Your body runs from the fuel you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re selecting proper foods for your body to utilize. You might feel sluggish after a big lunch or dinner because your body is using its energy to digest that big meal instead of powering the rest of your body.
The easiest way to avoid this is to eat several smaller-portioned meals throughout the day. This will keep your body fueled regularly and may even help you lose weight.
Here are some foods that could help you beat that afternoon fatigue.
Steer clear of processed foods, such as packaged or canned foods, candy, boxed meals, and precooked meats that are typically full of carbohydrates such as sugars or starch, along with preservatives, additives, sodium salts, trans fats, and artificial flavorings. Carbohydrates can cause a sugar high now but a sugar crash later, making you drowsy and slow.
Fruits and vegetables – The fresher your food is, the more nutrients it will contain. Unlike processed foods that may be stripped of nutrients for a longer shelf life, fresh foods typically contain higher nutrients. Eating in-season fruits and vegetables means they ripened naturally.
Non-caffeinated beverages – Caffeine is OK in moderation, and it has been shown to have some health benefits. Although it provides a short-term boost, it doesn’t actually provide the body with energy. The first sips may give you a jolt, but if you’re not providing your body with good nutrition and balanced meals and snacks, you’ll eventually feel run down. Opt for black coffee or unsweetened tea. Sodas and energy drinks can be full of refined sugar and artificial ingredients that can cause you to crash, and lead to other health issues if over consuming.
Lean proteins – Red meats marbled in fat adds saturated fat to your diet. Leaner meats, like chicken, turkey, and fish, still provide quality protein, but contain less saturated fat. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, can add beneficial, heart healthy fats.
Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are some of the best foods to beat fatigue and fight hunger. Getting a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet can provide healthy nutrients and energy. Try almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Eating raw, unsalted versions is recommended and they’re the perfect snack.
Water – Drinking water is essential for optimal functioning of the body. Although water doesn’t provide energy in the form of calories, it helps facilitate the energetic processes in the body, which is an energy boost in itself. Sip on water throughout the day, and try to swap out sodas, coffee, and other drinks for a glass of water.
Bananas – Bananas are packed with potassium, fiber, vitamins, and the perfect amount of carbohydrates that provide you with a big boost of natural energy.
Oats – A big bowl of oats packs a punch of filling fiber and even a little protein. Choosing the plain versions of instant packets of oatmeal, steel-cut oats, or old-fashioned oats is best as they aren’t filled with extra sugar (1).
Chia seeds – Two tablespoons of chia provide about 24 grams of carbs and a whopping 4.8 grams of omega-3s, which are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. Eating chia seeds offers just as much energy as carbohydrate sports drinks. Sprinkling in a few tablespoons of chia seeds with your morning smoothie or adding a scoop to your afternoon yogurt may provide just enough of an energy boost for you to keep fatigue at bay (2).
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