Eating for Energy
By Amy Silva
Most people know food provides energy for our bodies. Calories are energy, and the choices between healthy calories and unhealthy ones make all the difference in how we are feeling throughout the day. We know that if we go too long without eating, we begin to feel drained and can even have a hard time focusing. Oddly enough, the same can happen to someone even if they eat certain foods that provide lots of energy. Eating smaller meals can help in maintaining energy levels and avoid hunger pangs that have you reaching for cravings instead of healthy meals.
Not All Calories Are Created Equal
Eating a bagel or bag of cookies may give you a quick charge when your energy levels fall too low, but you may feel even worse afterwards. Consuming processed foods or drinks makes you feel as though you got over the afternoon slump, but it's only temporary. These foods and drinks cause a spike in your blood sugar, which is indeed an energy boost, but after your blood sugar returns to normal you'll be feeling the same as before, or worse. The best way to avoid the daily periods of low energy is to eat foods that provide consistent and lasting energy throughout the day.
Types of Foods That Boost Energy Levels
Pack healthy snack options for work to avoid the vending machine when you need a quick energy boost. This list doesn't cover all energy boosting foods, but some include:
- Complex carbohydrates - Oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa and sweet potatoes
- Protein - Peanut butter, nuts, Greek yogurt and fatty fish
- Fruits and vegetables - Bananas, strawberries, avocados and leafy greens
Foods to Avoid
Processed junk food should be avoided, or at least be kept to a minimum and eaten as an occasional treat instead of a daily snack. It may be easier to grab a quick sugary snack or drink when you're feeling that afternoon drop in energy but reaching for a snack that's full of sugar will only make you feel more tired later after the energy burst is gone. Foods that should be avoided as much as possible include:
- Sweets - Candy, donuts, cookies, ice cream or other sugary foods
- Sugary beverages - Soda, juice or caffeinated drinks
- Other processed foods - White bread, bagels, chips and fried foods
Keeping meals and snacks healthy will provide you with steady energy throughout the day and will help stave off hunger. It can also provide additional health benefits when you clean up your diet and are eating healthy foods and avoiding those that are processed.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spanish Fork, Utah.