It’s a conundrum we’re all familiar with. We know that sugar makes us crash, but it’s so simple and appealing when we’re tired to reach for an energy bar or drink.
And then we feel foolish, when we suffer the inevitable energy – and mood – decline.
Mornings are crucial for loading up on energy boosting foods, because our bodies have gone 7-8 hours without any caloric intake. So, aside from pouring that sleepy-eyed cup of coffee, make sure to crack some eggs in a pan too. Eggs are full of vitamin B, which expedites turning food into energy. They’re also full of vitamin D, which helps keeps bones strong and is a tool in fighting depression. And of course, vitamin D also comes from sunshine, so make your eggs sunny side up for a little visual clue about the health benefits of your morning meal.
Another great food for energy is edamame/soybeans. They’re loaded with B-vitamins, which accelerates burning carbohydrates into fuel. Edamame is also filled with copper and phosphorous, which are also involved with converting food into energy – which makes these little guys the perfect pick-me-up. A good way to keep them on hand for mid-afternoon energy slumps is to roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then just store them in re-sealable bags for an instant snack.
Nuts and dried fruits are another wonderful source of energy. They’re loaded with good fats, protein and fiber. Good fats are wonderful for providing long lasting energy, fiber keeps you full longer, and protein helps sustain energy. Which makes fruits and nuts a win/win for staying energized. However, it’s a good idea to stay away from pre-packaged trail mix, because they can be loaded with sugar – which is something we’re trying to avoid. Also, some dried fruits can be loaded with sugar, especially bitter fruits like cranberries, where companies add sugar to make them sweet. So, it’s a good idea to purchase dried fruits that are naturally sweet, and are only dehydrated like apples or plums. Simply combine the nuts and fruit of your choice in a container for handfuls as a little boost.
Another wonderful food for energy is quinoa. It’s gluten-free and is loaded with amino acids. Quinoa is considered a complete source of protein, which makes it the perfect base for an invigorating salad. Simply cook the quinoa and toss it with vegetables and lean meat for a colorful and delicious salad.
And finally, don’t forget to drink lots of water. That’s the key to staying energized, because it’s what transports the nutrients in our blood. We can eat all sorts of wonderful things, but water is the thing that ties them all together for energy.