CLOSE
Original image
iStock

7 Make-Ahead Breakfasts Even Novice Cooks Can Master

Original image
iStock

If a busy morning means your breakfast routine is more slamming coffee than sitting for food, consider this: A new study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that people who eat breakfast daily are less likely to have high cholesterol and blood pressure, while those who skip the morning meal in favor of grazing until lunch are more likely to be obese or be diagnosed with diabetes. The good news is that committing to a square meal doesn’t have to mean channeling your inner Martha Stewart at 7 a.m. These easy breakfast ideas can be made the night—or weekend—before.

1. CHIA PUDDING

Move over, quinoa. The latest superfood to get serious attention is the chia seed, which swells when soaked overnight in milk or rice milk to create a velvety, filling pudding. Prep the pudding in a mason jar or Tupperware and top it with chopped fruit, dried nuts, or a drizzle of honey, and your portable breakfast is good to go.

Get the Recipe: SELF

2. SLOW-COOKER OATMEAL

Overnight oats from the fridge are fine and dandy, but if you like your grains piping hot it’s time to pull out your slow cooker. Just dump everything in (steel cut oats, milk, sugar, a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla), turn it on low, then get some shut eye. After eight hours of low heat, the oats will be perfectly creamy and ready to devour.

Get the Recipe: Chowhound

3. TORTILLA ESPANOLA

A slice of tortilla espanola

If you like to cook but just don’t have time most mornings, consider cranking out this dish on Sunday. A classic tapas dish in Spain, tortilla espanola layers potatoes with custardy eggs for a hearty egg dish that’s surprisingly tidy to eat. And because it keeps in the fridge for days—and can be eaten cold or reheated—cooking on Sunday will keep you fed until mid-week at least.

Get the Recipe: Bon Appetit

4. WHOLE WHEAT RASPBERRY RICOTTA SCONES

If muffin fatigue has hit you hard, give these offbeat scones a try: The ricotta and raspberries add subtle sweetness, and the whole-wheat flour helps them feel more virtuous than a giant bagel from the coffee shop.

Get the Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

5. SAUSAGE AND POTATO POCKETS

For those who prefer savory to sweet, pizza dough makes an excellent envelope for a mix of mushrooms, spinach, sausage, and potatoes. You can make these filled pockets over the weekend, then store them in the fridge to munch on weekday mornings.

Get the Recipe: Real Simple

6. BAKED OATMEAL CUPS

Baked oatmeal cups with berries

A casserole dish of fruit-studded baked oatmeal makes an effortless brunch for a crowd, but when you’re dining for one, monotony kicks in quick. That’s why these cups are so clever: Baking them in muffin tins means you can vary the toppings (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, nut butters) for a week’s worth of variety, already pre-portioned.

Get the Recipe: the kitchn

7. EGGS IN A HASH BROWN NEST

Eggs and potatoes that are portable and easy to prep the night before? Yup, possible. Fill a muffin tin halfway with shredded potatoes (or frozen tater tots), then cover with a mix of beaten eggs, diced veggies, and cheese. The baked result is an easy grab-and-go breakfast you can store in the fridge and eat all week.

Get the Recipe: Martha Stewart

All images courtesy of iStock.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Make Spreadsheets a Whole Lot Easier With This Excel Trick
Original image
iStock

While data nerds may love a good spreadsheet, many office workers open Microsoft Excel with a certain amount of resistance. Inputting data can be a monotonous task. But a few tricks can make it a whole lot easier. Business Insider has a new video highlighting one of those shortcuts—a way to create a range that changes with the data you input.

Dynamic named ranges change and grow with your data, so, for instance, if one column is time and another is, say, dollar value, the value can change automatically as time goes on. If you do this, it's relatively easy to create a chart using this data, by simply inserting your named ranges as your X and Y values. The chart will automatically update as your range expands.

It's easier to see in the program itself, so watch the full video on Business Insider. Microsoft also has its own instructions here, or you can check out this video from the YouTube channel Excel Tip, which also has dozens of other useful tutorials for making Microsoft Excel your hardworking assistant.

[h/t Business Insider]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
5 Tips for Becoming A Morning Person
Original image
iStock

You’ve probably heard the term circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that influences your daily routine: when to eat, when to sleep, and when to wake up. Our biological clocks are, to some extent, controlled by genetics. This means that some people are natural morning people while others are night owls by design. However, researchers say the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle, which is good news if you want to train yourself to wake up earlier.

