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Who doesn’t want more energy? An increased sense of vitality and ability to do all the things you want to do without feeling fatigued and constantly running on empty. It may come as welcomed relief to hear that while getting more rest and more down time may be the ideal solution, simply getting the right balance of nutrients and mix of foods throughout the day can go a long way in regulating your energy levels. And as an added bonus, the feel good effects are almost instant, leaving you feeling more energised the very same day.
1. Eat regularly
One of the easiest ways to keep on top of your energy levels and food cravings throughout the day is to prioritise regular meals and snacks. Not only will eating every 3- 4 hours ensure optimal blood glucose regulation but it will help to avoid the energy highs and lows that can be associated with periods of both over and undereating. The trick with eating regularly is to ensure that your balanced meals are complimented with nutrient rich snacks that offer both carbs and proteins such as a piece of fruit and nuts, a banana smoothie or some energy balls (recipe below).
2. Choose the right carbs
Poor old carbs cop a constant beating but the truth is we need good quality carbs to fuel the muscles and the brain. The issue with the type of carbs we can eat on the run, including processed white bread, juices, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, is that they are rapidly digested and offer little in the way of protein and fibre to help keep us full. This is as opposed to good quality wholegrain carbs and fresh fruit, which supply the energy the body needs along with plenty of other vitamins and minerals. The question of how much carbohydrates each person needs is highly variable, but in general if you aim to include one carbohydrate rich food at each meal and snack you will be on the right track. For example, add a little sweet potato or quinoa to your lunchtime salad or combine a banana and some nuts for a mid-morning or mid afternoon snack.
3. Focus on nutrient rich foods
Key nutrients including the B-group vitamins, iron, zinc, iodine and magnesium are all directly involved in energy production in the body and as such making sure your daily food choices tick the box for these key nutrients is a key step in ensuring optimal energy levels. For meat eaters this means small serves of lean red meat at least 3 times a week; it means enjoying seafood and shellfish at least a couple of times each week and choosing wholegrain carbohydrates and Vitamin B rich foods such as bananas, vegemite and avocado as regular dietary staples.
4. Hydrate optimally
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons that individuals feel tired and fatigued and if you are not getting through 1L of water in addition to an extra 500-1000ml for every hour of training that you do, you will not be drinking enough. Always carry your water bottle with you and get into the habit of hydrating properly on a daily basis. Alternatively, opt for herbal teas for a refreshing, hydrating, warm alternative to water – peppermint, green and matcha teas are all good choices.
5. Get outside
For many of us, cramming as much as we can into the working day is crucial to get all of our work done, but sitting indoors all day, without any natural light is one of the worst things we can do for our energy systems. Make it a priority to get out into the natural light for at least 20 minutes every day for a much needed Vitamin D and ultimately energising hit of fresh air and sunlight. Or even better, team it with your mid-morning or afternoon tea break so you get the nutrient hit you need at the right time along with some light and fresh air.
Recipe: Banana Nut Bites
Serves 6 | Servings per serve: 2 balls
• 2 bananas
• 1 cup oats
• 3/4 cup Mayvers 100% nut spread
• Coconut for rolling
1. Blend bananas, oats and nut spread and place in fridge until firm.
2. Roll into balls and into coconut and serve
Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.