Though clients come to me for diet advice, they typically need much more than just guidance on what to eat. Because it’s so hard to develop good eating and lifestyle habits, we talk a lot about forming and breaking habits and nurturing the proper mindset. I’ve discovered that setting a good tone for the day helps to both attain a positive attitude and to stay intentional throughout the day. That’s why I talk to my clients about establishing a morning ritual.

Ritual versus Routine

A ritual is not the same thing as a routine. A morning routine might involve exercising, showering, dressing, reading the paper and eating breakfast. Because we’ve done it so many times before, we know what to do and in what order without having to do much thinking. A ritual may involve these same mundane chores, but a ritual takes on a meaning beyond getting a task completed. Rather, the focus is on the process of the task or an appreciation of its side benefit. With a ritual you have the added value of feeling energized, focused, grounded, clear headed or some other additional benefit beyond completing something on your to-do list. Some common morning rituals include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, reciting affirmations and setting daily intentions, such as a remaining patient with a difficult coworker, experimenting with a new stevia recipe and following through on your plan to snack only on fruit.

I found a meaningful morning ritual a long time ago and have continued with some version of it for well over two decades. Instead of rushing out the door or upstairs to my home office, I gift myself time to sip my coffee while having a meaningful conversation with my husband. I spend time thinking about my goals for the day and their potential obstacles and simply center myself for what might be in store. An important part of my morning ritual is my jog. It has become my meditation with the consistent steady sounds of my footsteps and my breath. By the time I’m home from jogging, I have set my intentions and feel mentally prepared for my day.

5 Steps to Forming a Morning Ritual

There are many ways to go about forming a meaningful ritual. These 5 steps are just one way I help clients find their ideal way to start the day centered and intentional.

  1. Commit a few extra minutes. You may want to get up a little earlier or save time by setting out your clothes and breakfast dishes the night before. Acknowledge that this is important time. There’s no reason to feel guilty for giving yourself the gift of not rushing to start your daily chores. By letting family members know that you’ve set aside time for yourself, they can help you protect that time.
  2. Chose a morning ritual to try out. Scan your past activities to identify ones you’ve enjoyed and found meaningful. Or consider something brand new that’s intrigued you. Would you like to meditate, read poetry, walk in nature, journal about your thoughts or goals? Pick any one thing to start. Be creative and open to new things. If something interests you, go for it. It’s okay if it’s not someone else’s idea of a morning ritual.
  3. Determine the time. Consider your schedule to pick an appropriate time. Some people will prefer to engage in their activity shortly after waking up. Others will want to wait until kids have gone to school or a spouse is out for a run.
  4. Experiment for at least a few days. Like with most health and wellness habits, it takes time to work your way through your new ritual to find what you like and what works. Stick with something for a few days and tweak as necessary. It’s okay to experiment with a few rituals until you find something doable and meaningful.
  5. Be consistent. Keep at it and guard your ritual. If you’re short on time one day, that’s okay. Just do what you can. If you wish for 30 minutes, but have only 10 – or even less – modify your ritual for the time you have. That consistency will help you maintain your ritual long term.

These tips work equally well to help you start an exercise routine. If that interests you, just try it. Months down the road, you may find that it’s become part of your morning ritual too. Cheers to a beautiful start to your day!

 

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and two upcoming books, The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association. Jill is a paid contributor to Steviabenefits.org. Follow Jill on Twitter @NutritionJill and find more at www.JillWeisenberger.com.

Watch how to make it below!

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

Berry Salsa

10 strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
2 packets Stevia In The Raw®
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

French Toast

3 large eggs
1 ½ cups lowfat (1%) milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet Stevia In The Raw®
Pinch of salt
4 slices (1” thick) challah or egg bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Thickly slice strawberries vertically, rotate 90 degrees and slice to make long batons. Place strawberries in mixing bowl. Add blueberries, blackberries, Stevia In The Raw®, and cinnamon. Using fork, toss gently to combine, and set Berry Salsa aside.

In a 9” x 13” baking dish, whisk eggs until well beaten. Add milk, vanilla, Stevia In The Raw®, and salt and whisk to combine. Add bread and soak 10 minutes. Turn slices, and soak 10 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate soaked bread overnight.

Melt butter in large skillet, preferably cast iron. When it stops bubbling, add soaked bread and cook until browned on bottom, 3 minutes. Using wide pancake turner, turn bread and brown on second side, 3 minutes. Divide French toast among 4 plates. Top each with one-fourth Fresh Berry Salsa. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Intheraw.com.

Watch how to make it below!

Makes 36 Truffles

Ingredients

6 ounces bittersweet (70% cocoa) premium chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 packets Stevia In The Raw®
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons orange liqueur, brandy, or rum
3 tablespoons unsweetened ground chocolate, such as Dagoba, or natural cocoa powder

Directions

Place chocolate in wide, shallow bowl.

Heat cream and Stevia In The Raw® in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appears around edge, or microwave until cream is almost boiling. Pour half of hot cream over chocolate. Stir slowly with wooden spoon until chocolate is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining cream, and vanilla or other flavoring, and stir gently until mixture is blended and silky. Cool truffle mixture to lukewarm, 20 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chocolate is firm, 4 hours, up to 24 hours.

Line jellyroll pan with wax paper. Take cold truffle mixture from refrigerator and scoop in generous teaspoonfuls, roll chocolate between your palms, forming roughly rounded ¾” balls, and place truffles on baking sheet. If truffle mixture gets too soft, return to refrigerator until firm, then continue. Rinse hands in cold water and dry them after rolling 10-12 truffles. Cover rolled truffles loosely with foil and chill until firm, 1-2 hours, or up to 3 days.

To serve, place chocolate powder or sieved cocoa in small bowl. One at a time, roll the number of truffles to be served in powder until coated. Using fork, lift coated truffles and place on serving plate. Serve immediately, or cover with foil and refrigerate up to 4 hours. Serve directly from refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of Intheraw.com.

Watch how to make it below!

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients

3 packets SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly 1 minute.

Recipe courtesy of Splenda.com.