Clients always ask about foods to boost energy especially around mid-day when the afternoon slump hits and hunger increases. Most people revert to candy, caffeine, or energy drinks to give them the extra vigor they need to complete the daily activities. Instead try some of these foods and tips, which are nutrient rich keeping you committed to your wellness goals.
Fatigue is often related to stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and poor diets. Energy comes from calories provided by carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Nutrients that are needed for the body to convert them to energy are: B vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, protein, iron, magnesium, and water.
Focus on eating a “whole” foods based diet while eliminating refined, processed foods, and added sugars. Refined sugars coming from soda, cookies, cakes, candy will provide a quick energy burst followed by an energy drain leaving you more tired, fatigued and frustrated. They have a low nutrient content so it remains an energy zapper to the body causing a craving for more! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6-9 tsp. of added sugars per day or 24-36 grams. Just look at a 12oz can of soda and you are already over because of the 40 grams or 10 tsp. of added sugars with virtually no nutritional value. Switch to water or other unsweetened beverages and stay well hydrated for more energy! Dehydration can also leave you feeling drained and fatigued!
Here are some energy boosting foods to include:
Bananas-Rich in Potassium and energizing B vitamins, great for a pre-exercise snack!
Salmon-The Omega 3 Fatty Acids jump-start your body’s energy production, brain activity, and circulation. Great for brain health, heart health, and promote better moods!
Curry-The Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Cumin boost energy levels with high antioxidants, normalize blood sugars, and promote circulation throughout the body!
Legumes-Lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and other beans keep your blood sugar stable, to avoid afternoon crashes. They are a great source of iron, helping to oxygenate cells!
Eggs-The iron and protein in eggs combined with choline, a B-vitamin essential to brain function and energy production, offers a powerful energy surge!
Citrus Fruits-Vitamin C in lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus, strengthens your immune system. A strong immunity can help you resist and fight off illnesses more
easily with less of a drain on your energy reserves. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb more iron from foods and supplements!
Yogurt-A combination of healthy carbohydrate and protein, with probiotics to power up your immune system and increase energy levels. A great post-exercise snack!
Kale and other leafy greens-Nutrient rich with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost energy, immunity, and anti-aging!
What are your favorite energy boosting foods or fluids? You will find if you regularly exercise, eat nutrient rich foods, and hydrate often, the body will remain energized longer! Give it a try and let me know what works for you…
Janet Brancato is a Registered Dietitian based out of Glen Rock, NJ. She works with clients online, over the phone, and face to face.