When your energy is low, you may instinctively reach for a cup of coffee or a handful of candy to provide a quick boost. Unfortunately, the effects of both are short-lived and can set you up for a crash. The types and the amount of food you eat play an important role in your daily energy levels. In fact, did you know that foods high in fat and calories can leave you feeling fatigued, since they require more energy to digest? So next time you feel that pesky slump coming on, have some of these energy-boosting foods on hand and see for yourself just how well they help get you through the rest of your day.
Gone are the days of limiting your intake to six eggs per week – I say eat eggs until the cows come home. Eggs are the highest source of complete protein with eggs providing an impressive 30 per cent of your daily requirement. They are great to help after exercise to ensure your muscles can recover properly and your body feels fresh for the day ahead.
Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are high in magnesium, which plays a key role in converting sugar to energy. They’re also filled with fibre to keep your blood sugar levels even and protein to stave off hunger. Keep a bag of mixed nuts or trail mix in your purse or desk drawer to stay energetic all day.
Raw sauerkraut isn’t just a good match for bratwurst; it also helps you maintain energy. The fermented cabbage is high in probiotics, which makes your gut digest food more efficiently. So, since the body has to work less to digest, you’re left with more energy. Kimchi, the spicy fermented cabbage popular in Korean cuisine, also does the trick. Craving a street cart hot dog? Top it with sauerkraut for an easy energy boost.
Although peanut butter is a calorie-dense food, a little goes a long way in providing a great-tasting energy boost. Its healthy fats, protein, and fibre help stave off hunger and keep blood-sugar levels stable. Instead of covering your morning toast with butter or jelly, which are devoid of protein and fibre, top slices with an all-natural nut butter that contains nothing but nuts. Just be sure to avoid brands with added sugars, and stick to a 2-tablespoon serving.
Rich in manganese, the mineral that helps produce energy from protein and carbs, it will help you maintain high energy all day. A versatile ingredient, brown rice can be served as a side dish with your favourite lean proteins (along with nutrient-packed veggies!) for a powerhouse lunch or dinner.
Because they are composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fibre, bananas are a foolproof energy food. Top them with peanut or almond butter for a well-rounded snack, or slice one into your morning cereal for an extra boost that will keep you going until lunchtime.
Nibbling a square of dark chocolate as a post-lunch dessert is good for you. It contains the natural stimulant theobromine, similar to caffeine, which boosts your energy and your mood.
Not only will an apple a day keep the doctor away, it’ll also give you a powerful jolt of energy. High in fibre, apples take longer to digest, so they’ll give you a more prolonged lift than many other fruit picks. Snack on apples with cheese for an especially effective pick-me-up.
Salmon is a great source of the energy-boosting goodness that is essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for energy production, brain activity and circulation. On a side note, it’s also great for maintaining heart health! You just can’t go wrong with a nice piece of salmon!