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Eating for Energy
How often do you find you eat something and feel tired shortly after? Do you experience the “afternoon slump” where the only thing that can get you through the rest of the day is a caffeinated beverage? And how often during that afternoon slump do you see a sugary snack around the office or the house and you just can’t resist having it?
How and what you eat can set your day up for maximum energy or it can do quite the opposite. It can deplete your energy and leave you scrounging for something convenient or quick to pick yourself back up. When your body is not fueled properly it can cause blood sugar imbalances which will keep you stuck in a cycle of highs and lows. Below are four tips to help you eat for energy and feel fueled and satiated throughout the day.
- Eat Whole Foods. Ditch packaged and processed foods and eat foods as close to nature as possible. When you do this you are giving your body mega doses of nutrition which will maximize your energy. When eating whole foods it is best to pair together fiber, fat, and protein in all your meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels balanced and leave you less likely to reach for the sugary snack or caffeinated beverage. When you eat whole foods, your taste buds will change over time, your cravings and addictions will start to go away, and you will be more in tune with your body than ever before. Tip: whole foods to focus on include vegetables (especially leafy greens), good quality animal or vegan sources of protein (chicken, eggs, salmon, tofu, tempeh, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet), healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado), and fruit (especially berries).
- Aim to eat three satiating meals a day. There was a time when it was encouraged to eat six small meals a day, but for most people it is actually better to eat three meals a day. When all of your energy is constantly going to your digestion you will feel tired. Eat a full meal consisting of the whole foods listed above and include that fiber/fat/protein combo! Tip: A protein bar is NOT a complete meal and will only make you hungrier later. Struggling to find a complete breakfast? Try a smoothie, chia seed pudding, or an omelette with leafy greens!
- Plan Ahead! When you pack your food and or plan your meals and snacks for the day you are less likely to stray off course. If you are eating a complete meal you are going to feel more energized throughout the day. Tip: pack a wholesome snack! In case you are feeling hungry mid day you have a whole foods snack that you can reach for before any artificial form of energy like caffeine, sugar, or refined carbohydrates. Great snack options include veggies and hummus, fruit and a handful of nuts, a hard boiled egg, or rice cakes and nut butter.
- Hydrate. Last but not least make sure you are drinking enough water! Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. When in doubt, drink a glass of water and wait before reaching mindlessly for that mid day snack. Your energy crash might have been your body’s way of telling you it is thirsty. Tip: drink 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning to get you started off your day craving water! Aim to drink half of your body’s weight in ounces each day.
Remember, these are just some tools to help you get started! We are all unique and different and what works for one person might not work for another. Practice these 4 steps and over time you will experience a massive change in your energy levels!
About the Author
Danielle is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Master Bar Method Instructor at The Bar Method Noho.