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Calorie Count Blog

Foods to Boost Your Energy


Posted on May 16, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition

There's nothing worse than going from hungry to tired. Meals that weigh you down can turn what was supposed to be a boost into a bust. Because food really is fuel, use these foods to get you back on track.

Water

Our bodies are composed of up to 75% of water and not replenishing our H2O stores can result in fatigue and headaches. Because we don't sense thirst until we're already dehydrated, the trick to keeping our energy up with water means being proactive. Whether you set specific times to get a swig, purchase a liter-sized bottle to keep on hand, or grab a cup every time you pass the water cooler, make some water drinking rules. Another way to stay hydrated is to boost your intake of water-rich foods. 80% of our water intake comes from beverages, but the other 20% comes from foods. Incorporate more celery, cucumbers, watermelon, and lettuce into meals to stay thirst-free and full of energy.

Fiber

Foods high in fiber actually help stabilize our blood sugar which keeps us energized all day long! When we eat foods with simple sugars such as candy or refined, white bread products we get a rush of energy from the spike in blood sugar that turns into a lag and drag sugar crash soon after. High fiber foods include 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, raspberries, pears, strawberries, bananas, lentils, black beans, artichoke, broccoli, and carrots. Remember to drink more water as you ramp up fiber in your diet to keep you regular. With more water and fiber in your gut, you'll also feel full longer helping you stave off overeating.

Lean Protein

Want to stabilize your energy even more? Pair that fiber-rich food with something containing lean protein like lean beef or skinless poultry, both of which contain the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine can help boost brain chemicals that increase focus, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. It's no fluke that protein bars are sometimes called energy bars. Protein is also essential to growth and repair, ensuring that your body recovers from exercise and other physical strain. Multiple studies show more protein equals more satisfaction at meal time. With fiber, the added effect could mean eating less.

Almonds

Almonds contain magnesium and B vitamins which help convert food to energy. Research shows that almonds and other nuts, can help boost weight loss since they contain unsaturated fat and fiber to help satisfy us longer. In fact, a recent study also found that adults who eat nuts have better diet quality and improved nutrient intake. Both point to even more energy to go around.

Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to combat depression and improve mood. These hearty healthy fats also keep you energized throughout the day. In fact, a study found they also help fight chronic pain and stress. Yet another study saw that they can also reduce inflammation and lower anxiety. With less anxiety, you may make better decisions at meal time and that could lead to keeping the energy ball rolling.

Coffee and Black Tea

Coffee may work in the short term for an energy boost, black tea is another option. A recent study found black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. Try having just one or two cups and after mid-afternoon put the mug down so as not to affect your sleep. Because, after all, a good night's sleep is just as important for your energy level!


Your thoughts...

What foods do you keep on tap to boost your energy?



Comments


I've recently discovered that  banana does wonders when my energy level drops



For some reason I am highly amused by the photo of the woman holding up the carrots.  I can't help but think it could be a head of her vanquished enemy instead.



I've learned to keep a granola bar in my purse as a snack, and to not eat very cheesy or carbohydrate rich items at lunch (like pizza, mac n cheese, pastas). So lunch is usually a sandwich or if I need to head out, I go to taco bell and get two crunchy tacos (corn doesn't bring me down like flour for some reason...). Then I eat at least two veggies with dinner, even if we do have pasta for dinner or pizza. These tricks (plus water and sleep!) keep me from being super tired after lunch or unable to concentrate because of tiredness or fullness.



Great article.  All of these have been part of my weight loss success.



Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but I've found it's more about the AMOUNT I eat that impacts the effect it has on my energy level.  Eating a giant burrito will put me to sleep, but eating half that burrito now (then the other half in 3 hours) satisfies and energizes me.  It's those half meals that work wonders.  Conversely, eating a tiny granola bar is not substantial enough and I'm hungry 20 minutes later.  erinbynight has the right idea regarding her lunch...something like a couple of tacos works great.

