Energize Your Body, Energize Your Day!
Do you find yourself experiencing a dip in your energy levels throughout your day?
Our fast-paced lives often cause many of us to reach for sugary snacks and caffeine for a quick energy boost. While these may give us a quick fix, there are more nutritious and beneficial ways to help us maintain the energy levels we need to get through the day.
Begin your day with an energizing, balanced breakfast
A nutritious breakfast in the morning is a great way to ‘fuel-up’ for the day ahead and get your brain and body ready to tackle your daily goals. A balanced breakfast can provide you with a good portion of your carbohydrates, protein, fibre, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals for the day1. Breakfast foods commonly contain important nutrients such as B vitamins and folate, vitamin A, C, E, and calcium from foods such as fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, fruits, nut butter, and dairy.
Some breakfast ideas to give you that much required morning boost are:
- Wholegrain toast with peanut butter and a banana
- Eggs (any way you enjoy them!) and a smoothie (blend up your favourite fruits with 1-2 tbsp. of plain yoghurt and water)
- Muesli with milk/yoghurt and a handful of fruit and nuts
It may help you to feel less rushed in the morning if you can prepare some of these foods the night before, and take your time enjoying them in the morning.
P.S: Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on quick, easy and nutritious breakfasts!
Keep yourself hydrated
Water is essential for almost every bodily process, and staying hydrated is important for our body’s organs to function optimally, playing a role in cognitive function, appetite regulation, and chronic disease progression 2. Dehydration can cause you to feel lethargic and decrease your wellbeing and performance.
The avoid this, encourage yourself to drink plenty of water throughout the day. The recommended amount of water to remain well-hydrated is about 1.5-2 litres per day (or 35-45 mL/kg of body weight/day) for adults.
Limit your consumption of juices, sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and excessive caffeinated beverages, as these are often low in nutrients and high in sugar/sweeteners. These can not only contribute to weight gain and risk of chronic diseases, but also cause your blood sugar levels to rise then fall rapidly, causing you to experience a ‘sugar crash’, or feel lower in energy.
Some tips to encourage yourself to drink more water are:
- Always keep a reusable water bottle with you (in your bag, car, or workplace, etc.) so you can fill up and drink whenever you need. Often, keeping water in your line of sight will encourage you to drink more
- Set a reminder on your phone to drink a cup of water every hour (or however often is convenient for your lifestyle). There are many apps out there that can give you reminders to drink water and allow you to track the amount you consume per day
- If you enjoy sweetened, flavoured drinks and find it difficult to drink plain water, consider adding a splash of fresh lemon/lime juice, frozen fruit or ice to your water
Choose the right kinds and amounts of foods
It is important to eat the types and quantities of foods that make you feel good. While eating a large, carbohydrate-heavy lunch (e.g. pizza) may be temporarily satisfying and filling, it can lead to an energy crash, making you feel like taking a long afternoon nap. Instead, choose foods that contain a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats in moderate portion sizes to help your body process the food better and keep your energy levels up.
Some balanced lunch options include:
- Chicken and salad sandwich and a piece of fruit
- Rice/pasta or other grain-based meal with added cheese, meat and vegetables
- Tuna and avocado wrap and a handful of raisins
Eating small snacks between meals is also a great way to give yourself that needed perk. Bringing some nutritious snacks to work from home can prevent you from using vending machines, which often contain overpriced foods of poor nutritional value.
Some easy snack options that include protein, fibre, healthy fats and vitamins include:
- Homemade trail mix: Toss a handful of mixed nuts and dried fruit into a little container/bag
- Carrots/celery sticks and hummus
- Fresh fruit and nut butter (peanut, almond)
Remember: It is important to eat enough to meet your energy requirements, while remaining within your recommended daily intake. Like a car, if your body does not have the correct amount and type of fuel, it won’t run properly.
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
1. O’Neil C, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Hayes D, Jana L, Klinger S, Stephenson-Martin S. The Role of Breakfast in Health: Definition and Criteria for a Quality Breakfast. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114(12): S8-S26.
2. Holdsworth J. The importance of human hydration: perceptions among healthcare professionals across Europe. Nutrition Bulletin. 2012;37(1):16-24.