Eating for Energy
In our busy lives, we often need all the help we can get to keep our energy levels topped up as much as possible. Here are a few simple eating habits you can try out to help boost your energy.
Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration when it comes to concentration and energy levels. Water is the best drink; try to limit any drinks with added sugar like cordial, juice or soft drink. Tea and coffee don’t count as much due to their diuretic effect but herbal teas are great! The best way to tell if you’re adequately hydrated is the colour of your urine – if it’s any darker than a pale straw colour, have a glass of water.
- Regular Meals
If you are someone who tends to skip breakfast or lunch, grab whatever you can in a rush (often not the most nourishing choice), then overeat at night time, this could be making you more tired. Most people find that eating at regular intervals across the day provides the best energy. For some, this is simply breakfast, lunch and dinner. Others find they function best with three smaller meals and healthy snacks in between.
Both under-eating or over-eating can affect energy levels too. If you aren’t eating enough nutritious food you may not be getting the energy or nutrients that your body needs. Eating large portions that leave you feeling uncomfortable and sluggish can also make you feel tired. Often people particularly find this affects them in the evening if they over-eat at dinner and it impacts on their quality of sleep.
- Sugar and Processed Foods
Processed foods containing high levels of sugar are often an automatic choice to reach for as a quick fix for energy, particularly around the 3pm slump. However these foods will only give you a short burst of energy before you crash down very quickly, leaving you more tired and craving sugar again. Better options are whole foods containing low-GI natural sugars to give you much longer-lasting energy (such as fruit as a snack with nuts or Greek yoghurt).
Of course there are other lifestyle factors that can affect your energy levels too (such as hormones, sleep, stress and physical activity), but if any of these eating habits are something you could work on, give it a go and watch what happens!