Eating your way to higher energy levels

Feeling drained and tired? Low energy levels are no fun for anyone, here’s how to eat for increased energy.

Feeling flat is no fun for anyone. A simple review of your eating habits can change everything.

Bondi Beauty talks to Healthy Energy Consultant Dietitian Farah El-Chami, about how to stop feeling fatigued with 5 quick and easy nutritional tips.

Although Farah El-Chami says that “simply eating a healthy balanced diet and performing regular exercise” is the ideal solution for low energy levels, eating the right nutrients at the right time of day can also give you a pick-me-up.

Eating a well balanced diet throughout your day won’t only help regulate energy levels but will also instantly have you feeling lifted and refreshed.

1)      Eat a high Protein breakfast

“Eating a high protein breakfast creates a feeling of fullness throughout the day and as a result helps to manage your weight” and energy says El-Chami. “Having approximately 15g protein at breakfast is enough to receive all its benefits” she says and will help regulate your energy levels to keep you on top of things throughout the morning.

Having 2 boiled or poached eggs on wholegrain toasts, 200g of greek yoghurt a handful of nuts and half a chopped fruit, or 30g of low fat cheddar cheese with tomato on 2 slices of wholegrain toast in the morning will help keep the energy hit from these carbohydrates lasting longer and your energy levels up says El-Chami.

2)      Lower your caffeine intake

Drinking over 300mg of coffee, which is equal to 3 cups, per day will leave you in danger of fluctuating blood glucose levels and fatigue. El-Chami says try drinking “a maximum of 2 instant coffees or 1 espresso per day” to avoid adverse side effects and becoming dependant.

Instead of going on your regular coffee break, try “replacing one or two cups per day with tea or herbal tea and drinking more water” says El-Chami.”

Having too much caffeine may cause insomnia, irritability, nervousness, heart-burn and rapid heartbeats she adds so swap things up with some herbal tea ladies.

3)      Don’t neglect lunch

The end of morning brings with it a pick-up of pace and often when things start to get busy in the office, at home or between errands lunch can be one of the first things to be forgotten or pushed back. “Lunch helps us maintain energy and concentration throughout the day and prevents the 3pm ‘slump’” says El-Chami. Instead of reaching for something high in sugar and fat El-Chami suggests “Having a balanced lunch which includes lean protein, low GI carbohydrates and lots of vegies” to keep up energy levels. Hearty soups and salads that include protein are also a healthy and satisfying lunch option that will keep your body fuelled.

4)      Be snack wise

When you’re running low and need an energy hit it’s easy to reach for muesli bars, packets of chips or even chocolate. The problems with these are the sugar crash they could cause later in the afternoon.

Instead, make a plan to have protein rich snacks nearby when late afternoon cravings strike. “There are so many snack food options today and most of them contain high amounts of ‘hidden’ fat and sugar which is one of the reasons many of us are gaining weight” says El-Chami.

“In snack foods we need to be looking for fruits, vegetables, protein foods, low GI carbohydrates and low fat dairy foods”.

Throwing a bag of nuts in your handbag in the morning, or keeping some veggie sticks and hummus  in the office will help you make the right snack choices to keep you going until dinnertime.

5)      Escape the indoors and get active

It’s easy to forget to breathe fresh air when we’re focused on finishing our work duties before we leave for home.

Being stuck indoors all day is also especially draining to our energy levels. “Serotonin is also known as a happy hormone because it contributes to feeling of well-being and increased energy” says El-Chami, “Exercise, sunlight and fresh air are known to increase serotonin levels, so get outdoors and get active”.

El-Chami suggest aim to get outdoors in the sunlight for at least 20-30 minutes a day to soak up some vitamin D. For an extra boost combine your outdoor time with your midmorning, lunch or afternoon break and snacks to really refuel your body and keep your energy levels up.

Farah El-Chami’s top 3 tips for keeping your energy levels up

1-      Eat small, regular, balanced meals which include protein, low GI carbohydrates and vegetables plus 2 healthy snacks daily.

2-      Keep alcohol to a minimum. Aim for no more than two standard drinks twice a week.

3-      Move Move Move! Not only should we include 20-30 minutes of exercise per day, we should optimize our ‘incidental’ exercise by doing some housework, gardening, parking our cars as far to a destination as possible or taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

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By BB Intern Dominique Tait

We want to know what helps you keep your energy levels up?

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