There are definitely some things you can do to keep your energy levels high throughout the day. You may find some of these tips easier than others, so slowly implement the changes. Hopefully, you'll notice a difference in energy with less fatigue and daily "slumps" after only changing one or two items.
Your Body Is Thirsty— and it’s thirsty for water—not coffee, not an energy drink, not soda. Water is the main component of blood and is essential for carrying nutrients to the cells and taking away waste products. If your body is short on fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue.
Eat Less Carbs: Eating too many carbs will leave you sluggish and on a roller coaster. To balance out your diet, include enough protein and fat. Protein helps with satiety, keeping you feeling satisfied and full for longer. Healthy fats, such as those found in a handful of nuts, also help you feel satisfied and hold you over until your next meal. I also love eating fat bombs, which is a high-fat, low-carb treat.
Don’t Skip Meals: Skipping meals will increase the hunger hormone, ghrelin, later in the day, making you ravenous! For this same reason, you also don’t want to skip breakfast.
Eat Within One Hour of Waking Up: Eating in the morning gets your body's metabolism going. When you wake up, you’re going to either gain or lose control of your metabolism as soon as you open your eyes. The best way to manage this is to take a Tbsp of flavored cod liver oil off the spoon as soon as you wake up. It’s the single most important thing you can do. The oil forces the sugar level in your blood to rise slowly. The reason we want the slow rise is to train the metabolism to be more steady, stable, and more balanced. If you don’t eat, your liver starts releasing sugar and you don’t want to start the day with a blood sugar spike. It’s difficult to get that balance back to where it should be the rest of the day. The oil sets the tone for the waking hours, and that’s how you start to train the high-stress pattern and high insulin patterns. A liquid fish oil supplement you take from the spoon or extra virgin olive oil also works to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Then eat breakfast within about 30 minutes of waking up and taking the oil. A breakfast rich in protein (20-25 grams) significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening. Some protein foods to consider at breakfast include: eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, turkey sausage, nuts, nut butter, or a smoothie using protein powder.
Eat A Smaller Lunch: Researchers have observed the circadian rhythms of people who eat a lot at lunch typically show a more pronounced afternoon slump. The reason why is unclear, but it may reflect the increase in blood sugar after eating, which is followed by a nosedive in energy later.
Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables: Believe it or not, the vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables boost your energy. Eat a variety of colors, like a rainbow!
Having the energy to get out to exercise, explore, and take advantage of the summer feels so great. Take care of yourself!
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods