With celebrations, outings with friends and family and everyday-life, your diet can easily take a hit. Most on-the-go meals are almost always high in carbohydrates, sugar and rich ingredients that can leave you feeling wiped out and drowsy.
“As soon as one finishes a meal, your body begins to direct blood to your digestive tract to help actively digest food,” explains Abby Sauer, a dietitian with Abbott. “While this happens, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate are kept at a lower level to maintain and restore energy and before you know it, you’re ready for a nap,” she adds.
The good news is that with some simple tips and tricks, you can carry on enjoying meals without depriving yourself. You can fuel your body with what it needs, and still enjoy all the foods you love and have plenty of energy to get you right through the week.
Here are 7 simple tips to boost your energy
1. Have a snack
When you have a big dinner or event planned, you might think it’s a good idea to skip meals and save your calories. But arriving on an empty stomach is a big mistake. “A healthy snack could be your secret weapon,” Sauer explains. “You’ll be less likely to overeat at dinner or feel not so great afterwards.”
A few hours before your event, try having a healthy snack that has 150 to 200 calories. Good choices include an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, Greek yoghurt with fresh berries or a slice of cheese with a few whole grain crackers.
2. Pick protein
Protein-rich foods such as a lean cut of meat, beans or cheese will keep hunger at bay, blood sugar levels steady and give you plenty of energy. “Foods high in protein can kick-start the orexin neurons in your brain, the sensors responsible for keeping you alert and active, and give you the extra boost you need to keep moving after a large meal,” Sauer says.
3. Fill up with fiber
Eating fiber at every meal will help you feel satisfied and prevent you from over-indulging in foods that make you feel sluggish. Beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, berries and green leafy vegetables are fiber-rich and filled with nutrients that boost energy levels.
4. Drink up
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re running around. If you don’t drink enough water dehydration can quickly zap your energy.
When you’re out and about, bring a refillable water bottle with you to ensure you re-hydrate. If you’re at a restaurant or work lunch, alternate water with your cocktail or glass of wine. You can also add lemon, cucumber or fresh mint to give plain H2O a kick.
5. Be selective with your food
With so many delicious foods it can be tempting to fill up your plate with everything, but overeat and you’ll feel exhausted in no time. Instead, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and choose a portion of protein. For everything else, be picky and ask yourself, is it worth it? Watch your portions, take a spoonful or use an appetizer plate for easy portion control.
6. Don’t ditch your workout
Remember to stick to your exercise routine. Studies show that exercise can help fight fatigue and boost energy; plus the surge in endorphins you get from a sweat session will make you feel less stressed and happy. To stick to your plan, do your workout the first thing in the morning or schedule it on your calendar and make sure nothing else gets in the way.
For adults who need that extra nutrition, try a nutritional supplement like Ensure® NutriVigor. Ensure® NutriVigor is scientifically designed to help support muscle health and healthy body weight. Ensure® NutriVigor has a unique system of ingredients including Acti-HMB, protein and vitamin D which have been proven to rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time.
7. Sip green tea
“Although it can help give you a quick burst of energy, eating too much sugar can spike your blood glucose and cause extreme highs and lows throughout the day which will ultimately leave you feeling depleted,” Sauer says. Instead of downing copious amounts of coffee or turning to an energy bar or a sports drink to get you through the day, try a hot cup of green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and it will help calm your stress levels so you’re less likely to overeat. It also has a small amount of caffeine, so it will give you enough energy without making you feel jittery.
Try these tips and stay energized and healthy throughout the day.
About Abbott Nutrition
As a division of Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Nutrition is recognized as one of the world’s trusted names in children, adult, and healthy living products, including Ensure®, PediaSure® and Similac® Mom. Abbott Nutrition South Africa first opened its doors in 1940 and for more than 75 years, has remained committed to the highest standards of quality, excellence, and innovation and as leaders in science-based nutrition, they continue to support people’s nutritional needs throughout their life stages.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.