Want to boost your energy for a more productive workday? Here are 8 simple strategies to eat, energise and elevate…
1/ Get off the blood sugar roller coaster
Did you know that consuming just two 300ml sugary drinks each day would end up as a huge 22 kilograms of sugar in one year? Whilst it may be tempting to rely on sugar to improve alertness, many options can result in blood sugar highs and lows.
Instead opt for snacks, which provide sustained energy, and maintain stable blood sugar.
- Wholegrain toast (carbohydrate + fibre) and poached egg (fat + protein) = slow release energy
- White toast (carbohydrate) and jam (carbohydrate) = fast release energy
2/ Ditch the white carbs and opt for whole grains
Our brain runs on sugar to function and uses as much as 20% of all energy required by the body to function. All carbohydrates break down to sugar, however only the slow release and fibre rich carbohydrates provide us sustained fuel all day long. Opt for wholegrain carbohydrates such as brown rice, brown bread, brown pasta, chickpeas, lentils, beans, quinoa, oats, beans, lentils, chickpeas and leave the skin on your potato.
3/ Protein - little and often
Protein has satiating properties and maintains muscle mass, both of which play a role with maintaining a healthy body weight. We don’t need a high protein diet, however we should aim to incorporate protein at each meal and snack.
Try lean meat, fish, natural yoghurt, eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds
4/ Avoid The Food Coma At Lunch
Sometimes afternoon drowsiness can simply be down to eating too much at lunchtime. If you struggle with that post lunch slump, opt for a lighter lunch and be mindful of the portions size especially when it comes to carbohydrate and fat. Remember to follow the food plate guide for optimal energy!
5/ Set yourself up for success by having a healthy option to hand for that 3pm sugar fix!
If you have the right food to hand, then you’re more likely to make healthier choices when those sugar cravings hit. Whilst many of us have sugar cravings, consuming neat sugar straight off the spoon seems rather unappetising. Instead we crave a combination of sugar and fat, which provides those moreish and hyper palatable qualities.
When opting for a healthier sweet snack, choose a mix of sugar and a small amount of healthy fats for their satisfying properties - try apple (sugar) dipped in no added sugar nut butter (fat), or a banana (sugar) with unsweetened FAGE Total Greek yoghurt (fat).
6/ Stay hydrated
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration and reduce efficiency throughout the day. If you struggle with plain water, then try infusing water overnight with fresh berries, ginger, lemon or mint, or try PRESS's Water and Charcoal Lemonade.
Fruit and herbal teas all count to your daily water intake. Aim for 8 glasses per day.
7/ Stay active, reduce stress
If you’re feeling sluggish throughout the day, then movement can help to jolt us out of our lethargic state. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress, boost energy and even mood. Break up your day with a quick power walk around the block or even try a walking meeting!
8/ Get plenty of SLEEP!
It’s a no brainer that good quality sleep will aid with optimal energy and productivity throughout the day. Late night eating, heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol are all components, which will reduce the quality of your sleep.
Instead opt for calming teas before bed such as lemon balm or valerian root to relax you.
- Adan A (2012) Cognitive performance and dehydration. J Am Coll Nutr; 31 (2):71-78.
- Lindseth PD, Lindseth GN, Petros TV et al (2013) Effects of hydration on cognitive function of pilots. J Mil Med; 178(7):792-8.