We all have busy lives, and it’s common to experience a dive in our daily energy levels. Food is fuel, and food is health. The way we view food and the timing, type and amount of foods we choose to consume directly affect our energy levels.
Eat breakfast within one or two hours of waking up to “break the fast” that your body has endured overnight. This will get your metabolism going and set the tone for healthy eating throughout the day. Ensure that your breakfast is balanced with complex carbs (high fibre), lean protein and healthy fats. Try whole-grain cereals (hello, overnight oats!) topped with fresh fruit and nuts, or plain Greek yogurt with berries and hemp hearts. Psst: Don’t miss these 10 nutritious Greek yogurt recipes.
High blood sugar levels trigger inflammation and increase stress in the body, which, in turn, can lead to fatigue and weight gain. For some people, eating healthy, balanced mini-meals throughout the day is a great way to boost and maintain energy because it provides a near-steady supply of top-quality fuel, which keeps blood sugar levels in check. For others, eating three meals a day with a light snack can provide adequate energy. The key here? A great food plan. Take some time to discover the timing that will work best for your food preferences and lifestyle.
Eating healthy, high-energy foods in the right proportions throughout the day will help you fight fatigue and live with vibrancy. Choose complex carbs (vegetables, legumes, whole-grain breads and pastas, quinoa, oats, brown rice), lean protein (skinless chicken and turkey, fish, lean grass-fed beef, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, legumes, tofu) and healthy fats (avocados, nuts, chia seeds, coconut, extra-virgin olive oil) to increase your energy. Energy-boosting smoothies that are loaded with greens (kale, spinach, collard greens) are delicious and helpful when you need a pick-me-up throughout the day.
Aim to drink at least 1/2 to one cup of water every few hours. Carry a reusable water bottle or keep a full glass of water nearby. Alcohol is a depressant and can contribute to low energy. Reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake can significantly improve your energy levels.
Energy levels are also affected by our mental state – our nutrition status has an impact on mood, cognition and memory. Research shows that antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are important in helping to improve our mental acuity and reduce inflammation. Eating more antioxidant-rich foods (such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) and at least one excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (such as avocados, walnuts, salmon or a high-potency supplement) every day can make a big difference in our energy levels and mental state.
In addition to healthy eating, daily physical activity, adequate sleep and stress management are also key to increasing our daily energy levels. Here’s to healthy living with energy and vitality! Next, learn more healthy ways to boost your energy.
Rebecca and Reisha Harper are twins and registered dietitians with a special focus on nutrition for health, beauty and aging well. For more info visit their website.