These days it seems everyone is tired and lacking energy. And it’s no surprise with our busy modern lifestyles! Juggling work, family, and everything in between can be challenging and can zap our energy. In order to show up for life, and get through our never-ending to-do list, we need energy! And the first step to increased energy is eating the right foods.
Here are 7 tips for supercharging your diet for increased energy:
- A mix of macronutrients: make sure you’re getting a mix of protein, carbs and healthy fats at every meal. Fill half your plate with half vegetables/fruit; a quarter (or palm-size) of protein, a quarter of the plate with whole grains and be sure to include some healthy fats too.
Protein: lean meat, chicken, a variety of nuts and seeds, lentils, beans, eggs, tofu, yoghurt, fish.
Carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Healthy fats: avocado, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil.
Example meal: a palm-sized piece of cooked lean chicken, steamed broccoli, carrots and peas with a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of cooked quinoa.
- Avoid living on stimulants: being tired may tempt you to live on stimulants temporarily including coffee, soda, energy drinks, sugar and wine. But too many stimulants can wreak havoc on your health and can actually set you up for poorer sleep and increased fatigue. So enjoy some caffeine in the morning if you need a boost – choose coffee, green tea or black tea, but avoid caffeine after 1 or 2 pm, especially if you are sensitive to its effects or you are struggling with sleep.
- Eat energy-giving, nutrient-dense food: all food gives energy, but you want to include foods that pack in a whole lot of nutrients as well to keep your body working optimally: Some great nutrient-dense foods to include in your diet for an energy boost include bananas, fatty fish, brown rice, sweet potato, eggs, apples, yoghurt, oatmeal, hummus, edamame, legumes, dark chocolate and avocados.
- Switch to whole grain: ditch the white bread, white rice and white pasta for whole-grain bread and pasta, brown, red or black rice and quinoa. All are low GI and packed with nutrients that will keep you full longer, and provided sustained energy throughout the day. If you are coeliac or sensitive to gluten, opt for gluten-free whole grains.
- Make some trail mix to nibble on throughout the day: include a variety of unsalted nuts, goji berries, seeds, and dark (70%+) chocolate chips. Other snack options might include homemade lightly salted popcorn or fruit.
- Hydrate: it may seem simple, but not drinking enough water may lead to dehydration, which can slow down bodily functions, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. IT can also lead to constipation. Aim to drink 33ml of water per kg of bodyweight i.e. Multiply your weight in kg by 0.033 to work out how many litres of water you need to drink. For example, for a 60kg woman = 60 x 0.033 = 1.98 litres of water. Drink more water if you exercise regularly.
- Be mindful of your eating habits: you want your food to work for you and provide your body with energy to thrive, so help it out by being mindful of your eating habits.
- Create a calm eating environment– eat at the table, or take your lunch out of the office and eat on a park bench
- Take time to enjoy your food – appreciate the colours, smells, textures and taste.
- Chew slowly and properly, giving your body a chance to digest.
- Try to avoid eating on the run, or while distracted or stressed.
- Eat only when you’re feeling hungry. Be mindful if you’re eating because you are tired, bored, stressed or emotional.
- Eat only until you’re 80% full to avoid overeating and feeling bloated and sluggish.
- Where possible eat with family or friends. Eating should be a pleasurable experience shared with the ones you love. Make time for family meals and create a special tradition for your children.
- If you or your family need help with diet, eating habits or meal planning, don’t be afraid to reach out to a naturopath or nutritionist who can help you come up with a personalised meal plan to suit you and your family’s needs and budget.
Chantel is a naturopath, holistic health coach and corporate wellbeing consultant. She loves working with busy super Mum’s to improve their diet and lifestyles so they can enjoy increased energy and vibrant health. She has a special interest in women’s health, food intolerances, genetics and gut health.