Align your Food Intake to your Energy Needs
Our nutritional expert, Melanie Waxman, shared with us some ideas that will help you to have more energy and stamina throughout your day.
Today, with everyone’s hectic schedules, it is easy to feel run down or tired at some point of the day. If your energy tends to go through dips and spikes, it can make you feel unmotivated at home and in the office.
The type and quality of the foods you eat makes a big difference and can increase or decrease your energy levels. It is a good idea to discover which foods help you to stay alert and focused, and provide long lasting energy.
Here are some ideas that will help you to have more energy and stamina throughout your day
The first step is to cut out the junk foods, sugar, coffee, sandwiches, fried foods, and sodas. These foods will actually drain your energy, and make you feel more foggy minded and sluggish.
Instead, have healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, berries, edemame or hummus with veggie sticks.
Focus on increasing natural ingredients that come straight from fields, are locally grown, seasonal, living, and organic. The more fresh food the better including brown rice and other whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables.
Fermented foods add a fabulous boost of energy and can be included at any time of the day. This could be a miso soup for breakfast, sauerkraut at lunch, or olives and tempeh as part of dinner.
Have porridge for breakfast. You can try different ones made from quinoa, buckwheat or oats. Complex carbohydrates provide a slow, steady release of energy which makes for a great start. You can add an extra boost of berries, chia and flax seeds too.
Dairy, meat and chicken (high in saturated fats) can make you feel heavy and lethargic especially when working all day in the office. Try switching to energizing vegetable based proteins like beans, avocado, tofu, or nut butters.
Increase you intake of vegetables especially sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, leeks, beets, celery, radishes, and pumpkin. In colder weather, make sure to include some hearty soups and stews and in the hotter weather, salads and stir fry.
Seaweeds are a wonderful boost to your energy levels as they are packed with minerals and also protein. Nori snacks are perfect after exercise or at the office. Seaweeds can also be added to soups or made into a delicious salad.
Soups are a great addition and give more long lasting energy than a sandwich. All kinds of soups can be enjoyed. Pureed sweet vegetable soups are especially good for stress and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Water is a vital for fighting off fatigue. Not enough water can slow down bodily functions and leave you feeling dehydrated, sluggish and tired. Make sure to drink water regularly throughout your day.
Green tea actually provides a smooth charge of energy and is packed with antioxidants. It can help concentration, focus, and clarity of mind. Green tea also gives a good boost for physical activity as it increases the breakdown of fat and releases the hormone norepinephrine.
Along with a healthy diet, having three meals at the same time each day will keep your energy constant. The portions don’t have to be huge. You can include two small snacks if your energy tends to go up and down a lot. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Skipping meals can have the opposite affect and often causes an energy crash in the afternoon, which will have you reaching for a sugary snack or energy drink.
Spending time outdoors, even a short walk during lunch at work can help to increase your energy for the afternoon. If you have windows in your office, open them and let the fresh air in. One of the best ways to help your energy levels is do the things you love on a daily basis, whether it is gardening, hiking, photography, swimming, dancing or sports.
The bottom line is that there is an abundance of natural foods that provide strength and long lasting energy. You can easily help your energy levels by adding more fresh foods into your daily diet. Variety is the key, whether it is complex carbs for stamina, fibre for concentration or protein for physical power. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are also vital and luckily plant based foods have them in plentiful supply.