By Kris Crews
When you’re feeling low, it can be difficult to find the energy to get going. Life can take so much out of us, and it’s important to have energizing foods to fuel us during tough times. Now, there are a lot of foods we consume day in and day out, but are they supporting and enabling you to be functional at your highest capacity? Let’s dig in to see which energizing foods can help you feel your best.
Why Having Energizing Foods is Important
Eating energizing foods is a necessity. Whether you have a big game coming up, a trip, a long day of work ahead of you, or are running around with the kids, you need mood-boosting foods. So what food groups should you focus on that promote healthy eating and a heart-healthy diet? We’ll take a look at what’s best for our nutritional health.
The Five Essential Energizing Food Groups
Incorporating carbs into your food intake is one of the most important steps to take because carbs can be converted to glucose quickly for your body to maintain its needed energy. Don’t skip on this food group because it is the main source of where you’ll find your fuel. There’s also a lot of variety in the carbs you can eat.
Dairy is most well-known for its calcium benefits, but dairy is also a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re lactose intolerant or have an allergy to dairy, there are many alternatives that are now available and more accessible in stores. These alternatives — which are also great sources of protein — are soy, nut, oat, or rice milk. When using plant-based drinks, keep an eye out for ones that are unsweetened and heavier in minerals such as calcium, b12, and iodine. This is important because these are more present in animal milk, but you want to make sure you’re still getting the right amount that your body needs. Aim for three servings of dairy per day if possible.
Healthy fat foods are essential, and definitely something that everyone should be including in their diet. Consuming fatty foods has been frowned upon in the past due to concern that these will make you put on unwanted weight and keep you from reaching your goals, but on the contrary, fats are needed foods to boost energy. We need small amounts of healthy fats to protect our organs and to consume and absorb vitamins that support growth and strength. Though this food group is important, everyone should practice mindfulness when considering their consumption due to fats being high in energy. The recommended intake of fat is 70g per day for adults. When eating fats, keep a close eye on which are unsaturated vs saturated. Eating too much saturated fat can put you at a higher risk of serious conditions such as heart diseases and strokes.
You might’ve heard that amino acids are the building blocks of the body, and it’s true. To get these key amino acids, one must eat enough protein. Because our bodies are constantly building and renewing cells, it’s imperative that amino acids are included. Sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Eat around two to three servings of protein per day to keep you energized.
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Fruits + Veggies
Last, but certainly not least, for a well-rounded diet, including fruits and veggies should be top of mind. Fruits and veggies are important heart-healthy foods and play a vital role in us consuming high-fiber foods. This food group comes in many different colors, which is indicative of the different types of nutrients that play a role in maintaining a functioning body. What’s nice about fruits and veggies is that fresh or frozen produce is good for you, and economically, frozen tends to be more cost-effective. Aim for a recommended five portions of different vegetables and fruits a day, but be careful when eating frozen fruits (when having juices and smoothies) to not eat too much as the sugar is more concentrated.
Eight Healthy and Energizing Foods to Add to Your Diet
Now that we’ve gone over the food groups to keep in mind, I’ll provide examples of eight healthy and energizing foods to add to your diet. Whether you’re on the run, working, or able to sit down and make yourself a meal, these foods will keep you full and healthy.
Oatmeal is full of complex carbs. Not only is this packed with carbohydrates you need, but it’s also a phenomenal serotonin booster. Our serotonin levels are something we should be mindful of because they help us manage stress while also enhancing our cognitive abilities. Try making your own at home and adding some fruit, seeds, and honey for a hearty, healthy breakfast!
Bananas are one of the best fruits to consume for energy. You can eat this by itself, include it in your oatmeal, smoothie, and more. Bananas are full of complex carbs, some protein, and potassium.
Not a food, but definitely something you should be consuming daily. Water is one of the best natural energy boosters. When you’re dehydrated, it can cause low energy, lack of focus, and brain fog. Drinking a glass of water can help eliminate some of those symptoms.
Lentils are part of the legume family. If you’re looking for food that’s rich in carbs and fiber, head to your nearest market to grab a pack. One cup of cooked lentils contains a whopping amount of 15 grams of fiber and 36 grams of carbs. This tasty legume will keep your energy up and help replenish your iron, zinc, manganese, and folate.
Hummus is made up of chickpeas, which are a great source of complex carbs and fiber. Consume this with some carrots, peppers, or some pita chips for a quick snack that will help keep your energy levels balanced.
Brown rice is a healthy grain. While white rice is a higher processed grain, brown rice is lower and carries more vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Brown rice can also help regulate your blood sugar levels as it’s low on the glycemic index. If you’re looking for a healthy meal that will keep you energized, pair this with salmon or tofu and some vegetables for a tasty pick-me-up.
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Avocados are most known for being a superfood. They contain fats, fiber, and vitamin B. Avocados promote healthy blood-fat levels, and around 85% of the fat in avocados comes from both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
If you’re looking for a great source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin C, sweet potatoes are for you! This food will help you stay energized and focused.
Looking to add some energizing foods to your diet? Try incorporating some of the foods mentioned above, and see how you feel!
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