Eating for Energy

By Rebecca Jones

If you find yourself running on empty by 2 o’clock every afternoon chances are you aren’t fueling up properly throughout the day. The proper balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates is essential to keep your energy up and your blood sugar level. Try these tips for getting the maximum power from the foods that you eat and you might find yourself cruising through the afternoon with energy left over.

Never Skip Breakfast

Your body requires a constant supply of fuel to keep you energized throughout the day so make sure to get off on the right foot by eating a healthy breakfast.  When you wake up in the morning you’ve already been fasting for 6-10 hours so your body is in need of refueling. Nothing will drop your blood sugar faster than a powdered donut or pancakes so be sure to eat a combination of carbs, protein and fiber for sustained energy. Your best bet is a bowl of oatmeal; it’s easy to prepare and is full of whole grains and fiber for sustained energy. Other good options include whole wheat toast with peanut butter or egg white omelets which will both help keep blood sugar levels steady until throughout your hectic morning.

Make Sure to Take Your Vitamins

Vitamin deficiencies can sneak up on you and steal your energy so make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin C and iron in your diet. Just 200-300mg of vitamin C everyday can keep you running on both cylinders so load up on orange juice, strawberries, kiwis and cantaloupe in the morning and add a serving of broccoli or bell peppers with lunch or dinner.
Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen through the body and any deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish and lower your metabolic rate. Beef, spinach, beans, lentils, clams and oysters are all an excellent source of iron so try to add plenty of servings throughout the day.

Stay Hydrated

As summer approaches be sure to drink lots of water to compensate for the fluids lost through perspiration. Your body will take water out of your blood if you are dehydrated causing added stress on your heart and slowing you down. Keep to the recommended 8 glasses to keep yourself moving despite the heat.

Eat 5 Meals a Day

Food is fuel so be sure to keep your tank full. Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day keeps your energy levels steady and helps you prevent overeating later in the day. While some people skip meals in the hopes of cutting calories this will not only drain your energy making you less active but can cause late night pig outs that will ruin your diet. Shoot for three 400 calorie meals and two 100-200 calorie snacks though out the day not only will you keep your energy up but you will keep your hunger in check as well.