Energy Foods

Question

I have been very stressed at work lately and am constantly hungry but still feel low on energy. Please can you tell me what foods are good to eat to help improve my energy levels.

Submitted by Arusha Soni on 9 August 2013

Answer

When it comes to managing your energy levels, diet and exercise play crucial roles.

Make healthy eating a lifestyle
Making sure you’re taking in nutrient-packed meals outside of your work day will help keep you on track during the day. Being able to differentiate between when you are genuinely hungry or simply craving something when stressed or emotional is an important tool, and becoming familiar with when your body needs fuel will help.
• Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast is an important source of energy for a busy day. Focus on whole-grains cereals and breads, eggs and fruit.
• Eat less, more often. Aim for 4-5 small meals instead of 2–3 large ones, to keep your glucose levels even. Each meal or snack should be light, but packed with energy-giving foods.
• If you feel an energy slump coming on, small snacks are all it takes to give you the energy spike you need.

Snacks for you to consider:
– Rice cakes and peanut butter/cheese
– Boiled eggs
– Veggie sticks with hummus
*Nice idea: line the bottom of your travel mug with hummus and stick your veggie crudités into it vertically before sealing up.
– Home-made trail mixes using a combination of raw nuts, dried berries, toasted seeds and bran flakes
– Roasted pumpkin seeds: surprisingly high in protein, ½ cup offers 14 grams
– Lean biltong
– Healthy powder mixes: make your own protein shake ready to mix with water. Whey protein powder, almond milk powder, raw cacao powder and Futurelife are all great ingredients to include
– Cheese and grape mini-skewers
– Popcorn
– Roasted chickpeas: simply toss them in the oven
– Olives
– Single yoghurt portions
– Single serving tomato juice cans

Exercising for Energy 

Much of our energy – whilst also influenced by diet, lifestyle and fitness levels – relies heavily on brain function. If you need an instant boost in energy and brain power, try some of the following exercises:

– A brisk 10-minute walk is the best place to start. This not only provides an instant energy boost, but the effects will last for up to 2 hours.
– Hit the trampoline! Rebounding is an amazing way to boost energy levels, improve blood flow, and it gets your heart pumping – whilst sparing your joints any hard impact.
– Practise inverted yoga poses. The famous downward facing dog pose is excellent for getting blood and oxygen to the brain. Start on your hands and knees, curl your toes so you’re resting on the balls of your feet, and slowly rise into an inverted ‘V’ position. Keeping your eyes on your toes, exhale as you push your heels closer to the ground. Hold this position for a few moments to reap the benefits.
– Shake up a steady-state cardio routine with interval training. Bursts of 1-minute sprints followed by 3-minute recoveries help you burn fat rather than carbohydrates – your precious energy supplies.

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