Jim

HMH=<,>,h. 3 simple rules that will change your life



Original Post by: fluffydragon

For some reason I am highly amused by the photo of the woman holding up the carrots.  I can't help but think it could be a head of her vanquished enemy instead.


Lol! This comment made my day. Thank you.Laughing



Original Post by: caja08

Original Post by: fluffydragon

For some reason I am highly amused by the photo of the woman holding up the carrots.  I can't help but think it could be a head of her vanquished enemy instead.


Lol! This comment made my day. Thank you.Laughing


I know carrots are my enemy.



To me water is definitely the key!!  I really had no idea until I started logging to see the pattern of fatigue, the days I dont drink much water are the days I am tired Surprised



Chia Seeds!  I put them in water, joghurt, oatmeal, salsa, salads--hey --the Aztecs

knew something about that!  http://www.naturalnews.com/024955_chia_seeds.html



I love chia seeds!which reminds me, I need to pick up more.  They really are good on anything, and don't change the flavor of the food much, plus, fiber.



Tea and coffee does not give short term energy. They use your own energy by splashing it heavily, which makes you feel higher. In short, it empties the container of your present energy to give you the feeling of temporary highness. So if you are already in lack of energy due to malnutrition, drinking tea and coffee will make you feel raised, but after the effect is gone, you will be equivalent to a faded squeeze dried floor cleaner cloth.

Something that is addictive, always tamper on your present energy box. The refreshing is worth negative.



can anyone elaborate on the coffee/tea dilemna.  I suspect it is not good for women, particularly perimenopausal women, but I need to convince myself I can detox and live with energy without the artificial stimulants.  One more week of school then I should have more flexibility.

 thanks for any advice

 

(70 lbs to lose Surprised)



Original Post by: slavetonone

can anyone elaborate on the coffee/tea dilemna.  I suspect it is not good for women, particularly perimenopausal women, but I need to convince myself I can detox and live with energy without the artificial stimulants.  One more week of school then I should have more flexibility.

 thanks for any advice

 

(70 lbs to lose Surprised)


I had to quit my energy drink addiction due to upcoming surgery. Apparently, the ginseng does something to blood vessels that interferes with the healing process. I am in school too so I know how important the energy buzz can be. I would suggest waiting for school to finish then just substituting green tea (which has lower caffeine than coffee) for at least one or two serving of your normal imbibe. You could also go for a quick ten minute walk to increase your energy. 

best of luck to you



A healthy breakfast including protein, iron, and carbs. makes for a good start to my day. And NEVER forget the water. I try to drink around 12 glasses a day! I've lost around 80 lbs, and have 50 more to go. I feel better than ever.



 

I have been taking 2 Bee Pollen Complex for YEARS with my morning supplement regiment but if I have a very physical day and feel a little drained my mid-afternoon, I just take one more and in about 30 minutes, I'm back and can finish whatever gardening or remodeling or whatever project I am immersed in.  I am currently 62 and just 3 days ago spent 9.5 hours processing pumpkin in my kitchen which netted 12 quarts in my freezer to get us through till next November. 



I agree that smaller servings of healthy food works best. I created this great breakfast that satisfies, is healthy, delicious, and has plenty of fiber.

I call it a sawdust bowl because it has oat bran that looks like sawdust.

1/2 c plain yogurt

1/3 c sawdust (oat bran)

1/4 c sliced almonds

sliced fruit of your choice, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, etc.

sprinkle with chia seeds and/or toasted flax seeds if desired for extra fiber.

This is delicious and filling, the fiber will keep you from experiencing any digestive problems. I have been sharing this with friends and they love it.

I also have done the TeamPJW program and lost 25 pounds with it. I have kept it off and it has worked miracles in my life. It is simple, quick and easy, and it is sustainable for life because it is a five-minute full body daily workout. Check it out here: TeamPJW.com

It is also important to remember that weight loss is gradual and being consistent and  changing your habits is the only way to lose weight and keep it off. I have kept it off with this program because it is sustainable for life. TeamPJW.com try it for yourself and you feel better and lose weight.

 



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