You may have heard, that what you eat determines what kind of day you’ll have. Well, there’s some truth to this. You see, of the foods you eat, some can leave you feeling tired, lethargic, and downright anchored to your desk. Foods high in fat and calories can cause your energy levels to drop, crash even, and instead of focusing on what you’re doing, you’re now looking for a secret place to hide and have a nap. The good news is, if you’re the type that doesn’t have access to company bunk beds, then these foods can put you back on track, and soaring productively through your day.
Let’s start things off with these fun yellow torpedoes of nutrition. I started with Bananas because they’re a foolproof energy food. They’re composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) as well as fiber. Top them with some peanut or almond butter to add some protein to the mix, or slice one up and top off your cereal for that morning energy boost that will drive you through lunchtime.
High in fiber, apples take longer to digest. They don’t provide the stimulation a cup-o-Joe can, but it can help stabilize your blood sugar and boost your energy with their sweet calories and carbohydrates. Like bananas, being loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants, they’ll help fuel you up, and allow you to keep your focus until lunch.
It makes sense, that if we’re talking fruit and energy that we must include these bursts of sun called Oranges. Loaded with vitamin C, potassium and folate, this citrus energy champion rations out its energy steadily over time rather than the quick burst or rush. If you really want to benefit from all an orange has to offer, peel it and eat it whole to get all that delicious pectin and fiber from those juicy membranes inside.
Ok, so you’re about to go into a meeting that will run into lunch, and you’re looking for something that will keep your energy levels high and carry you through to the other side…well yogurt has your back. There’s a plethora of flavors to choose from, and comes in handy containers that are great for on-the-go. They’re rich in magnesium, which is crucial for the release of energy, and it brings a nice dose of calcium to your diet. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up after a workout, yogurt will help you replenish your glycogen sources and keep you fueled. Some even come with a helpful boost of probiotic bacteria, to help your stomach and digestive system stay in peak condition.
These little round bundles of nutrition contain the highest complete form of protein in any food (97% can be absorbed by the body) and provide your body with 30% of your daily protein needs! Packed with amino acids, they contain all aminos that your body uses to rebuild muscle. Boil them, scramble them, bake or fry them as an omelet, you shouldn’t overlook the power of the incredible egg!
Everyone likes to snack, and when we’re at work, having a snack handy to top up the energy stores can be a good thing. Rather than reach for a chocolate bar, or some other junky item, try having some of these toxin neutralizing gems instead. Packed with protein, copper, manganese and riboflavin (vitamin B2), almonds are a tasty morsel to snack on. Copper and manganese plan an essential role in keeping energy flowing throughout your body through neutralizing toxins within your cells, and riboflavin helps with oxygen-based energy production. Amazing right?!
Ok, so you’ve reached lunch and your energy levels are holding out, how do you keep them going through the toughest part of the day? Salmon of course. It’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids which can help you lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease, but it’s loaded with vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin and protein, all of which help convert the food you eat into energy. Serve it with a side of brown rice and veggies for a power-packed lunch that will keep you coasting through to dinner. If you’re looking for some great ways to prepare it, have a peek at some of my easy salmon recipes.
Spinach is an excellent source of iron, which is a key component in energy production in the body. Have it as a salad, or with a nice piece of salmon and you most likely won’t experience that mid-day energy slump.
Sure, carbs may be the enemy of fad diets, but they’re great for boosting energy and moods. The trick is to avoid sweets which can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash making you feel both tired and moody. They’re the body’s preferred source of fuel, plus they boost that feel-good chemical serotonin. Have yourself a few slices of whole-wheat bread or some brown rice instead of white. Your body absorbs the energy from whole grains more slowly, which in turn keeps your blood sugar and energy levels stable throughout the day.
Yes, that’s right….chocolate, well at least, dark chocolate. A little bit of dark chocolate can boost both your energy levels and your mood. The reason? Dark chocolate contains a lesser-known stimulant called theobromine which is an alkaloid. The difference is, theobromine isn’t addictive like caffeine. Another great little tidbit that dark chocolate has to offer is, if you’ve got a cough, 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate could help reduce your body’s desire to cough and can help reduce asthma symptoms. Who knew?
Note: If you really want to spice up your cereal, grab some cocoa nibs and put some of those in your cereal with banana slices for a real breakfast treat!
Think I missed something or have something to add? Please, leave your comments below and tell me about it!