Eating for energy seems like a simple thing to do. Just grab a candy bar, sugary soda, “energy drink,” or caffeinated beverage and away you go. You feel energized for a short time but then what happens? Your energy peters out and you feel even more tired than before.
What if I told you that you can have all the energy you need to power you through an entire day of intense activity just by changing the way you eat? That what you eat determines how much energy you’ll have and how long it will last?
Sustainable Energy is Key
It’s not enough to feel energetic for a few hours after you wake up. You need energy to keep you going all day. If you keep hitting an afternoon slump, it’s time to do some serious self-analysis. Are you eating enough every day and are you eating the right things?
5 Ways Of Eating For More Energy
Add More Protein to Your Diet
Adding protein reduces blood sugar spikes so you don’t get a drop in energy an hour after eating a meal. This is especially important at breakfast. Instead of sugary cereals eat high-protein food such as eggs or tofu scramble with unprocessed carbohydrates such as fruit or steel-cut oats. That’s the kind of breakfast that will give you sustainable energy.
What kind of protein should you choose? Plants are an excellent source of protein, particularly soy, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts. Look for organic options whenever possible because the environment is not as pristine as it was ten years ago.
Eliminate Sugar and Refined Carbs from Your Diet
It’s hard to give up sugar and refined carbohydrates entirely but at least limit them. They cause blood sugar spikes that give you a burst of energy that’s short-lasting. When your blood sugar falls, you feel tired, hungry, and lack motivation. Break the cycle by switching sugar and refined carbohydrates for fiber-rich carbs like fruits and vegetables. Add more plant-based sources of protein to your meals, and healthy snacks such as trail mix and vegan jerky.
Eliminate or Scale Back on Caffeine
It may sound counterintuitive do without caffeine, a stimulant that perks you up. But your brain adapts to caffeine when you consume it every day, lessening its stimulant effect. Save it for when you really need it, such as after a sleepless night. Better yet, decide to do what it takes to get a good night’s sleep every night, and eat a good, protein rich breakfast that doesn’t include a caffeine jolt. Keep in mind that caffeine is especially harmful for teenagers, raising their anxiety levels and taking a heavy toll on their sleep.
Don’t Skip Meals
While there are some health benefits of intermittent fasting, skipping meals, especially breakfast, can cause fatigue if you’re very active. Take time to eat three wholesome, healthy meals per day and see if you feel more energetic. Be careful not to eat too large a meal at one sitting, since this can cause fatigue as your body devotes more resources to digesting the meal you ate and shunts blood away from your brain and to your digestive tract.
Taking a 10-minute walk after a meal eases stress and aids digestion.
Simply staying hydrated with water can boost your energy level. Research shows that even mild dehydration causes fatigue, a down mood, and mild headache. You might feel tired because you’re not drinking enough fluid. So, carry a stainless steel bottle of water with you and sip it throughout the day.
Eating For Energy: The Bottom Line
Eat for sustainable energy and you’ll power through your day easier. What, when, and how you eat is the biggest factor in how energetic you feel. Take advantage of this information and plan your meals accordingly.
Sharon Iezzi, Founder
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For Further Reading: Wholesome Vs Unwholesome Food: 5 Ways To Tell The Difference