Foods That Energize

What To Do

Some people suggest eating sugar (in the form of a piece of candy, for instance) to get a quick pick-me-up, but most experts frown on this. These sorts of dietary tactics may increase your blood sugar levels temporarily, but it will be followed by a significant drop in blood sugar levels.

Dietary sources of energy that help to keep your blood sugar normalized include:

  • Carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables; whole grains, cereal, pasta, rice)
  • Fat (vegetable oils, salad dressings, margarine)
  • Protein (lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, egg whites, tofu)

Ideally, fats consumed should be unsaturated and contain no trans fat. Grain products should be whole grain, for maximum health benefits. In addition, beverages (e.g., water, iced tea, juice) are important to keep you hydrated and prevent fatigue, especially when physically active.

Energizing meals and snacks include

  • Celery sticks with peanut butter, juice
  • Cereal with milk and fruit
  • Cottage cheese, fruit and whole-grain crackers
  • Eggs with low-fat meat served in a pita or tortilla, juice
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (with all meals)
  • Grilled cheese on whole wheat with tomato, fruit, milk
  • Sandwich (chicken, tuna or turkey) on whole grain, fruit
  • Smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, fruit and milk

You can give your food (and your body) a boost by the way you eat. Wolfing down meals at irregular times doesn’t give your body enough time to wring all of the energy out of food. Try eating at least three meals a day, plus two to three snacks.

This pattern helps maintain normal metabolism and blood sugar levels, and may prevent overeating. To develop a pattern like this, begin by reducing your portion size at each meal and spread your calories out throughout the day.

One last thing about energizing foods: Remember that vitamins help your body get energy out of foods – but they do not provide energy themselves. So swallowing a multivitamin each day is no substitute to eating healthy.

Reviewed by Susan Janoff, MS RD LD/N

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