Let’s face it, energy is something most of us can use more of. Many of us are not getting enough sleep, are stressed and not feeding ourselves the right foods to really nourish our energy stores. In a world where we are all concerned with looks, ironically, we are not always feeding ourselves enough of the foods to nourish and feed our bodies. We consume little water, and too much or too little of certain food groups.
Most of us, reach for high sugar foods or coffee when we need a pick me up, but in truth, these foods quickly cause the opposite effect. Foods full of sugar will initially give us a boost by causing our blood sugar levels to spike, but quickly fall. What’s worse, is that this drop in blood sugar causes us to have more cravings and eat more of these high sugar foods. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Coffee is not necessarily bad, but too much caffeine can drain our adrenals and dehydrate us as well, causing the opposite effect of a boost. The answer to increasing our energy levels is not so difficult. We can do this by educating ourselves and reaching for more of the foods that will give us the right nutrients to sustain our bodies in the proper energy state. These foods include those that are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. This combination of foods allows for energy to be released into the bloodstream steadily, keeping our bodies fueled for hours without any dramatic changes in blood sugar. Foods that come from the earth like nuts and whole grains or even healthy dairy like eggs or yogurt have zero to no additives and are the best types of snacks. Protein, in particular, increases the production of a brain chemical that helps regulate concentration. Below are some great options for snack or foods that will keep your battery running for hours:
- Almonds are great because they contain nutrients like magnesium and Vitamin B that helps convert food to energy. When our bodies are low on magnesium, we tend to tire more easily so a simple way to keep our energy stores up is to eat a few almonds throughout the day.
- Peanuts or peanut butter are a great source of healthy fats, protein and fiber that together help control hunger and blood sugar levels.
- Salmon is referred as the “brain food” because of its levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Not only are the healthy fats important for our brain but the high protein content also helps with satiety.
- Bananas some times get a bad reputation for their high fructose levels but they are filled with fiber, potassium and vitamin B6 which promote sustained energy and muscle function.
- Kale has gained popularity over the last few years because of its rich concentration of nutrients like iron and the amino acid L-tyrosine which help give a mental lift.
- Oatmeal is a great breakfast option not only because it is quick and easy, but because its high in fiber which takes a while to digest. As a result, you will be powered the entire morning.
- Eggs are a great combination of protein and omega rich fats that can keep your energy going for hours.
Other great options to add into your diet are pistachios, walnuts, garbanzos, quinoa, sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, tuna, dark chocolate and matcha. Try eating any of these foods as a meal or a snack throughout the day. Not only will you feel more energized and have less cravings, but you will see positive effects on your body as well.
If you plan to eat out, making healthy choices is imperative. Avoid fast food that is full of additives and processed food and try places like Grater Greens, where you will not only get a great meal but feel more energized!