In addition to squeezing more hours out of the day, there are plenty of other good reasons to resist hitting the snooze button, including increased productivity. One survey found that more than half of Americans say they feel at their best between 5 a.m. and noon. These findings support research from biologist Christopher Randler, who determined that earlier risers are happier and more proactive about goals, too.

If you love the idea of waking up early to get more done, but you just can't seem to will yourself from out under the covers, here are five effective tips that might help you roll out of bed earlier.

1. EASE INTO THE HABIT.

If you’re a die-hard night owl, chances are you’re not going to switch to a morning lark overnight. Old habits are hard to break, but they’re less challenging if you approach them realistically.

“Wake up early in increments,” Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker at Compassionate Counseling in St. Louis suggests. “If you normally wake up at 9:00 a.m., set the alarm to 8:30 a.m. for a week, then 8:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m.”

Waking up three hours earlier can feel like a complete lifestyle change, but taking it 30 minutes at a time will make it a lot easier to actually stick to the plan. Gradually, you’ll become a true morning person, just don’t try to force it to happen overnight.

2. EXERCISE IN THE MORNING.

Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so jumping on the treadmill or taking a run around the block is a great way to start the day on a high note. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising early in the morning can mean you get a better overall sleep at night:

“In fact, people who work out on a treadmill at 7:00 a.m. sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.”

If you don’t have much time in the morning, an afternoon workout is your second best bet. The Sleep Foundation says aerobic afternoon workouts can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often throughout the night. “This may be because exercise raises your body’s temperature for about four to five hours,” they report. After that, your body’s core temperature decreases, which encourages it to switch into sleep mode.

3. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM IDEAL FOR SLEEP.

Whether it’s a noisy street or a bright streetlight, your bedroom environment might be making it difficult for you to sleep throughout the night, which can make waking up early challenging, as you haven’t had enough rest. There are, however, a few changes you can make to optimize your room for a good night’s sleep.

“Keep your bedroom neat and tidy,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based doctor of psychology on staff as an expert in sleep hygiene at Seasons Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggests. “Waking up to clutter and chaos only makes it more tempting to crawl back in bed.”

Depending on what needs to be improved, you might consider investing in some slumber-friendly items that can help you sleep through the night, including foam earplugs (make sure to use a vibrating alarm), black-out drapes, light-blocking window decals, and a cooling pillow

Another simple option? Ditch the obnoxious sound of a loud, buzzing alarm.

“One great way to adapt to rising earlier is to have an alarm that is a pleasing sound to you versus an annoying one,” Dr. Irwin says. “There are many choices now, whether on your smartphone or in a radio or a freestanding apparatus.”

4. TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY WIND DOWN.

Getting up early starts the night before, and there are a few things you should do before hitting the sack at night.

“Set an alarm to fall asleep,” Torgerson says. “Having a set bedtime helps you stay responsible to yourself, instead of letting yourself get caught up in a book or Netflix and avoid going to sleep.”

Torgerson adds that practicing yoga or meditation before bed can help relax your mind and body, too. This way, your mind isn’t bouncing from thought to thought in a flurry before you go to bed. If you find yourself feeling anxious before bed, it might help to write in a journal. This way, you can get these nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Focus on relaxing at night and stay away from not just exercise, but mentally stimulating activities, too. If watching the news gets your blood boiling, for example, you probably want to turn it off an hour or so before bedtime.

5. GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF LIGHT.

Light has a immense effect on your circadian rhythm—whether it’s the blue light from your phone as you scroll through Instagram, or the bright sunlight of being outdoors on your lunch break. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists compared the sleep quality of 27 subjects who worked in windowless environments with 22 subjects who were exposed to significantly more natural light during the day.

“Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions—role limitation due to physical problems and vitality—as well as poorer overall sleep quality," the study concluded. "Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

Thus, exposing yourself to bright light during the day may actually help you sleep better at night, which will go a long way toward helping you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Conversely, too much blue light can actually disturb your sleep schedule at night. This means you probably want to limit your screen time as your bedtime looms closer.

Finally, once you do get into the habit of waking up earlier, stick to that schedule on the weekends as much as possible. The urge to sleep in is strong, but as Torgerson says, “you won't want your body and brain to reacclimate to sleeping in and snoozing.”

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios