Boost Energy Levels Naturally Tammy Fogarty, MS, RD
Do you ever feel run-down, tired, or sluggish at some point during your day? Sure! We all do. There are many factors that contribute to the mid-afternoon drop in energy levels: job, stress, diet, lack of physical activity, etc. The good news is that I have 4 effective strategies that you can implement today to boost your energy naturally throughout the day.
#1 Eat a Good Breakfast
Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You are literally “breaking-fast”. Breakfast means to “break-fast” after resting. Hopefully you enjoy at least 6 hours of sleep at night and the body will require energy after a 6-hour fast (AKA: sleep). The foods you choose to nourish you body with will set the tone for the remainder of your day and boost your energy naturally.
Start with whole grains, preferably sprouted whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber that slow the absorption of glucose into the blood. Breakfast usually consists of low-fiber processed grains from bread and cereal that result in a spike of blood sugar levels. A spike in blood sugar provides a temporary boost of energy followed by low blood sugar that decreases energy. Fiber-rich foods allow for a steady flow of glucose into the blood providing consistent energy until your next meal. In other words, you don’t get the sugar highs and lows with a fiber-rich diet but you will get a natural boost in energy.
I encourage the following fiber rich foods: sprouted whole grains, steel cut oatmeal, quinoa. Add a healthy protein, fruit, and/or veggie to your breakfast to make it balanced and nutritious. An example is a veggie omelet, 1 slice of sprouted whole grain bread, with a serving of strawberries. This breakfast will kick-start your day and keep you going strong until lunch-time.
#2 Include lean protein and veggies at each meal
Another way to naturally boost your energy is by adding lean protein to each meal. Lean protein, such as chicken, eggs, and fish are satiating resulting in you feeling content and satisfied after a meal. Beans, nuts, seeds, and alfalfa sprouts are all great sources of protein if you prefer plant-based meals.
Personally, I prefer my lunch to be plant-based. A salad loaded with fresh veggies, black beans, and sunflower seeds is a great plant-based lunch packed with protein.
In addition, protein also slows the absorption of glucose into the blood for a natural energy boost. The key to maintain energy levels is to maintain blood sugar levels.
#3 Drink water throughout the day
If you mouth is feeling a little dry while you are reading this article then you are experiencing one of the first signs of dehydration. Yes? Take a break and get yourself a glass of water. I will wait for you to return.
Lack of concentration, irritability, and sluggishness are all signs of dehydration. Make sure you stay properly hydrated in order to feel energized throughout the day. It is recommended to have at least 64- ounces of water per day.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Buy yourself a cup you enjoy drinking out of and keep it filled with filtered water to sip throughout the day. I am in love with my RTIC tumbler! It holds 30 ounces and keeps my water ice-cold; I drink two of these per day to ensure I meet my water quota.
Fun Fact: You will drink more water if you use a straw so add a straw to your new favorite cup.
#4 Get some fresh air
Feeling tired? Take a break and get some fresh air. Even better…MOVE!!! Go for a walk, stretch, try an afternoon workout. Stepping away from a task to get fresh air and physical activity will re-energize the body making you more productive and creative.
Research has shown that people who stand at their job burn more calories from fat than those that sit at a desk all day. Consider a stand-up desk or elevate your computer monitor so that you can stand at your desk. Enjoy a 15 minute break every 90-120 minutes. Get up, go outside, and move your body!
Take-away message: Maintain your blood sugar levels with a healthy diet to maintain your energy level.