Recharging with Foods that Deliver an All Day Energy Boost
Have you ever experienced that afternoon energy slump where you just can’t keep your eyes open after lunch? Or maybe you have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and you never gain energy…leaving you feeling sluggish or fatigued all day.
While staying hydrated is one of the simplest (and best!) things you can do to remedy any type of fatigue, the foods you eat play a HUGE role as well. Eating certain types of foods that fuel your body the right way can give you energy that remains balanced and sustainable throughout the day.
To begin, you must view food for what it really is- just a bunch of different nutrients. Once this mindset shift is made, it’s easier to see that some of foods you’re eating or drinking aren’t really “food” at all. They’re more like a distraction, a leisure activity, or a “quick fix”. It may feel like they are helping at the time you eat or drink them, but in truth they are short-term fixes and not serving you well.
For example, when you’re feeling physically or mentally fatigued, you may often reach for caffeine or sugar to help give you that quick energy boost. However, coffee and donuts (or bagels) are not really nutrients. They may give you a quick sugar or caffeine-driven energy lift, but an energy crash always follows. They’re a poor choice for anyone who is suffering from or trying to prevent mental and physical exhaustion.
Real, whole, nutrient-dense foods are what fuel your body and give it a true energy boost that’s sustainable all day long. I like to think of it like a slow IV-drip of energy throughout the day.
Here are some great examples of revitalizing foods:
Brown Rice - If you normally eat white rice, make a switch to brown rice, or even multi-colored wild rice. Rice that has a color and is not processed is richer in manganese, which is a mineral that helps your body process energy from both carbs and fats more efficiently. A good way to cook brown rice is to boil it in salted water for 20 minutes, drain, then set aside with a lid on for at least 10 more minutes until ready to serve.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and are excellent to include at lunchtime, as they will help you combat the mid-afternoon energy slump. They are loaded with vitamins A, B, and C and are rich in a multitude of minerals. They’re super easy to bake ahead of time (diced or whole) and they can be eaten hot or cold.
Bananas – A banana is almost the perfect “fast food”. It contains fruit sugars, but also has a ton of fiber to slow the digestion of the sugar. They can be eaten alone or paired with with a seed butter like hemp or sunflower to add protein and fat that fills you up and provides even more sustained energy.
Apples – This is another great natural “fast food”. Organic apples can be washed off and eaten as they are. Due to the high fiber content in apples, the sugar processes slowly - making them a perfect snack to help you past that mid-afternoon energy slump. If you normally start falling asleep around 3 pm, try grabbing a small apple around 2:30 and you may find that you don’t get tired at all.
Oranges – You know that an orange is high in vitamin C. The smell of the citrus as you take out the time to peel the fruit is almost enough on its own to give you both a mental and physical boost of energy that can’t be beaten. Always eat your oranges rather than juicing them as the orange fruit contains the fiber that will slow the digestion of sugar from the fruit.
Spinach – Everyone knows that spinach is a superfood! Its high iron content is easily digestible by the human body and adding just one cup of spinach to other dishes or smoothies that you eat throughout the day can make a huge difference in your energy levels. Popeye had the right idea, after all. Tip: Adding citrus and a small amount of fruit-based fat like coconut oil or olive oil to your spinach can help your body process the vitamins.
Eggs – For some people who need more iron and B vitamins but don’t want to eat anything that is sugary (even if it’s a fruit), a boiled egg is the answer. Eggs during a meal or a hard-boiled egg as a snack option is great to combat fatigue and the mid-day energy slump.
Water – While water isn’t necessarily a food, it needs to be mentioned to help combat exhaustion throughout the day. If you’re not drinking eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day, adding in more water should be the first thing you try. Many people don’t drink enough water- they’re dehydrated and don’t even know it. Remember…water is life and the first choice for beverages should always be water.
Adding these foods to your day can make all the difference in the world for your energy levels. When you feel better, you feel more positive and more energetic. it should be noted that eliminating processed food is also a must to have sustained energy throughout the day. Some people also see good results from eliminating dairy from their diets as it can be a cause of congestion, skin issues, and stomach issues for many adults.
The information on this blog and website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease. This information is distributed for educational purposes only. Please consult with your Naturopathic Doctor before acting on any material presented on this blog and website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have any medical conditions which require medical supervision.