10 Tips to Eat for Energy

If you struggle to get going in morning or suffer with the 3pm slump, making some simple changes to what you eat, when you eat and how you eat can have a significant effect on your energy throughout the day.

Skipping meals, reaching for quick fixes such as caffeine or sugar to get you through might work well in the short term, but will result in a constant cycle of fatigue over the long term .

  1. Eat breakfast: The mornings can be hectic but a healthy breakfast helps set you up for the day and will give your body all it needs in terms of energy. Include a balance of protein, low-GI complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Try a “4 Day Energy Experiment” to see the difference eating a balanced breakfast makes to your energy levels, hunger and cravings. In a rush? Try a protein smoothie as a quick, nutritious option. Download your free “Breakfast Club” Recipe Book.

2. Create balanced meals: Keep it simple! Use this ‘Healthy Plate’ to make sure you’re getting the right proportions of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats with each meal. Each of these ‘macronutrients’ plays an important role in fuelling your body and keeping your blood sugar balanced to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster and energy highs and lows.

3. Swap simple carbs: Many diets focus on ‘cutting carbs’, but carbohydrates are important because they are your body’s main source of energy. The proportion and type of carbs is usually the problem. Swap simple carbs (biscuits, cakes, sweets, white bread) which cause a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash, for complex carbs (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds) which release glucose into the blood gradually, and provide you with a steady supply of energy.

4. Eat more protein: In a nutshell, foods higher in protein (meat, poultry, eggs and fish and plant based proteins such as quinoa, chia or hemp seeds sprouts, chickpeas, lentils) make you feel full longer. If you want to maintain your energy levels throughout the day, increase your protein intake at breakfast and make protein a mainstay at meals and snack time to keep you satiated and help keep your blood sugar stable. Did you know that your body can only absorb 25g of protein at a time, so it’s important to spread it throughout the day, rather than saving up for dinnertime!

5. Include healthy fats: Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which your body cannot make itself. Fat helps your body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. Include healthy fats, particularly with breakfast such as nut butters, protein-rich eggs, nuts or seeds.

Add oily fish (salmon, tuna) to your diet which is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce inflammation in the body (a common cause of fatigue) and provide energy producing B vitamins, including B12.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, choose a good quality Omega 3 supplement.

6. Eat less more often: Where energy is an issue, eat smaller meals and healthy snacks rather than three large meals a day. Smaller is better, especially at lunch, as after eating, your brain signals the your body to slow down and digest. The more you eat, the harder your body will have to work, which means you will have less energy. If you suffer the ‘post-lunch slump’, try eating a smaller lunch and including a healthy snack mid-afternoon which will help spread your energy and regulate blood sugar.

7. Snack mindfully: Choose healthy snacks and include protein and/or healthy fat when you eat carbohydrates to help slow the release of glucose into the blood. Try fruit with raw nuts, apple and almond butter, berries with coconut yogurt or granola, brown rice cakes with avocado/tomato. Other good snack options include raw nuts, veggie sticks and hummus or guacamole, boiled eggs, protein balls, homemade granola bars, celery with almond butter. When snacking, eat protein or healthy fats with carbohydrates avoid blood sugar spikes followed by a crash.

8. Stay hydrated: One of the simplest ways to increase your energy is to drink more water. Even mild dehydration (2%) can affect memory. concentration, alertness and physical performance due to increased body heat and fatigue. When you are dehydrated, sugar cravings can also increase so keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, drink a glass of water when you wake up and set a daily goal to keep your water intake up. Your body often craves sugar when you are dehydrated to provide a quick source of energy when you actually just need to drink a little more water. Try having a glass of water first, next time you crave sugar!

9. Eat your 5 & 2: Did you know that 95% of people don’t eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit every day? Aim to eat 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day to make sure your body is getting important antioxidants that can help protect your body from oxidative stress, which can increase fatigue. Including a range of colours of the rainbow makes sure you get important phytonutrients and fruit and vegetables provide an important source of fibre which help eliminate waste and toxins which increase inflammation, fatigue and lethargy. Use the ‘How to fill your plate” guide to help make sure you’re getting your 5 & 2.

10. Support your gut: Good digestion is essential for ensuring the food you eat is converted into energy. You are not just what you eat, but what your body can absorb. If your gut is not working effectively, food won’t be broken down properly, nutrients won’t be broken down cellular energy and your body will be depleted. Slowing down and chewing your food properly (10 times) helps you properly digest and absorb nutrients. Drinking a glass of water with lemon first thing in the morning helps stimulate digestion and including fermented foods can support healthy gut bacteria. Your gut is your ‘second brain’ so it is critical to keep it healthy. It supports your metabolism, immune health, mood and sleep. Consider supplementing with a good pre/pro-biotic to support you gut microbiome.

While simple changes can make a big difference to your energy levels, it can be challenging when you’re busy! If you’re not sure where to start and would like some support to start making simple changes, book an appointment and I can help you create a plan to suit you and your lifestyle and provide you with the energy you need for all the things you want to do!

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