, make ahead your own healthy, portable snacks, which will be cheaper and have better ingredients than store bought and are easy to portion out and grab on the go during the week. Prep your healthy ingredients as much in advance and invest in a travel cooler, insulated lunch bag or freezable lunch bag. In five minutes you can open your bag, drop in your prepped ingredients or snacks and you’re off.

Here are a few of Emma’s favorite recipes.  

Health Bars: Easy to make, easy to slice and very filling. 

  • 1 cup flax meal or ground walnuts or ground almonds               
  • 1 cup dried fruit (dates, cherries, cranberries, or blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup packed, pitted, soft whole dates
  • Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until fully blended
  • Form a ball and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten out the ball into 1/4-1/2″ thick
  • Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into squares or rectangular bars
  • Place in individual Ziploc bags or wrap in additional wax paper or parchment paper

Homemade Hummus: Nothing is more filling than homemade hummus served with veggies and, again, you can make in advance, it’s cheaper than store bought and only requires one minute to scoop into a travel container. Making your own hummus is cheaper and you know the ingredients!

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tahini
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Blend all in a food processor or blender until smooth

Homemade Guacamole: Great with chips, veggies or a protein topping.

  • 3-4 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 red onion diced or 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • Cilantro and jalapenos are optional
  • Cut up avocados into a bowl. Add diced onion or minced garlic, lime juice and optional cilantro/jalapenos. Mash all ingredients together. The lime juice will keep it fresh throughout the day.

Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele. 

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*Always consult with your physician prior to experimenting with any exercises, recipes, health advice and nutrition initiatives shared in this blog.