Who wants more energy? Wouldn’t it be great to jump out of bed in the morning feeling refreshed and sustain that energy throughout the day? The secret to this is less about sleep, and more about what and when you eat.
As we move into the winter, with the darkness and colder temperatures, you may find you are reaching for high fat or high carb comfort foods to keep you going throughout the day.
Although we might feel hungrier in the winter, and crave certain foods, we don’t actually need significantly more food than in the warmer months. What we do need is satisfying, nourishing foods that give us sustained energy throughout the day.
A diet that is high in salt, sugar, processed foods, alcohol and simple carbs can lead to spikes and crashes in our blood sugar, leaving us feeling lethargic and low in energy.
If you often find yourself feeling tired and drained, struggling to get through the day with enough energy, then this blog is for you.
The Importance of Eating for Energy
It’s important to note there is no one size fits all when it comes to energy levels and diet. We need different nutrients throughout the different stages of our lives and as we get older, we may find we can’t tolerate certain foods like we used to.
When it comes to diet, you know I’m always talking about balance. By that I mean getting all the right nutrients into your body whilst enjoying your food. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in how our body generates and sustains energy. The foods we consume provide the building blocks for our body’s energy production processes.
Foods full of sugars can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to energy crashes. Conversely, the right foods can provide sustained energy throughout the day, preventing those mid-afternoon slumps.
Eating for energy isn’t just about feeling awake; it’s also about ensuring our body functions optimally. Eating a balanced meal with the proper nutrition benefits mental clarity, physical performance, and our overall well-being.
Here are some foods that can boost energy…
Carbs get a bad name, but we shouldn’t cut them out completely. What we need to be eating is the right kind – these are complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oats, brown rice, vegetable and fruits. These complex carbs have more fibre, which means they take longer to break down and provide a steady supply of glucose to our cells. As these carbs slowly release energy, and prevent energy crashes.
Proteins are essential for maintaining energy. You want good proteins from sources like lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. These are essential for maintaining muscle mass and providing lasting energy. They also help control hunger. Try to include protein with every meal to keep you fuller for longer and prevent snacking.
You definitely should not be having a fat-free diet! Fat is actually an essential nutrient that plays several important roles in our body. Healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are vital for brain health and energy. They’re a concentrated source of long-lasting energy.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. These nutrients support overall health and provide natural energy. Aim to eat a variety of vegetables in different colours to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining energy levels. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue. Water, herbal teas, and water-rich foods like cucumber and watermelon can help you stay hydrated. Aim to drink at least two litres every day.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to low energy levels as it disrupts the body’s natural balance, impairs sleep quality, and depletes essential nutrients, leaving individuals feeling fatigued and sluggish.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are packed with nutrients and healthy fats that provide a steady source of energy. They also make convenient and portable snacks for when you need a snack on the go. You can add them to your meals.
Although it’s tempting to drink coffee when you need an energy boost, I would suggest you go for green tea. It contains caffeine, so you still get your hit, but also contains L-theanine, a combination that provides a gentle energy boost without the jitters. It’s also rich in antioxidants and has so many other benefits.
Too much sugar can lead to crashes so, if you like a sweet treat, choose dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher). It contains caffeine and theobromine, which can enhance alertness and mood.
Fish is a good source of protein and B vitamins that can help provide the body with energy throughout the day. Fatty cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, are higher in omega-3 fatty acids which support brain health and may help combat mental fatigue.
Quinoa is known as a super food! It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids our body needs. This makes it a great source of sustained energy and it’s versatile to cook with. If you have not tried Quinoa, you can add it to salads, use as a breakfast cereal or make into porridge – it’s extremely versatile.
So that’s the ‘what to eat’, another factor in sustained energy is ‘how to eat’.
It’s important to eat at regular intervals throughout the day and that starts with breakfast. Don’t skip a meal – this leads to our bodies getting stressed, making you more likely to reach for whatever quick snack is on hand.
Digestion is a big job for our body, so finish eating at least 3 hours before bed, to let your body digest your evening meal which leads to a more comfortable sleep.
Eating for energy is a holistic approach to maintaining vitality throughout the day. By incorporating a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, you can ensure a steady supply of energy for both body and mind.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated and enjoy energy-boosting snacks like nuts, green tea, and dark chocolate in moderation. By making these dietary adjustments, you’ll find yourself more energised, alert, and ready to tackle whatever the day throws your way. Remember, food isn’t just fuel; it’s the key to a vibrant and energetic life.
If you need some help or guidance and accountability to improve your eating habits, mood and energy levels then I can help. I work with women over 40 to maintain their ideal weight, have more energy and look and feel great. So, feel free to browse my coaching packages or reach out to me via my Facebook page.