When you are out of energy, grabbing a soda and a candy bar seems like a great pick-me-up. The only problem is that the sugar hits your system gives you are rush and then fades quickly. You also have cravings later.
Instead of junk food reach for something healthier that will give you long lasting energy without the crash. Some of the foods are drinks, others are meals and there are quite a few snacks. Next time you have the afternoon slumps grab for one of these instead.
If you are feeling tired after working outside or working out, just grab for water first. Dehydration can make you feel tired and sluggish. Chugging a glass or two of water refills your body’s water weight and allows cells to function more efficiently.
One study indicated that losing about 1% of your body weight as sweat affects mood and concentration. Dehydration also reduces your endurance.
After you recharge your body’s water content, try another healthy drink.
If you want a drink that will give you energy and has many health benefits, have a cup of green tea. It contains a very high level of antioxidants that fight cellular stress and inflammation. Green tea also contains caffeine and L-theanine.
This amino acid moderates anxiety and jitters that often come with caffeine. The combination is known to increase focus, alertness and mental concentration.
Green tea also increases fat breakdown, releasing more energy and assisting with weight loss.
Coffee offers an energy boost through caffeine. Some people have problems drinking coffee later in the day or get very jittery after drinking coffee. That is a result of increased epinephrine, the fight or flight hormone that your body releases when under stress.
Try not to add sugar and cream/creamer to your coffee, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Start with proteins like salmon, eggs or beans. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and reduce fatigue. Salmon contains B vitamins that increase red blood cell production, reducing fatigue.
Eggs are a perfect meal because they offer protein, amino acids, and B vitamins with a relatively low-calorie count. Beans are plant-based protein. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that boost cellular energy productions. They are digested slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable and give you steady energy.
Add a Whole Grain
Add a side of quinoa or brown rice. Quinoa is a seed that is high in carbohydrates but has a low glycemic index. That means that the carbs are absorbed slowly and offer a sustained energy release.
Brown rice contains the fiber, vitamins and minerals stripped from white rice. Like quinoa, it has a very low glycemic index. Brown rice also contains a lot of manganese, an element that helps break down carbs and proteins.
Throw on Some Veggies
Add a leafy green salad or a side of sweet potatoes to your energy meal. Leafy greens like spinach are high in antioxidants, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folic acid and vitamins A, C, E and K. These work to replenish depleted iron stores and widen blood vessels for better blood flow.
Sweet potatoes are slowly digested and contain manganese to help produce energy. They also contain vitamin A, important in immune function and cellular communication.
End with Dark Chocolate
End your meal with a square of dark chocolate (not milk chocolate!). Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and caffeine. Some of dark chocolate’s effects include increasing blood flow and enhancing mental energy and mood.
All in all, dark chocolate reduces mental and muscle fatigue. A square of dark chocolate is far better for you than a candy bar and you will feel satisfied with less. If you don’t have time for a meal, try some of these snacks.
Grab an apple for a quick and lasting boost from the carbs and fiber. Like other foods on this list, apples are rich in antioxidants that enhance digestion and releasing energy for an extended period. Make sure you eat an apple, not applesauce or apple juice.
Applesauce has benefits, but not the peel that contains most of the apple’s nutrition. Juices are high in added sugars and low in fiber, making them the equivalent of a candy bar in terms of nutrition.
Oranges are another healthy pick-me-up. One orange contains more than 100% of the RDA for vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Vitamin C deficiency is implicated in chronic fatigue and helps to fight adrenal fatigue.
Eating an orange when you are tired offers you a quick burst of sugar and follows it up with nutrients that help you recover from stress and exhaustion
Chow down on some Greek yogurt that offers 40% less sugar and twice the protein of regular yogurt. The sugars break down easily, offering you instant energy. The protein then is broken down more slowly for a lasting energy boost.
Greek yogurt’s vitamin content, mainly B2 and B12, help your cells to produce energy. Greek yogurt is a great way to fuel your body quickly and with lasting effects.