155 days ago
Are you struggling to get going in the morning, or are you hitting a wall of fatigue in the afternoon? As shorter days and cold, winter nights start to draw in, we take a look at how what and when you eat impacts your energy levels - for better and for worse - with these top tips from David Mulcahy, our Sodexo Culinary Ambassador.
1. Try eating smaller-portioned meals throughout the day
It's not just what you eat that impacts your energy levels, but also when you eat. For instance, have you ever noticed how you feel sluggish after a big lunch or dinner? That’s because your body is using its energy to digest that big meal instead of powering the rest of your body. Start with a healthy, hearty breakfast to start your day right, and then try eating smaller-portioned meals throughout the rest of the day. This will keep your body fuelled regularly and may even help you lose weight.
2. Spice up your meal-times
Try creating a special theme day each week. Whether you join a Hello Fresh-style recipe order scheme or simply decide to make a new special dish every week, the effort will be worth it. From weekday lunch or dinner to weekend lazy brunch, It doesn’t have to be difficult, can include all the family and provides a welcome distraction.
3. Avoid processed foods - think fresh first!
While a Cornish pasty or cheeseburger and fries might be comforting while you’re eating it, its nutritional value can be extremely low. Processed foods, such as some packaged or canned foods, sweets, ready meals, and pre-cooked meats are typically full of preservatives, additives, sodium, trans-fats, and artificial ingredients that may slow you down. Check out these delicious, fresh recipes from our partners, WWF.
4. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables - remember your 'five a day'
The fresher your food is, the more nutrients it will contain. Enjoy eating the rainbow with delicious fresh fruit and vegetables locally in season and from around the globe. Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre – essential nutrients that your body needs to work properly. Check out this recipe to give you a head start to the day ahead with quick and easy smoothies.
5. Go with the grain
Choosing whole-grain foods and complex carbohydrates ensures that your body gets the full benefits of the hull of the grain that adds fibre to your diet. For delicious grain-based recipes, check out our Future 50/Finer Diner Initiative focusing on the most sustainable ingredients, many of which are whole and ancient grains, readily available from supermarkets.
6. Lean and mean is best
Beware the unsaturated fats hidden in red meats. Leaner meats, like chicken, turkey, and fish, still provide quality protein, but contain less saturated fat. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, can add beneficial, heart healthy fats.
7. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are some of the best foods to beat fatigue and fight hunger. Getting a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet can provide healthy nutrients and energy. Try almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.Why not try chia seeds? An excellent source of prolonged energy thanks to carbohydrate content, healthy fats, and filling fibre. Two tablespoons of chia provide about 12 grams of carbs and a whopping 5 grams of omega-3s, which are heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory.
8. Avoid caffeinated drinks - water for the win!
While caffeine is OK in moderation, providing a short-term boost, it doesn’t actually provide the body with any energy. If you must have your fix, opt for black coffee or unsweetened tea. Alternative milk replacements are all the rage too, but check the pack for added sugars and fats.Drinking water is essential for optimal functioning of the body. Keep hydrated and sip 2-3 litres of water throughout the day. This simple change can make a big difference, and you’ll feel better before you know it.
9. Vitamins and supplements
If you’re not getting everything you need from your food, you may want to consider taking a daily vitamin. Right now, as autumn turns into winter, and the sunshine starts to fade, a good Vitamin D supplement may work wonders. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any and all nutritional supplements you’re considering.
10. Try the ‘No Takeaway’ challenge
Remember that instant gratification versus the crash-and-burn feeling? You may find your takeaway is the culprit here. Instead, why not try a homemade takeaway – fresh ingredients, no nasties and lots of fun too.
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