Happy Thursday!!! With the new year here I’ve had a dozen people ask me how they can improve their nutrition, lose weight and increase energy. Out of those three things I’m going to cover two of them in this post… nutrition and increased energy (losing weight will have to be whole other post). First of all… if you say you want to eat better and lose weight and so on, you better be really sure you want it. It’s a commitment that you’ll have to stick with. It seems nowadays all we want is quick fixes and magic pills but when it comes down to it doing it the healthy way is so much more rewarding… and in so many ways.
Luckily you can accomplish two things at once, by eating healthier foods you can increase your energy. I’ve gathered up a handful of foods that can help increase energy. If there is something you don’t like to eat, don’t eat it, find healthy foods that you do enjoy and eat those. If you force yourself to do/eat something you don’t enjoy, you wont stick with it. Hopefully the following list can help you out… enjoy!
1. Apples: Apples contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber and are also a rich source of flavonoids and polyphenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants. They are great for a quick energy boost before a workout or afternoon snack.
2. Hummus: Hummus is a healthy energy-boosting snack that is sure to satisfy the creamy-salty cravings. It’s a great energy booster when paired with other items on this list, like red peppers, carrots and cucumbers. Try the Raw Chickpea-Free Hummus recipe with zucchini instead of cooked chickpeas, and raw tahini. You’ll still get amino acids and calcium from the raw tahini, but in a lighter, non-starchy form.
3. Dark Chocolate: I know a lot of us are excited about this one. If you have a sweet tooth, organic dark chocolate is sure to satisfy those cravings, and is better than having dessert snacks that contain refined starches, which will deplete B vitamins that we need for energy. There is some sugar in it, so limit portion size to 1-2 oz a day. If possible try to by the non-dairy kind.
4. Oatmeal: According to the American Dietetic Association, oat products are some of the best sources of soluble fiber. You can combine oatmeal with raisins, honey, and yogurt for extra flavor and energy. My favorite is steel-cut oats, also avoid any of the “quick cook” oatmeals… they are less nutritious.
5. Raw Granola: Granola is a great snack when you’re feeling hungry mid-day. Make sure you choose a granola that is not overly processed (a raw variety if you can find it), is preferably gluten-free and does not have a ton of added sugar. Its best to try and make your own, with a base of buckwheat groats.
6. Cucumber:Cucumber is known to be a beauty vegetable and full of the beauty mineral silicon. It’s a delicious, hydrating and nutrient-rich snack that tastes great on its own, or dipped in hummus. Try making cucumber salad with raw apple cider vinegar.
7. Tea: This is a nice thing to sip when you don’t want to eat anything late at night or in the mid-morning or afternoon. Make sure to go caffeine free if thats your thing, if not stick with a green tea in the morning time for a sustained caffeine kick. If you want to go caffeine free try a red rooibos, it contains tons of antioxidants and has a nice flavor.
8. Avocados: This is my favorite!!! Filled with fiber and healthy fats and fiber, avocados can easily become a daily staple. They are awesome to keep your skin smooth and youthful as well. They are also known to help lower cholesterol. If you don’t like to eat them plain, try adding avocados to salads.
9. Coconut Water: Ok ok… this is another one of my favorites! Drinking coconut water is one of the best ways to naturally rehydrate the body. It is packed full of electrolytes and has detoxifying properties. Young coconuts are best, can sometimes be found at your local health food store. If not you can find coconut water in cartons or cans in most health food grocery stores.
10. Lemon Water: It may sound simple, but sipping water with lemon (cold or hot) is known to provide energy. One of the biggest forms of fatigue is dehydration, so make sure to sip up! Lemon gives an added boost of vitamins and enzymes. Be sure to start your day with a cup of warm water with lemon.
11. Pumpkin Seeds: These seeds are packed with minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium, vitamin K and protein. These seeds will be sure to satisfy that crunchy craving when you need a boost. Lighter than nuts, try a quarter of a cup of them in the afternoon a few hours after lunch, especially if you are working out after work or have a long stretch before dinner.
K, so there you have it. Pick the ones you like and start incorporating them in your diet (if you don’t already). Make sure to get plenty of sleep and don’t skip workouts… and you’ll be golden!