Drained by the summer heat? Experiencing a 3 o’clock slump? As tempting as it is to crack open an energy drink or to grab a sugary snack, these items provide a quick boost, also known as a “sugar high” and then quickly leave you feeling more sluggish than before. What you put into your body impacts the way you feel. Choosing the right foods will provide you with sustaining energy throughout the day.
So what is the secret to fight fatigue and increase your energy?
Before I provide tips, I must put this out there. The secret to increase your energy does not entail some “magic pill” or one magic “cure all” task. It takes lifestyle changes. However, small changes over time can make huge impacts and help fight fatigue over time.
You’ll even find that some of your current habits or foods consumed may even be ‘energy drainer’s’. This means that consuming these foods are actually contributing to your fatigue.
The great thing about pinchofwellness.com is that most of the recipes provided on this blog are designed to be healthy and also give you energy. This is because they are made up of the RIGHT types of food. Check out this southwest quinoa salad recipe or a great energy boosting side dish! These 5 Ingredient Oatmeal Balls are a great example of a snack food that will increase your energy and leave you ready to go all day.
Here’s some of the best foods to fight fatigue and to increase your energy:
- Avoid foods loaded with sugar or made with white flour.
Foods loaded with sugar or made with white flour are called ‘simple carbohydrates’. These cause your blood sugar levels to quickly spike, and then drop. It’s kind of like a roller-coaster effect. The end product? You will be left tired and hungry.
Foods to avoid (AKA “energy drainers”) include white pasta, white bread, packaged snacks and crackers, sugary sodas, energy drinks and desserts.
2. Replace ‘energy drainers’ with healthy carbohydrates for the most benefits.
Healthy Carbs (AKA complex carbs) are whole grains, whole wheat bread, and steel cut oats. These take longer for your body to break down and digest. They contain an important thing called “fiber”. This will leave you with increased energy and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Tip: Try these swaps:
|Instead of this: (Energy drainers)||Choose This: (Sustainable energy)|
|White rice||Brown Rice|
|White crackers, saltines, wheat thins||Quiona baked crackers (Link to “my favorite)|
|White bread||Wheat bread|
|Pop, energy drinks||Unsweetened Tea, black coffee (sweetened with honey if necessary)|
3. Eat Protein at Every Meal
This one is oh-so-important. Protein helps to prevent the rapid spikes of blood sugar and provides a satiety effect. Protein also helps to preserve lean muscle mass. Good sources of protein include baked or grilled chicken breast, turkey, egg whites, lean ground beef, fish, beans, Greek yogurt, almonds or walnuts. A serving of protein from meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
4. Drink Green Tea or Coffee Instead of Soda
Green tea is a good source of caffeine, provides zero calories, and aides with hydration. Green tea is filled with powerful disease fighting antioxidants called catechins. Sweeten with honey or fruit if desired. This is my favorite brand of tea. I love it because it's super easy to transport and I can grab a bottle walking out the door.
5. Eat 5-6 Small Meals / Day
Start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. This jumpstarts your metabolism after a long night’s sleep. Eating a small meal or snack every 4-6 hours helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevents the draining effect of going without food for too long.
Take it one step at a time!
If this list seems really over-whelming, don’t worry! It would be almost unrealistic to make all of these changes AT ONCE and to actually maintain them for a long period of time.
- Try make one small change a day/week/month.
- Once you’re able to successfully make that change for a week, 2 weeks, month or whatever time period you choose, add another change.
- For example: maybe this week you will switch from pop to water. Or maybe that’s too much. Limiting yourself from 3 pops’ a day to 1 pop a day would be a good start.
- Once you are able to achieve that goal, add another one. Your next goal could be to start eating breakfast.
- Take it one day at a time and don’t give up! There are days when you may feel discouraged and you may make bad food choices. IT’s OK. We all do it. Get back up, decide to do better the next day. And, most importantly, take note of how you feel. Make a mental note of that slump that comes 2 hours after eating a donut.
- Check out these healthy, easy blueberry crumble bars!
What’s your goal for this week??
Here's a couple of my favorite products that help me stay on track: