When you’re on the go all day, it’s easy to run out of energy. In addition to getting adequate sleep, ONE Thing you can do to make sure you can power through the day is eating the right superfoods.
Eating with your energy level in mind starts with focusing on foods that provide essential nutrients known to help our bodies combat exhaustion. Here are five of those energy boosting superfoods along with explanations on how they work and recipe recommendations.
Whole Grains + Eggs in the Morning
Starting the day with a breakfast that’s based on whole grains and lean protein will get you out the door and jumping into your first tasks of the day on an energetic note. Whole grains are great because complex carbs are broken down slowly. This causes a gradual release of energy over an extended period of time.
Eggs also provide loads of energy because they are packed with protein that can be readily absorbed by the body. They also have B vitamins that aid energy conversion.
For a quick and easy breakfast make a microwaved egg sandwich. While two slices of whole wheat bread are toasting, whip together a little bit of milk with two eggs in a ceramic mug. Heat the egg mixture in the microwave for one minute. Flip the egg over and microwave for another minute. This will give you a fluffy, fully cooked egg and an energy-packed sandwich that’s ready eat in minutes.
Almonds and Fruit for a Mid-Morning Snack
Almonds are one of nature’s wonders. New research shows that the nut can protect against cognitive decline and boost alertness thanks to all the vitamin E. Almonds are also a good source of B2. This vitamin helps convert food into energy and helps build red blood cells, so munching on almonds at your desk can keep the mid-morning lethargy at bay.
Three other energy-boosting nutrients in almonds include riboflavin, copper and manganese. Riboflavin helps promote oxygen-based energy production, while the other two nutrients help energy move through the body. There’s also quite a bit of dietary fiber in almonds. You’ll feel full for longer so you don’t get depleted before lunch.
Pair a handful of almonds with a low-cal piece of fruit for added flavor. The sugars in fruit are complex carbohydrates that won’t zap your energy.
Spinach at Lunch
Growing up you may have seen Popeye get a boost of energy and power from a can of spinach. Turns out this tried and true superfood really can give you a jolt of energy. The secret to spinach’s energy is iron.
Iron helps the body produce energy. It also helps red blood cells circulate through the body and aids in the delivery of oxygen. This helps you feel more alert and improves your ability to concentrate, which is a great combination for that afternoon meeting you’re scheduled to attend. Women in particular need to up their iron intake because studies have found that 10 percent of females between the ages of 20 and 49 have iron deficiency.
Try pairing spinach with sources of vitamin C, which increases the absorption rate of iron. Add mandarin slices to a spinach salad for a touch of sweetness and an energy boost.
Cacao or Dark Chocolate in the Afternoon
Sugar and coffee will give you a jolt of energy, but they can also cause you to crash.
Instead of getting a high dose of caffeine from coffee or refined sugar from sweets, you can stimulate your senses with raw cacao or dark chocolate.
Minimally processed dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and nutrients that the body can use for fuel. It contains iron, vitamin C, and magnesium, plus the mood enhancer tryptophan. The rule of thumb with chocolate is the darker you go the more antioxidant-rich energy you get out of each bite.
The hardest part is not overindulging. It may help to buy a bag of individual squares so you can portion control. Enjoy a serving with a cup of low fat Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack. The healthy fats, protein and magnesium in the yogurt will help you get those key final hours of your workday without slowing down.
Salmon for Dinner
Salmon is another “brain food” that health experts highly recommend. The omega-3 fatty acids help protect brain and heart health, but this fish is also a great source of energy. The B6, niacin and riboflavin in salmon all help your body convert food into energy.
Salmon is lean so you won’t go to bed feeling weighed down. Plus, the healthy fats in salmon help the body absorb antioxidants that boost your immune system and energy levels.
Start preparing for your next workday at dinner the night before by pairing salmon with a small side of brown rice and colorful veggies. For an extra boost of energy, sprinkle on chia seeds. It’s a pint-sized superfood that has iron, manganese, vitamin C, and Omega-3s.
Don’t forget to drink a glass of water with your food. Sometimes dehydration is the cause of energy drain. A cup of water will refresh you and help replenish energy so you can stay productive at the office or at home.