Energy. It’s a key commodity in today’s world. No one seems to have enough and everyone is looking for more. Even if you have healthy eating habits you might be waking up feeling like you’re having a bad hair day but for your whole body. So what’s the deal! Don’t fret, as always we are here to help.
You don’t need to be a nutritionist to know that food provides energy, but eating for optimal energy takes a more thoughtful approach than just stashing a few snacks in your handbag for when you get hangry. (If you’re still solving your “hangriness” with a high sugar bar then stop now!). So c’mon, get your Shift on. You got this.
Empty calories just won’t do it. To stay energized all day, you need foods that are high in nutrition to keep you nourished and your spirits soaring—afterall, energy is also a state of mind. Nutrition packed foods nourish both body and soul, something that you can feel grateful for if you stay mindful.
The trouble is, the foods we often rely on most for energy, like those with carbohydrates (read sugar), may give you a quick boost, but they rarely provide the long-lasting vitality that you crave. The glucose in simple carbohydrates is absorbed quickly in the blood stream. It gives you a burst of energy but then leaves you feeling like something the cat dragged in, and causes that sugar crash (oh, the agony!).
But it is possible (it really is) to avoid this sugar-based Catch-22 by eating for more sustained energy. And the good news is that it may not even take a big change to your diet (if, that is, you are eating healthy already).
Many experts agree that the best way to create sustained energy is to eat a balanced mix of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates daily across smaller meals. Most people do just the opposite. They either skip breakfast or lunch altogether (you know who you are) or eat nutritionally poor meals early in the day (when you need the nutrients most). Then they eat a large, calorie-intensive meal at dinner, shortly before heading to bed. (Holy weight gain!)
A better approach would be to spread calories throughout the day, with balanced meals and/or smaller snacks, whatever works best for you. For example, start with a larger meal at breakfast, and a moderate-sized lunch, and then, if you need it, sprinkle in a small balanced healthy snack in midmorning and midafternoon (try a few fresh veggies with hummus and a handful of unsalted nuts and seeds, or a well-balanced, gluten-free, protein energy bar or paleo snacks). Then end the day with a moderate-sized, balanced meal at dinner.
Your meals should provide even distribution of calories throughout the day for a total of 1,400 to 2,000 calories on average, depending on your size and weight management goals. This plan will bump up your energy levels right when you need it and keep you from reaching that starving “hangry place” before lunch and dinner (which, let’s admit, often leads to binging and overeating). Smaller meals also help you avoid the dreaded food coma.Because calories and nutrient value are important, choose foods that will give you the biggest punch per calorie. Here is a list of five super foods that provide enduring energy throughout your day and keep you fired up and ready for anything:
- Salmon: Wild harvested salmon is on almost every list of power-packed energy foods. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this oily fish supports energy, brain activity, circulation and heart health.
- Bananas: One of the best energy foods ever, bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins all in a package that provides sustained energy release to help you feel full and maintain your blood sugar levels. (One banana offers just as much energy as a sports drink without the added sugar!)
- Eggs: Eggs sometimes get a bad rap, but they are an easy, portable source of protein, and chock full of B vitamins like choline (a nutrient you probably don’t get enough of). Choline boosts metabolism and supports the nervous system.
- Asparagus: In addition to a high nutrient profile, asparagus is a top plant-based source of tryptophan, which supports serotonin production, a primary mood-enhancing regulator (and a good way to avoid annoying mood swings—your family will say thank you).
- Nuts: Almost any nuts from almonds to walnuts are a great healthy snack full of nutrients like omega-3s and magnesium, which help convert sugar to energy. They also have fiber to maintain blood sugar levels and lots of other important things—you know what we’re talking about.
- Dark chocolate: Yes you can indulge but we’re talking about really dark chocolate, with the highest organic natural cacao powder concentration you can find and low or no sugar. The cacao contains nutrients to reduce stress, boost energy and improve focus, with an added caffeine kick—can you feel that superpower?
All in all, stick to a low sugar diet and try these energy boosters (there are many others) and you will feel the difference. Eating with energy in mind is a great way to improve both your physical and spiritual vitality because when you feel good you can do good. It just takes a little shift. Go for it! We can’t wait to watch you achieve great heights.
VanTine J, Gordon DL. Feast on these high energy foods. Nov. 3, 2011. Prevention.com excerpted from the “Book Maximum Food Power for Women.” https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/high-energy-foods-jump-start-your-day
Colquhoun J. 12 Foods to Boost your mood and energy. FoodMatters.com. March 11, 2015. http://www.foodmatters.com/article/12-foods-to-boost-your-mood-energy
Foods that Beat Fatigue. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-beat-fatigue