As tempting as it may be to grab a cheeseburger instead of a salad for lunch, it’s important to consider how it will affect the rest of your day. Making the health conscious decision when choosing what to eat is not always easy. Let’s face it, we all have cravings!
Everything that you eat throughout the day affects the way you feel. Especially in the hot summer months it’s easy to become sluggish in the afternoon after a long day. Below we’ve included some tips (and foods) to help you eat for energy, and avoid the morning, afternoon, and evening slumps.
#1 – Breakfast: Start the Day off Right
Put portable breakfast on the list.
Let’s face it, most of us would rather grab an extra few zzz’s in the morning than get up and prepare breakfast. Lucky for you, portable breakfast foods can ensure you still get a healthy and high energy meal.
Consider grabbing items such as:
- Whole-wheat bagels
- Instant oatmeal
- Low-fat yogurt cups
Feed your brain at breakfast.
Make a habit of mix and matching foods that are high in fiber, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy to start your day off on the right track.
Scrutinize your breakfast choices.
Grab a pen and jot down a few notes on what you had for breakfast, and how you felt mid-morning. Try repeating this step for one week and see if you notice which foods increase your energy.
#2 – Lunch: Beat the Afternoon Slump
Protein is your friend.
An afternoon meal that is high in protein will fill you up quickly, and has proven to cause higher alertness than a carb heavy meal.
Try veggies high in nutrients.
Vegetables such as spinach are known to be packed with iron which can help aid in the production of energy in your body. Livestrong’s blog recommends a fresh spinach salad to help kick the afternoon slump.
#3 – Snacking: Look For Hidden Calories
Plan your snacks.
As with any meal you’re eating on the go, planning your snacks for the day can be very beneficial. If you think ahead perhaps you’ll grab an apple in the morning, versus a bag of salty chips when you begin to crave a snack in the afternoon.
Beverage drinkers beware.
Not only can consuming soda contribute to weight gain and more serious health problems, it can cause a nasty energy crash once the caffeine has worn off. Opt for flavored sparkling waters, low calorie (and low sugar) performance drinks, or good old trusty H2O.
#4 – Dinner: The Day Isn’t Over Yet
Eat Natural Sugars.
Whether your evenings are packed with family activities, spending time with friends or relaxing at home, your evening meal shouldn’t make you fall right asleep. Consuming natural sugars and vitamins like those in watermelon will help give you that little extra boost you need at the end of the day, without the sugar crash.
Avoid Processed Foods.
The human body has a difficult time digesting processed foods which eats up what little energy you may have left. Instead, opt for fresh and healthy meals to share with your loved ones.
Need help finding recipes?
Here are some of our favorite go-to sites for finding healthy, food allergy friendly, and simply good recipes for the week:
- Cooking Light – This website has a lot of information about nutrition, healthy living and seasonal recipes.
- Food Network – Their “Quick & Easy” section has a plethora of healthy recipes with a wide variety of ingredients.
- Allrecipes – If you’re looking for fresh recipes, and even how to videos this is the place to go!
Time to Weigh In
You can’t expect to always be able to (or want to) choose the salad over the pizza, but incorporating just a few of the energy boosting tips in this post to your daily routine can have a major impact.
What foods or eating habits have you found weigh you down, and which ones give you that extra spring in your step?